Potential female joining infantry

Northerngal

Clanker
Only you can determine the best body weight for you. the only way to get used to carrying weight is to get out there and carry weight. Get yourself a decent bergan and boots and get out the hills. It may be worth taking up the Duke of Edinburgh scheme. If you can make map reading, navigation and ground appreciation second nature it will stand you in good stead.
I did bronze DOFE and loved it. It was pouring down and my team had to cross fields of protective cows with their calves, walk around in circles for km lost, get chased by a farmer’s guard dog, roll down steep hills to get to the road. It was hilarious but also taught me so many life skills. I would have done it for silver DofE but I was kind of bullied in the later years of secondary school and none of the friends I had were interested. I’ve taken the initiative to be a lot more outgoing and already made lots of friends online that are going to the same college so hopefully will be able to get a good group if i do gold. I think DofE also teaches you teamwork and how to encourage and motivate others. Is it similar in some aspects to rucking in the military?Of course, no where near as physically and mentally demanding but if some aspects are similar it is good i had an initial experience.
 

Northerngal

Clanker
Please keep us informed. Given what you've just told us, the infantry is not the place for you. It's very much a team game and you don't want to stand out in the way that you've told us. Intelligence is a good fit, but only you know what you can and cannot do.

38 kg, huh? I probably could have stuffed you in my bergen back in the day.
i definitely will. if some other young women see this in even a few years i’m glad they will have all the information that I needed back then and i’ll share my story for them and out of respect to all of you for your investment and help. Would I still stand out if I have overcome that and am no longer suffering medically? out of concern I got a bone density scan and thankfully it’s all normal. I would stand out both as a female and asian so I imagine would have to get used to being a tiny minority in that way. At the moment I certainly am leaving all avenues open so I appreciate you recommending intelligence and i’ll look into all the roles in that arm.
 

Northerngal

Clanker
I've been out of the Army since 2003, but served 30 years, and was infantry (commissioned officer since age 19 in 1974).

Be careful about your assumptions of what deployed life is like. Somebody a long time ago wrote that soldiering mostly comprises long periods of utter boredom, punctuated by moments of abject terror (or words very similar).

It isn't a life for everybody, and in barracks it was an exceptional battalion that managed to beat the mundane into submission in favour of exciting innovative training. I doubt that has changed much, and I dunno how often these days you might expect an operational tour. Iraq and Afghanistan seem to have quenched the enthusiasm for expeditionary ops that erupted when the Soviet Union collapsed.

Good on you though

Just be careful what you wish for.
I appreciate your input as someone who has been in such a position. Some of the most horrific and emotional poetry has come out of times of war and I think war brings out the best (heroic acts such as those undertaken by Desmond Doss), and the worst (some of the war crimes undertaken in Vietnam) in people. I appreciate the horror of military (and infantry close combat) life and am trying to work out at the moment if I have that mental courage and spirit to pursue my aspiration. I think only time will tell but in the meantime I will try to build myself mentally and physically as best as I can. If not for the infantry, for myself as a person.
Thank you for the support.
 

Northerngal

Clanker
I am a Cold War Warrior, there are people on here that are far more up to date on standards and training than I am. But if you will take a bit of gentle advice from a teacher who has worked with all ages since I stopped carrying a rifle 33 years ago then there is one thing that stands out in all your posts. Your obsession with targets and numbers and weights. Possibly this comes from talking to your uncles who are weight lifters, which is fine for them but not an army orientated fitness regime.
You were down to 38 kilos at one point which tells me you were obsessing about hitting targets and not about general health and fitness. (I'm your height and after my first marathon I weighed myself at 56 kilos, -then I had breakfast- but that's a full 18 kilo difference between you and me.)

You have an end goal, - getting into the Army, which you won't if you preoccupy yourself with numbers and details and ignore the most important details of being fit AND healthy. Obsession is bad for mental health.
The Army doesn't care if you lift a kilo more or less and neither should you. Concentrate on army orientated training, running, walking like @dingerr suggested, with weights as an adjunct. Carry on boxing by all means.
But above all stop obsessing about it all and how many kilos this or that. Like your last question about how many kilos could you stick on a 5' 5" frame which actually can't be answered precisely with an exact number which is what you appear to want. The modern Infantryman's basic load is 35 kilos, plus what you put in your bergen which is partly up to you. Some carry more some less and it's often a case of mind over matter.* Look at photos of the lads in the Falklands, massive bergens, they were all carrying around 60kg and height didn't matter.
I carried the heaviest bergen in the Platoon because if the shortarse boss can do it they had to keep up, it's more mental effort than physical.
When it's cold, pissing down, you haven't eaten for a while, the Rambos fold, the racing snakes keep on going.

