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Wirral army reservist trains in Italy
9:52am Wednesday 25th September 2013 in News
A LANDSCAPE gardener from Bromborough has been training near Venice alongside soldiers of the Italian Army.
Lance Corporal Chris Prior was among more than 80 soldiers, most Army Reservists, from Anzio Company, 4th Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (4 LANCS), who spent two weeks working with Italy's 7th Infantry Regiment and 32nd Tank Regiment.
The 4 LANCS Infantry company not only includes fighting soldiers but also medics, chefs, training officers and other support staff, most of whom have civilian jobs but spend their spare time training as Army soldiers.
Chris, 41, has been working as the second in command of his team, a far cry from his day job.
He said: "At home I work day to day in general garden maintenance. I work for myself and it's a job I’ve done for some time now.
" I originally wanted to be in the Regular Army but it just passed me by. So five years ago I looked at 4 LANCS and joined up as a Reservist.
"I've always been interested in the outdoor life but being in the Army Reserve is also about the comradeship – it's a great bunch of people that I operate with."
Based at Camp Cellina Meduna in the north of the country, Exercise Roman Star was designed to link the reservists’ training with that of other NATO forces and ensure the best tactics and techniques are shared between partner nations.
It tested vehicle drills, attacks, night patrols, ambushes and ways to draw enemy soldiers out from cover.
Chris, who last year served in the 4 LANCS contingent which formed part of the military assistance to the Olympic Games, said he has really enjoyed working with the Italian Army.
"They’ve been really hospitable. The Italian soldiers have been moving us around the training area in their armoured personnel vehicles, it’s proven to be a really useful experience.
"The language, the terrain and the tactics are different so it’s been a steep learning curve, but the training we have done in preparation for being here has paid dividends."
In recent times Army Reserve training has been designed to produce individual soldiers which could slot into Regular units on operations, as and when required. As the military commitment in Afghanistan draws down, Roman Star marks a shift towards developing fully formed deployable units which train more closely with the Regular Army.
Chris said he is excited at the prospect of working even more closely with Regular forces both at home and abroad: "I'm really looking forward to the future and the opportunities that are going to become available to me as an Army Reservist.”
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