This Is How The Army Turns People Into ‘True Experts In Combat’
In partnership with the British Army
The military might be mysterious to those of us living civilian lives. You’re probably picturing camouflage, foreign conflicts and companionship.
This is the life of an Infantry soldier, as seen through the lens of our somewhat blinkered mind’s eye, but there’s actually a lot more to an army job in the Infantry, beyond becoming a world class soldier.
Just take these Infantrymen. Chances are, you can’t guess what they get up to everyday:
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These guys are the Guards. They are a part of a group of Infantry soldiers who you may have come across in Britain.
Adorned in red and gold, with black Bearskin hats atop their heads, Guardsmen stand sentry in front of many British landmarks, guarding VIPs and marching in parades.
They represent the army – albeit with a stony exterior – in civilian life, as well as on peace keeping missions, in combat or helping people after a disaster.
As Infantrymen, they have combat training upon joining the army. Those stoic figures are actually versed in full combat and are ready for anything if and when they go to the front line.
A career in the Guardsmen doesn’t just mean standing still. It can give you opportunities and jump-start your career with qualifications including a variety of driving licences, awards from the Institute of Leadership & Management, Apprenticeships in Security, Communications, Engineering, to name just a few.
Also available to all Guardsmen are BTEC Level 2 Certificates in Relief Operations Skills, NVQ Level 2 Public Service, and also Parachuting training with the option to apply for all arms P Company course where you will be posted to the Army’s airborne forces for two years.
On top of that, all Guardsmen get posted on rotation at Wellington Barracks for ceremonial duty, which means having the opportunity to live in central London.
All soldiers – including Guardsmen – on an army career path start with basic military training and develop into true experts in combat, able to travel the world using their skills.
Once they’ve mastered the training of an Infantry soldier, they’re able to specialise in dozens of different roles; from Machine Gunner, Mortarman, Driver, Sniper, Anti-tank Missile Operator, Assault Pioneer, to the more musically-minded Pipes and Drums.
So, what does it take to become an Infantry soldier? First off, you’ll need to have a passion for travel, risks and adrenaline, outdoor activities, shooting, driving, fitness and telecommunications – as well as be a dab hand at decision making and leadership.
Trust and loyalty are essential within the Army – and no more so than in the infantry. It makes an infantry regiment one of the closest and most supportive units in the Army, full of people who trust one another with their lives.
Fitness plays a major part of Army life too and is particularly important within an infantry team, so the community offers all kinds of activities, from team sports like football and rugby to boxing, skiing, scuba-diving and mountain climbing.
Recruits will spend the first 26 weeks of their career on the Combat Infantryman’s Course at the Infantry Training Centre (ITC) based in Catterick. Alongside first class training facilities, the ITC also has a cinema room, convenience store, a Subway, pool tables, games consoles, 4-lane bowling alley and a gym.
Training is intense to begin with, so recruits only have a few weekends to themselves – though families are encouraged to visit during week three to see how they’re progressing and to take advantage of the facilities.
However after week 7, you’d have most weekends free, as well as a week off after week 13.
It is of course, hard work, but this role and others like it in the Army, don’t just offer the letters at the end of your name when you get a degree. Your time in the Army – whether it’s a few years or a full career – could set you up for life.
To find out more, go to Army: Be The Best.