Remember you have to pass the BFT (or modern equivalent,) CFT, and get yourself over assault courses not win weight-lifting competitions. Design your training round that, enjoy your training and go in the right direction. Results, not numbers.

Good luck and relax more about it, you aren't in a hurry or you shouldn't be, you'll get there.

* When the Sergeant loads you up with even more stuff to carry, he doesn't mind and your opinion doesn't matter.
Ah thank you for your response. I have just learned about the Cold War at school and it is crazy to think I am talking to a man on here who experienced all of that. Certainly troubling times that meant ordinary citizens were living in anxiety worried something would start off. Respect to you as a teacher too, I imagine you have motivated and impacted the lives of so many young kids.

Yes I certainly think they have put that feeling into me to think about all of that. Along with me doing boxing as a sport since we periodically weigh ourselves and focus on best weights to fight at ect..I think as a teen I shouldn’t be too preoccupied about it since I am healthy and am trying not to focus on stuff like that. It is just hard because I never want to go back down that spiral where I lost all that weight so I weigh myself once a week to make sure it hasn’t gone down or anything like that. But I fully agree, like I think it is bad to count calories that sort of thing - just eat good homecooked food like they did in what some people call ‘the good old days’ - the sort of stuff your grandma would cook.

I will definitely do that from now on - focus on my running, more practical stuff like hiking and functional strength. I must admit I am worried at my current weight I will struggle to carry the required kit and would never want to be given leeway (and I expect won’t be!) so I need to get mentally ready to deal with that. Hopefully the next few years I will be able to prepare and thank you I think I am just worried about being ready in time but there certainly is no rush.

Do you think because of my age it would be dangerous to hike with weight? so I can get used to carrying a bit... or should I just focus on getting uphills with my own body weight.
 

Northerngal

Clanker
I'm not a doctor, a nutritionist or a physio, so I'm the wrong person to ask. As a layman, all I can say is that 25kg for 8 miles in 2 hrs is a very different prospect to a 6' tall, 90kg person than it is to someone 40kg lighter. You can be as fit as you like, but a smaller person will find it harder to move with the same weight as a larger person. It's just physics.

I also note that a female recently passed P Coy, and she wasn't exactly a monster. She was, however, ridiculously fit and determined.

I suppose the only way to find out is to try it and see what happens. As others have said, University and UOTC?
I agree fully that weighing more will help in terms of carrying a load. I think I won’t focus too much on it in specific numbers but will try to build up my strength and my weight over time. I have quite a few years so hopefully enough time to prepare.

oh is that the woman called Phillipa? Or perhaps that was royal marines. Never the less I have heard of a few women trying these courses. One of them was 5’4! This gives me some hope at least. I will have to research these women to try and find out their success and background.
 

Northerngal

Clanker
News to me.

44kg, from memory, basic combat load in your webbing with weapon (circa 1991), then the body armour (INIBA - ergonomic NOT and certainly in excess of 10kg) then the Bergan. With batteries for comms, night sights and EW countermeasures, spare ammo (it was S Armagh, after all) water and rations (for 2 to 3 days).

That was before you got to loading the bivvi kit and dossbag. Then, if you could be arrsed, you might pack a few personal preferences (I dunno - a jetboil mebbe).

I felt like a combat donkey, or a tooled up snail, moving very slowly, with my house on my back.

Plenty evidence on these boards that every time you lighten an item of the infantryman's combat load, somebody finds a new bit of kit the grunt can't do without beyond the perimeter wire of his op base .
Ah that’s a lot of weight for anyone to carry. Can I ask you honestly do you think all that kit you have to carry currently is required? Do you feel like you need it all and are grateful to have it in times of emergency perhaps or is some of it unnecessary? I can’t imagine much of it not being useful since a lighter load will mean faster, less injured soldiers but nevertheless it is something i’d have to build up to and get used to.
 

