FIVE Gwent youngsters took their first step towards a military career as they joined the Army.

The new recruits, aged 16 and 17 years old, pledged allegiance to Queen and country in front of proud family and friends on Tuesday.

Seventeen year old Garin Bowden from Duffryn will join the Royal Welsh, Max Webb, 16, from Newport will join the Royal Irish, Ryan Hall, 16, from Pontypool will join the Royal Signals, and Dillinja Blackmore, 16, from Abertillery and Courtney Davies, 16, from Newport will both join the Welsh Guards.

They will begin their military career at the Army Foundation College (AFC) on September 23, as trainee Royal Welsh and Parachute Regiment soldiers.

By attending the AFC, young people gain military and vocational training while earning a salary.

Harrogate College offers a combination of training for young recruits before they move on to their chosen regiments and corps.

Army Recruitment Officer for the region, Major Dixie Dixon, said: "The Army Foundation College provides a great opportunity for young people to train as soldiers, while also allowing them to gain further qualifications and continue with their education."

I'm delighted that this group of local young people are taking this important first step towards a military career and I wish them all the best for the future."

All of the recruits joined through the Army Careers Information Office in Newport.

Here, they passed English and numeracy assessments as well as fitness, teamwork and commitment selection tests.

For more information, visit the Army Careers Office, 4/5 Kingsway, Newport, call 01633 250 306 or log on to