By Trainee Rifleman Pujan Balal, 3 (Tobruk) Platoon
Cultural awareness stands as a pivotal component of our training program at Gurkha Company Catterick. Corporal Siddhanta Pradhan orchestrated a novel messing between Trainee Riflemen from 3 (Tobruk) Platoon and Arnhem Platoon (The Parachute Regiment Training Company) to help foster a rich environment for learning and collaboration. This is particularly important between the diverse units of The Parachute Regiment and the Brigade of Gurkhas as many of us will go on to serve together in 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team.
The Parachute Regiment Trainees and Gurkha Trainees emanate from vastly different cultural origins. The PARAS, stemming from the United Kingdom, boast a unique array of customs, traditions, and communication styles. Conversely, Gurkha recruits hail from Nepal, bringing with them a rich heritage comprising language, rituals, and social norms. Bridging this cultural divide proved vital to constructing trust and unity within 2 Infantry Training Battalion (2 ITB) and hopefully into the future of our service.
We executed a cultural exchange messing event between the two units. The notion was brilliant and supported Gurkha Company Catterick’s theme of preparing Trainees for service alongside our British counterparts. This also exposed the Parachute Regiment Trainees to the traditions of the Gurkhas, and our traditionally prepared food cooked on wood fires in the messing huts.
In the evening we welcomed Arnhem Platoon, and our Platoon Commander gave an address. This was followed by a presentation about our life in Nepal, the Gurkha selection process, and personal experiences of the Combat Infantry Course. This was followed by a delectable array of starters and drinks. The evening then progressed showcasing the traditional Doko and the iconic Kukuri. Our new friends engaged enthusiastically with the equipment. The main dish of the evening was a delicious pork and chicken curry and rice dish. Both sets of trainees must adapt to the separation from their families. Both have chosen to dedicate to Army service, and the rigorous training and hard work required to succeed. Our shared residency facilitated mutual support and camaraderie.
Through language enhancement, cultural sensitivity, and a shared commitment to excellence, the Parachute Regiment and Gurkha Trainees succeeded in forging a distinctive bond. This bond not only augmented their collective capabilities but also contributed to a more harmonious military community and will set us up for service together in the future.
Following the success of this event, all Platoons of Gurkha Company Catterick will host a Platoon of British Trainees prior to the end of their training course, and 3 (Tobruk) Platoon looks forward to being invited to an away fixture by Arnhem Platoon.