Northerngal

Clanker
Can I also ask something I haven’t mentioned fully so far? But i imagine some of you guys have had experiences with. As i’ve mentioned before no one in my family has military experience except for a great grandfather who fought for the British Raj. My parents are really supportive of whatever I am interested in although of course are worried about me getting injured and having bad experiences. What is the best way to comfort them and try to explain to them my ambition? Or do you think they will always be worried... i mean I certainly would be of my daughter. But I told them I posted on here and they were shocked about the support and help you have all given me. Too many people these days have bad preconceived ideas of the military being full of sexist, racist ‘chavs’ (especially young people), whereas I always think a profession doesn’t make a person. My parents thankfully don’t adhere to that view of soldiers as bad people but are still anxious of the unknown I think.

Like i’m just trying to think do you honestly reckon the boys will accept me as one of their own if I do join a combat battallion - or will I always be an outcast due to my gender. This is of course if I pass all the tests! But if I did amazingly get in It would be such a shame if I struggled socially since I’m now quite an outgoing person and would hate to be distanced from others.
 

Brotherton Lad

LE
Kit Reviewer
Can I also ask something I haven’t mentioned fully so far? But i imagine some of you guys have had experiences with. As i’ve mentioned before no one in my family has military experience except for a great grandfather who fought for the British Raj. My parents are really supportive of whatever I am interested in although of course are worried about me getting injured and having bad experiences. What is the best way to comfort them and try to explain to them my ambition? Or do you think they will always be worried... i mean I certainly would be of my daughter. But I told them I posted on here and they were shocked about the support and help you have all given me. Too many people these days have bad preconceived ideas of the military being full of sexist, racist ‘chavs’ (especially young people), whereas I always think a profession doesn’t make a person. My parents thankfully don’t adhere to that view of soldiers as bad people but are still anxious of the unknown I think.

Like i’m just trying to think do you honestly reckon the boys will accept me as one of their own if I do join a combat battallion - or will I always be an outcast due to my gender. This is of course if I pass all the tests! But if I did amazingly get in It would be such a shame if I struggled socially since I’m now quite an outgoing person and would hate to be distanced from others.
See if you can get to one of these talks, once the country opens up a bit more:


I was chatting to them the other week in a car park- one female Rastafarian, one bearded Muslim, a white, male educator, another West Indian woman - all in uniform, all in the same Army. Women are already passing out of their Phase 2 training and serving in the Infantry, both as soldiers and commissioned officers.
 

Dwarf

LE
Ah that’s a lot of weight for anyone to carry. Can I ask you honestly do you think all that kit you have to carry currently is required? Do you feel like you need it all and are grateful to have it in times of emergency perhaps or is some of it unnecessary? I can’t imagine much of it not being useful since a lighter load will mean faster, less injured soldiers but nevertheless it is something i’d have to build up to and get used to.
The perennial problem of the infantryman is the load he has to carry and always will be until we get a Starship Trooper style combat suit. Read this and look at the Marian reforms - Wikipedia - subsequent modifications, not forgetting that the average Roman was shorter than today. (1)

It's why a lot of us have duff knees and knackered backs. I'm off running now through back injury and trying to lose my lockdown gut by other sports.
Build up over time, when you walk you needn't carry huge weights, the Army will work you up to fighting weights.
What you should do starting now is do lots, and I mean that, of stretching. I took up yoga and it made the world of difference to my sports abilities, lately I haven't been able to do much and this is why my back has gone.
Structural flexibility and strength is vital, so pay lots of attention to that and not only will you save yourself problems later on you will cope much better.
I suggest you take up yoga for a while to learn how to stretch as it will be valuable for life.

(1) Marian reforms - Wikipedia

Imperial regulations, though not entirely unambiguous, suggest that the minimum height for new recruits was five Roman feet, seven inches (165 cm., 5'5") ... for the army as a whole a reasonable estimate of a soldier's average height is around 170 cm (5'7").

- Roth, Jonathan, and Jonathan P. Roth. The Logistics of the Roman Army at War: 264 BC-AD 235. Columbia studies in the classical tradition, Vol. 23. Brill, 1999.
 
Or do you think they will always be worried... i mean I certainly would be of my daughter.
Lassie, until their dying breath they'll always worry about you. SWMBO still worries about our "boys," either side of their mid forties, and they're not even in the forces! It's nice to hear they're supportive of you, that's good.
 

Shandy123

War Hero
I wish you the very best in whatever you choose to do.

