Army Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer Class 1 Gavin Paton, discusses the Army’s response to COVID-19 and says nothing will top his current role, in a wide-ranging interview for General Talk, a podcast for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.
Reflecting on the COVID-19 pandemic, Gavin says, “The Army is really the only uniformed service that is designed to operate and cope during crisis. The C2 structure – the command and control – has been phenomenal and really stood up to the plate.”
The pandemic allowed Gavin personally to slow down with international travel and “go through the world’s biggest digital boot camp”, which has led to him feeling better connected with international partners than before. Operationally, he says it has been challenging but that the Army’s men and women have done an “unbelievable job, often at self-sacrifice, to continue to operationally deliver for our country.”
On women serving in front line units, Gavin is clear that this has been hugely beneficial for the Army and that transitioning women into these units has been fairly seamless:
“Let’s not forget that we’ve been living and operating together on the front line for many years. In Afghanistan, Herrick 11 and 16 were two very punchy and kinetic tours and I had women on the front line with me: medics, police, artillery. Forever we’ve denied ourselves all the talent that females could bring to our front line units and I could never really understand why. Now we have women deployed and female infantry instructors coming through and it’s great to see.”
To hear more about Gavin’s thoughts on the current state of the Army and how the pandemic doesn’t appear to be affecting recruitment have a listen to General Talk, a monthly podcast for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.
Featuring leading figures from the British Army and ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, General Talk, is monthly podcast presented by travel writer and former Army officer, Harry Bucknall, examining the ever-changing role of the military in the modern world and the manner in which we, as the Army’s national charity, safeguard the welfare of our soldiers, veterans and their immediate families today.