Soldiers took part in a chainsaw authorisation course on friday and Saturday. *Photo supplied
Soldiers took part in a chainsaw authorisation course on friday and Saturday. *Photo supplied

TUESDAY, MARCH 27: Soldiers of the Guns and Assault Pioneers, a specialised sub-unit of the Regiment’s Support Company, cut their way through the final phase of their chainsaw authorization course this past Friday and Saturday. The course – under command of Major Dwight Robinson - qualifies the participants for three-years as safe handlers of the equipment in the event of hurricane or other natural disasters where debris clearing might be required in Bermuda.

Theoretical Knowledge

After a review of the Regiment’s operating and safety equipment, the soldiers sat a written test. The requirements for passing included being able to confidently identify parts of the devices, state all related safety procedures and precautions, and explain all proper maintenance processes and repairs for each tool.

While the examinees took the written portion, accompanying officers began setting up the test area by cutting down hazardous trees and placing them in a section of the road at Morgan’s Point.

Practical Exam

The practical portion was conducted in true military style: a workable plan was carefully thought out; a team of soldiers were directed what needed to be achieved (and why their role was important); and the plan was implemented with vigour and conducted with steady momentum. They efficiently and safely worked to clear each obstacle in their path. In groups of three or four, one member sawed while others removed the cut up branches. While doing so, the overseeing officers were there to provide step by step instruction. This was to make sure troops were proceeding safely and correctly as they progressed.

Along the way, officers asked the troops questions about possible scenarios in order to have them problem solve while working. Each participant was encouraged to use the knowledge they had gained and apply it to the situation at hand in order to accomplish their goal. Officers also tested troops’ leadership abilities by asking about public safety and how troops should handle bystanders while trying to complete the job. In just a few short hours, the troops walked away proudly with another certification under their belts that would be a benefit to them and their country in the event of an emergency.

Not Pretty, But Proud

When asked about their positive work ethic, one soldier said, “When the hurricane hits, we know who gets called up first – it’s us. I am a volunteer and this is how I have chosen to serve my country. It may not be the most glamorous role in the Regiment, but I am proud to do it – and someone has to be there to put the island back together.” When asked if the soldier was concerned about leaving his family alone when he gets called to duty the reply was, “Of course I am. However, I have chosen to put the needs of my country before my own and my family supports me in my decision. More importantly, the Regiment knows where my family live and they have a team that goes to check on them. Seems like a good deal – I get paid to serve my country while a team of guys will go sort out my house and take care of my family if they need anything.”

Adjutant to the Bermuda Regiment, Captain Ben Beasley added, “The Bermuda Regiment has been performing post hurricane relief locally and overseas since it was formed. We’ve been overseas several times in recent years to help sister islands who don’t have a body like to the Regiment to rely on – Cayman is a good example. As important as the Assault Pioneers are, they are just one part of how the Regiment is serving Bermuda in 2012; we conduct maritime patrols and safety operations, support the police at civic events, parade several times a year, provide an excellent Cadet leadership program, and provide services to numerous public development programmes to name just a few items. When the soldiers leave the Regiment I whole heartedly believe that they leave as better citizens. Of course, there are many who choose to serve far beyond their initial period or as outright volunteers, and I am proud to be considered one of them.”

Obtaining certifications such as these are just some of the opportunities that the Regiment affords its volunteers. Many recruits who have taken Regimental certification courses have commented that these skills have benefitted them in their work experience and beyond. They have also aided in obtaining competitive job opportunities where such experience is required.

Does joining the Regiment interest you? The Bermuda Regiment is currently looking for volunteers in all departments. In return for your service you will receive numerous opportunities and competitive pay. For more information please e-mail Major Warren Furbert at wsfurbert@gov.bm or call 238-1045.