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Reservist and regular soldiers pitted themselves against each other when they took part in this year's London District Operational Shooting Competition at the weekend.
The event, which for the first time had Regular and Reserves Army personnel competing side by side, was hosted by reservist unit the Royal Yeomanry, and took place at Ash Ranges in Surrey.
Traditionally, competitions such as this would be organised by a regular unit but with reservists playing an ever-increasing role in military activity, the task was allocated to the Royal Yeomanry to demonstrate their organisational skills and abilities.
13 teams of 8 soldiers from across the Greater London area competed in several shooting events over the 2 days. Each of the events required the competitors to display skills essential in operational shooting: fitness, accuracy and speed.
Overall winners of the competition were 106 (Yeomanry) Regiment Royal Artillery, London’s reservist gunners, based in Grove Park.
Staff Sergeant Rob Hewitt, their team leader, was thrilled with the result:
This is the culmination of hard work and training. It’s required dedication from all the team members, with a mix of old and new soldiers, and I’m thrilled to be returning home with the trophy once again.
Reservists are clearly in the limelight at the moment, as last week Foreign Secretary William Hague publicly praised an exercise which took place at Catterick Garrison which aimed to show employers the benefits of recruiting reservists.
The event was held by the MOD and support services provider Carillion. The exercise saw more than 120 of Carillion’s staff, including existing reservists, former members of the Armed Forces and those considering signing up with the Army Reserves for the first time, take part in a series of focus group discussions.
Mr Hague said:
The UK Armed Forces are the envy of the world and the Government is fully committed to supporting them as they adapt to more complex and demanding needs.
Reservists will play an increasingly important role in this and it is therefore vital that employers with reservists realise this and play their part to the full by offering the necessary flexibility and support.
The MOD launched a consultation last month inviting employers like Carillion to give their opinions on how the MOD and employers of reservists can work together to benefit from each other.
The MOD has committed to changing the way the Reserves work and is looking to increase the strength of the Reserve Forces by 50 per cent. Events like this will also help companies like Carillion understand how they can support their reservists and whether employment terms are flexible enough.
Are you a reservist, regular or family member of a reservist? Then we want to hear from you. The MOD is considering what changes are required to the Reserve Forces.
What is the right offer to attract and retain individuals in the Reserves?
The right relationship with the civilian employers of reservists?
The right support for reservists and their families across our communities?
For those wishing to join the Army Reserves as soldiers, the eligible joining age is 17-and-a-half to 43. To find out more, telephone 0845 600 8080 or visit www.armyjobs.mod.uk for more information.