Father & Son Complete Regiment Recruit Camp

July 25, 2023 | 0 Comments

A father who encouraged his son to enlist in the Royal Bermuda Regiment recalled “good moments” as he watched the teenager take part in a recruit camp alongside him. Private Keneik Wallen, 38, signed up for the battalion’s July intake of rookie soldiers to gain experience and improve his fitness.

A few days later, his 18-year-old son – also Keneik – joined the Regiment and the pair completed foundational training next to another 12 recruits on July 21.”

Pte Wallen Snr said: “Watching him shoot down the range for the first time – he was so excited about all of that, so there were some good moments.

“There was such a mix-up at times because we share the same name, so they would say ‘Wallen, stand up’. I would be shuffling first but it wasn’t me so they had to say ‘Wallen Snr, not you; Wallen Jnr, it’s you’. It was pretty funny.”

The hospital worker from Pembroke joined the Regiment to help him become more disciplined.

“It’s been over 20 years I’ve been ducking the army but I need to get my fitness level up and need the experience,” he explained.

“I’m not that self-motivated when it comes to exercise but the Regiment will definitely give you that discipline to do what you have to do.”

Pte Wallen Jnr, who graduated from The Berkeley Institute last month, said: “I joined to better myself.”

The landscaper added that even after just two weeks of recruit camp he feels more patient and has improved discipline.

Sergeant Damir Armstrong, the recruit camp’s platoon sergeant, said 12 men and two women with a wide range of ages completed the course.

He added: “The older, more experienced members of the platoon were able to put their arms around the youths and give them some tough love at times.”

Sgt Armstrong, an insurance professional in his civilian life, said highlights of the camp included an overnight field exercise at Hog Bay in Sandys as well as learning how to safely work with the SA-80 rifle.”

He recalled: “Some of the recruits had never handled a weapon so to see them get rid of their apprehension and gain trust in the training team – that we were teaching them to handle it safely, not to harm themselves or others – was great.

“Then when they actually shot they were completely comfortable with it.

“It’s about helping them get rid of those inhibitions and encouraging them to try new things. Being in the Regiment gives you the tools to handle multiple things being thrown at you.”

The recruits will take part in continuation training before they are posted to companies in the battalion.

Sgt Armstrong, who is part of the Regiment’s recruitment team, said: “Hopefully these soldiers will be able to take this experience, recommend it to their peers and help our number continue to grow.”

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