Military values and unparalleled opportunities are what drew Dunedin Private (PTE) Rebecca McNaughton, aged 22, to join the Army Reserves.

PTE McNaughton is a soldier in Bravo Company, 2nd/4th Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (RNZIR), based in the Otago city.

“When I realised that the Army Reserves existed and I could join while also continuing to study for my degree I was thrilled,” she said.

“The ability to work or study while having the opportunity to also deploy on operations or support humanitarian aid and disaster relief within New Zealand or overseas is ideal.” 

She joined in 2019 and in her short time in uniform she has already represented the Army in hockey, which had been one of the highlights of her military career so far. 

“I was lucky enough to participate in the 2020 Inter-Service Hockey tournament. This was amazing as I got to meet people from all different roles with varying levels of experience.”

A pool lifeguard by day, PTE McNaughton said her workplace had been completely supportive of her military career. 

“I am open with them about dates I will be unavailable, and in return they are encouraging and supportive of my role in the New Zealand Army Reserves,” she said. 

While it can be difficult to juggle both military and civilian life, she found the best way was to stay on top of things by planning well in advance. 

“The Bravo Company command team are great in letting us know when we’re going on exercises or training and thanks to early warning it is easy to apply for leave. It also helps that my employer is aware and supportive of my involvement,” PTE McNaughton said.

Since joining she had gained more confidence in herself, both within the military and as a civilian.

"Joining gives you opportunities not often afforded to those who choose to follow just a civilian lifestyle. There’s nowhere else you can go from studying to become a doctor during the week, to firing a machine gun at the weekend.”

The New Zealand Army Reserve is a valued and skilled part of the New Zealand Army. It is a part-time component and is essential in supporting New Zealand’s modern, agile and highly adaptive light combat force.

To learn more about joining the New Zealand Army Reserves visit the Defence Careers website here(external link)(external link)(external link)

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