Having read your posts, your command of grammar and English is better than many on here, and certainly better than the majority of 16 year olds I know.

I wouldn't waste that, and would consider all areas within the Army.
Cheeky twat!
What a prejudiced statement! So it doesn't require intelligence to be good any Infantry work?
Don't listen to him, if you're robust enough to do the job, your intelligence will be a real asset.
Having said that, he is right about there being some other good areas to look at, that provide interesting day to day work. If there'd been sick a thing as the Internet when I first walked into s recruiting office, I'd have been pushing for Ammo Tech. If I could have my time again, deffo Ammo tech. He117 on here wrote a really good career profile about it a while back.
 
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Brotherton Lad

LE
Kit Reviewer
Lassie, until their dying breath they'll always worry about you. SWMBO still worries about our "boys," either side of their mid forties, and they're not even in the forces! It's nice to hear they're supportive of you, that's good.
Just had a chat with my mother. She is worried about my siblings. One is 60 years old and the other is 59.
 

Bob65

War Hero
Can I ask you honestly do you think all that kit you have to carry currently is required? Do you feel like you need it all and are grateful to have it in times of emergency perhaps or is some of it unnecessary?
An aside, but a subplot of the movie Black Hawk Down is that they all left behind their extra water, night vision, etc because they thought they wouldn't need it on this job. That was the biggest takeaway for me from that movie. Based on a true story, as they say.

The Army won't expect you to carry anything that you are unlikely to need. See also British Army "reviewing" whether to lose some more firepower. (underlining mine)


Project Payne
The aim is achieving a reduction in carried load to as low as 25 kg in marching order (interim target is 40 Kg, apparently) and 20 kg in assault order.
Compare those values with an average for “patrol order” in Afghanistan, and you realize how difficult it is to go down in weight without simply cancelling key bits of equipment from the list. VIRTUS, of course, is working to make the body armour and load carriage equipment both lighter and more comfortable, but it is only one part of the story.
 
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Pteranadon

LE
Book Reviewer
thank you. I think that would definitely be a good option to experience the military and earn a bit of money as a student. I’ll do some more research into it and i’m sure college might be useful for contacts. Like i mentioned previously my old school was very anti-military and didn’t offer much but this new college is so diverse and more free-thinking in terms of careers.
Your posts you create the impression of being articulate, intelligent and mature. You owe it you yourself and the community to aspire to joining as an officer.
The Britain Army is disproportionately run by white men from public schools. One reason for this may be that not enough candidates from outside this background apply. Joining as an officer is a better long term deal. The pay, prospects and pensions are better. Britain could have its first female Asian CGS. It could be you. but certainly won't if you opt out at the start.
 
I did bronze DOFE and loved it. It was pouring down and my team had to cross fields of protective cows with their calves, walk around in circles for km lost, get chased by a farmer’s guard dog, roll down steep hills to get to the road. It was hilarious but also taught me so many life skills. I would have done it for silver DofE but I was kind of bullied in the later years of secondary school and none of the friends I had were interested. I’ve taken the initiative to be a lot more outgoing and already made lots of friends online that are going to the same college so hopefully will be able to get a good group if i do gold. I think DofE also teaches you teamwork and how to encourage and motivate others. Is it similar in some aspects to rucking in the military?Of course, no where near as physically and mentally demanding but if some aspects are similar it is good i had an initial experience.
Try not to think about the group you are teamed with. In the Army you rarely have that choice, you have to work within the teams strengths and weaknesses, even if you don’t like the people you are working with. The task has to be done. You’ve started DofE, enjoyed it, there’s no reason not to carry on. Get out there, get the job done, come back for tea and medals. The Army thrives on results, not excuses.

Stop worrying about what is and isn’t equivalent to this and that, it’s all experience and trying different things. DofE is an excellent introduction to adventure training that will stand you well should you continue such interests in the Army. The mountaineering quals you can gain in the Army are not to be sniffed at and should you pursue the interest you will be of great benefit to your Regiment.
 
Can I also ask something I haven’t mentioned fully so far? But i imagine some of you guys have had experiences with. As i’ve mentioned before no one in my family has military experience except for a great grandfather who fought for the British Raj. My parents are really supportive of whatever I am interested in although of course are worried about me getting injured and having bad experiences. What is the best way to comfort them and try to explain to them my ambition? Or do you think they will always be worried... i mean I certainly would be of my daughter. But I told them I posted on here and they were shocked about the support and help you have all given me. Too many people these days have bad preconceived ideas of the military being full of sexist, racist ‘chavs’ (especially young people), whereas I always think a profession doesn’t make a person. My parents thankfully don’t adhere to that view of soldiers as bad people but are still anxious of the unknown I think.

