The Infantryman

Member Profile
Rank  Private
Name Johathan Grey
Unit Support Company 27th Infantry Battalion

I am 25 years old and I joined the army three-and-a-half years ago. I’m not long home after serving with the 102 Infantry Battalion in Chad.Most people would be aware of what we do as soldiers when we are on operations on-the-ground or overseas, but wouldn’t know what we do throughout the year back in barracks.As a unit close to the border we still carry out border familiarisation patrols, though this is not one of our primary roles today.

When the full battalion is in barracks the companies operate in cycles of training one week and duties the next. Training week can involve anything from familiarisation with the .5 HMG to revision of infantry tactics. We carry out our regular regimental duties either here in Aiken Barracks or at brigade
level. We also conduct aid-to-thecivil-power duties, such as cash, prisoner and EOD escorts, and we also perform duties in Portlaoise Prison. Aid-to-the-civil-authority tasks also come in from time to time. For example, during the heavy snow and freezing weather last December, that left many people around Dundalk isolated, especially the elderly, we had a platoon on stand-by for two weeks ready to assist the local authorities. We helped the local town council in gritting footpaths and roads. We also assisted the local schools and hospitals in clearing the snow so they could get staff, students, and patients in and out.

Our drivers also helped nurses and other essential personnel to get in and out of work and brought them to see patients that were cut off and needing assistance. Apart from that, the battalion gets regular warning orders from brigade headquarters in Dublin to provide troops for exercises and ceremonial duties. For example, last October we took part in a brigade exercise, during which we conducted tactical training in the Cooley Mountains,

Private Johnathan Grey

followed by live-fire shooting in the Glen of Imaal, Wicklow, and culminating in assault exercises on Bere Island, off the Cork coast. Ceremonial duties are part and parcel of battalion life and you can often find yourself on parade on anything from GOC’s inspection, to a ministerial-, or even a presidential guard-of-honour in Áras an Uachtaráin. These require everyone on parade to be well turned out in every respect, with clean, pressed umber One Service Dress uniform, medals, and white gloves, belt and rifle sling. Highly polished boots, a clean shave and a neat haircut are also required. Both arms- and foot-drill are practiced during rehearsals before the day. We are all aware that for a VIP visiting the barracks or a foreign ambassador presenting their credentials to the president, a well turned-out parade and good drill will leave a lasting impression of how Ireland has a well-trained and highly disciplined Defence Forces. It is equally important for us in the battalion to maintain our high standards of dress and drill, and have pride in our unit