MEET THE TEAM
L-R - Rich Hall, Chris Hames, Kian Helm, Alex Walsh
The all-male crew consists of the College Commanding Officer, two Captain instructors and a Private Soldier. They are rowing as the British Army’s first official entry into this epic race.
Lieutenant Colonel Rich Hall MBE
Team Skipper Rich, from Retford in Nottinghamshire, is a serving Infantry officer with the Yorkshire Regiment and veteran of multiple tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.
He believes much of his training and experiences in foreign lands will help him come to terms with the demands of such an event, although he is not sure his Jungle Warfare Instructor qualification is particularly relevant. As the Commanding Officer of the Army Foundation College, Rich is passionate about the opportunity his unit provides and hopes that this challenge will inspire more young men and women to consider a career in the Army. This is a personal journey for him too. He wants to pit himself against the Atlantic Ocean in the ultimate test of physical and mental endurance, he wants to experience and learn more about small team dynamics, he wants to deliver a professional Atlantic campaign for his crew and the wider Army…and he wants to be at sea to avoid the Christmas shopping.
Captain Chris Hames
Chris, originally from Bath but now an official plastic Northerner, has been in the Army just shy of 30 years, 20 years of which with the Royal Army Physical Training Corps. Within this time he has been involved in almost every major British Army operational deployment, mostly in hot, sandy places! Chris has always competed in sports from Rugby to Downhill mountain bike racing, and just can't sit still. Rowing an ocean has been a long-term goal for a while, and this challenge is an opportunity he couldn’t let go by. He is immensely excited to be training and competing somewhere not in a desert!
Private Kian Helm
Kian, from Preston, is a recently graduated College Junior Soldier. Cap-badged to the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, he is the youngest member of the team – just 18 years’ old. Kian jumped at the chance to volunteer for the row and, after impressing the rest of the crew in the selection and interview procedure, he joined them in February 2019. Of note, Kian will become the 3rd youngest person ever to have rowed an ocean and the team aim to make him the fastest teenager to ever have rowed the Atlantic!
Captain Alex Walsh
Alex grew up in Buckinghamshire, but has migrated North to Yorkshire with his wife Anthea and the Army. Passionate for a challenge, Alex has turned his hand to all sorts, from rugby and rowing, to cycling, power-lifting and an enthusiastic but brief flirtation with CrossFit. The Army has only fueled his desire for adventure, and in looking for the next pursuit, ‘TWAC’ was thrust upon him - his first exposure to the Trans-Atlantic Row being the day he agreed to do it! However, as Alex famously has the swimming savvy of a breeze block, he plans to stay firmly planted in the boat for the crossing, whatever Poseidon throws at the team.