June 17th 2021

Covid Doctor completes Army Reserve Elite Pre-Parachute Training Course

Doctor Harjinder Bains

Dr Harjinder Singh Bains

Dr Harjinder Singh Bains has spent the COVID pandemic working in A & E and Intensive Care, treating the sick and saving lives, but despite a highly pressurised career, has also found time to pass the prestigious All Arms Pre-Parachute Selection Course (AAPPS) with the Army Reserve.

The AAPPS is an elite course available to both Regular and Army Reserve, which includes a 10 mile hike carrying 35lb rucksack and a rifle, the famous ‘trainasium’ or assault course at height, a log race, 2 mile march, steeplechase, ‘milling’ or boxing,  and a stretcher race. Harjinder humbly commented: “That was something that was quite challenging and required a big commitment.”

Harjinder Singh Bains

Captain Harjinder Singh Bains

Being of Sikh faith brings a lot of personal meaning to Harjinder’s role in the Army Reserve, as Sikhs are asked to be of service and contribute to wider society.  In addition, Harjinders’ great, great grandfather died in the First World War as part of the British Indian Army. So for Harjinder: “Becoming involved and continuing that tradition is something that I will look back on with pride.”

Harry, as he is known to his friends, is able to balance the two careers by carefully planning his commitments. Speaking of the Army Reserve, he said: “They are flexible in allowing you to pick up things you may have missed. They will help you fit your commitments around your civilian work, but will also support you if you are aiming to take on additional courses or qualifications. It ultimately comes down to time, organisation, and how willing you are to go that extra mile.”

Transferable skills and qualifications

Harry undertook the Professional Qualified Officers Course at Sandhurst, which he said helps him with his role as a Doctor. “I bring some of the leadership skills into my day job. Let’s say you are leading a trauma team or leading a cardiac arrest in emergency medicine, you can certainly hone down some of those command and control skills.”

Captain Harjinder commissioned as a Medical Officer in 2019 and is currently based with 144 Parachute Medical Squadron. The Squadron is part of 16 Medical Regiment who are part of the wider 16 Air Assault Brigade, which make up the airborne component of the British Army.

Harjinder was born in Dundee and graduated from Dundee University, completing his foundation years in Ninewells Hospital. When he made the move to Emergency Medicine, he transferred to the west coast of Scotland for a further 3 years of medical training. This was also where he began his part time career in the Army Reserve.

We asked Harjinder why people should join the Reserves, he simply told us: “If I’m able to deal with a pandemic and work in different units in the NHS, and be able to commit to something as arduous as the AAPPS course, then there are people who could do much greater things than me. The world’s your oyster depending on how you take opportunities.”

Interested in joining the Reserve Armed Forces? Find out more about what they do, why they are essential and how you can become part of them here:

Show your support for our Armed Forces this Armed Forces Week. To create your own resources, you can access Reserves Day logos and official photography  or see our Resources Pack.  For further information visit the Armed Forces Day website.

Elite UK Forces

Photo credit: Elite UK Forces

"It ultimately comes down to time, organisation, and how willing you are to go that extra mile.” - Captain Harjinder Singh Bains