Lead First Year

Hello chaps,

I am just on the cusp of finishing a rewarding 18 months away from the UK after leaving the Royal Navy (rating, not officer), and I am looking at joining the AR as an Officer in The Rifles through the 'Lead First' scheme. Information seems fairly spartan on the British Army website so I have come here to scour the forum which unfortunately has not satiated my quest for information. My queries are as follows:

In the Lead First program, are you embedded with a regular unit or will I be doing FTRS within a reserve unit?

I understand (and have met some inspiring types) that reserve infantry soldiers did many combat tours with regular units in Afghan and Iraq, however I have not heard of any examples of Officers doing combat tours as platoon commanders on the ground, I hope that is just for lack of information? This is a big factor for me, as the appeal of an Infantry soldier is in combat so I would be more inclined not to go through a commissioning route and rather join as a private soldier if this is correct.

The process for being selected for your unit, is this done whilst at Sandhurst? I have my heart set on the Infantry so I would be quite disappointed to be rejected and have to join a non combat arm.

Finally, If I will be embedded in a regular unit, does anyone have experience with this? I assume as a subaltern reservist I would be seen as even lower than dog mess and my year would be spent doing coffee runs for the other Officers and bone paperwork. Will there be a chance to act as a platoon commander/ 2ic on exercise etc or will this be given to the regular subalterns?
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope I have followed the guidelines suitably.
 
Good luck.
Also, if they only offer you a non-combat unit, take it, get qualified then transfer later.
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
I won’t comment on Lead First as I have no knowledge of it.

Reserve platoon commanders have led platoons on operations. Initially, Reserve Platoon Commander courses were deemed acceptable. As operations intensified and scrutiny increased, you needed to have done regular PCD to be allowed to command troops on the ground. You would need to check if that is still the case.

How you are viewed and treated is entirely down to you. Your age and previous experience will make you stand out anyway. As long as you are competent, life is fine.

As a Reserve (then TA) Officer on FTRS I commanded a platoon on operations twice. The second time was in preference to a few regular but less experienced 2Lts.
 
Finally, If I will be embedded in a regular unit, does anyone have experience with this? I assume as a subaltern reservist I would be seen as even lower than dog mess and my year would be spent doing coffee runs for the other Officers and bone paperwork. Will there be a chance to act as a platoon commander/ 2ic on exercise etc or will this be given to the regular subalterns?
I can't speak from personal experience but one of my troop leaders spent a year embedded with our regular paired regiment and I don't think he made much coffee. He did, however, get stuck in with the same tasks as his regular counterparts, and gained some very valuable experience.

I'd echo @The_Duke's comment that it is what you make of it, but you don't sound as if you'll have any problem making a decent impression. Good luck, and let us know how you get on.
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
Oh, top tip. Make sure your unit sends an absolute muppet before you go. It will make the early days difficult as you have to face the natural resistance that he has left in his wake.

After that, just being competent makes you look hugely impressive compared to your predecessor!
 
Thanks for the helpful comments, you have answered the more burning questions I had so I am grateful. I will try and post back here with any info as I progress.
 

New Posts

Latest Threads

Top