by Amoti Nyabongo
In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, economic uncertainty, and not knowing what the next day or news cycle holds for us as individuals or as a nation, we must continue to press on. For those that may be looking to reinvent ourselves, develop marketable skill sets, or just try something different, the Royal Bermuda Regiment may have the opportunity for you.
Bermudians know that the RBR actively participates in Bermuda’s post-hurricane recovery. What most people may not know is what goes on behind the scenes to support the front-line soldiers. The Logistics Company enables the RBR to operate, and is home to the Motor Transportation Unit, Equipment and Clothing stores, The Armory, Ammo and Maintenance, Signals, and the Medics.
Private KarlShay Kwame’ Maurisa Outerbridge Spalding, one of the Regiment’s Medics, is in her third year of service. As a former Cadet, she had some idea what training and being in the Regiment would be like. Initially she had considered becoming a Regiment Police officer but after high Sshool she changed her mind and wanted to pursue a career as an EMT. The Regiment offered her a way to get experience and exposure to see if this is something she wanted to pursue.
At this point, she is excited about the opportunities afforded her. Her training as a Medic is ongoing. One of the joys of being in the Regiment is the adventure of heading out after a storm to assess and clear roads. This gives her a chance to see and do things that most Bermudians never get to experience. She has also had a chance to travel to St. Vincent and looks forward to more overseas travel.
If someone was thinking about joining the RBR, she encourages, “You get out what you put in. It’s what you make of it.” She also shared that being a member of the Regiment gave her opportunities to better herself as an individual. Her ability to display leadership, act with confidence, and demonstrate a higher degree of accountability have all been increased as a member of the RBR.
Another activity the Regiment is known for is participation in pageantry and fanfare. Whether partaking in the ceremonial greeting of dignitaries, celebrations marking specific historical events, or paying tribute to a fallen comrade, the Regiment Band is there.
Musician Azar Morrissey, an alto saxophone player, is in his fourth year with the Regiment Band. He shares, “It’s had a positive impact on my life. It has been nothing like what I imagined it would be, in a good sense.”
When talking about Basic Training, he revealed, “The instructors let you know what’s expected of you, the key is to get the job done. You’re also learning how to work with others as a team.”
One of his most rewarding experiences was seeing the support received from the Bermuda public when they were supporting the COVID-19 Shelter in Place operations: “People would willingly comply, and in some instances, offer us food while we’re out there.”
Encouraging someone who might be interested in joining the RBR, he shares, “It’s an opportunity to broaden your horizons. You get real-world leadership experience and a chance to learn job skills that can help you outside of the Regiment.”
Recently, the role of the RBR has included disaster relief and supporting Government initiatives to stem the pandemic (e.g., traffic control at testing sites and curfew check points). According to Regiment Career Management Officer, Major Duncan Simons, the Regiment has had to remain flexible to meet the ever-changing demands of Bermuda and other jurisdictions they may offer support to.
The newest role that the RBR is taking on is Bermuda’s Coast Guard Unit. Brought into existence by the Defence (Coast Guard Unit) Amendment Act 2018, the Coast Guard is tasked to patrol the waters surrounding Bermuda. At present they work in conjunction with the Bermuda Police Service – however in the not-too-distant future they will assume full responsibility of this mission.
Private JD Symonds serves as a Boatswain’s Mate on the newly formed, nine-strong full-time Coast Guard unit. Private Symonds has served three years with the Regiment, and is also of the opinion that you get out what you put in, and sometimes even more than you put in.
He described his experience in Basic Training as presenting challenges that break you down but build you up at the same time. He shared that, “You learn how to think and act in terms of being a member of a team.” Before becoming a member of the Regiment Coast Guard, he was studying Ocean Science, so when the opportunity came to join the Coast Guard Unit he jumped at the chance.
As he put it, “Being in the Coast Guard, there’s always something to do, whether it’s performing engine maintenance, dive operations, joint patrols with Bermuda Police Service, preparing for another marine license, or keeping current on latest Coast Guard regulations.”
This opportunity has allowed him to travel overseas and train with the U.S. Coast Guard. For others who may want to know more about what the RBR has to offer, he stated that, “There are huge opportunities to do things that are really rewarding. Whether you know what you want to do or want to try something different, give it a try.”
There are opportunities for positions of leadership across a career, spanning many years. As an enlisted soldier you can sign up for leadership training and promotion to Lance Corporal in your second year, which will set you on a leadership track that could lead to becoming Regimental Sergeant Major. With time, experience, and training, one will advance through leadership positions at section, platoon, company level, and Regiment level.
Another opportunity within the RBR is the Officer Program. According to Major Duncan Simons, every year two to four candidates are selected to enter the eight-week officer commissioning course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in England.
It can be said that the interviewees above are enthusiastic about their choice to do something different by joining the Royal Bermuda Regiment. If their level of passion is matched by their actions, not only will they be successful as individuals, but they will represent the best that the Royal Bermuda Regiment and Bermuda strive to reflect.
For more information regarding the Royal Bermuda Regiment, visit www.bermudaregiment.bm or call 441 238 1045.