Private Antony ‘Gus’ Gusterson was recently promoted into a supervisory role in his signals job with Network Rail. “I know that the confidence, leadership and communication skills I’ve learnt in the Reserves helped me to both get the job and make the step up to managing a team,” the 33-year-old said.
Gus, a 33 year old father of two, is a driver with 158 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps (158 Regt RLC) based at the Army Reserve Centre in Colchester. He has just returned from two weeks on Exercise Iron Titan, which saw him at the wheel of a Man SV truck to drive supplies hundreds of miles across the country to keep the Army’s Apache and Wildcat helicopters flying and in the fight.
“I’ve done a fair few road trips, moving everything from fuel to rations from Wattisham in Suffolk as far as up the country as Arbroath in Scotland,” he said. “You really get to know the person sharing the cab with you on those long journeys!”
158 Rgt RLC was training in its new role providing logistic support to frontline aviation units, paired with the Regulars of 7 Aviation Support Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. It’s the first time the partnership has been tested. The Regular and Reserve units practiced how they would operate together to keep Apache and Wildcat helicopters flying and in the fight. Key tasks included keeping the aviation units supplied with fuel and ammunition and providing specialist repair and maintenance capabilities for helicopters. The six-week-long manoeuvres involve 6,000 troops working out of 22 locations across the South West, West Midlands and Wales.
“To have that clear role and build relations with regular units has been interesting,” Gus said. “We work together really well. They manage the stores and we transport them; we need each other to achieve the mission.”
Gus previously served in the Regular Army. “I joined up at 16, didn’t enjoy it and left quite quickly. After a few years I thought I’d give it another go in the Reserves to have something a bit different in my life.” Since joining as a Reservist with 158 Reg RLC, Gus has also earned an HGV licence and an ADR licence to transport dangerous goods.
The reservists of 158 Regiment RLC are based out of Army Reserve Centres in Peterborough, Bedford, Ipswich and Colchester in the Eastern Region, with more locations in the East Midlands. Network Rail was awarded a Gold ERS award in 2017, which was re-validated by the Ministry of Defence in 2022, for their support to Defence people. East Anglia RFCA maintains the Army Reserve Centres and nurtures positive engagement in the community for Private Gusterson and the other reservists, cadets and cadet force adult volunteers in the region.