Royal Air Force Reserves complete Reserve Basic Recruit Training Course

RAF Halton has taken on the challenge of reservist training courses with ex-military and civilian people from all walks of life in training.

The most recent course to complete basic reservist training at RAF Halton was at Initial Force Protection Flight (IFPT). Sgt Rick Chamley, a reservist himself, and an ex regular, explained that a number of the trainees join the reserves after seeing TV and radio advertising. They are mostly looking for a part time challenge or a full time reservist career. The course is  challenging yet most thrive with the large amount of information and training they are given in a short space of time.”

Cpls Jase Ginn and Paul Elvidge, both regular serving personnel, said: “We see a wide variety of ages and backgrounds which pose different challenges. A lot of the trainees have been out of the training environment for many years however with perseverance and determination they achieve the required standard to successfully complete the course.”

The challenges of being a reservist were explained by Cpl Mark (Jock) Charity, once a regular serving person and now a full time reservist. “There is a big drive to recruit reservists and the problems are still being ironed out. A regular service person gets medical and dental services and accommodation whereas the reservist does not which can be a problem when some of us live many miles away and have to rent accommodation in the local area. However it has been a very rewarding career change.”

Stu Turnbull, a metropolitan policeman, who recently joined the reserves, said: “I live in Sussex with my wife, Rebecca and two children. Only half a percent of civilian police can become reservists due to the metropolitan police force commitments, but they are very supportive and give extra days leave a year to complete this work.”

Karen Beggs, an NHS IT programmer said: “I am too old to join up with the regulars but have always fancied doing something like this. It has been a tough but very rewarding experience and I am proud of myself for excelling in the 1st Aid, Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear training (CBRN) and weapon training. I did my basic training in Edinburgh where I will go on to do one weekend a month and two weeks a year.”

The senior man on the course, AC Harris, an ex-army regular, summed up the feelings about their fortnight at Halton, saying: “It has been intense, enjoyable and emotional. Two weeks of 14 individuals who have formed a team together to achieve results. Our block inspection which started off ok, is now excellent, and the key things we have brought with us are a sense of humour and enthusiasm.”