RBR troops in the field for the first time.
The Royal Bermuda Regiment’s newest recruits came a step closer to trained soldier status after they completed an overnight exercise yesterday.
The group of 27 men and seven women spent a night in the field for the first time from Monday – and got a visit from John Rankin, the Governor, to thank them for their volunteer spirit.
Private Precious Hayward-Evans, 22, said the fieldcraft exercise was “a little intense and took getting used to”.
She added: “It’s not much different than camping, but you have no technology and no lights, and you have to be aware of all your surroundings.
“For me, recruit camp is adventurous. I have done Junior Leaders, but this is an upgrade because you are actually becoming a soldier and learning more about field work, integrity and honesty.”
Private Keiron Tucker, 18, a marketing student at Bermuda College, said: “It’s been good. I slept good and was able to move around.
“The training last night about sound and movement was on point. It’s good, for sure.”
After basic orientation and weapons training last week, recruits were taught camouflage and concealment and patrol and sentry skills on Monday before they headed to the 32-acre Hog Bay Park in Sandys for their first night out in the open.
Lieutenant Samuel Hewitt, the platoon commander for Recruit Camp, said: “We are breaking civilian habits and making them into trained soldiers. It is a remarkable thing to do within the time we are given.”
He added the fieldcraft exercise taught the recruits how to set up a platoon harbour, the base area for soldiers deployed in the field.
Lieutenant Hewitt said that recruits learned how to put up a temporary camp without tents or cover, how to use their senses to stay safe and what can be seen and heard in the dark, as well as how to maintain concealment.
The group, aged from 18 to 45, were also taught daytime and night-time patrol methods, as well as about the use of pyrotechnics and the importance of health and hygiene in the field.
Private Yorkelina Deleon-Garcia, 18, originally from the Dominican Republic, said her brother and sister have completed recruit camp.
She said: “They told me about their experience, and I decided I wanted to join as well to learn about skills and discipline.”
Private Deleon-Garcia added: “It is going very well. It’s what I was expecting and is also a good opportunity to learn about new things and also to get new friends.”
Private Scott Brown, 35, a sales and service officer at HSBC, said he signed up for “self-progression and adventure”.
He added: “I am enjoying it. The one thing that stands out is time management.
“It is very interesting, I have learnt a lot more about combat discipline, what that means, and how the smallest details matter.”
Lieutenant Hewitt said the performance of the recruits at Hog Bay was “excellent”.
He added: “Although challenging, they have always overcome those challenges. They were in high spirits at the end of the day, meeting challenges head-on, and grasping the information and achieving objectives, both personal and those mandated for them.”
Mr Rankin, the Commander-in-Chief of the RBR, said the organisation played an important role at checkpoints over the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, as well as after hurricanes Paulette and Teddy.
Mr Rankin added: “Everyone has become aware, perhaps this year as much as ever, how important the Regiment is for the island.
He said the RBR “helped make sure that people respected shelter in place and played their role in keeping the island safe.
“Most recently, the Regiment was out during Hurricane Paulette and Hurricane Teddy, helping to clear roads and ensuring that other emergency services can operate.”
Mr Rankin said the skills learned by the rookie troops would “stand them in good stead throughout their lives”.
He told the recruits: “You help people when they need you the most. Thank you for your service to Bermuda.”