It was one of the proudest days of their lives for the 103 Officer Cadets as they marched onto the famous parade square that stretches out in front of the magnificence that is the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst’s Old College.
This was the commissioning parade for the cadets who had successfully completed Commissioning Course Short No.222 meaning that as they ascended the steps, during the parade’s finale, and through the great doors of Old College, they could at last put aside the eight weeks of intense training, physical endurance and mental resilience required and finally and proudly consider themselves trained Army officers.
"Every lesson and drill was listened to intensely – it was a stark reminder of why we use our best officers and NCOs to train our new recruits, nowhere is that more true than here at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.” JAMES HEAPPEY MP
Among the 103 on parade was His Highness, Theyazin Haitham Tariq Al-Said the Crown Prince of Oman and there to personally see his son, and to inspect his turnout on parade, was his father, His Majesty Haitham bin Tariq Al Said Sultan of Oman along with his wife, Sayyida Ahad bint Abdullah bin Hammad Al Busaidyah.
On arriving for the parade His Majesty was escorted from his Rolls Royce up the King’s Walk to the dais by the Academy’s Commandant Major General Duncan Capps to receive the royal salute before taking his seat to await the inspecting officer.
It was the Armed Forces Minister, James Heappey MP who performed the duty of the inspecting officer. For him he knew precisely the feelings and emotions coursing through those cadets stood to attention in front of him; having served 10 years as an infantry officer he would have graduated in similar style on that hallowed tarmac.
When it came to the actual inspection of the cadets, the duty was shared between the Minister and the Sultan of Oman which allowed for His Majesty to inspect his son the Crown Prince. There were radiant smiles between father and son when they came face to face as His Majesty made his way along the front rank.
The Commissioning Course Short is a condensed version of the full regular commissioning course designed for those who will serve as officers in the Army Reserve. It is an intense eight-week course split into four modules designed to teach the fundamentals of soldiering and develop Officer Cadets as leaders – living up to the Academy’s motto ‘Serve to Lead’.
“I feel honoured to have been part of the Academy and graduated from here. I think I have managed to explore my inner strengths and weaknesses and I am greater for the experiences that have put me in this position – to have come out of my comfort zone and learn new things. I have noticed that this course has had a positive impact on myself.” HIS HIGHNESS THEYAZIN HAITHAM TARIQ AL-SAID
Underpinning the Academy’s’ world-wide reputation as a global centre of excellence of leadership training, the Crown Prince of Oman was one of nine international cadets, that included: Bahrainis and Kosovans among others.
The Inspecting Officer, James Heappey MP made an impassioned speech in which he recalled visiting the training of Ukrainian troops by the British Army on Salisbury Plain saying, “I stood as hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers were learning how to dig a trench in 40º heat. I then watched with some emotion and a great deal of pride as they all shouted ‘Slava Ukraine’ with a ferocity and volume that was meant to be heard in Moscow. Every lesson and drill was listened to intensely – it was a stark reminder of why we use our best officers and Non-Commissioned Officers to train our new recruits, nowhere is that more true than here at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.”
The Commissioning Parade concluded in the time-honoured fashion with the Cadets slow marching up the steps through the portico and into Old College to the tune of Auld Lang Syne; performed this time by the Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas. The last to do so being the Parade Commander Captain Emma Humphreys mounted on Sovereign’s Shadow who she carefully guided up the steps and through the famous doors to conclude the parade.
Speaking afterwards His Highness Theyazin Haitham Tariq Al-Said spoke of his time at Sandhurst saying, “I feel honoured to have been part of the Academy and graduated from here. I think I have managed to explore my inner strengths and weaknesses and I am greater for the experiences that have put me in this position – to have come out of my comfort zone and learn new things. I have noticed that this course has had a positive impact on myself.”