Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by SilverBullet, May 31, 2005.

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  1. Just a quick note to say congratulations and well done to the guys (and girl) who passed the first Module 4 commissioning course at RMAS last Saturday.

    For those intending to go you sould know a few things:

    1. No matter how fit you think you are you will need to be fitter
    2. Know the command tools inside out
    3. Don't be fooled by the timetable, you get a good bit of free time but it's usually spent cleaning/ironing/prepping for the next day.
    4. Know the role of Pl Cmdr AND Pl Sgt.
    5. Work hard for your mates. Don't jack anything, even if you think you can get away with it because others are depending on you.

    and finally...

    6. Keep your sense of humour, you'll need it.

    Incidentally for those who are going on the next few courses the one just passed was a guinea pig run. A few things went well, others need changing, but rest assured when we got our INVAL forms we all suggested more PT, more drill and more time in the field on stag!

    Well done again to the freshly minted 2Loueys... God help the Queens Enemies!
  2. Why don't you take a big pat on the back and three loud huzzas for yourself then.Well done young fellow :)
    ( i just hated to see this post perish alone,unanswered and unloved)
  3. Rest assured that those of us on previous courses suggested the same. Hope you enjoyed it!
  4. And all TA DEPOs. Well done.

    Bet the UOTC types on TACC52 will be chuffed with the suggestions. :wink:

    P.S. except those UOTC Cdts who trained on 51 Bde's Module 3 who obviously are very well prepared but then I would say that wouldn't I galgenberg? :D
  5. Your modesty as always is overwhelming,and who could argue with the results? :)
  6. There was an article about the course in this weekend's Sunday Telegraph:


    Robert Watts was called to Sandhurst so that he could be instructed on the benefits to companies of allowing employees to become members of the Territorial Army. But he discovered that there is also quite a financial burden on private sector businesses

    An army Land Rover races through the under-growth. Then comes a loud bang and a crackle followed by piercing screams and a guttural shout of "minefield". A few minutes later, a patrol of hunched camouflaged figures scrambles cautiously to the rescue.

    This scene could be from any of the world's trouble-spots; the outskirts of Basra or the waste-lands around Kandahar. Actually, it's Surrey, on a cold wet Thursday in May.

    The soldiers embroiled in this exercise are in fact "civvies", members of Britain's Territorial Army midway through a training course at Sandhurst Military Academy, the hothouse where the regular army's raw recruits - who currently include Prince Harry - are moulded into British Army officers in less than 10 months.

    There are about 35,000 army reservists in Britain. Until two and a half years ago, their military lives were confined to 30 days a year, consisting of a few weekends, a few weeknights and a two-week annual camp.

    However, the UK's commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and decades of military cutbacks, have forced the Ministry of Defence to call up reservists for service for the first time since the Suez crisis in 1956.

    These periods of service are not short: each lasts for nine months. Nearly 12,000 members of the TA have been called up since early 2003.

    And the corollary of all this has been a significant financial burden on the British companies that employ these reservists. More than 2m man hours have been lost by businesses since the start of the "war on terror".

    So do these companies get anything in return for pat-riot-ic-ally allowing their reservist staff to do their duty? And is a mastery of close-quarter battle skills and military briefing techniques of any use in the world of 21st-century business?

    "I appreciate the difficulties for business," says Major General Andrew Ritchie, CBE, Sand-hurst's commandant, who presides over the three-week "leadership" course run for reservists.

    "It's tough, but these people and their businesses gain a great deal. We are teaching the art of leadership with the science of management.

    "Firms who have people in the TA and whose employees come here cannot expect them to be better accountants. But they can expect them to come back much better managers."

    Ritchie says that erstwhile army officers who are now City executives - such as Roger Davis, the chief executive of UK banking at Barclays, and Patrick Snowball, Aviva's executive director in charge of insurance - complain to him of a dearth of employees in their 30s and 40s with appropriate management experience.

    "These people tell me there are plenty of fee-earners out there, but few leaders," Ritchie insists. "What we can do here is bridge that gap."

    Ritchie points to the so-called "soft skills" - such as the ability to lead, take the initiative, negotiate or work in a team - that are taught on the Sandhurst course for TA officers.

    These "soft skills" aren't immediately obvious as I watch a patrol of six officer trainees drag a body through a river and tunnels, and over an array of obstacles.

    In the first exercise, the driver of the vehicle that drove into the mine-field sported a large blue helmet daubed with the letters UN. In this second exercise, the fellow in the UN helmet is squealing away in a bid to distract, confuse and irritate the recruits.

    A little dig at the poor old UN? "We try to make the exercise as realistic as possible," an instructor tells me curtly.

