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First female officer to command No 1 Army Training Regiment takes over from her husband

A record for the military: A woman takes over from her husband to become the first female officer to command the No 1 Army Training Regiment.

Lieutenant Colonel Lyndsey Kelly, 42, has accepted the appointment at the army training center in Pirbright, Surrey, taking over from husband, Lieutenant Colonel Shamus Kelly, 44, to command the 165-strong staff.

And while she takes up her new position, Shamus will continue to work at the regiment’s headquarters, also in Pirbright.

The couple, who have two children, Alex, seven, and William, four, both enlisted in the military in 2001 before meeting in training nine years later and getting married in 2013.

Lieutenant Colonel Shamus Kelly shakes hands with his wife, Lieutenant Colonel Lyndsey Kelly, as he exchanges command of 1ATR

Lieutenant Colonel Shamus Kelly shakes hands with his wife, Lieutenant Colonel Lyndsey Kelly, as he exchanges command of 1ATR

The couple on vacation.  Lyndsey has been to the training environment before and loved it which led her to come back

The couple on vacation. Lyndsey has been to the training environment before and loved it which led her to come back

Lieutenant Colonel Shamus Kelly and his wife, Lieutenant Colonel Lyndsey Kelly walk under the Guard of Honor at their wedding in 2013

Lieutenant Colonel Shamus Kelly and his wife, Lieutenant Colonel Lyndsey Kelly walk under the Guard of Honor at their wedding in 2013

Lieutenant Colonel Shamus Kelly and his wife, Lieutenant Colonel Lyndsey Kelly talk to soldiers, as he exchanges command of 1ATR

Lieutenant Colonel Shamus Kelly and his wife, Lieutenant Colonel Lyndsey Kelly talk to soldiers, as he exchanges command of 1ATR

An army spokesman said: ‘If Lieutenant Colonel Lyndsey Kelly becomes commander of the 1st Army Training Regiment (ATR) at the army training center in Pirbright, not only will she become the first female officer to do so, but, somewhat uniquely, she will take command from her husband, Lieutenant Colonel Shamus Kelly OBE.’

Lyndsey aid: ‘I’ve been to the training environment before and enjoyed it so much, that’s why I wanted to come back here.’

“I love shaping and influencing the recruits, our next generation of our military, but I also love working with such motivated people.”

Shamus said, “The advice I would give Lyndsey is the advice everyone gave me before I took command, it’s take care of our people and enjoy the moment very much. You have two and a half years to invest in our people.

The pair were seen laughing together during the command exchange as they walked around the base

The pair were seen laughing together during the command exchange as they walked around the base

The pair are confident that they will be able to work effectively as a team, but know that there will be inevitable conflicts.  The couple at their wedding in 2013.

The pair are confident that they will be able to work effectively as a team, but know that there will be inevitable conflicts. The couple at their wedding in 2013.

The pair see Lyndsey's new appointment as a particularly great opportunity to influence a new generation of both male and female soldiers

The pair see Lyndsey’s new appointment as a particularly great opportunity to influence a new generation of both male and female soldiers

“When you have recruits, they’re vulnerable adults, they’re very impressionable, so it’s a big responsibility to make sure you protect and nurture them.”

Lyndsey said it was too early to say what changes she would make in the organization, but said integration was a priority for her.

She said, ‘From what I see it’s a really well oiled machine and I think integration is working really well and something I’ll be keeping a close eye on.’

“I am extremely proud of this appointment, what I would like to think is that when a male or female recruit starts on the first day, they see that there are no differences between males or females, it is completely normal and that is what they would expect to find throughout their career.

Shamus and Lyndsey have decided not to take work home with them when they are around their two young boys, and will focus on family time

Shamus and Lyndsey have decided not to take work home with them when they are around their two young boys, and will focus on family time

Lyndsey said it was too early to say what changes she would make to the organization but said integration was a priority for her

Lyndsey said it was too early to say what changes she would make to the organization but said integration was a priority for her

The 14-week basic training program teaches recruits about the structure of the British Army, how to live and operate in the field as soldiers

The 14-week basic training program teaches recruits about the structure of the British Army, how to live and operate in the field as soldiers

“I especially want to make sure that this environment is healthy and reflective of the wider military and society.”

Shamus added: “Once recruits walk through that door you don’t see it as a male section and a female section, they just see it as a team, men and women working together from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave it.” leave of absence.’

“We really need to be sure that our people will always try to do the right thing at the right time, regardless of the pressures they face, and the only way you can ensure that you have that confidence is when you give them through basic training. process, if you spot problems where behavior is unacceptable, that’s your chance to change or eliminate that behaviour.’

“This is a very important filtering process to ensure that the next generation of soldiers lives, breathes and operates in accordance with our standards.”

While she takes up her new position, Shamus will continue to work at the regiment's headquarters, also in Pirbright

While she takes up her new position, Shamus will continue to work at the regiment’s headquarters, also in Pirbright

Lyndsey is keen to ensure the environment is healthy and reflective of the wider military and wider society

Lyndsey is keen to ensure the environment is healthy and reflective of the wider military and wider society

When Lyndsey takes command of 1ATR, she will be tasked with the responsibility of transforming civilians into base-trained soldiers, with up to 500 recruits undergoing training at the same time

When Lyndsey takes command of 1ATR, she will be tasked with the responsibility of transforming civilians into base-trained soldiers, with up to 500 recruits undergoing training at the same time

About the close collaboration, Lyndsey said: ‘I think we’re both sure it won’t cause any friction, but we’d be just as foolish to think that there will never be problems that we don’t have disagreements about. .’

“On the big things, our values ​​and standards are completely aligned, so I think it’s going to be fine, but for a place like Pirbright, who has such an incredible pace, and covid on it to make it even more complex, its there will no doubt be times when difficult decisions have to be made.”

“I think we have to be pretty strict not to bring any problems home. We have two little boys, our focus when we come through the front door has to be on our two boys and we have to be pretty disciplined about that.”

The army spokesman added: “When Lyndsey takes command of 1ATR, she will be entrusted with the responsibility of transforming civilians into basic trained soldiers, with up to 500 recruits undergoing training at the same time.”

“These are young men and women, some of whom come straight from school, and all with little or no experience in life.”

“The 14-week basic training course teaches recruits about the structure of the British Army, how to live and operate as soldiers in the field. It builds their physical and mental robustness through a progressive and challenging development program.’

“But most importantly, it focuses on developing their character and immersing them in the values ​​and standards of the British Army – essential to ensure that our people always do the right thing, even under the most difficult of circumstances.” .’

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