Like i’m just trying to think do you honestly reckon the boys will accept me as one of their own if I do join a combat battallion - or will I always be an outcast due to my gender. This is of course if I pass all the tests! But if I did amazingly get in It would be such a shame if I struggled socially since I’m now quite an outgoing person and would hate to be distanced from others.
Hopefully when you'll go through the trail will have been blazed and well established by female infantrymen (like female policemen), for example there was a female Gdsm on this years trooping of the colour. The next generation aren't anywhere near as set in their ways as mine and older, I feel that they will be far more accepting of female infanteers than those who went before. There are a few dinosaurs, but the culture of the forces in general has changed beyond recognition - when I joined the RMR as a 17 year old, gays couldn't join the forces, so even in the last 20 years leaps and bounds have been made for equality.

Most other cap-badges are quite female heavy, my own is around 33-40% female, and at one point 3 of the 5 COs and 2 full colonels were female, one of whom is now the first female Provost Marshal. If you choose the RAMC route, it is very female heavy, likewise if you go (my personal recommendation) to Sandhurst you'll be among many females. One of the girls who was in my wife's Pl at RMAS has just become a Inf Coy Comd having transferred so its happening faster than you think.

Fitness wise I echo @dingerr get out in the hills and start to enjoy your phys, these skills will also pay dividends when you arrive in training can accurately read a map, and hill walking is a different type of endurance than running so again, you'll be ahead of the curve.
I also very much subscribe to the 'triathlete, not bodybuilder' mentality. Too much has been made of the 'instagram operator' who are invariably American and are about 100kg+ of muscle. Whilst you can be that size, you will suffer and be in almost constant pain from one niggle or another - and the american way of doing business is very different to how we do things in the UK. As a female, a little weight is good, but bodyweight strength and musclular endurance is king. You'll silence any critic if you rock up to your unit and can bang out 10 or more good quality pull ups and can hump and dump moderate weight for long periods of time (stacking ammo boxes). As I said to my blokes on my first tour of Afghan who were neglecting CV fitness for Op MASSIVE, being able to bench 120 kg won't save your life, being able to run f**king fast will...

One last piece of advice would be to develop mental resilience now. You'll have cultivated much of this as a boxer, but really kick the arse out of it before you arrive at training, this is probably the best thing you can do alongside physical conditioning.
Give the below link a watch, its all about the various aspects as to what makes a mentally tough person.
Mental Toughness series. -
 
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Cheeky twat!
What a prejudiced statement! So it doesn't require intelligence to be good any Infantry work?
Don't listen to him, if you're robust enough to do the job, your intelligence will be a real asset.
Having said that, he is right about there being some other good areas to look at, that provide interesting day to day work. If there'd been sick a thing as the Internet when I first walked into s recruiting office, I'd have been pushing for Ammo Tech. If I could have my time again, deffo Ammo tech. He117 on here wrote a really good career profile about it a while back.
I'm not sure where it said in my post that you don't need intelligence to do Infantry work?

But thanks for proving my point about her grammar and English being better than many on here!
 
The Britain Army is disproportionately run by white men from public schools. One reason for this may be that not enough candidates from outside this background apply.
Absolute bóllocks. The British Army actually has a greater proportion of BAME individuals than wider society.

The days of racist/sexist wánkers ruling the roost are well and truly gone. I don't know of any organisation that is more at pains to push forward people who aren't white, publicly educated males.

I suggest you take a look at the Officer Corps of the British Army in 2020. I think you'll see a bit more diversity than you expect.
 
Absolute bóllocks. The British Army actually has a greater proportion of BAME individuals than wider society.

The days of racist/sexist wánkers ruling the roost are well and truly gone. I don't know of any organisation that is more at pains to push forward people who aren't white, publicly educated males.

I suggest you take a look at the Officer Corps of the British Army in 2020. I think you'll see a bit more diversity than you expect.
It was less than 2% BAME in Sandhurst 2 years ago


People (including officers) are still prejudiced, they just know the consequences of talking about them.
 

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