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Just a couple of questions


First post on the network so please go easy.

As much as I am seriously thinking about applying to join the RFA, these questions are nothing to do with my application. I have been in the army for 24+ years so, as much as I have read all (I think !!) of the threads drawing on a vast amount of information, I still have 2 questions.

1. When the RFA deploy into an operational zone, they become (as is the info I already have) sponsored reservists. So how does that work with the rank structure and the like. As I read it, on board you could have members of the Armed Forces. In the Army we have sponsored reservists that, on operations, become members of the army with the rank and commissions of the regular army, but, as much there are officers in the RFA, the training is a lot less than the regular navy and is not a commissionable course.

2. I think I read right (and I hope someone will correct me) but when joining a ship, is it always in a UK port ? If not, is it possible to join, and at the end of your 4,5 or more months, leave your ship to go on leave in a foreign port.



Lantern Swinger
1. No RFA personnel have been activated as sponsored reservists yet. AIUI the sponsored reserve status should make hee-haw difference as RFA personnel were already subject to NDA when 'on operations'.

So how does that work with the rank structure and the like.

In what respect? Everyone has the same rank as usual, and does exactly the same job as usual.

as much there are officers in the RFA, the training is a lot less than the regular navy and is not a commissionable course.

I would word that more carefully. RFA training is different to the Royal Navy, not necessarily 'less'. RFA deck officers for example can gain master mariner's certification allowing them to command any merchant vessel, something that is different to the training and qualifications available to RN officers. RFA officers attend many of the same career and staff courses that RN officers do: FNO, Spec N, PWO, command and staff courses, etc.

2. Definitely not always join/leave in a UK port. If you take local leave after paying off you now have to sign a waiver and make your own way home, at your own expense. It didn't used to be that way, until a few years ago you could just arrange to delay your flight.


Thanks for a speedy reply. Definitely should have worded that a bit more carefully.
When I use the word 'less' I mean in the time spent at BRNC not the quantity or quality of the training. From what I have read I understand that a fair amount of the training is on the job.


Lantern Swinger
I'm currently at BRNC doing the RFA course and my RN counterparts are shocked when they discover just how much training we do before we're qualified. 3.5 years of training after we leave BRNC actually equates to MORE than the RN not less. An RFA officers training does not end when they march up the steps at BRNC.
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