Unit History: Pioneer Regiment
168 Pioneer Regiment was formed following the rationalisation of Army logistics instigated by the Logistic Support Review in 1990 which advocated that all logistic support matters should be the responsibility of a new corps, The Royal Logistic Corps (RLC). This would be created from the amalgamation of the Royal Corps of Transport, Royal Army Ordnance Corps, Royal Pioneer Corps, Army Catering Corps and the Postal and Courier Branch of the Royal Engineers. The implementation of the Review's recommendations resulted in The Royal Logistic Corps being formed on 5 April 1993 from these Corps. The RLC was to make up over 17% of the regular Army’s trained adult soldier strength and 20% of the Territorial Army.
On the 1 April 1995, the 3 operational Pioneer TA squadrons 34, 68 and 79 Squadrons (Sqn) were formed into 168 Pioneer Regiment, with the instructions that it was to become operational by 1 April 1998. These Squadrons were formed into the tasking Squadrons of the Regiment which were to become 34, 102, 103 Squadrons with the Headquarters Squadron being named 101 Squadron. A Regimental Headquarters was also formed under its first Commanding officer Lt Col Rod Othen who had served as a regular in the Royal Pioneer Corps (RPC) before retiring and joining the Territorial Army of the Royal Pioneer Corps. Lt Col Othen established the Regiment before handing it over to Lt Col Ron Gatepain who had seen service in the Royal Marines and TA service with the RPC.
The Strategic Defence Review of 1998 resulted in 168 Pioneer Regiment being tasked to form two additional Squadrons which were to be Independent Sqns within the Specialist Regiment. These squadrons were to be formed in the North East of England. The Commanding Officer Lt Col Ron Gatepain recruited many of the soldiers from disbanding units in the area and formed 100 Sqn at Cramlington and 104 Sqn based at Middlesbrough which had between them units at six locations in the Northeast. It also made 168 Regiment the largest unit in the British Army with 678 personnel and created a new concept of mixing Specialist and Independent TA.
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