Article printed in Pathfinder magazine, November 2014.
Case Study: BJ Clarke, Instructor, ISSEE
I enlisted in Aug 1979 and served a full 22-year career as an Ammunition Technician in the RAOC & then the RLC. The majority of my ‘in-trade’ employment was spent in (what is now) 11 EOD Regt RLC, serving in Tidworth, Hounslow, Aldershot, Liverpool, Hereford, Herford, Bielefeld and Didcot.
I served in the Falklands, Ulster, Bosnia, Kosovo and was detached duty in Norway, Italy, Kenya, Belize, Jamaica, Botswana and the USA. All my operational tours were as an EOD/IEDD operator while most of my detached duty was for ammunition management and Conventional Munitions Disposal (CMD).
I really didn’t have an idea what to do when I left – I was training to become a Scene of Crime Officer (civilian) with a county police force, and my resettlement was all about training to do this. I had arranged some wet and digital photography training and was trying to gain sponsorship to go to Durham University to gain a civil forensic qualification.
My resettlement was excellent, however I found the C.V writing and interview techniques mini-courses excellent, as I’d only ever had one interview (to get into the Army) and never written a C.V.
However, I was very lucky, as I found a job with the Metropolitan Police as a bomb-disposal man in the Anti Terrorism branch.
Having spent 30 years in operational bomb disposal, I now instruct in a variety of ammunition and explosive subjects, anything from the storage of explosives to the making safe of chemical munitions and rendering safe of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
I’m currently running a two-month project to equip and train bomb disposal forces in a Middle East country that has a desperate need for indigenous EOD forces.
I see my future as a technical director of training and delivery.
My advice to those who are thinking of leaving the Service is to plan ahead, five years is not too long. Stay in until you have got all the qualifications you need for transition. Oh yes, and make sure you take advantage of the Army dentist… It costs a fortune when you get out!