I am Sergeant Ryan Veal. I joined the Army in December 1999 and completed basic training at ATR Pirbright. This was followed by phase 2 of my training during which I was taught my primary trade as a Vehicle Mechanic B at SEME Bordon.
Upon competition of training in Oct 2001, I was posted to 3 Battalion REME (3BN REME) inPaderborn where I deployed straight to Mrkonjic Grad in Bosnia for 6 months with 2 Royal Gurkha Rifles (2RGR). Later in the same assignment at 3 BN REME I also deployed on OP TELIC 1 (the Gulf war in 2003), where I was based at aKuwaitarmy Base close to the Iraq border. I was promoted to Lance Corporal in 2003 and posted to 3 Logistic Support Regiment RLC (3 LSR) based in Abingdon, I deployed back to Iraq for a second tour in 2005 where this time I was based in Shaibah Logistic base just outside of Basra.
I returned to SEME Bordon in February 2005 to complete further training as a vehicle mechanic, which completed my professional qualification. My next assignment was to 7 Transport Regiment RLC (7Tpt Regt RLC) in November 2006. I deployed in 2007 as an acting Corporal to the Contingency Operating Base (COB) in Iraq with 1 Battalion REME (1Bn REME). This was my third tour of Iraq, but this time I was attached to 16 Squadron Tank Transporter Squadron.
Each tour was very different, with vastly different responsibilities. I was promoted to Substantive Corporal in Oct 2007 and returned to Bordon in 2009 to complete my PAAB (Potential Artificer Assessment Board). I was successful and was sent to a three-week artificer maths course at Worthy Down in Wiltshire. The math course is hard and unfortunately I failed my first attempt, but was able to pass the exam next time.
I was posted in May 2010 to 104 Force Support Battalion REME (104 FS BN REME) in Bordon and then immediately to Tidworth. I was promoted to Sergeant in February 2011 and selected for Artificer training on the April 2011 ASCLB (Artificer Course Loading Board) to be course loaded in October 2011.
Rudolph challenge: building a go-kart
The month of December has finally arrived and as we all prepare to break up for Christmas recess, we are held back from the gate by the Christmas Festivities, our first two examinations and a change in subject on our course.
December is known as silly season in the military calendar because of the number of activities, celebrations and parties. We began with the birthday of our Patron Saint, St Eligius in early December where the Corporals club was invited to the Warrant Officers and Sgts mess for a games night. This was followed by various festivities for the soldiers, which this year included a Rudolph challenge.
The aim of this challenge was to construct a Go-Kart, which was to be piloted by a team member and had to be pushed around a route in camp. The team members, whilst dressed up in various fancy dress costumes were to consume numerous mince pies and drink vast quantities of milk, a combination which left many stains around the camp and on competitors fancy dresses(IMAGE 1&2). Congratulations to Sgt Duncan-Page and his team who won the challenge for Quebec Company 2Platoon.
Later on in the same day the soldiers were provided with a Christmas Dinner and a glass of wine, served by Permanent Staff (PS) and all Artificer Students. After many a traditional sprout was thrown it was time for the junior soldiers to retire and for the Senior chaps to get changed in order to be welcomed into the Officers mess for a games night.
Whole Fleet Management
These festivities were mere distractions from the main activity of being educated. The first 2 Examinations of the course were soon upon us and after many late nights cramming the revision and feeling the pressure of our first examinations whilst being on an Artificer course, we all managed to pass.
The course took an unexpected break from the Engineering Science Department for the last week of term and we were placed on to a Whole Fleet Management syllabus. For this part of the course we were instructed on the various roles of a vehicle fleet operator and the legal requirements of running a transport firm.
Soon enough though Christmas leave finally arrived and everyone was looking forward to a welcome break from the classroom and some Christmas recess duties.