Three RLC service women are breaking new ground having been selected for key roles at the Infantry Training Centre (ITC) Catterick.
Capt Jacquie Barlow moves from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) to ITC as a Major in command of a Company. Capt Gemma Pearson moves from her role as Ops Officer 68 Sqn in 7 Regt RLC to take over as Adjutant ITC Support Battalion and SSgt Sheridan Lucas is promoted to WO2 and will become Company Sergeant Major (CSM) of Peninsular (Training) Company in Jun.
The trio will be among the first servicewomen to hold key positions at ITC Catterick and the move follows the announcement on 25 Oct 2018, by Defence Secretary, The Rt. Hon Gavin Williamson MP, that all branches of the Army were open to women, enabling female officers and soldiers to undertake close combat roles alongside men in the special forces, infantry and the Armoured Corps.
Capt Barlow and SSgt Lucas both have several years of top level military training experience, between them. Prior to her current role instructing LE officers at RMAS, sub 3hrs 30min marathon runner and talented Nordic skier, Capt Barlow, worked at 25 (Training) Regt RLC. SSgt Lucas was a Platoon Staff Sergeant, instructing DE officer cadets at RMAS and is currently an instructor at the Army Staff Leadership School, Pirbright. All three women were selected for their roles at ITC, because of their outstanding ability and operational experience.
ITC Catterick delivers Phase One training to all the Army’s infantry soldiers and runs four versions of the Combat Infantryman’s Course: Line Infantry, Foot Guards, Para and Gurkha. The ITC Support Battalion is responsible for providing management control and training support to the two infantry training battalions based at Catterick.
SSgt Lucas says: “With women anticipated to be among the recruit intakes at ITC going forward, there is a clear need for females to be on the DS. My role as a training company CSM will be exactly the same as my male equivalents, but I will also be there to provide assurance to the female recruits. As women have not completed any of the advanced infantry training courses, such as Senior Brecon, yet; the training will be delivered by the all-male platoon instructors. But I expect some serving female soldiers will transfer into the infantry over the coming months, so this could change over time. But with my experience gained at RMAS, I will certainly be closely involved on the drill square and on exercises.”
Capt Pearson, who is a member of the female Army rugby and netball teams, adds: “This is a great opportunity for all of us and I am very proud and excited to have been selected to serve on the staff at ITC Catterick. We are the trail blazers and our postings are a fantastic reflection on the breadth of experience contained within our Corps and the regard in which our professionalism is held.”