    After a brisk scrub-up, the recruits wax lyrical about their TA lives. "The training I've had here has certainly helped me get the most out of my team at work," says Jessica Heath-cote, a consultant engineer for Taylor Woodrow, who often finds herself alone on building sites with up to 100 hardened brickies.

    "Taylor Woodrow has said my TA experience will definitely accelerate my promotion," she adds.

    David Parsonage, a test engineer, was recently sent on an £800 management course by his employer, the electrical company Renishaw. "Ninety per cent of what I was taught that day repeated stuff I'd been taught through the TA," he says. "I'd already had great training that didn't cost my employer at all."

    Mayur Patel, a graduate IT worker for Fujitsu, says: "It just makes you a bit sharper, more professional and shows you that you can lead. I'm not at the stage where I am managing people, but when the opportunity comes I'm not going to shy away from it."

    Indeed, but what of the down-side to the companies if a reservist is mobilised?

    Firms are paid a capped rate of £110 a day for the length of their employees' tour of duty. The employer is under no obligation to pay their reservist while they are serving, although they are legally obliged not to give the employee's job to someone else.

    Officially, the tours last nine months, but when training and leave are included it often adds up to a year. Call-ups can be instant, although reservists and their employers normally receive four weeks' notice.

    Employers and reservists can ask for the mobilisation to be deferred. Three quarters of such requests are granted.

    "Of course it can be inconvenient for businesses, and it can disrupt careers," says Martin Roberts, the head of security at BT, which has had 150 of its 500 reservists mobilised over the past two years.

    "But it gives another dimen-sion to someone's CV, and an ability to work under pressure you couldn't get elsewhere. We've had people promoted purely because of what they've done during their mobil-isation."

    The telecoms company currently has 100 personnel working for it in Iraq. Almost all of these employees are reservists, many serving in Iraq during and immediately after the recent conflict. BT has a smaller presence in Afghanistan, again consisting mostly of reservists.

    And what about the impact on small businesses? According to Sabre, an MoD campaign to foster better relations between the Army and business, only 38 per cent of firms with fewer than 20 staff said that employing reservists was advantageous.

    "Smaller firms can benefit too," insists Richard Lane, the UK sales manager for Zurich's employee benefit products and a major in the TA who trains reservists at Sandhurst.

    "There is a short-term cost, but the TA offers structured management and leadership training, which few smaller outfits can offer."

    David Frost, the director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, says that so far businesses have been happy to pay the costs of the mobilisation of thousands of reservists. But will this always be the case?

    "It's possible to call up a reservist once every three years," says Tim Corry, the head of Sabre. "Although we aim to make it once every five years."

    In fact only 25,000 TA members have the skills to make them eligible for a call-up. And over the past two years nearly half of these have been mobilised.

    Corry points to the burden on them. "In the current international climate there is a likelihood that reservists may be called up for a second time," he says. "So far firms have been supportive, but we just don't know how employers would react to a second call-up."
  7. Not all DEPOs - I think there was only 1 DEPO on the course - all others had prior experience.

    1st course to complete it under the modular system though.
  8. DEPOs as oppose to UOTC OCdts. Therefore ALL on course were DEPOs. I realise you are new on arrse (at least as "SittingDuck") but not good to start arguing semantics against people who have been heavily involved in this training - and many, many other interested parties who have contributed heavily.

    As a point of record, the true DEPO with no experience is unusual - most will have had experience of one or more CCF, ACF, TA, Reg, UOTC and all will have completed no less than 50 days training before Module 4. Or should have done - I note your praise of a certain Bde in another thread - if you were actually on TACC51 you will know why I am less than impressed with your attempt to correct me here.
  9. Abacus...

    I disagree with your definition of all on the TACC 051 course being DEPO's. My understanding of the DEPO system is that they come into the system with the express intention of doing Officer training, and their training is biased accordingly. They do Mod1, (which only 1 person on the course had done... i.e. the DEPO), they then join the collective and do Mod2 and Mod3.

    Non DEPO's would have done their 2 week recruits course as a soldier, and then most likely been selected at unit level for Officer Training after a period where there suitability could be assessed prior to getting the nod for Westbury.

    I cannot see how you can define someone who has 10, even 15 years TA experience (as some of the guys did) as being a DEPO.

    On the course it was commonly agreed that there was only one DEPO, who joined through the DEPO system. The rest were either OTC or had 2-3 years+ experience in TA Units.

    What is your definition of a DEPO?

