For over 20 years, Babatunde has served his country as an Army Reservist including two tours of Afghanistan and worked as a Police Officer for 16 years.
He joined the Army Reserves whilst studying at university. Babatunde says, “At the time, it appealed to me as a great opportunity to get fit and do something meaningful at the same time.” That certainly became a reality in 2008 when he was deployed on Op Herrick in Afghanistan and again in 2010. Babatunde is a member of 101 Engineer Regiment, 217 Field Squadron, which is an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and Search trained squadron who enable a greater capability for the Regular Army for UK based and foreign taskings.
“I was mobilised on Op Herrick 8 as an EOD operator No. 3 in the summer of 2008. This was a kinetic tour where I was involved in varied roles from EOD, Search, Incident Response Team (IRT), forensic investigation/ recovery with Weapon Intelligence Specialist (WIS) and infantry escort for both road and foot moves. One of the tour highlights included being part of a 2-week road move as the flanking EOD support team escorting hydro turbines, taking off from Lashkar Gah and across the dessert to the Kajaki Dam.
“The great thing about the Reserves is you keep moving forward, gaining more skills. I went on to complete the EOD 804 course and IEDD (Improvised Explosive Device Destruct) training, mobilising again in 2010 for Herrick 12 as an EOD No.2 in an IEDD Team. This tour was a mixture of kinetic ops and the delivery of EOD awareness training to UK and coalition call signs.
“Both of these experiences were incredibly motivating and the momentum continues. Most recently, I was the Squadron Quarter Master for my unit. This is the administrative function which ensures the unit has the required materials and logistics input to function. For my next adventure, I’m about to start as an Instructor at the University of London Officers’ Training Corps.”
Impressively, this Army career has co-existed with Babatunde’s role within the British Transport Police. Recently promoted to Inspector, Babatunde says, “My Reserves training has provided me with exceptional leadership skills, which I believe is beneficial for my role as a Police Officer. The officers under my command and the public which we serve benefit from this ethical leadership.”
At times, it’s challenging to navigate shift patterns and to balance working weekends with training weekends, but the British Transport Police support their Reserves well, permitting an additional 10 days annual leave to fulfil mandatory Army training.
Babatunde certainly has no regrets about becoming a Reservist. “Every experience has been beneficial in moulding my core values. I would say anyone joining the Reserves should do so with an open mind and take learning from the experience. It is an opportunity to instil some discipline in yourself which will radiate to those you come in contact with.”