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NAVY NEWS, JUNE 2008 23
universal advantages
● New Entry sailor Gillian Brown from HMS Dalriada is guided through an obstacle course on the football
pitches of Faslane by colleagues using only the signals of a whistle
The RNR has long suffered Amongst those staffing the “It is a very exciting time to join
a branding dilemma – the exercise out of Faslane were the RNR. We all joined to be used,
organisation found it difficult to 48 reservists – and Capt Paddy and we are being used,” said Cdre
attract people to what was often McAlpine, director of the Joint Thorne.
regarded as a pale version of the Maritime Operational Training One person at Faslane can
dark blue Service, a sort of Dad’s Staff (JMOTS), said: “Joint vouch for the value of a Big Bang
Navy. Warrior would not be able to exist weekend, though she took no part
But no longer can a Reservist in its current form without the in Scotia’s version.
officer be identified from his or support of the RNR.” Susan Morris works as a
her uniform – the R was removed Indeed, at least two reservists wardroom steward for Babcock
from the sleeves and epaulettes
who attended the weekend found Marine, and also has a job
last July in a move which spoke
themselves co-opted in from Big with Marks and Spencer in
volumes about the ever-increasing
Bang to help run the wargames Dumbarton.
input of Reservists to Royal Navy
out to sea. Last October she went along
operations and exercises.
“We are now stepping up to the for a quick look on the Saturday
And that increasing utility
plate in a number of areas, and we morning – she planned to stay no
means something of a reassessment
are deploying more now than we longer as it was her birthday and
of exactly what the RNR is,
have done since World War 2,” said she was going on a night out with
particularly since the internal
Cdre Thorne. friends.
move to the Fleet camp and the
Cdre Thorne said that when In fact she stayed a lot longer,
birth of the Maritime Reserve
asked, the Officer in Charge of 40 and reined in the celebrations that
Command in January 2006.
Cdo said no distinction was made evening to be able to go back the
“We were a training organisation
between reservists and regulars. following day.
under Flag Officer Sea Training,
“He replied that they are part She was won over by the Big
but we have moved to become an
of the deployment party, bringing Bang, and is now hoping to join
organisation delivering operational
different life skills and perhaps more the Reserves this summer.
capability,” said Cdre Thorne.
maturity, so they are mixed and
“We are a delivery organisation
matched to bring better balance to ● Maritime Reserve Command
– an any time, any place, anywhere
the party,” said Cdre Thorne. Warrant Offi cer Tony Matthews
organisation.”
Capt Ian Robinson, Capt watches New Entry sailors from
The RNR has also reorganised
Regions, said the RNR was a vital HMS Dalriada during a drill
geographically, based on the new
resource for Fleet. session (right) while colleagues
Naval Regional Commanders,
“There are people in the reserve test survival suits in the Faslane
which puts Scotia, Dalriada and
tank, and we are the tap; swimming pool (below)
HMS Caroline in Belfast in the
Fleet is not particularly
same group.
bothered about how the
engineering behind the
The Commodore said the
tap works – they just
Reserve had particularly
want the right people at
strong contributions to
the right time,” said Capt
make in some areas. Robinson.
A reservist can fill a gapped
Besides providing a
position, relieving the strain on
reservoir of talent for Fleet,
regulars, and can also ‘back-fill’ –
Cdre Thorne is also keen
for example, a reservist helicopter
that the Maritime Reserve
pilot could take up a support role
should also maximise the
and release a regular pilot for the
skills of its members.
front line.
So a relatively new
Certain niche areas are a
member of the Reserve,
particular forte of the Reserve,
who has been ‘Navalised’
such as AWNIS (Allied Worldwide
and is weapon trained, can
Navigational Information System),
stand guard on a ship’s
NCAGS (Naval Co-operation
brow or in a strongpoint, in
and Guidance for Shipping) and
some cases (as it presently
the MOS (Media Operations
happening) releasing a
Specialists).
Royal Marine for other
“We also have a capability in
more pressing duties
terms of the RN in the public
(‘blue berets supporting
eye,” continued Cdre Thorne.
green berets’).
“I have got 13 RNR units
Moving from generalist
around the country, and a number
to specialist, reservists
of RMR detachments.
build on those foundations
“I’m flying the White Ensign
to works in a particular
in a lot of areas where the Royal
field.
Navy does not.
And later in a career
“A good example is HMS
there is still the opportunity
Calliope, right on the bank of the
to retrain and redeploy out
Tyne in the middle of Newcastle
of specialisation.
and Gateshead.”
A recent example saw
Another contribution was right
around 15 Maritime
on the doorstep of Big Bang.
Reservists train to deploy
Exercise Joint Warrior was half-
as Phalanx operators at
way through its two-week course,
Basra in Iraq.
putting people, ships and aircraft
So the pressure remains
through a major test of their
to recruit, the target is
ability to function effectively and
around 500 a year for the
work together.
RNR.
Pictures: LA(Phot) Gaz Weatherston
and LLogs (CS(D)) Stu Hill
0022-023_NN_jun.indd 222-023_NN_jun.indd 2 220/5/08 09:21:390/5/08 09:21:39
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