Mexborough school teacher takes to the battlefield

PE teacher and Royal Marine Reserve Ross Cooney.

PE teacher and Royal Marine Reserve Ross Cooney.

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A school teacher has proven he is a real-life action man after swapped the classroom for commando training.

PE teacher Ross Cooney completed one of the toughest armed forces training courses in the world to become a Royal Marine Reserve Commando - while continuing his day job in the classroom.

The 32-year-old Mexborough man continues his work to education youngsters during the day but serves as one of only 600 marine reservists in the country.

Mr Cooney, who donned the prestigious Green Beret last year, is now urging more people to follow in his footsteps and join the armed forces.

He said: “To become a Royal Marine Commando is to achieve something remarkable. We have to complete the same training and pass the same commando course as the full time Royal Marines, so getting over that finish line and being awarded the famous Green Beret is a moment you will never forget. It’s at that point you also realise you are now part of a select group, ready to support the full time Marines in missions which can take you anywhere in the world – the sunshine of California to the jungle of the Congo.”

Mr Cooney was formerly in charge of physical education at Hill House School in Doncaster before moving to teach at Aegir Community School in Gainsborough. He completed a gruelling 18 months training course to prepare him to fight and survive across all environments, including maritime, the arctic, jungle, desert and mountain regions.

He added: “It was tough training, but you also get high points that you’ll never forget, such as taking part in full scale amphibious exercises with helicopters, ships and assault boats with different mission scenarios such as attacking Somali pirates. One week it’s training in a wet and dirty ditch in a freezing field and the next it’s urban warfare fighting street for street against insurgents.”

An open day is being held at the Carlton Barracks in Leeds on March 14 from 10am to 5pm to showcase opportunities in the armed forces. For more information contact 0845 600 3222.