For Lance Corporal Nekaa George, joining the British Army was a childhood dream come true, having been inspired by his uncle’s history lessons and military service at home in Saint Ann, Trinidad and Tobago.
During Black History Month, Nekaa shares some of the highlights of his army career. He says, “Life can go by in a flash, but army life is a flash worth living.”
Life can go by in a flash, but army life is a flash worth living" Lance Corporal Nekaa George,
35 Engineer Regiment EOD&S
After serving two years with the Trinidad and Tobago Police, Nekaa, enlisted in the British Army in 2020 and is currently a Searcher with Wimbish-based 35 Engineer Regiment EOD&S (Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Search).
Nekaa, aged 23, was inspired by his uncle Jim Ryan, who served in the now-disbanded Queen’s Royal Regiment.
“He helped me to understand how much shared history the West Indies had with the UK, especially during WWII,” said Nekaa. “He explained the pride that came with fighting for, and being a part of, something much greater than yourself.”
Being the eldest of seven siblings, Nekaa has had to be both a leader and a provider for his family. “The army not only allows me to financially support them, but it also gives me the knowledge and experiences to be a better leader to them,” he said.
Day-to-day, Nekaa’s role includes maintaining equipment, teaching basic search techniques and tactics to newer or untrained personnel, fixing and maintaining trade specific vehicles and making sure his personal kit, equipment and tactics are up to scratch.
It has given me the opportunity to meet and form bonds with amazing people that I may have never met in a civilian job" Lance Corporal Nekaa George,
35 Engineer Regiment EOD&S
As well as learning organisational skills, leadership, field craft, medical first aid and military engineering, Nekaa says serving has also taught him discipline and relentlessness. “It has given me the opportunity to meet and form bonds with amazing people that I may have never met in a civilian job,” he said.
Looking back at Basic Training, Nekaa found it the biggest challenge of his career to date. “It is nothing to laugh about - that period of transition from civilian to soldier,” he said.
“You are away from home, you are overwhelmed with information, you can be cold and wet, tired and uneasy at times, but in the end you would have done what many people never would attempt, and what others would have failed in the process of attempting.”
In 2021, Nekaa deployed to Mali on Op Newcombe as a Combat Engineer. The main tasks were to extend an airfield and to add or increase fortifications around the camp.
“On this tour there was a lot of concreting, fencing, carpentry, electrical work and hiding in the shade for a quick drink of French coca cola,” said Nekaa.
“What I will forever remember during this time, though, is the laughs and genuine friendships that I formed over a short space of time."
“I learned many card games and enough French to get by if I ever needed it. However, the only sentence I will carry to my death bed is the one I asked everyday – De quel type de viande s'agit-il? or, What type of meat is this?”
In all honesty the possibilities are endless, I have the opportunity to go on Adventurous Training all over the world, or even do development courses to make myself more deployable and marketable, it’s all quite exciting" LANCE CORPORAL NEKAA GEORGE,
35 ENGINEER REGIMENT EOD&S
Being given time off to travel back to his home country is very much appreciated, and having the opportunity to travel overseas on exercise or for Adventurous Training has been rewarding for Nekaa. He’s visited Gibraltar, Germany, Holland, Belgium and Malta.
As early as his first week in his unit, Nekaa was able to join the regimental football team. “I was supported by my chain of command to further my knowledge of football by attending the Army Football Association Referees course at my earliest convenience,” said Nekaa, whose hobbies include mountain trekking and running – all activities he’s been able to develop as a result of his army career.
Looking ahead, in the short term Nekaa is going to undertake the All Arms Physical Training Instructor (AAPTI) course, and will possibly be deploying to Poland.
“In all honesty the possibilities are endless, I have the opportunity to go on Adventurous Training all over the world, or even do development courses to make myself more deployable and marketable, it’s all quite exciting.”
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.