Former barber takes first step on the promotional ladder

A former barber who only joined the Army two years ago has been presented with a Best Soldier Award during a parade to mark the end of her promotion course.

Trooper Sally Faulkner and fellow soldiers from 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards and Royal Yeomanry have successfully completed the demanding Army Leadership Development Programme (ALDP), previously referred to as a Potential Non-Commissioned Officers (JNCO) Course.

“Over the course of the ten-days we all looked out for each other. It wasn’t easy, it was quite demanding. We were learning so much and then putting it into practice straight away, but by supporting one another and taking time to help each other we were a stronger team.” Trooper Faulkner

The course is designed to give junior soldiers the skills and experience to promote from Trooper to Lance Corporal. It saw them overcome simulated enemy attacks and defeat the enemy to earn their first promotion to Lance Corporal.

Over the next weeks and months all the soldiers will receive their first stripe as they are promoted to Lance Corporal.

Trooper Faulkner said: “Over the course of the ten-days we all looked out for each other. It wasn’t easy, it was quite demanding. We were learning so much and then putting it into practice straight away, but by supporting one another and taking time to help each other we were a stronger team.”

“Leading soldiers will be challenging but completing and passing the course has confirmed to me that I can do it. I just needed to have faith in my own abilities.”

Also joining Trooper Faulkner on the first step of the promotional ladder was Trooper Leuan Joy who is a reservist with A Squadron, the Royal Yeomanry.

He said: “It was a good experience and taught us a lot including if you can nail the basics you can’t really go wrong.

“I think a good leader has empathy and can relate to his fellow soldiers and what they need. Soldiering is people focused so being able to put yourself in their place is vital.”

The ten-day course started with a mix of theoretical lessons about command, leadership and management. The troops then moved to Stanford Training Area in Norfolk to complete a range of packages including casualty extraction and navigation skills.

The final exercise saw the soldiers demonstrate what they had learnt and proved they were ready

“I’m really proud of the soldiers’ performance. They all worked hard, remained focussed and successfully completed the course. They return to their Squadrons with new skills and the confidence to lead others in high tempo environments and future operations.” Lieutenant Ed Dillon, Course officer

Course officer Lieutenant Ed Dillon said: “I’m really proud of the soldiers’ performance. They all worked hard, remained focussed and successfully completed the course. They return to their Squadrons with new skills and the confidence to lead others in high tempo environments and future operations.”

Troops from 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards are currently deployed on Operation Newcombe in Mali. The men and women make up the Long-Range Reconnaissance Group deployed in support of the UN Peacekeeping Operation known as MINUSMA (Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali).

The peacekeeping role sees them deploy out on patrols in Jackal and Coyote vehicles to engage with the civilian population. The situational awareness and intelligence they gain will help the United Nations make informed decisions and protect the people of Mali.