first tour advice (TA).


This is my first post here. I wondered if anyone could give me some general advice. I've put my name down for Herrick 18 as a TA soldier and I'm lead to believe that I'll be deploying with the QRL from Catterick.

I have a couple of questions if anyone would like to help:

1. As I'm TA with not much experience in the FR role as I've not been in that long, what sort of job am I likely do within the unit when I arrive?

2. Are there any courses I should ask for between now and Oct that would make me more useful to the unit I will join?

3. I know the QRL are FR, but if someone wouldn't mind giving a brief insight into what soldiers do in this role (actually in theatre on ops), it would really help. (TA FR is really just about maintaining the vehicles and building the odd hide on ex when we get the chance).

Any other advice/info that people feel is relevant would be really appreciated. I've never come across the QRL in my short career, so if anyone has and wants to offer opinion that would be good too.

thanks in advance
Firstly the role. This is a bit of a moving feast because what an FR Regt (now called a BRR by the way) does in theory compared with what it does in Afghanistan can be slightly different. Without having seen what the QRL (or indeed anyone else) are slated to be doing on H18 it is hard to say exactly what sort of things you are likely to get involved with. However in general terms, one Sqn will provided the core of the BRF (Brigade Recce Force), which is the Brigade Commander's personal recce (and at times strike) force, which has the ability to operate right across the brigade area of operations. The BRF operate largely from JACKAL and COYOTE and on foot. While it is possible that you might be employed in the BRF, it is less likely. Another Sqn will probably be employed in the more traditional tracked FR manner, using CVR(T). Depending on how kinetic H18 is, will depend on how this Sqn is used and particularly whether it is used in the light armour (i.e. fighting rather than watching) role. The regiment may deploy another Sqn(s) too, in a variety of other guises. This may be in the largely dismounted ground holding role, similar to how an Infantry Company might be employed in Afghanistan or providing the protected mobility capability (think WARTHOG group or something similar) or running the RSOI package (the training package for personnel arriving into theatre).

As to what you personally will be doing: you will of course be placed wherever they need you and you will have little or any choice in that. This means that you could potentially be a rifleman, a driver (provided you have the right licenses), a gunner (provided you are qualified) or anything else in between.

In terms of courses prior to arriving, the most useful would almost certainly be the C+E driving license, if you don't already have this. I assume that you are a "trained soldier" in one of the Yeomanry Regiments equipped with CVR(T), meaning that you will already have completed either your B3 CVR(T) Gunner or B3 CVR(T) Driver course meaning (in theory) you can be employed in one of these roles; although to be a CVR(T) gunner in theatre you would have had to complete and pass an annual crew test within (I believe) 6 months of deployment and a SCIMITAR weapon handling test within about 6 weeks (again if memory serves) and of course conduct the M-SPIRE conversion course and shoots in order to get you current and competent on the theatre entry specification equipment.

So in summary, you could end up doing one of any number of different jobs depending on where you are needed. A C+E class drivers license would probably be the most useful additional thing you could arrive with (assuming that you are already a B3 CVR(T) driver) as this would widen your employability and may enable you to be trained as a JACKAL driver, should you be needed to fill this role. I have worked with QRL (in the fairly recent past) and thought then that they were pretty good and there is certainly a good deal of experience within the regiment (like most others nowadays), so you shouldn't have any problems there, just listen to what you are told and work hard.

Good luck.

Thanks very much mate for taking the time to write this detailed response. It's answered allot of questions that people in my unit couldn't answer or didn't know.

I am indeed a trained crewman, so will now be looking to get my c+e licence over at leconfield. I've also been looking at getting a HMG course so I could work on jackal. Bit of a pipe dream considering I'm TA, but would love the chance to work on BRF.

Thanks again mate, invaluable info for a TA bloke

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