Reservist returns to Hitchin Army Reserve Centre from Kenya deployment

Our Army Reserve Centre in Hitchin is the home of 162 Medical Squadron, part of 254 Medical Regiment. We caught up with one of the Squadron’s reservists Jemma, who has just returned from a deployment in Kenya running a pharmacy.

Jemma joined the British Army Reserves as a pharmacy technician two years ago. “From the moment I took my oath of allegiance, I was welcomed into a community of like-minded individuals, each driven by a shared sense of duty and service. I had found my place, within the Army Reserves family.”

Reservist Jemma in uniform in a pharmacy smiling as she takes an item from the shelf

Part of the Hitchin community

Jemma lives in Hitchin and works as an NHS pharmacy technician in her civilian career; she is entrusted with the safe and efficient dispensing of medications, playing a vital role in supporting the health and well-being of individuals in the Hitchin community.

“Balancing these dual roles requires careful planning and coordination,” said Jemma. ” I must ensure that my civilian commitments are met while also fulfilling my obligations as a reservist. This means juggling work schedules, training exercises, and deployments with precision and foresight. But it all feels worthwhile, and I’m grateful ofr the opportunity to make a difference both in my community and on a larger scale.”

Jemma is also an avid football player. “On the football pitch, I’ve honed my teamwork, leadership, and resilience—qualities that are equally valuable in military operations. Whether it’s rallying my teammates during a tough match or strategizing on the field, I’ve learned to thrive under pressure and overcome adversity with determination and grit.”

The Army Reserve Centre is not only the home of 162 Medical Squadron. Reservists with 3 Company the Royal Anglian Regiment also train here, as do the Hitchin Army Cadets and 1066 (Hitchin) Squadron Air Cadets. The site has been upgraded over the years by the East Anglia RFCA Estates team, with a new Cadet Centre opened in 2013 culminating most recently in a grand re-opening event of the new Army Reserve building by HM Lord-Lieutenant for Hertfordshire, Mr Robert Voss, last September.

A supportive employer made deploying to Kenya possible

“Embarking on a deployment to Kenya as an Army pharmacy technician just two years into my military career was a transformative experience made possible by the unwavering support of my civilian employer.”

Jemma reservist deployed to Kenya

“The opportunity to deploy to Kenya came unexpectedly. As a pharmacy technician, I was tasked with providing essential pharmaceutical support in a challenging and dynamic environment. From dispensing medications to coordinating medical supplies, every action we took had a direct impact on the health and well-being of those we served.”

“Throughout my time in the Army Reserves, my civilian employer has stood by me, understanding the dual commitment I carry and the value I bring to both roles. Their support has been instrumental, allowing me to fulfil my military duties without sacrificing my civilian career aspirations.”

“The skills and experiences gained from each role complement and reinforce one another. The attention to detail and organisational skills honed in my civilian role translates seamlessly to my responsibilities as a reservist, while the leadership and teamwork abilities cultivated in the military enhance my performance in the pharmacy setting.”

“While deployed, I leaned on the skills and knowledge gained from both my civilian and military roles. The training and experience I acquired as a pharmacy technician in civilian life prepared me to handle the complexities of pharmaceutical operations in a resource-limited setting. Likewise, the discipline and adaptability instilled in me through military training enabled me to navigate the unique challenges of deployment with confidence and resilience.”

Our Regional Employer Engagement Director (REED) for East Anglia, Kristina Carrington, is the local contact for reservists’ employers. Part of the RFCA Defence Relationship Management team, she can provide employers with information and advice on working with Defence to ensure reservists can be deployed hassle-free for the civilian employer. The REED and the county RFCA Employer Engagement groups encourage more employers to sign the Armed Forces Covenant, and support employers in applying for a Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Award.

254 Medical Regiment has headquarters at our Cherry Hinton Army Reserve Centre in Cambridge. They have Squadrons in multiple locations and their reservists specialise in providing the very highest standards of emergency medicine and healthcare for soldiers on operations, with a number of additional opportunities for supporting roles such as chefs, mechanics and drivers. They are welcoming applications to join their team by contacting the nearest unit.

Jemma trained as a combat medical technician

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