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Fifth generation soldier loving Army life

An Air Corps soldier who became the fifth generation of his family to serve is loving life in the Army.

It was Airtrooper Jack Catney’s mum who was responsible for him joining in 2019. But, given his family history, he says he was probably always going to sign up.

Originally from Farnham, Surrey, the former Heath End School pupil, explained: “I took about a year off after school, then my mum told me she’d got me an interview and took me to the careers centre.

My mum was in Kosovo and got a medal..." Airtrooper Jack Catney, 1 Regiment Army Air Corps

“On her side of the family I’m the fifth generation to have served and my dad did as well. My mum was in Kosovo and got a medal for that.”

The 20-year-old’s role with Yeovilton-based 1 Regiment Army Air Corps (1 Regt AAC) involves issuing kit and enrolling onto and running the Signals element of brigade level exercises.

Known as Cat, he recently deployed on Europe’s largest military exercise of 2023, Exercise Spring Storm in Estonia, which saw 14,000 land, sea, and air personnel from 11 NATO countries testing their fighting and collaborative capabilities

It was his second overseas training deployment, after Exercise Cerberus in Sennelager last year - the Army's largest and most ambitious Field Army exercise in Europe for a decade - which tested the five different Brigade Headquarters within the Warfighting Division to validate them and ensure they are ready to play their part in any warfighting operations.

Despite being involved in such high-profile exercises, he said being in the Army allows for a lot more freedom and enjoyment than he’d anticipated, with plenty of opportunities to pursue sporting interests.

I’ve been surprised by how fun it is."

Cat, who eventually wants to become a Physical Training Instructor, said: “I’ve been surprised by how fun it is. I was expecting it to be a lot stricter, but you can really enjoy it and you make really good friends.”

“In Phase One training, I went through Harrogate and competed in the boxing event there and will be taking part in the Army Air Corps boxing tournament in November. I’m also on the regiment’s football team.

“There’s also lots of opportunities to sign up for different courses and go on adventure training in different countries.”

The whole experience has developed him personally too. He added: “I’ve learned to be more patient, and it’s matured me a lot. It's also made me appreciate life more. It really opens your eyes.”

It’s made me appreciate life more."

The British Army is recruiting right now to fill 10,000 jobs across the UK with more than 200 roles to choose from, covering everything from frontline combat and cyber security to helicopter pilots, chefs and support roles. If you’re aged 16 to 50, and if you want to find out more about a career in the Army, click here.

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