Rifleman Ben Eden from A Company 7 RIFLES
Rifleman Ben Eden, 21, 7 Rifles attached to 2 Rifles for Op Herrick 20/ Toral 1
I live in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, and am part of 2 platoon A company 7 Rifles. My ARC (army reserve centre) is approximately 2 miles away from my house, in High Wycombe, with the company location being in Abingdon, Oxford.
On civvie street I work as an assistant manager at a nearby restaurant called ‘The Britannia’ owned by McMullen and Sons, who are based in Hartford. I have wanted to join the armed forces ever since I was a kid. This ambition never really left me, and would have led to gaining a sponsorship through university with the regular army, If I decided to go to university (which I decided was not for me as I didn’t think it was worth the £9000 a year in tuition fees). After making the decision not to go to university I still looked at joining the regular army after completing my A-levels, but without going for a commission.
When I turned 18 I started to work at my local pub and quickly realised that I really enjoyed working in pubs, and was quickly promoted. By the age of 19 I knew this would be my career after being left to run the pub for 2 weeks whilst my general managers went on holiday. Soon after that my current place announced that it was opening, and my boss told me to go and apply there if I was serious about one day running my own pub, as it was part of a chain and my local pub was not. I went, applied and got a job. Once again I was quickly put onto courses, gained qualifications and gained promotions.
As soon as I realised I wanted to work in this trade, I also realised that I could not join the regulars. I started to look for other options, and found that there was an ARC nearby! I went down on the Tuesday evening, spoke to the recruitment NCO, and before I knew it I was on selection and then being attested and starting phase one training. I have now been in the army reserves for a little over 3 years.
As soon as the option to volunteer for this tour came up I knew I wanted to go on it and applied, along with 2 others from my company. Within no time, I had the documents for mobilisation come through my door and immediately went to tell my bosses that I would be away for a year. They were really supportive about and wished me good luck with it.
At first we were all a bit anxious about how we would fit in with our regular counterparts but within no time we were quickly integrated into their ranks and were going through daily life in camp along side them. Whilst on our confirmation exercise we continued to prove ourselves and show that we were more than willing and that were more than capable of the job, with one of our guys surprising everyone by being able to bring his civilian job (refrigeration engineer) to the table and fixing the foxhounds air conditioning.
We are here in Kabul to provide a QRF (quick reaction force) to the Kabul area and to provide security for people who need to travel around the city.
For more information on the unit please visit http://www.serfca.org/en-gb/reservists/armyreserve/bhq7thbattaliontherifles.aspx