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Officer Cadet from Cumbria graduates at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

Charles David Eric Rees
Charles David Eric Rees

[O]fficer Cadet Charles Rees, a 23-year-old from Grange-over-Sands in Cumbria, has joined the ranks of the British Army’s next generation of leaders, after passing out in a prestigious graduation ceremony at the world renowned Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, in front of the Prime Minister.

Passing out from Sandhurst marks the completion of 44 weeks of intensive military and academic training, combined with adventurous training and sporting challenges. As soon as Officer Cadets graduate, they enjoy immediate leadership responsibilities and will have guaranteed career progression through the ranks.

They will be in charge of a platoon of 30 soldiers, managing their skills, workloads and welfare, and could deploy on peacekeeping missions or deliver humanitarian aid within months of graduating. Sandhurst trains officers to prepare for leading their platoons in high pressure situations, while giving them a sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves.

With friends and family in the audience, Officer Cadet Rees took part in the Sovereign’s Parade in front of the Prime Minister, and now promotes to Second Lieutenant. The parade is a key milestone for every Army Officer and has been run at the end of each term for over 200 years.

2Lt Rees, who will be joining the Adjutant General’s Corps, said: “Being part of an elite group of people that have graduated as British Army Officers from Sandhurst makes me extremely proud. It’s one of the biggest challenges I have ever undertaken, but also one of the most rewarding.

“I cannot wait to be putting the leadership skills I’ve learned at Sandhurst to good use as part of my new Regiment.

“I would recommend an officer career to anyone looking for an exciting job away from the mundane nine to five, and especially if you want to move immediately into a leadership or management position.”

Major General Paul Nanson, Commandant Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, said: “Congratulations to all our Officer Cadets on their commissions. The Cadets have come from a wide variety of backgrounds – many have come straight from university, some from sixth form and some from within the Army’s soldier ranks – but they will now all embark on their Army careers with the same outstanding training.

“Being an Officer in the Army means supporting each of your soldiers and colleagues, sharing values and goals, and working together to achieve something that really matters. I look forward to seeing each of our new Officers realise their full potential as they embark on their careers with the Army.”

The parade ended in traditional fashion with the Academy Adjutant following the Officer Cadets up the steps and through the grand entrance, mounted on his horse.

After a formal lunch with friends, family and regimental officers, the day concluded in spectacular and celebratory style at the exclusive commissioning ball. There, at the stroke of midnight, the newly commissioned Second Lieutenants proudly displayed their rank insignia for the first time.

To join the Regular Army as an officer, candidates must be 18 – 26 years of age, attained at least seven GCSEs (with a minimum grade C in English Language, Maths and either a science or a foreign language) and also have 180 UCAS Tariff points from a maximum of 3 A level subjects.

Applicants attend a two day Army Officer Selection Board briefing, where leadership and teamwork skills are tested. Candidates then go to the selection board, which consists of a three-day assessment of physical and mental suitability for the role. Those successful, embark on a 44 week course taking place at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

Recruits earn a starting salary of £25,984 while they train. After five years officers can be earning at least £40,025 as a Captain.

For more information about the exciting career opportunities available in the Army search “Army Officer” or visit http://www.army.mod.uk/join/Join-as-an-Officer.aspx.

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