AN AFRICAN-born Wiganer who combines soldiering with studies is preparing for life on the front line following a military review.
Reservist Trooper Sindisosialle Hlonwane, who arrived in the UK from Zimbabwe in 2006, combines his training in the armed forces with studying for a degree in mechanical engineering at Liverpool John Moore’s University.
The 23-year-old has been serving in the reserves for three years as a gunner and signaller, with his experiences including working at last year’s London Olympics providing security for the volleyball teams. The Astley serviceman could now be preparing for more active service in the world’s warzones as the Royal Mercian and Lancastrian Yeomanry (RMLY) has recently been upgraded to a new light cavalry role as part of a massive strategic review of Britain’s armed forces.
Tpr Hlonwane said: “I first joined the regiment and signed my oath of allegiance in June 2010. I initially signed up for the chance both to challenge myself and learn new skills that I have always wanted to learn since I left college.
“I moved to the UK from Zimbabwe in 2006 for a family reunion. My dad had been living here for a while and I had been a student back in Zimbabwe.
“I am also very keen on fitness and my interest has developed greatly since I joined the squadron. I have also managed to become a member of the 300 Club for attaining outstanding test results in the personal fitness assessment.”
Tpr Hlonwane recently joined 170 fellow troops for the regiment’s annual camp on Salisbury Plain as part of Exercise Eagle Warrior, which helps them switch to their new role as reconnaissance units from their previous job of operating the Challenger Two battle tank.
As part of the reserve’s new roles, he has been taking courses in aspects of combat ranging from cross-country driving to operating heavy machine guns and communications systems.
The reserves can also find themselves leaving their civilian work behind to support full-time troops in military operations, with 24 RMLY members recently returning from serving in Afghanistan.