Salford student training in Italy

Wednesday 25 September 2013

A geography student from the University of Salford has been training as an Army Reservist in Italy.

Kingsman Craig Shone was among more than 80 men and women from Anzio Company, 4th Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (4 LANCS), who spent two weeks working with Italy’s 7th Infantry Regiment and 32nd Tank Regiment.

The 4 LANCS Infantry company not only includes fighting soldiers but also medics, chefs, training officers and other support staff, most of whom have civilian jobs but spend their spare time training as Army soldiers.

Craig, 23, from Liverpool, said: “I’m actually studying glaciers, so it’s quite nice to be here where we can see The Dolomite mountain range.”

Craig took a break from his third year of studies to train with the Italian Army, a far cry from his university career spent in lecture theatres and libraries on campus. He said: “Some of the other students know about what I do and I think they respect me for it, and my tutors are very understanding of what I do. Being in the Reserve has boosted my confidence, particularly in public speaking, and it’s really brought on my map reading skills!”

 “The Army Reserve gives me an opportunity to have two lifestyles but I couldn’t do it without my mum Suzy who gives me 100 per cent support 24/7 – she keeps me going.”

Based at Camp Cellina Meduna in the north of the country, Exercise Roman Star was designed to link the reservists’ training with that of other NATO forces and ensure the best tactics and techniques are shared between partner nations. It tested vehicle drills, attacks, night patrols, ambushes and ways to draw enemy soldiers out from cover.

Craig said he has really enjoyed working with the Italian Army: “This exercise has been a real step up in training and it shows that we are putting in the effort and the time to meet the standards needed of us.”

The Officer Commanding Anzio Company, Major Nick Kennon is pleased with the way his Reservists have responded to the challenge: “We have got an awful lot out of this exercise. We’ve been changing the direction of training; it’s no longer about getting individuals ready for Afghanistan, we’re going back to training as a unit so we can ultimately be paired with and train with a Regular battalion. The soldiers I have had with me here in Italy are meeting that challenge really well and are committed to building up to the new role that they’re required to play.”

Craig said: “I’m excited by this new training schedule and I’m looking forward to getting to work on new types of equipment. For example; working with the Italian tanks has been a fantastic experience and I would love to do an operational tour with the lads.”

For more information about how to become a Reservist search Army Jobs.