Armed Forces week culminates with Armed Forces Day on Saturday 26 June and this period gives the opportunity to show your support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community. This community is made up of serving personnel, veterans, reservists, and all the Service families and cadets around the country. Within Armed Forces week we also recognise Reserves Day (Wednesday 23 June) which is an opportunity for the country to recognise our Reserve Forces, which are made up of those who volunteer to serve in our Armed Forces in their spare time whilst holding down other careers.
But why do we need to show support for our Armed Forces community? We are not at war – combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan ended years ago so the Armed Forces are not doing much at the moment, right? Wrong! The Armed Forces are constantly vigilant helping to protect us all so that we may get on with our lives in peace.
The Royal Navy constantly protects our territorial waters and sea lanes that carry 95% of our goods (and critically, 80% of our food) and a large Carrier Strike Group is now on its way to the Indian Ocean. The Royal Navy has intercepted major drugs shipments and also assisted with hurricane relief across the Caribbean last September.
The Army is heavily committed to keeping other threats at arm’s reach through its deployments to deter Russian aggression into the Baltic States, and training Iraqi and Afghan forces to counter extremist insurgencies. The Queen’s Dragoon Guards, along with the Royal Anglian Regiment, has just deployed troops as the British contingent of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Mali.
The Royal Air Force is permanently scanning our skies for threats, and as well as maintaining the security of our own airspace is currently also policing NATO airspace from Romania and Chinooks from RAF Odiham are supporting French forces in Mali. The RAF has also supported humanitarian and disaster relief operations.
And, of course, when there is a national emergency – who do you call? The Armed Forces. Throughout the pandemic, the Armed Forces have provided significant support to the national effort, from driving Ambulances in Wales, to airlifting medical supplies around the Highlands, to building NHS Nightingale hospitals, and even administering vaccines.
It was the Armed Forces’ support over Christmas in testing hauliers trying to cross into Europe that kept the nation’s trading life blood flowing and Armed Forces doctors and nurses gave much needed extra capacity and expertise to the NHS’s response to COVID-19.
Logistical planners have supported councils rolling out testing programmes. Drivers, engineers and musicians have been deployed to support testing sites, and many more. Mobile Testing Units were a military innovation and the Armed Forces have also been supporting the transport of supplies, testing kits, PPE and vaccines, to our overseas territories, including the Caribbean, Ascension and Falkland Islands. They also supported the repatriation flights at the start of the pandemic by bringing British citizens home from across the world where they were stranded.
Behind each of those headlines will be personal and family sacrifices – short notice deployments that disrupted family plans, empty places at Christmas, missed birthdays, and extended deployments due to the need to quarantine before and after unbroken six months deployments. There is a lot to be thankful for.
Let’s be grateful for those who step forward and volunteer to serve to protect our values, our way of life and all those things we hold dear.
Let’s also be thankful for their families whose lives are often affected by the fact that service often takes priority over everything.
Let’s also be grateful for our veterans, whose service has helped protect our freedoms and who continue to make such a valuable contribution to the British economy and society. And, let’s also appreciate the Cadet Force Adult Volunteers who devote their time to develop those young people who have seized the amazing opportunity of membership of our Cadet movements. Their efforts help shape the better citizens of tomorrow, by instilling values and qualities into members of the younger generation that help them achieve more.
As a business, Trinity is committed to the Armed Forces Community. As a gold award holder of The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) which encourages employers to support Defence and ensure business values and policies align with the specific needs of the Armed Forces Community, it’s something Trinity commits to every day. There are specific HR policies for reservists, the business supports flexible working for spouses of serving personnel, and the Armed Forces community is at the heart of everything Trinity does as a business. This goes above and beyond the core offering of insurance specifically for the military.
Everyone at Trinity will take a moment this week to demonstrate support for the Armed Forces community.
Photo credit: ©UK MOD Crown Copyright 2020