Humble beginnings with lots to learn from the military and life.

I joined the military as a young RAF recruit in the early 1970s just after my 17th birthday. I would go on to join the RAF Regiment’s parachute trained field squadron, No 2 Sqn for the next 3 years.

During my period of recruit training I had a real problem with being referred to by my last name, when I had a first name. I had a problem with calling officers Sir, and having to salute them, when they had a first name too. I had a problem having to stand to attention and salute for my weekly meagre wage (an officer would sit at a table and hand out wages in cash form). I had a problem with standing for the National Anthem and singing it, when I don’t support “born to rule” in any shape or form. I had a problem attending church parade when I don’t believe in God (I was actually jailed for missing church parade, as I went for a run around the airfield instead. I was made to scrub pans in the cookhouse each evening for 10 days, including the weekend).

But the biggest problem I ever had was individuals no matter who…looking down on me.

I never had a great start to life, having been dragged up in a dysfunctional family in Dundee, yet I never looked down on anyone throughout my life time. I did however judge individuals at times, and it proved to be a wrong judgement too…so I naturally grew out of it.

Throughout basic training I made loads of friends, but I was definitely walking my own path against the military establishment, it was difficult, and it had to come down to a choice. Carry on like this, completely fold on my thinking, or at least meet the establishment somewhere in-between. Thinking back, it was most certainly more of the latter.

Even with the problems (all made from my own judgements and thinking) I loved the camaraderie made by the recruits, and I loved the training…the tougher the better.

I grew to learn that it was only the odd individual who would look down on me. That individual could be anyone, another recruit, an NCO instructor or the odd officer. That would continue through into my time in the RAF Regiment. I was learning that it was a part of life.

In my head, all I was asking for was to be on a level field with everyone…to me we were all the same, even though I understood and respected management, and most in it.

I spent 3 years in 2 Sqn before going for SAS Selection. I loved my time there, and I’m still in touch with many of the lads and officers today from the squadron from all those years ago…over 50 years to be precise.

I enjoyed the role that the unit had. But I hated drill, I hated bulling my boots and I hated saluting and calling officers Sir. So from my recruit days some things never changed. I still hated church service, and I hated standing for the National Anthem (I would never sing it).

I went on to luckily pass the SAS course, and spent the rest of my career there. No saluting, no calling officers Sir, no drill, no bulling boots…Dubbin will do! It was a blast, and the end of my military career of 23 years came about in a flash…it was so much fun.

When I was the Warrant Officer 1, Senior Military Instructor (SMI) of the Jungle Warfare School, I told everyone including the students that they could call me Bob. Some did, some didn’t…but they were given the choice. I looked them all in the eye at eye level, never up and never down.

These days I’m almost 70…I don’t look down on anyone…I don’t look up at anyone…I look at individuals at eye level only. But I respect all. I’ve been doing that since I was a kid…as I climbed the military ranks I carried on doing it…it hurt…no one!

I played the military game fairly. Most times it was chicken but sometimes it was feathers. I loved the military and would do it all again in a heartbeat. After the military I remained the same…even meeting Kings, Queens, Presidents, Princes, Princesses, Government and business VIPs…at the end of the day we’re all the same…I would be polite and look them all at eye level.

The funny thing is, after all these years of travelling the world, meeting and living with different cultures, I still don’t believe in God, and I still don’t believe in “born to rule.”

“God Save The King”

Published by: bobshepherdauthor

Bestselling author Bob Shepherd has spent nearly forty years operating in conflict areas around the world. A twenty year veteran of Britain’s elite 22 SAS Regiment with nearly two decades of private security work to his credit, Bob has successfully negotiated some of the most dangerous places on earth as a special forces soldier and a private citizen. Bob comments regularly on security issues and has appeared on CNN International, BBC, SKY News, and BBC Radio. He has also authored numerous articles and books including the Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller The Circuit. In addition to writing and lecturing, Bob continues to advise individuals operating in hostile environments. For more of his insights on security and geopolitics visit

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4 thoughts on “NEVER LOOK DOWN ON ME!”

  1. Really interesting read, spent 23 years in the RAF Regiment and can relate to what you say. Keep up the good work.

  2. Fair Comments ( Bob )

    Any Danners for sale mate, the good old days, even tho i didn’t make it!.

    Andre ( H )

  3. I still don’t believe in God, and I still don’t believe in “born to rule.”

    “God Save The King”
    God bless you Bob.

  4. Nice read Bob,lam not a book person,l Just cannot sit down long enough to read.I can empathise and sympathise in certain áreas you write.l thought my Life simple but others viewed it complicated,but thats People in The box.Anyway mate l luved being a Cpl and luved The lads around me,stayed in The blks a good 23yrs and enjoyed The camaradier but l did get dicked quite alot for duties,especially Christmas and advanced parties. I was a boy soldier só l was molded well into The system but eventually The system let me down,Well thats what The Doc said,l eventually agreed to her Diagnosise and never looked back,only at The normal times of soldering.l came form a family that cared and l also cared for People especially The lads,but some People above frowned at that and my style of leadership,but no matter what l did not change.Now l reap The rewards of The past and exellent care from Doctors,l even enjoyed my Last posting to Cranwell as an Instructor.I think like you there is no regrets from The past and The Best is always left till Last,l hope.

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