Ben completes Army training

Private Ben Mellish from Kirriemuir is pictured (centre) with Lieutenant Colonel Pete Little, Commanding Officer 7 SCOTS (left) and Regimental Sergeant Major (WO1) Scott West 7 SCOTS.

Private Ben Mellish from Kirriemuir is pictured (centre) with Lieutenant Colonel Pete Little, Commanding Officer 7 SCOTS (left) and Regimental Sergeant Major (WO1) Scott West 7 SCOTS.

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A TERRITORIAL Army soldier from Kirriemuir has completed a gruelling training course that has prepared him for action.

Private Ben Mellish (23) undertook an extremely mentally and physically demanding course designed to teach and test young soldiers to become second in command of an infantry section on the battlefield or in barracks.

The cadre took place in Edinburgh where an experienced team of Regular Army personnel put 54 students through their paces.

The course covered infantry skills and drills ranging from tactical awareness while conducting platoon and section operations, personal fitness, speed marches, and command leadership and management.

Although members of the TA were only required to complete module 1 of the cadre, lasting the first two weeks, Ben’s performance throughout earned him a recommendation to stay for the remaining four weeks to complete module 2 which is a mandatory requirement for all Regular soldiers. The cadre culminated in a five day exercise at Otterburn Training Area to assess the students’ potential and ability to command an infantry four man fire team.

Private Mellish, a former pupil of Webster’s High School, said: “Becoming a qualified infantry section second in command is like becoming a time served plumber, electrician or stone mason who has had to spend a number of years honing his basic skills in order that he in turn can nurture and mentor young apprentices of the future - the same applies to the infantryman. To that end the cadre was a once in a lifetime experience, one which I enjoyed and one which I will never forget. I had a rare opportunity to test my ability to command soldiers under extremely demanding circumstances alongside greatly experienced Regular Army soldiers - I’ve learned a great deal about myself.”

Captain Alan McEwen, Regimental Operations Support Officer at 7 SCOTS added: “Private Mellish joined 51st Highland, 7th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (7 SCOTS) the TA infantry battalion covering the north of Scotland in May 2010. From a young age, Ben always wanted to join the Army and to satisfy his desire to become an Infantry soldier he joined 7 SCOTS, which allowed him the time to complete his full time studies.

“His initial Phase 1 and Phase 2 training was conducted at the Inverness Training Centre and took the form of an intensive seven week programme designed to turn civilians into TA soldiers. Private Mellish is a highly motivated, physically fit, and intelligent young man who was both schools and county cross country running champion, Ben achieved very high standards throughout this initial training and to his enormous credit, finished as best overall student. During his career Ben deployed to Afghanistan between October 2011 and March 2012 with The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 SCOTS) where he seamlessly fitted into a platoon of Regular soldiers. The battalion was primarily tasked as advisers and mentors to the Afghan National Security Forces.

“On completion of this hugely successful deployment and following a strong recommendation from 3 SCOTS, he has recently submitted an application to join the Regular Army with a preference for the Parachute Regiment.”