Page 14 - The Rifles Bugle Autumn 2019
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by The Colonel Commandant General PNYM Sanders CBE DSO ADC Gen
On 1 February 2007 we hoisted The Rifles flag in 4 RIFLES in Bulford for the first time, just as 2 RIFLES did in Basra and each of our fellow battalions did across the rest of the UK. I was the last CO of 2RGJ and the first of 4 RIFLES and I spoke the same words to the battalion as Field Marshal Dwin Bramall did when he was in my place at the formation of 2RGJ. On that first bright cold morning, the Rifles capbadge felt unfamiliar in our berets, but it also felt right. We had taken a step into the unknown, but there was an unshakeable conviction in us all that the quality of our Riflemen and the unique strengths of our ethos would make us as successful as our preceding Regiments had been. Swift and Bold was a motto we could all believe in and try to live up to. And so we did, as our performance on operations in tough, demanding campaigns from day one of our existence earned us a formidable reputation.
Each Rifleman that day and every day since has contributed to that reputation and made the Regiment what it is today. But Regiments like ours don’t just happen – it takes vision, drive, ambition and leadership. And we have been extraordi- narily lucky in my two predecessors as Colonel Commandant. General Sir Nick Parker’s vision and leadership from our formation gave us the founda- tions. General Sir Nick Carter has ensured we have exploited it. In the 6 years he has served as Colonel Commandant, The Rifles has flourished and remained the Infantry Regiment that others measure themselves against. Recruiting, in a difficult era, has held up; it consistently attracts the best officers from Sandhurst; it has held to its principles of attracting eclecticism and diversity and encouraging character and individuality; it has expanded to 8 battalions; it has forged the path in new roles, excelling and proving the concept of Specialised Infantry; it has nurtured its identity, expanding bugling and filling Horseguards in a memorable display; and it has restored its excellence in shooting. In short he has left it in rude health and I want to take this oppor- tunity to thank him, and pay credit to him, as he did Nick Parker, for his outstanding record as Colonel Commandant.
That role now falls to me. Of all the appointments I have had in 34 years of service, to be trusted with stewardship and leadership of the Regiment that I love and helped form is the greatest honour of all of them. The only Intent you need from me is our motto, which I charge every Rifleman to live by: Swift and Bold.
The Regiment in now in its second decade since formation and has established itself with an enviable reputation on operations and in training. This success has been underpinned by our Riflemen, specifically the right numbers of talented, motivated and robust recruits joining the Regiment.
These have been challenging times for Army recruiting, especially so for the Infantry. Whilst The Rifles is undermanned, all of our battalions are
above the minimum threshold to conduct their tasks without reinforcement. Ours is a very strong position in the Infantry and a testament to the offer of opportunity and breadth of employment The
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