A Reservist from Sutton has been honoured as the best Officer Cadet on her Commissioning Course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
Natalie Gardner is usually found running the Respiratory Physiotherapy Department at St Helier Hospital but on Saturday 5th August she topped a class 88 potential Army Reserve Officers completing their eight week officer training programme at the 200 year old Academy.
In recognition of her achievement she was presented with the MacRobert Sword by Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Reserves and Cadets) Major General Ranald Munro. The presentation took place in front of hundreds of guests, including family and friends, during the course’s final parade. The newly commissioned 2nd Lieutenant Gardner said attending Sandhurst has been a great experience
“It has been an honour to train at the Academy with its inspiring history, and the instruction I have received has been the best available in the British Army. I have developed myself as an Officer and a leader, and I now feel ready to return to my Regiment and lead the Soldiers under my command with confidence. I am looking forward to the challenges of being a Troop Commander, and will always look back at my time here at Sandhurst with pride.”
Natalie has been in the Army Reserve since 2008 serving with 210 (Sutton) Transport Squadron, part of 151 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps. During her time in the Reserves she has completed two six month overseas deployments. In 2009-10 she conducted foot, vehicle and helicopter patrols with the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus. In 2013-14 the then Lance Corporal Gardner worked in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, as a driver delivering ammunition, rations, medical supplies and personnel. In her spare time she won the ‘Bastions Got Talent’ show.
She also credits time in the Reserves with bolstering her NHS career by developing leadership and management skills that have seen her promoted shortly after completing each Army deployment.
Lieutenant Colonel Dave Miller RLC, Commanding Officer 151 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps said:
“I am immensely proud that 2nd Lieutenant Natalie Gardner has been awarded the MacRobert Sword as Best Cadet on Commissioning Course 172 , and has achieved her long-standing ambition of Commissioning into the Army Reserve.
“She is a hugely talented servicewoman who embodies the best qualities of our volunteer force drawn from across society, enjoys challenges and comradeship which are rare in civilian life, and yet capably balances her military service with family and career responsibilities.”
2nd Lieutenant Gardner continues a proud recent record of Officer Cadets from London excelling at the Royal Military Academy with three passing out top of their class in the last year.