10 July 2020
A former Cambridgeshire Army Cadet has completed Phase One of his training at The Army Foundation College, Harrogate, and has been awarded the position of Best Overall Recruit and title of Junior Company Sergeant Major, in recognition of coming top out of 240 junior soldiers.
Junior CSM Ollie Read, 17, spent three years as a cadet with 2 Company Cambridgeshire Army Cadet Force at St Ives and Slepe Detachments. As a cadet, he achieved the rank of Cadet Sgt Major and convinced his Detachment Commander, Sergeant Instructor Chris Parker, that he was destined for a great career as a soldier.
S.I. Parker said; ‘Straight away it was very clear that Ollie had big aspirations to join The British Army. It was evident that’s where he wanted to go, and that it was his dream. Seeing how Ollie carried himself at the detachment, at company training events, and in the combat cadet team, I knew he would do well in the army.’
Junior CSM Reed receives his award. Picture; Army Foundation College
The Army Foundation College enables 16 and 17 years olds to become Junior Soldiers and begin their army training by completing The Common Military Syllabus, which all soldiers need to complete regardless of their specialisations. Ollie joined the college in September of last year, and undertook the 45 weeks of initial Phase One training. The course ended slightly earlier than usual due to the Coronavirus, and for two months recruits studied from home and were taught via videolink, before returning to The College in early June.
He found his cadet experience extremely useful, and it straight away helped to set him apart from most of the other soldiers, enabling him to demonstrate his skills at drill, fieldcraft, weapons handling and leadership, amongst others. He also felt that his experience and familiarity with a military environment helped him acclimatise and progress more quickly, which combined with his own skills, dedication and natural leadership ability, ensured his success. He praised the Army Foundation College, saying they had provided him with the time and resources he needed, and given him the confidence that he could continue to do well in his training, and fully develop his leadership potential.
Junior CSM Reed salutes on parade. Picture Army Foundation College
He said; ‘I’m really excited and looking forward to what my career will hold in the army. I’ve got overseas deployments in the pipeline that will give me many good opportunities and experiences.’
S.I. Parker said; ‘seeing Ollie not only complete the Phase One training but ‘smashing it’, and being awarded best overall recruit, was a very proud moment for the detachment and the company. Ollie always showed he carried the values and standards that the army look for, and I have no doubt that Ollie will go on to be a an outstanding solider and have a long and rewarding career. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Ollie and to say from myself and the rest of the detachment as well as the company, we are all incredibly proud of you, and we all wish you the very best in your army career.’
Junior CSM Read will return to training in a few weeks time at Catterick, where he will undergo Phase Two specialist infantry training to fully equip him with the skills needed to join The Royal Anglian Regiment.
Text by PI Stuart with thanks to SI Parker and Junior CSM Read