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My Story - Sgt Shaw

Sergeant Shaw gives his perspective on life in the Army Reserve.

Call 37 Sig Regt

01527 599324

Why I Joined

I have always had an ambition to be part of the Army since a young age, I am the sort of person who likes completing challenges, meeting new people, being outdoors and travelling, all of which are on offer within the Army. I had always intended on joining the Regular Army upon completing my education, however, had little knowledge of the Army Reserve (known as the Territorial Army back then).

It was when I was looking for information about joining the regulars that I found out that you could in fact be in the Army part-time, and volunteer to attend training around your civilian life, and better still it was paid! As a student this was ideal for me, I needed money to subsidise my studies, and I got to be part of the Army in my spare time. I nervously enquired and before I knew it I was on basic training. Basic was fast paced and a challenge, but it is worth the hard work when you have completed your final passing off parade.

Once basic was done, I was able to train with the Squadron on weekend exercises, as well as completing trade training, learning how to use military radios and other communication systems.

My Junior Career

I progressed in trade and rank to LCpl, becoming a detachment commander. A detachment is the term used for a four to six man team that provides communications assets and services.

I was involved in a trial of a communication gateway link between Gazelle Helicopters and the Airwave system, which due to its success led to me actually commanding a three-helicopter fly past at a parade to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Territorial Army.

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Once I graduated from university, I completed my Junior Command Leadership and Management course, a career course needed for promotion to Cpl before volunteering to mobilise for a tour of Afghanistan. I was attached to 7th Signal Regiment, who were based in Elmpt, Germany, where I completed my pre-deployment training. This also allowed me to go travelling around Germany and Holland during time off.

I deployed to Kabul and spent six months there as part of the ICS Troop, working in the communication centre, maintaining satellite links and providing general IT assistance. Upon return to the UK, the experience I had gained with the Army Reserve allowed me to gain a civilian job working as an Emergency Services Control Room Communications Officer, a high responsibility job that involved dealing with 999 calls and ensuring that police resources were despatched to incidents, and then managing the incident until resolved. Within the Army Reserve I was promoted to Cpl and continued to attend weekend exercises.

In 2012, I mobilised again for Operation Olympic, where I was attached to 71 Signal Regiment in London. Initially the role involved testing defence communication infrastructure at the Olympic venues before I took a role working within Canary Wharf with senior military officers embedded into G4S security. My role was to provide IT technical support, secure communication services and data management. During down-time, as well as making the most of what London had to offer, I was able to get VIP tickets to watch one of the athletics events at the Olympic stadium as well as to attend the opening of the Paralympics, memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Taking On A Senior Role

Upon return I took up a full-time position within 48 Signal Squadron, firstly as a recruiter then as Troop Sgt at 896 Troop in Coventry, responsible for administration of a Troop of 20 soldiers.

I completed my class one trade course, which teaches you how to manage communications assets, before completing my senior command leadership and management course, which teaches and tests you on the military skills required to be a senior non-commissioned officer.

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I moved over to Squadron Headquarters in Birmingham to take up my current role as Regimental Sub Unit Support Officer, where I am responsible for recruitment into the Squadron. This is a varied and rewarding role, which incorporates organising and attending recruitment events, administration and processing of new recruits, and providing nurturing and developmental training for new recruits prior to them attending a phase one training course.

Since becoming a Sgt, career highlights have included being IC (in-charge) of the firing party at the Birmingham Remembrance Parade, completing Lanyard Trophy, a gruelling 40-mile endurance march across undulating terrain with a minimum of 40lbs, and taking part in Exercise Dragon Phoenix, a two-week expedition trekking 4 ultra-peaks in Arizona and culminating with two days trekking in the Grand Canyon.

 

Thinking Of Joining?

For me, joining the Army Reserve is the best thing I have done. Although I intended to join the Regular Army, the Army Reserve has allowed me to do all the things I would have liked to have done in a Regular Army Career.

It has allowed me to travel to different places around the world, and have some pretty unique and amazing experiences as well as making friends for life. Not only that, the Army Reserve has developed me as a person, taking me from a shy and quiet new recruit to the confident person that I am now.

All in all, if the Army Reserve is something you are considering, then I would highly recommend it, and make the most of all the opportunities on offer.

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48 Signal Squadron Contact

Telephone: 0121 772 7869 / 0121 753 2597

Email: 37SIG-48-RSUSO@MOD.UK

Golden Hillock Rd
Birmingham
West Midlands
B11 2QG