TWO TERRITORIAL Army recruits from Arbroath have been put through their paces in Edinburgh this summer as they come to the end of the TA’s intensive five-week basic training course, Exercise Summer Challenge 2012.
Andrew Smart (21) and Peter Love (31) are two of around 150 new recruits who have completed the exercise at Redford Cavalry Barracks in the capital, which included further training on nearby Castlelaw Ranges in the Pentland Hills.
Peter is now planning to join 213 Battery, Royal Artillery, while Andrew will go to 230 Squadron, Scottish Transport Regiment. Both are Scottish TA units which form part of 51 (Scottish) Brigade.
Both men were challenged with a full-on five-week training syllabus encompassing weapons training, fitness, drill, navigation and more. They also took part in a three-night exercise in the countryside outside Edinburgh and will receive payments of approximately £1,200 for completing the course.
In addition, they have completed an enjoyable one-week adventurous training package in Aviemore designed to encourage team building and to push recruits out of their civilian comfort zones. This phase included rock-climbing, mountain biking, canoeing, and hill walking. They ‘passed out’ in a ceremony at Redford Infantry Barracks on Sunday in front of friends and family.
Peter commented: “I’ve absolutely loved Summer Challenge. It has been a great experience. The biggest challenge by far was the four-mile ‘tab’ (march) with full kit. It might not sound far, but it was the first time I nearly thought I might not be able to keep going. It was a great sense of achievement when I managed to finish it.
“My favourite thing about the whole course has been the three-day exercise. I love being outside so I was in my element, even when I was wet and cold I was still loving it. I’ve come so far over the past five weeks and I was so proud to have my partner and daughter at my ‘passing out’ parade to see what I have achieved.”
Andrew added: “The most difficult thing for me during Summer Challenge was definitely the field training, Peter loved it, but I found it more challenging.
“It poured with rain for three nights and we were soaked right through! We had bonded well, though, and this certainly helped keep morale high. It was great for camaraderie and we are like a big family now.
“The physical training and circuit sessions are something that I have really enjoyed. I get a real buzz out of fitness exercises and running. I was in the cadets at school so I knew I was already suited to a military lifestyle.”
He went on: “I think that the combination of being in the army and getting a degree is the perfect mix. I’m looking forward to having time to spend with my girlfriend after Summer Challenge as I have missed her over the last few weeks. If I hadn’t participated in the challenge I would have probably spent the summer working at a call centre so I’m really glad that I signed up for it. It has been a great experience.”
The exercise is run by the Army Training Unit Scotland, which is responsible for the training of TA soldiers within the 51 (Scottish) Brigade area, and is based in Redford Cavalry Barracks in Edinburgh, conducting courses on site and throughout Scotland.
Lieutenant Colonel Guy Moncur, Commander Regional Recruiting for Scotland, commented: “The Territorial Army is growing with a wide range of spare-time jobs on offer across Scotland.
“This has been another fantastic year for Summer Challenge. Once again we have watched a dedicated group progress through some tough training and pass out as Phase 1 trained TA soldiers. They can be very proud of their achievements.”
To find out more about the TA Summer Challenge, visit army.mod.uk/join or phone your local Army Careers Information Office on 01382 227 461.