Private (Pte) James Rule (25) from A Company, 3rd Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (3PWRR) based in Farnham is taking part in 2017’s Exercise Northern Strike at Camp Grayling, Michigan. It is a two-week annual training exercise, which reservists are required to attended. James’ hometown is Guildford in Surrey, where he lives in a flat.


James only recently became a reservist; he started his training in May 2016 and completed his phase two training at Catterick only four months ago. He has a mum, dad and two older brothers and a sister; his only connection to the military is through his grandfather who he believed served in the British Army. He joined A Company because they are his local unit but also because he said, “they have a great history.”

Having only recently joined the Regiment, Exercise Northern Strike is James’s first deployment.  James said, “ I joined the reserves because I needed to make a difference in my life and a gain a bit of experience, I like to be outdoors so have got the best of both worlds in joining the reserves. Initially I wanted to join as a regular but then my education became more important and I decided to go to university instead.”

James continued, “I went to university in Southampton and gained a degree in advertising which has now led me down the path of becoming Graphic Designer.” James said, “I am not naturally academic but I forced myself through.” He was keen to develop and utilise his skills first, which is why he then chose to join the reserves later and then enjoy the fun part of army life.

James now runs his own successful Graphic Designer business as a freelancer. He said, “It’s great, there are so many benefits, I can afford the time off to enjoy all the training opportunities being a reservist provides.” He is going skiing next year with the Battalion and is thoroughly looking forward to it.

When asked about what his family thought about him going to Michigan on his first exercise James said, “They were scared for me at first but pleased, I told them all about the activities and experiences I would gained and they were excited for me.” Looking to the future James is hoping to complete his driving test through the army and get on some more courses and see where life it takes him next.

He said, “The exercise has been really fun, I haven’t get much sleep but it’s such a learning experience. The American have some great capability assets, I’ve flown in their black hawks not just once either –I’ve been flying into and out of live fire exercise. I have also flown in a Chinook and trained to use an Under-slung Grenadier Launcher (UGL) and got a direct shot on the head. I was pretty happy with that, so overall it’s been a really good experience so far. He added, “I’ve gained lots of friends which is one of the best things, they are my second family.”


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