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The Army is not your average 9-5 job, no two days are the same. LOOK’s Zoe Gomez spent a jam-packed day with the British Army to find out for herself, and this is her firsthand account…
“I love giving new things a go and pushing myself to the limits, so I was really looking forward to my day spent with the Army Air Corps, learning the ropes. And it didn’t disappoint! We spent the day training with the ground crew learning how to fly helicopters, load aircrafts and look after the aircrafts.
We were up early and straight to work into our flying kit – big boots, helmets, gloves and flying jackets. It took quite a while to get it all on! Then we were taken to the flight simulation centre. This is where officers and sergeants learn to fly the helicopters and it has a specialist flight simulator for just that.
As a group we took it in turns to either learn how to fly, or be in the control centre. The centre allows you to choose the environment the pilot is in – so you can pick the weather, geographical location and whether they are battling missiles – all preparation for real life in the field. When it was my turn to go in the simulator, I was taught how to handle the controls. It was a lot of fun but it also gave you an idea of what the job would really be like.
Next we got training in loading the missiles on the helicopters. I regularly work out but they were so heavy! Not only that but they were a tricky shape so it definitely took dedicated training. There were three of us trying to lift one missile, but on the job there would be just two – it gave me such total and utter respect for the fitness levels of the female soldiers in the British Army! It’s no wonder that they train every day as well as join teams like their skiing and netball ones – you need to!
We then went for lunch with some of the women who live and work there full-time. They were all so lovely, and their backgrounds surprised me.
One of the women I met had an arts degree, whereas another was a footballer! So even though she was a trained engineer her job allowed her to travel the world playing in matches – she’d just come back from Las Vegas! I didn’t know that jobs in the Army could involve so much travelling and adventure.
They also obviously really loved their jobs, one of the women I was speaking to had been with the Army for 17 years – no surprise when she’s been all over the world with her job. As part of the Army Air Corps netball team she had also travelled to tournaments all over! I also met a woman called Emma, who actually met her partner through the military and is now buying a house with him.
Through hearing all of these women’s stories, it’s clear that there really is so much more to the Army than just fighting on the front line.
It was also nice to hear how their lives are just like mine: they’re working in the day time and at nights they can spend time with their friends, family’s or partners. It really just goes to show that there’s a place for everyone in the Army, regardless of background or education.
After lunch it was time to be shown all the aircrafts that are on the base, and then fly in a helicopter. Training to fly the helicopters usually takes four or five weeks, but if it’s an apache, it’s another years worth of training. The female soldiers told me that they often travel to different bases as part of their training. I was actually quite scared, but the experience was incredible! The sun was setting and it was just so amazing. I felt very privileged.
I’m so happy I took part in the day – it taught me so much about myself but also about The Army. I didn’t realise before how exciting the jobs are, with such opportunity to travel the world, experience a new adventure or just push yourself beyond your comfort zone.”
Find out more at look.co.uk/army.