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Rookie regiment soldiers relishing recruit camp

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New regiment recruits pictured after an exercise. (Photograph supplied)

Training stepped up a gear for the Royal Bermuda Regiment’s newest members when they entered their second week of recruit camp.

The 19 rookie soldiers left Warwick Camp for fieldcraft lessons and a night under canvas in Exercise First Encounter at Hog Bay Park in Sandys on Monday and Tuesday.

Physical training instructor Sergeant Stewart Bielby oversees an exercise session.

Private Leslie Tucker, of Warwick, relished the experience — even though the troops got soaked by the rain.

He said: “I like getting down and dirty, making your body more robust and used to uncomfortable situations.

“It was really just the weight of the Bergen rucksack carrying all the kit — I had to get used to that.”

RBR recruits taking part in a weapons exercise. (Photograph supplied)

Like many of the other recruits, Private Tucker had his first taste of shooting live rifle rounds on the range at Warwick Camp yesterday.

The 23-year-old said: “It was exciting and it was a bit scary at first but after the first few shots I calmed down and just went with the flow.”

Private Matthew Stephens during a field exercise (Photograph supplied)

Private Cierra Holdipp, a bartender, appreciated the learning opportunities provided by the first encounter exercise — when the troops simulated a patrol operation including the establishment of a harbour, or short-term base, and moving unseen in the dark.

The 35-year-old, of Devonshire, said: “I thoroughly enjoyed it because it gave me insight to what may happen in the future, when I go on other trips and go in the field.

“I loved the fact that we had a buddy system. I loved the fact that we learnt something.

“I didn’t think I would enjoy the weapon system. It’s something of interest now but not something I would want to jump thoroughly into, but I like to have the knowledge.”

Private Audley Millings, 19, was fearless when he took to the range back at camp to fire the SA80 rifle, on which recruits have received intensive training.

The Bermuda College automotive student, from Smith’s, said: “Going in, I wasn’t even scared. I wasn’t worried. I just knew that I was going to fire some shots and that’s it.

“I felt confident that my training paid off.

“I knew that my instructor built me up for this moment.”

With two days left of recruit camp, Private Millings added: “It’s the final stretch, but the final stretch is going to be hard because we have a drill test and we have to go through the assault course. I’m looking forward to that. I like difficult situations.”

Private Matthew Stephens, 21, from Sandys, said: “I feel like we are at a really good point, not only as individuals ourselves but as a platoon.

“I feel like we are basically family now and that’s going to stay like that.

“We’ve got a couple of days of hard work left but we’re nearly done and we’re all in relatively good spirits.”

* To sign up to join the regiment, visit www.bermudaregiment.bm or call 238-1045.

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Published February 27, 2023 at 7:44 am (Updated February 27, 2023 at 7:44 am)

Rookie regiment soldiers relishing recruit camp

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