I would never thought that the three things I have enjoyed in life the most, the Army, Rugby and Singing, would have been comfortable bed fellows, turns out they are… I had better explain!
Firstly the three things I have enjoyed the most in life:
The Army – I joined the Regular Army at 16 years old and am a graduate of the Army Technical Foundation College that was then in Arborfield. Since leaving the Regular Army I have served, and commissioned as an officer, in the Army Reserve.
Rugby – I have played the ‘greatest game in the world’ since I was 8 years old and was lucky enough to play at Regimental and Army Academy level.
Singing – I left the Regular Army to become an Actor and Singer, working now professionally since 2010 fitting in the Army Reserves.
When you look at those three topics, the first two are pretty comfortable but I am aware that the third is a bit out of left field, so to speak.
In 2013 I decided to take the chance at commissioning that I had left behind in 2008 and when I look back over the past 3 years I simply cannot believe how lucky I have actually been.
One of my favourite activities is Rugby. As well as being a logistical Troop Commander, I am also my Regiment’s Rugby Officer, responsible for organising the Regiment’s Rugby teams and matches. I also coach both Military and Civilian Teams. I am also involved in the Army Reserve (Wales) Rugby Club, a team that was set up to give reservists from all the different units in Wales the opportunity to play rugby whilst representing the Army Reserve. One of my highlights was playing at Cardiff Arms Park in a Remembrance Day Match.
I have a keen interest in Diversity, and as I happen to be openly Gay, soon after commissioning discovered the Army Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Forum. Although reluctant at first to stand up as a visible, openly serving role model, it soon became clear that I’d enjoy the chance to get involved with the work of the Forum.
The Forum, one of over 20 diversity related networks in Defence has supported the Army’s drive for greater diversity and inclusion. Seeing an opportunity to generate inclusion from a new direction, the Forum established a new Sports Rep role and I now serve on the committee developing and implementing sports related diversity and inclusion opportunities for the Army and wider Defence. It has taken me all the way to the Madejski Stadium when the Army Football and Rugby teams joined in the Stonewall Rainbow Laces campaign promoting inclusion in sports.
My regiment is incredibly supportive of all the opportunities that I get involved in, though it’s not all one sided – I put in the work whilst in Green Kit too, being an active reservist means I get the chance to get involved in training evenings and weekends.
Being a Troop Commander is challenging and incredibly varied. My role includes the career management of the soldiers under my command as well having the technical knowledge and understanding of my role in the field. Activities vary from being involved in the organising of weekend training to then being part of them as the commander of a logistical Distribution Point, a kind of mobile ‘one stop shop’ for units to be able to pick up their supplies whilst on the battlefield.
Last year I was lucky enough to be selected to go to the US on an exchange programme to learn about how the US Army Reserve and National Guard conduct their training. When I look at it, this really is a great life – one minute I am leading a convoy of vehicles whilst on exercise and the next I am playing rugby or attending a high profile event representing the Army LGBT Forum.
And if you are wandering where the singing comes in handy… being the newest officer in the Mess, one of my duties is to entertain the other members on a Dinner Night.