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Corp of Royal Engineers (Corporal) – February 1981 to September 1988

Being in the Army was a childhood and teenage dream, and following a range of experience gaining civilian employment roles, Joe joined the world renowned Corp of Royal Engineers at the age of 18.

During my service, Joe developed a broad range of experience, including:

  • Working as a team to enhance the outcome of a task.
  • Achieving Combat Engineer Class 1, dealing in Demolitions, Mine Warfare, Bridging, Water Supply and Purification, Construction and repair of Roads and Airfields, combat assault boat helmsman.
  • Achieving Class 1 Plumber and Pipefitter, with a Distinction in many of the exams.
  • Gaining the Expert Physical Training Instructor qualification, covering skills and teaching and coaching techniques in swimming, gymnastics, boxing, anatomy and physiology, circuit training, personal training and overall fitness maintenance and assessment systems.
  • Gaining the accredited windsurfing instructor qualification and taught more than 100 soldiers how to windsurf from novice to competent level.
  • Gaining in the unit’s rock climbing instructors’ course qualification to then train many men and women on rock climbing as a part of adventure training courses.
  • Achieving a position in the top three recruits on the six-week Corporals’ Cadre course. This resulted in the award of a promotion immediately after finishing the course. The course is extremely demanding and gruelling.
  • Leading the team of plumbers on a construction task in Canada, working with all associated building trades in the construction of a 250,000 gallon underground reservoir. From this, resupplying a Canadian military camp in the outback. A phenomenal achievement that took three months to implement. The logistics were particularly difficult, requiring the replacement of the existing water supply with the new, whilst still maintaining a supply of water during the whole process.

Bomb Disposal Sergeant (in the Territorial Army) – September 1994 to March 1999

Having served in the Royal Army in the Corp of Royal Engineers previously, Joe joined the EOD division of the Royal Engineers. During time with the Corp, he developed the following skills:

  • Achieving class 1 as an EOD operative.
  • Achieving a distinction pass mark in the Field Sergeant’s course. This was particularly outstanding since it was achieved whilst serving in an EOD and not a Combat Engineer unit.
  • Achieving weapons instructor qualification.
  • Developed identification skills, with unknown ordnance, using Army intelligence, including manuals, databases and additional communication with specialist organisations.
  • Dealing with the disposal of unexploded ordnance devices.
  • Using questioning techniques when dealing with the general public to identify and control extremely hazardous situations.
  • Liaising with the emergency services and other Army units to implement and control exclusion zones.
  • Executing the command and control of military personnel.
  • Devising strategies and timetables for military personnel, their equipment and personal requirements

SAS Selection (Territorial Army) – March 1999 to 30 October 1999

An exciting period, making a choice to achieve an ambition. During this period Joe was on selection for 23 SAS Regiment. This selection process is extremely rigorous, to be even accepted for selection the benchmark is extremely high. The level of fitness, determination and dedication is tested to the limits. During this process he experienced and implemented:

  • A strict training regime.
  • Strict nutritional programme.
  • Perfecting personal processes to work under pressure.
  • Working under tight time constraints.
  • Operating in extreme weather conditions.
  • Working beyond normal physical conditions.
  • Experiencing a near-fatal incident while on night patrol, when wind blasted me off the top of a mountain. Vertebrae C5 was shattered, C6 fractured and C7 used as a fixation point for a plate to be fixed across C5, C6 and C7. The determination by 2 spinal injury consultants was that, in their professional opinion, I would never walk again.
  • Undergoing a period of very challenging rehabilitation, coupled with facing a broad range of personal difficulties.

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