March 20th 2024

Derby Reservist trains for Cyprus peacekeeping

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A café owner and part-time soldier from Willington is preparing to keep the peace in Cyprus with the UN.

Lance Corporal Jodie Culley is coming to the end of training before setting off in April for the six-month deployment on the divided island.

Jodie serves as a vehicle mechanic with 103 Battalion Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers (103 Bn REME), based at the Kingsway Army Reserve Centre in Derby. Rather than going to Cyprus in her trade role, Jodie is taking her place in the ranks of 4th Battalion The Parachute Regiment (4 PARA).

“I volunteered for this tour to deploy as a soldier,” the 34-year-old said. “I’ve done a six-month tour in Poland as a mechanic and we do a lot of soldiering alongside our trade skills, but I really wanted to experience a different role in the Army.”

In Cyprus, 4 PARA will provide the UK’s contribution to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). Jodie will be patrolling the 180km-long ‘Green Line’ buffer zone separating the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.

On the pre-deployment training, Jodie has improved her radio and medical skills, as well as learning public order drills to deal with confrontations.

Jodie, who runs Brunch’d Derby, joined 103 Bn REME in 2017.

“I joined up because I wanted to have something extra and a bit different in my life,” the former Murray Park Community School pupil said. “I get bored quite easy and the Army has given me different opportunities and a challenge, such as training to be a mechanic from scratch.

“I’ve gained a lot of confidence from my soldiering. I did a course to promote to lance corporal when I was in Poland and it gave me the confidence to come back and start my own business.”

Jodie is a keen Nordic skier and has been on three trips to Norway with the Army Reserve.

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