Page 87 - The Chapka 2016
P. 87

   The Inaugural Regimental Officers’ Dinner held in Westminster Delusions of Grandeur - the host seat following First minister’s Questions
The Wolf howls one last time
So that’s it. After two and a half years of commanding the Wolves of Scotland and Northern Ireland, I now return to the delights of Andover and the joys of Force Development. It’s
been quite a journey for the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry during this time and it has gone from an embryonic and new regiment with only 187 soldiers in its ORBAT to around 315 now, with the objective of reaching 336 committed reservists by 2019 firmly on track. As I hand over command, we have also just welcomed our first two female combat soldiers into the ranks, thereby crossing that line as the only combat unit North of the Border to be charged with doing so for now. Of course, there have been many ‘Start-Up’ frustrations along the way, be it infrastruc- ture, equipment, the close down of the RMLY or recruitment of permanent staff, but now with an established Regimental Head- quarters, a full BUF of R-WMIK and an almost complete port- folio of support staff, the ‘Build’ can now be declared complete, thus, leaving my successor to add the polish to ensure a Reserve Regiment fit for the future and providing genuine capability to the Field Army.
2016 has proved to be a most rewarding year with the highlight being the deployment of a composite Light Cavalry Squadron on Exercise WESSEX STORM as part of the SCOTS DG Battle Group. This was the first time such a level of integration had been achieved and with the Squadron being tasked similarly to its Regular counterparts, it confirmed the merits of paired Regular/Reserve concept. Those reservists who didn’t deploy were subsequently committed to a two week courses camp in Barry Buddon. Amongst which was offered a range of R-WMIK and Signals courses, as well as trialling the ten day RAC PNCO programme consisting of eight days of classroom/field activity, a formal pass-off parade (taken by Colonel RAC), a day of AT and a cultural trip to the QE and Edinburgh Castle. It proved a huge success and further demonstrated how important it is for reserve soldiers to undertake the same training, where practical to do so, as their regular colleagues, thus ensuring both their credibility and ability to perform junior leadership roles. By the end of the Cadre, all those not qualified to participate were keen to let it be known that they wanted their opportunity soon- est - very reassuring to note. The field element of the cadre was expertly designed and executed by Staff Sergeant Pfaff-Canning RL who has had an excellent final year of service during which he has run numerous regimental events putting his dismounted prowess to the fore and inspiring those soldiers involved. I am personally grateful for his efforts during my tenure - he has rep- resented our cap badge superbly and I have little doubt he will be a tremendous asset to the Australian Army on transferring to them later in 2017.
Other highlights for the Regiment this past year have included: a Battlefield Study to Gallipoli; our first foray into sailing with two crews competing at the Seaview Regatta; the annual trip to Val D’Isere; and, a diving trip to Malta. There has been much more than I have covered here and I am confident to repeat my claim from previous journal submissions that the opportuni- ties available to the reservists have never been better – plenty of challenge and an ability to do ‘what you want, when you want, where you want and, most importantly, if you want to.’ During my tenure, I have been a big proponent in encouraging those leaving regular service to consider the reserves to ensure they can enjoy those elements of soldiering that continue to appeal, while ensuring the Army gets a further return on its investment.
On my return to Andover, I shall continue to wear my SNIY beret, TRF and rank slide. I feel strongly that, despite being very much a Royal Lancer at heart, these are the soldiers I have proudly commanded and I should honour the sacrifices they make in committing to the Army Reserve (on top of demand- ing civilian and family commitments) by showcasing their cap- badge on a daily basis at the very heart of the Army.
 It’s all Over

   85   86   87   88   89