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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



04 January 2019

2018 has been a busy year for the Royal Marines Reserves (RMR) in Belfast, with numerous ranks deploying on Ships Force Protection Tasks (SFPT) around the Arabian Gulf, Cold Weather Training in Norway, and the Lead Commando Group (LCG) in the Mohave Desert and Red Sea.

New OC - Captain Sam Shephard GC RM
The detachment has had Capt Shephard join as the Officer in Command, bringing some full-time regular experience back to Northern Ireland.  Already, he has seen some instant results, with recruiting increasing from 3 ranks per year, to over 20 starting in May 2019 and funding from RFCA which has allowed the Detachment to invest in infrastructure.  All in all, the detachment is in a very good place, and stands ready to exploit the talent pool in Northern Ireland.

Continuing our contingency training, RMR Belfast has been heavily involved in Ex HAIRSPRING, 3 Commando Brigade’s deployment to Norway to conduct Cold Weather Warfare Training.  Several ranks from the detachment have conducted Ski Training in Austria in preparation and look forward to our latest Norway deployment in March 2019.  Paul Clarke from UTV is expected to deploy with the Unit, spending a night in a snow-hole and shining a light on the Commando Ethos, including cheerfulness in the face of adversity.

Training Nights
The detachment continues to train on a Wednesday evening at 7pm in Palace Barracks, conducting gym work, rope climbs, regains and arduous physical activity relentlessly, allowing us to compete and excel alongside our counterparts across the water.  With the increase in numbers, the detachment should soon be able to train within Northern Ireland, making the most of some of the best training estate in the UK.

Recruiting has continued at pace, attending events across Northern Ireland including Armed Forces Day, Portrush Airshow, Belfast Maritime Festival, Remembrance Services and various Schools across the province.  Looking forward, we hope to continue investing heavily in those areas, and will be aiming to increase our presence at all.  For those out there who would like to see more ‘bootnecks’ at their events, including Royal Marine Close Combat and Unarmed Displays, please do get in touch.

3 Commando Brigade is looking to increase its reliance on Reservists substantially, and has dramatically increased the number of RMR Ranks to be mobilised in 2019.  This is great news.  There are already a huge number of requests for personnel to help with Ships Force Protection Teams (SFPT) in the Red Sea and on-board HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH in the Far-East; Lead Commando Group (LCG) on Ex BLACK ALLIGATOR in 29 Palms, California; Short Term Training Teams (STTTs) in Africa, Nigeria, Somalia and Bahrain; and various staff deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar.

The opportunities for Reservists have never been better, and the RMR is testament to that.  With a changing mind-set towards work and employment, there is a huge amount to gain from joining one of the world’s most elite organisations and becoming a Royal Marines Commando, as a Reservist.