DISTINGUISHED NAVAL RESERVIST GAINS GREATEST PRIZE
A decorated naval reservist who has been recognised for her bravery inAfghanistanby the Queen has been commissioned at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC)Dartmouth, inDevon.
Midshipman Michelle "Mich" Ping QVRM (Queen's Volunteer Reserves Medal) proudly passed fit for duty in front of her family and friends who had gathered to watch her final parade at the Royal Navy's Officer training college.
Alongside 18 other Royal Naval Reservists, it marked a culmination of nearly two years of training and preparation at Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) training Units across the country. As well as holding down civilian jobs, the reservists Officer Cadets have to attend a gruelling and intensive final two weeks at BRNC, putting their commitment and training so far to the test, before obtaining a commission in the Royal Navy.
Taking the salute at the parade was Captain David Teasdale RNR, Training Captain Maritime Reserve. In his address to the newly commissioned Midshipmen and their families, he acknowledged the pressures that RNR personnel are under as they balance a RNR career, family life and the additional demands of a civilian job. He went on to thank the families for supporting the cadets in their journey so far and asked them to continue to support them in the years to come.
Michelle joined the Royal Navy in 1992 as an Air Engineering Mechanic (AEM) and completed six years regular service before joining the RNR Air Branch. As a Reservist she served at Royal Naval Air Stations Culdrose and Yeovilton as well as the Commando Helicopter Force working on Sea King helicopters. She has been recalled to service on three occasions and has deployed on operations inBosnia,Kosovo,IraqandAfghanistan. Awarded the QVRM in 2012 she picked up in the same year a Mention in Dispatches (MID) for her courageous actions inAfghanistanwhilst saving the life of a wounded colleague during a fire fight with the Taleban. Michelle has also won the “Sun Military Award” (Millie) for Reservist of the Year and the prestigious Yorkshire Woman of the Year in 2012.
Upon passing her Admiralty Interview Board in 2013 she transferred from the RNR Air Branch to HMS King Alfred, the RNR Unit in Portsmouth where she conducted her training and preparation required to attend BRNC Dartmouth. In the 35 year history of the RNR Air Branch she is the first rating to be commissioned from the ranks. Michelle has now to complete further training and pass a Royal Navy Fleet Board exam before she starts her specialist training as an RNR Officer.
"This is one of the proudest moments of my life," said Michelle. “I could never have imagined that I would be here as a Royal Naval Officer when I joined up all those years ago. It's been hard work but worth all the blood, sweat and tears"
When not on duty with Maritime Reserve activities her day job is a paramedic with the Ambulance Service and she is currently based at the National Ambulance Resilience Unit at Winterbourne Gunner in Wiltshire.