Private Ross McKenzie was recently awarded the title ‘Junior Leader of the Year’ award by Major General C S J Collins DSO OBE, the General Officer Commanding 1st (United Kingdom) Division, at the Rhino Awards 2021 ceremony at Imphal Barracks, York. Private McKenzie is a Reservist serving with 4 (Lincolnshire) Company of the 3rd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment. Having discharged some six years earlier, he re-joined the Army Reserve in January 2020.
In April 2020, Private McKenzie volunteered to be mobilised on Operation RESCRIPT, leaving his self-employed landscaping business to do so. During this demanding period, his leadership of a Mobile Testing Unit (MTU) sub-team was recognised and positively commented on by his MTU Commander.
In September 2020, he attended and passed his Infantry Basic Radio User course; his first stage of gaining promotion. This was followed closely by his Potential Non-Commissioned Officer course in November to December 2020. From that course, he gained an excellent course report and was placed in the top 3 students out of a total of 16.
In January 2021, he was mobilised again and deployed to Kenya as part of the Temporary Deployed Staff for Ex ASKARI PHOENIX. Such was his contribution, he was awarded the Commander BATUK Coin for his work. His return was in April 2021; delayed by Covid.
He was still feeling the effects of Covid in May 2021 when he was a Fire-team Commander on the Battalion’s Exercise STEELBACK CHALLENGE on Leek Training Area. During this exercise, he led and mentored a relatively inexperienced team across challenging ground and around a series of stands where the teams were tested in their Military skills. Private McKenzie’s team was leading the competition until the final submission of the patrol report. Throughout the exercise, he displayed leadership and command expected of a seasoned Junior Non-Commissioned Officer and he was the only Fire-team Commander of Private rank. As a result, he was presented with a special award by the Deputy Commander Reserves of 1 (United Kingdom) Armoured Division.
The Rhino award is well deserved and reflects a busy and successful year for Private McKenzie. It is also evidence that he sets a high standard for his peers to aspire to.
Warmest Congratulations to Pte McKenzie from all of the Royal Anglian family.