Axes, Aprons and Beards: Meet the Pioneer Sergeant
23 Pioneer Regiment march through Oxford 04.04.12
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A Pioneer Sergeant is a position in the British Army and several army units of the Commonwealth. Although a Pioneer Sergeant holds the rank of Sergeant in the army, the Pioneer Sergeant title itself is a regimental appointment rather than an official military rank. Pioneer Sergeants are found only in line infantry regiments and regiments of the Foot Guards, and are normally responsible for carpentry, joinery and related work. Since the Falklands conflict of 1982, most Line Infantry Regiments have re-introduced the establishment of one Assault Pioneer Platoon, commanded by the Assault Pioneer Sergeant as part of Headquarters Company, or Support Company. The modern Pioneers are fully trained in Mine warfare, Field Defences, including Obstacles, Explosives, and Demolitions, Watermanship, Water Supply, and General Engineering tasks. They are trained by the Royal Engineers to perform these works, and a series of qualifications are awarded to successful candidates. Upon successfully completing the Assault Pioneer Class one qualification, the soldier, of any rank, is allowed to wear the cross axes to show his trade status. The modern Pioneer Sergeant is normally responsible directly to Battalion Headquarters as their Combat Engineering adviser, in conjunction with the Assault Pioneer Warrant Officer.
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