  10. Before I continue to take this further away from the main aim of the thread. Well done 51! I know there were a number of people RTU'd for fitness (at least you tried), but I know some who performed very well indeed. Congratulations all around! :D

    It's all pretty confusing for parent units and some of the students (although we just get on with it). I joined a sigs regiment, did TAFS, CMS(R), GAP etc and the trg Major said 'aye up youg TA_S, how do you fancy some officer training?' 'errr Ok', 'Jolly good! Starts three weeks time <kick>'. So like good little Siggy I trotted along, had my sigs capbadge whipped off, slotted a RMAS one in and voila! TA_S the PO was born, before I knew it I was churning out combat estimates and 'performing' section/plt attacks galore (plus carrying a bde's worth of ammo, radios, casualities all over some colourful trg areas). The majority of people who signed up to that training group with me were other 'experienced types', JNCO's etc. Units still look on us as one of them, only quiz us as to why we are wearing an 'engineers' capbadge... It'll be easier when I get the white aiming mark, then people won't get as confused and just avoid me instead.

    I'm down on the books as a Siggy, get reffered to as a Mr with the bde, and the NCO's don't know what to do with us all on drill nights. We seem to have had a number of what units are calling DEPO's who are admined by the sqn, but bde more or less looks after their affairs and are not really part of the the Sqn's strength..

    There also seems to be some confusion/rule breaking all over the place. Atleast one mob makes their PO's wear white tabs from day one after TAB, lets them 'play' in the mess and generally practice their officerness. After all we get trained in ettiquette, leadership, command tools-why not use them in the units? Quite a few seem to do the bulk of their training before TAMB/RCB. I know some from 49bde that have done the whole shebang up to Mod4 before RCB-long time to be in stasis within your unit. Others do it by the rules but then get thrown by the funky capbadge, which some bde's say all must wear, others don't mind at all.

    All a bit confusing. One just does as one is told, but it would be good if there were a guide as to what is what. Abacus, I know you're a very good authority on this.


  11. Thank you TA_S, a very sound "ground" brief. It's a slowly evolving system with all Bdes gradually coming together to deliver common training to common standards with common rules. We're not there yet but we're not far off either. My Bde has the massive advantage of being fully manned and also of being manned by instructors such as myself whose employers allow them as much time as they need to attend to Army concerns. I am therefore a good authority because I have advantages that others do not - as well as the direct numbers for all the main players. :D

    SB, in my last post I said "DEPO as oppose to UOTC OCdt". Foolishly, I tried to simplify the rationale behind my earliest post when I congratulated all the DEPOs. I should have known that there would be the odd **** retentive lurking around the forum waiting on a chance to pounce. Thankfully you started on me - in this anonymous on-line world - and not the other members of the real-life mess I assume you have just joined. And who I assure you would not be as restrained as I am being.

    There are, in fact, 4 categories of "student" which I - and others like me across the country - have to train:

    UPOs - Unit Potential Officers
    DEPOs - Direct Entry Potential Officers
    UOTC OCdts - from UOTCs spookily enough
    GpB Commissioned Officers - from UOTCs and ACFs

    If anyone really, really needs to know more detail than that, please pm me. If anyone really, really thinks it was important that I should have congratulated them all by category feel free to continue this line of argument. Otherwise, to ALL those who passed - EVEN SILVERBULLET - well done whatever experience you had.


    P.S. I'm off to brief the boss and won't be back till tomorrow in case anyone wonders at me going quiet now. :wink:
  12. Abacus,

    I wasn't 'starting' on you at all... just seeking your clarification on what you (and the Army at large) defines as a DEPO, hence the reason I asked at the end of the message what your definition was.

    If anyone else thought I was being argumentative I assure I was not being... just seeking knowledge, and ultimately the truth.

    One last point, as anyone who has been to RMAS will testify... everyone leaves that place Anally Retentive... They give you so much food and no time to digest it!
  13. Indeed, and Jess Heathcote (named in the article) spent several years in a certain Scottish UOTC.
  14. So how did it feel passing off the square? All that training out of the way with but now you face taking over your very won troop, where all the real (much harder) work begins!

    TA_S is currently in the depths of the system and looking forward to the day when he passes off the square.. Whether he get's there is a different matter all together.
  15. Abacus

    I would echo Silver Bulletts anally retentive remark.

    I think the point is that there is an element of congratulating not the individuals but the system that trained them when this is in fact not due if we are not classified as Direct Entrants. Somebody who has been in ten or fifteen years is going to bring more to the party than a civie. And I'm not having a go at the excellent DS who have had a hand in my own training - simply pointing out that you can make more of someone with more experience. Whereas the 'true' direct entrants seem to fall at the hurdle (in my extremely limited experience of them). Whether the system will produce the officers of the quality that the Army requires in the numbers necessary remains to be seen.

    It would be premature to mark the the direct entry system a success because of TACC 051 - regardless of what we are categorised as.