A brother and sister duo is part of a five-strong Caymanian contingent who started their basic training with the Royal Bermuda Regiment at the weekend.
Theodore and Shandice Kelly, who will help form the nucleus of the officer corps in the new military force, were among the six candidates picked from a field of 70 who joined more than 30 Bermudian volunteers.
Officer Cadet Kelly, 29, from Bodden Town, a property manager and assistant boxing coach, said: “I was actually relieved we were both picked because we’re quite close.”
The former Master Sergeant in the Cayman Islands Cadet Corps said he had considered a career as a British Army officer a decade ago, but his career took another turn.
He said: “People say second chances don’t come, but I signed up for it and just did my best. It wasn’t a competition as such.”
His sister, 27, who also served in the Cadet Corps, added she was encouraged to apply for the new regiment by her former Commanding Officer and jumped at the chance.
She said: “I hadn’t been to Bermuda and it will put my cadet skills to good use.”
The administrative assistant in civilian life added she was not nervous at the prospect of two weeks of tough training in the 55-year-old RBR, although she had some concerns about the formidable climbing wall at the Warwick Camp assault course.
She explained: “I’m not scared of heights – but I am scared of falling.”
The five, along with O/Cdt Selena Sookoosingh, who will join a larger group for training in Bermuda later in the year, are all expected to go on the prestigious British Army officer training college, Sandhurst, to gain their commissions.
Fellow Officer Cadets Halston Farley and Gabe Rabess said they were happy to be in Bermuda as the camp began on Sunday.
O/Cdt Farley, 35, also from Bodden Town, said: “I’m looking forward to seeing how things are done here because we have to go back and start our regiment up.”
The primary school teacher, who has some previous military experience in Barbados and was Regimental Sergeant Major in the Cadet Corps, added he would welcome the “adventurous activities and re-familiarisation with the weapons system” in his time in Bermuda.
Gabe Rabess, 48, from George Town, said he was a police officer in the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and an ex-firefighter in London so his previous training had prepared him for the rigours of military life.
O/Cdt Rabess added: “I’m not really nervous. I’m looking forward to the weapons handling and map reading because I haven’t done that for a while.”
He added: “Bermuda is lovely. It’s a beautiful place – clean, although it’s a bit cold for us.”
O/Cdt Jonassi Swaby, 26, also once a Cayman Cadet Force junior soldier, said: “This is a passion I’ve had and I really enjoyed the adventure and training we took part in.
“I’m happy to be in Bermuda – I love it, except for the cold. I aim to get refreshed on my drill, become a better leader and build my confidence with my peers.”
He added: “This will get us back in shape and prepare us physically and mentally for Sandhurst.”
RBR Corporal Dijon Arruda, a part-time soldier who works in purchasing at the Hamilton Princess Hotel in Bermuda’s capital, Hamilton, will help train the new intake of soldiers.
He said it was “a privilege” to get the opportunity to help train the Cayman contingent.
Cpl Arruda added: “At the same time, it shows what the RBR can produce, not only for our own, but from others looking for that kind of training.
“All going well, and it should, there will be other Overseas Territories looking to start a regiment and I would be happy to be a part of that package.”
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