August 12th 2013

Reservist lands back in UK following exchange visit

A female Reservist from Wigston Harcourt in Leicester has now landed back in the UK after swapping places with a colleague in the United States (US) as part of a military exchange programme.

Corporal Rebecca Smailus, aged 32 years, from 222 Medical Squadron, based at Brentwood Road TA Centre in Leicester travelled to Camp Rapid in South Dakota (Joint Forces HQ) to take part in the US Army annual camp.
Miss Smailus, who works as a Registered Nurse at Leicester Royal Infirmary in her civilian life, was in America for two weeks in which time she took part in activities including medical exercises and adventure training.
Rebecca joined the Army Reserve around two years ago after completing six years regular service in the British Army where she took part in operational tours of Kosovo and Northern Ireland.
Further to Miss Smailus’s exchange to America – Staff Sargent Caren Evangelista will be travelling from Guam in Hawaii, where her parent unit is based, to Halton in Lancashire where our local 222 Medical Squadron is taking part in their 2013 annual camp this September.
Corporal Smailus said: “I feel privileged that I was able to represent my Country, the Army, nursing and the Leicester Royal Infirmary Emergency Department where I work as a civilian. I enjoyed all of the training exercises I took part in although some of the activities were quite challenging. During one exercise I was informed that the area was inhabited by mountain lions, black widow spiders, ticks and rattle snakes so this was certainly different to areas we train in on home soil!
“Throughout our exercise time I continued to learn from our allies and them from me, although most of the medical training was similar in process. One of the exercises that stood out for me was when we took part in ‘Mandatory Army Combative Training’. This was a great learning curve as it demonstrated to us that communication goes hand in hand with the use of any specialised kit in a combat situation. For example, good communication skills could help a solider to calm individuals down in a hostile situation or help comfort civilians who may be aggressive due to illness or injury.
“Each training exercise was followed by a debrief in which a range localised staff gave positive constructive criticism and praised individuals for their efforts. I feel honoured to have been involved in this experience, and will definitely share my learning with colleagues in my unit.”