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Peacekeeping in Bosnia and Bobsleighing for Team GB: Alicia’s story

With International Women’s Day celebrated tomorrow (8 March), the first female Royal Corps of Signals Corps Sergeant Major reflects on her Army experience.

Warrant Officer Class One (WO1) Alicia Jarman, 38, will take on the senior role in her Corps this May.

Alicia is currently the Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) at 11th (Royal School of Signals) Signal Regiment, based at Blandford Camp in Dorset.

She comes from Manchester where she attended Stretford High School and South Trafford College. She also has a son, Teddy, 6.

Alicia says:

“I always wanted to be a soldier from a very young age.

“When I went on an Army visit with my college’s Uniformed Services class, this gave me an insight into Army life and the opportunities it offers.

“My older sister, Hayley, is also a serving member of the Army, a captain in the Education and Training Service (ETS). She originally joined the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) as a soldier just three weeks after I joined the Army.”

As the RSM for 11th (Royal School of Signals) Signal Regiment, Alicia advises the commanding officer and provides a bridge between senior officers and soldiers.

She provides soldiers with support on training, leadership, welfare, and discipline issues and takes up their concerns with the Regiment’s senior leadership team.

I have been surprised by the strong sense of camaraderie and lifelong bonds that I have formed among my peers and other soldiers and officers. We share our experiences, challenges, and sacrifices which creates a unique brotherhood and sisterhood. Warrant Officer Class One (WO1) Alicia Jarman

Alicia has deployed on many overseas operations, including Operation Oculus in Bosnia in 2006, Operation Herrick in Afghanistan in 2013 and Operation Toral in Afghanistan in 2018.

She says:

“I was deployed in Herford, Germany as a young Signaller where I have some of my fondest memories. This was where I first felt I belonged and was part of something unique.

“We were a close-knit community because that was what we called home.

“I have been surprised by the strong sense of camaraderie and lifelong bonds that I have formed among my peers and other soldiers and officers.

“We share our experiences, challenges, and sacrifices which creates a unique brotherhood and sisterhood.”

Alicia has pursued many hobbies during her Army career, including boxing, cross country running, kayaking, bobsleigh and Hyrox which she has incorporated into her life as a soldier.

She says:

“The Army encourages all service personnel to take up some sort of sport and there are plenty of opportunities that come with this.

“I was part of the Great Britain Bobsleigh team in 2007, and travelled to Norway, Austria, Germany, France and Italy. But I would never have got this chance if I hadn’t joined the Army.

“I enjoy Hyrox now, an event built on functional based fitness, which the Army base their physical employment standards on.

“This means I get to train in work time, doing physical training sessions, and get paid at the same time.

“I have been to Peru on adventure training, where a group of us toured the Inca Trail, and learned from the local population of Machu Picchu about their culture.”

Alicia says:

“The Army has helped me develop many skills, such as leadership, teamwork, adaptability, physical fitness, and resilience, that are highly transferable to many civilian careers.

“For me, the Army has instilled discipline, structure, and a strong work ethic.

“This has given me increased self-discipline, helped my time management skills, and enabled me to handle stressful situations.”

Alicia’s biggest challenge of her Army career occurred when she severely injured her wrist, while competing with the GB Bobsleigh team in 2007, suffering a distal radius fracture.

She says:

“This was a huge setback not only to my bobsleigh career, but to my military career. I couldn’t carry out many of my duties.

“I was fitted with an external fixator and signed off for six months to conduct intensive physiotherapy.

“But the Army helped me bounce back and, with the right rehabilitation, I was back to business as usual and continued my soldier career even more motivated.

“I would like to continue my career in the command sergeant major space so I can give back to soldiers, listen to their experiences and make sure their voice is heard by senior leaders.

“One day I would like to be selected for sub-unit command and appointed as the Officer in Command of a squadron.”

Alicia’s message on International Women’s Day is:

“I would say that anything is possible if you believe in yourself.”

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