An Officer Cadet from the Cambridge University Officers’ Training Corps (CUOTC) won the COMEC Best Student Award after being nominated by her Commanding Officer.
2Lt Alice Walton-Knight excelled in her academic studies but also displayed outstanding leadership, a selflessness to her peers, and a passion for personal development.
Alice joined Cambridge UOTC in Oct 2018 while at Cambridge University. She commissioned in 2020, in her penultimate year of study. In her first year, she led a British Army deployment to Jordan in support of UK Defence Engagement. This was a huge organisational undertaking requiring extensive liaison with a Defence Attaché, as well as preparing a group of Officer Cadets for sharing experiences with Jordanian counterparts. She also led expeditions both overseas and in the UK.
Alice spent her third year on a language placement in Germany, but continued to deliver remote seminars including a Women in Leadership event and to women soon to attend Army Officer Selection Board – conducted on behalf of the National Recruiting Group. Alcie organised a charity fundraiser, Cambridge to Cape Town, that raised £5,000 and brought her fellow Officer Cadets together during lockdown. As lockdowns ended, and with a determination to make up for lost time, she successfully commanded a Platoon on the annual exercise, and separately provided training support to the Navy URNU.
During a 12-day training camp to select and prepare the CUOTC Cambrian Patrol team, Alice accepted the role of patrol commander.
Exercise Cambrian Patrol is one of the toughest international military competitions. Alice and her team completed the 60 km course in a competitive time having completed a river crossing, a CBRN reconnaissance, a section attack and managed a mass casualty scenario.
Her patrol was the only mixed gender team to be led by a woman and they were also awarded a bronze medal. Her patrol outperformed all-male elite units from both British and overseas armies.
Alice’s contribution to CUOTC is matched by the personal qualities she developed through the opportunities it presented.
She has honed her organisational skills by leading the annual recruiting team and compiling the Alumni journal. Alice built-up her confidence as a member of the debating team. She improved her physical resilience by playing netball and partaking in the Army Canoeing and Kayaking marathon.
Alice will attend the RMAS Regular Commissioning course in Sep 2022.
Officer Cadets like Alice who have completed their UOTC training must complete a further four weeks of training at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, to commission as a Regular Army Officer.
Commanding officer of the Cambridge UOTC, Lt Col Adrian Garrett said: “Alice is worthy of recognition and reward for her dedication to service. She is an outstanding leader and inspirational women, CUOTC would have been a lesser unit without her exceptional contribution and trail-blazing example.”
The UOTC delivers a broad syllabus of military training, leadership, adventure training, sport and personal development opportunities to its student Officer Cadets whilst providing an insight into the role, ethos and opportunities of the British Army. There is no commitment to join after university.
Every year, about a third of Regular Army Officers commissioning into the British Army are former members of a UOTC, rising to 60% of new Army Reserve Officers.
The University Officers’ Training Corps (UOTC) is an Army Reserve unit that recruits exclusively from university students. There are nineteen UOTCs which serve 150 Higher Education establishments across the United Kingdom. There are approximately 2,800 Officer Cadets.
Officer Cadets are paid for the training they undertake and, subject to attending an annual camp, receive an annual incremental bounty.
The Council of Military Education Committees of the Universities of the United Kingdom, COMEC, nurtures collaborative relationships between academic institutions and the military. In 1908, the then War Office established the University Officers Training Corps as part of the Haldane reforms, and at that time it was agreed that any university with an OTC must have a Committee of Military Education appointed by that university to act with the War Office.
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