Posted on: Wednesday 23 June 2021
Despite a dislike of public speaking, 25-year-old Jack Pritchard from Cwmbran is glad he was pushed out of his comfort zone.
It was during a training weekend at Bletchley Park that Jack was tasked to give a speech to the rest of his squadron on the wartime code breaker Bill Tutte.
“I hate public speaking and in my civilian job I don’t have to do anything like that and I don’t think I’ve spoken to a group of people since school. Even though to many people this would just be an everyday task, for me it was a big deal and I’m thankful to the reserves for pushing me to do something I wouldn’t normally do and proud of myself that I managed to do it,” said Jack.
Jack, who is a member of 614 Squadron, the only Royal Air Force Reserve unit in Wales, had always had an interest in a military career and was inspired to join after spotting an advert for the RAF reserves and thought it would be a challenge that would take him out of his comfort zone.
“It has exceeded every expectation and the skills, experience and the memories I’ve gained in my short military career I will remember for the rest of my life. I would recommend the RAF reserves to anyone thinking of joining,” said Jack, who is a team leader and bin lorry driver for Torfaen Council.
His primary role or trade within the reserves is logistics driver, with his typical responsibilities including driving a range of vehicles throughout the UK, Europe and on worldwide operational deployment or field exercises.
“What I do in my civilian career was a big reason why I chose logistics driver as my trade in the reserves. A lot of my skills that I have acquired from my day job are transferable to my military role. And from the skills I’ve gained from the military, I believe have boosted my performance in my civilian role,” said Jack.
“The best thing about being a reservist is the opportunity it brings, you can get out of it what you put into it. I've already done some incredible things in my short time as a reservist. Last year I was lucky enough to go to Rjukan in Norway for a week to take part in cold weather training which involved skiing, winter survival and avalanche training.
“I also had the honour last year of being part of Operation Rescript – which was the military’s role in supporting the civil authorities in the fight against Covid-19.
“We were tasked with running a mobile testing unit throughout the Midlands. Personally I feel I gained a lot of valuable life experience and I worked with a team with a wide variety of skill sets, from a lawyer to a photographer. That diversity in roles and skills is the beauty of the reserves, it brings out the best in you.
“During my time in the reserves I’ve gained skills in leadership, career management, teamwork and survival skills to name a few.”
Today, Jack will be among the 2,170 reserves in Wales celebrating Reserves Day. Throughout the United Kingdom, reservists make up approximately one sixth of the country’s Armed Forces personnel.
They play a vital role as part of the Defence family, speaking some of their spare time protecting the UK at home and abroad.
Reservists like Jack, who work for Torfaen Council, are supported through the Torfaen Armed Forces Covenant whereby they are granted special leave to fulfill their military duties or training. The covenant is a commitment by the council to support the Armed Forces Community, working and residing within the borough and to recognise and remember the sacrifices made by the Armed Forces Community.
This includes in-Service and ex-Service personnel and their families. In order to ensure that they are not disadvantaged when accessing public services.