Friday, April 17, 2009

Wrexham man gives Territorial Army the thumbs up

THE final call is being made for applicants to take part in an intensive military training course, with one soldier from Wrexham heartily recommending the scheme.
Summer Challenge Wales hopes to recruit 150 more men and women into the Territorial Army (TA), a part-time element of the Regular Army that allows soldiers to also have civilian jobs, by condensing the required training, which usually takes up to 18 months, into a maximum of seven weeks.

The scheme was launched in January and there is now only a matter of weeks to go until the deadline for applications.

Geraint Jones, 25, of Wrexham, joined the TA while studying at university as he needed a part time job that brought in a bit of extra money to support his studies.

His job was a bit different than pulling pints in a bar or serving customers in a shop.

Lance Corporal Jones said: "I joined the TA when I was 17 and at sixth form – a few of us did it and we went together. Then when I went to university the money really came in handy and it was good fun as well.

"I would recommend joining the TA, especially if you're a student because it's a good way of getting a bit of money on the side while you study and there's a decent social side to it as well. It also gives you a better idea of what the Army is like if you were thinking about joining."

After graduating from Lancaster University, Geraint volunteered for two back-to-back operational tours in Iraq supporting the regular Army.

He said: "During the first tour I was a team commander in Iraq and worked with the bomb disposal team, went out on patrol and performed guard and escort duties.

"I enjoyed it so much that I went out again with the 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh and was part of operations in Basra.

"The second time was much harder as there was a bit more action and it was exciting at times. We had to do warrior strike operations and our job included clearing the route through to re-supply Basra Palace.

"You really put your training into action and learn lots of new skills on the job and of course you have a better appreciation of things at home."

New TA recruits who take part in Summer Challenge Wales will undergo a compressed two week military training programme in July 2009 at Maindy Barracks in Cardiff with an optional week of adventure training.

This will be followed by up to four weeks of specific trade training to gain the skills needed to become a fully fledged member of the TA.

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