Two colleagues from Airbus UK’s Bristol plant are back at their desks after completing a special assignment as Army Reserve combat engineers in NATO exercises in Romania.
Marc Turner, aged 44, who works in Airbus’s A350 certification team, has completed 20 years’ service in the Reserves, including operational tours to Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
It was his enthusiasm for Army life that in 2015 persuaded Neil Loftus, a 23-year-old test rig design and sizing engineer, to follow his example and join the Bristol detachment of the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia) at Whiteladies Road Army Reserve Centre.
“I’m from an Army family and at one time considered a full-time service career,” said Neil, who lives in Patchway and is a Sapper. “So it wasn’t a difficult decision to join up, initially while I was studying at the University of the West of England as part of my Airbus apprenticeship.
“Work and the Army fit well together for me, especially as both involve engineering. It means I can view it from completely contrasting perspectives – from primarily a desk job in the day time to very much hands-on at weekends.”
Airbus UK is a signatory to the Armed Forces Covenant, granting employees additional paid leave for annual training and mobilisation commitments, and is also a long term supporter of Armed Forces Week and Reserves Day.
Marc, a Reconnaissance Sergeant, lives in Clifton and says he has always enjoyed challenges such as the Romanian exercise – “opportunities to experience things that a civilian employer can’t offer.
“And, of course, the experiences and knowledge gained in the Reserves can be invaluable in many ways when you return to the civilian job.”
The Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers mounted a joint effort with the US Army’s 926th Engineer Brigade in building a range to withstand future combat engineers’ attempts to blow it up. The construction project is a part of Operation Resolute Castle 2017 at the Joint National Training Center, Cincu, Romania.
The Royal Monmouthshire are proud to be the only Army unit with two “royals” in their title, a result of the Royal Monmouthshire Light Infantry becoming a Royal Engineer unit more than a century ago. They provide combat engineer Reserves for operations in the UK and abroad.
“We are always on the lookout for recruits with artisan skills – carpenters, bricklayers, plumbers, electricians and more,” Marc added.
For more information about the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia) go to http://www.army.mod.uk/royalengineers/units/28725.aspx .