IN the past week I’ve travelled more than 16,000 miles from Havant to the Falkland Islands – and back again – to pay my respects to British forces and veterans as we commemorate the conflict’s 35th anniversary this year.
Speaking to British people who live in the Falklands I saw first-hand the difference our armed forces made, as islanders now live in peace, freedom and security. That was down to the bravery and commitment of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, the army and the RAF who spent months away from loved ones protecting the islands after the Argentine invasion of 1982.
People like Mark Gibbs from Leigh Park, who was a 23-year-old Royal Marine at the time of the invasion, having joined the forces at 17. His bravery during the conflict earned him a South Atlantic Medal and he was also in the Falklands last week to mark the anniversary. It was an honour to meet him and hear his story.
Our armed forces’ work doesn’t all involve conflict. In many cases they’re on the front line dealing with humanitarian problems, tackling drug smuggling in the Caribbean, dealing with pirates off the east African coast, or helping people stranded by floods in Britain. The positive impact of our armed forces, including those from the Havant area, are felt not just in the Falklands, but around the globe.
It is a rewarding job with recruits learning life skills which are valuable not just in the forces but the civilian world too. Many former soldiers, airmen and sailors go on to successful careers after they leave.
At my second Havant Jobs, Apprenticeships and Careers Fair, backed by The News, all branches of the armed forces will be exhibiting, highlighting the various roles that they offer. Whether it is in engineering, logistics or design, the wide variety of jobs extends far further than just the front line.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the armed forces, come to the Havant Leisure Centre next Friday, March 3, between 10am and 4pm to talk to the army, navy and RAF. It might just be the career change you need.