Ph1 Week 7
We worked up for a Sgt’s block inspection on the Monday to then prepare us for the OC’s (rank: Major) inspection on Wednesday. Pass it and we go on a much needed long weekend leave back to civvie street…
The week started as normal with the routines of lessons of Battle Casualty Drills, Map Reading, Conducting Searches and various other presentations on Laws of Armed Conflicts and IEDs.
On the Tuesday, the rest of the troop dispersed out of camp. They visited their respective Ph2 establishments with the majority going down to Worthy Down (AGC SPS and RMPs). Us three muzzies stayed behind because no one could take us to Kneller Hall. Instead, the PSO (WO1) and a SSgt from KH came over. They came over to make sure we were doing fine and on the track. Before they left, they gave us our Tactical Recognition Flashes (TRFs) as a motivational device to remind us that there is light at the end of this really awkward, bumpy tunnel.
Then came the inspection days…
The Squadron Sergeant Major (SSM – rank: WO2) came along with the Tp Sgt and let’s just say she was ruthless. The whole block was turned inside out and nothing was left uncommented. Needless to say, the OC’s inspection was also eventful. She (SSM) made another appearance with the Tp Commander (Captain) and between them they did a quick pre-inspection. When the OC finally came round to our room, the only unfortunate lads to get picked up were Jones, B and AC (surprisingly not Hendricks, much to his and our Cpl’s relief – to be fair, Swirly and I helped him).
The awkward thing was Jones spent the whole night doing his locker, not to the amusement of B, AC and P (guys round his corner). Consequently and fair play to him, his locker was immaculate but some fluff on his peak cap had not gone unnoticed. The OC threatened that an uncleaned kit was a back-squadabble offence. As soon as the OC left, Cpl debriefed us and the ones that got picked up was to have a reshow that same evening. If they failed it, they’ll be backsquadded. When it hit Jones, he bursted into tears. He was looking forward to seeing home after his longest time away from home – 7 weeks. I normally cheered him up whenever he had bouts of homesickness (which this place was rife of), being his battle buddy but my Cpl gave me a glance so I took it to leave him be. Cpl then spoke to him saying that it’ll be alright. He then asked (not ordered, there’s a difference. He’s awesome like that.) us to help the ones with reshow, as if that needed telling, to make sure they pass the re-inspection.
… And yes, they passed.
As for the rest of the troop, apparently the OC was not majorly impressed. After that, morning hadn’t yet finished. Straight into our drill clothes, we catapulted into the drill test. The routine was to march around in the square as a troop, a couple of change steps, mark time and turns on the march routine, then followed by individual drill assessment done in groups of threes. 10 minutes hasn’t yet passed and we saw the OC with the SSM walked out – instant FAIL! Naturally, Tp Sgt wasn’t overly happy to see the OC walk out so we spent the remaining time allocated for the drill test doing it double time. We retook the test in the afternoon and thankfully we passed! So much stress this last few days!
Thursday couldn’t have come any slower but everyone looked forward to it. It was our Tp’s Family Day where the lads’ friends and relatives came to visit us. We put up stalls for them to give them an insight on our training and a taster of what we were eating (in our rat packs and the scoff house). My parents couldn’t come but I was really thankful that my ginger friend and his girlfriend (at the time) came to see me. I was giddy to see them and they were delighted (pleasantly surprised) to see I was still alive after surviving 7 weeks of Army Training.
Another highlight for me was after passing the previous tests, we have been allowed to wear our respective cap badges, ceremoniously changed in front of our peers, families and friends. I definitely felt that the transition from civilian to soldier was truly under way, if not already finalised on this event.
Finally, the day drew to a close and despite the minor failings, we got through it and we were all very excited to be going out of camp for a long weekend leave. After ensuring the the block was spic and span, a go ahead light was given by the Squadron Quarter Master (SSgt), we were all fallen out and onto the civilian world back we went.
It wasn’t an exaggeration to say that after being cooped up within camp, my eyes started to notice civilian things that previously I would have just ignored or found trivial. People generally walked A LOT slower and many seemed to ‘bimble’ without a purpose to their destination, for example. I’m still finding it difficult to describe how my visual perception or interpretation has changed. As well with all things, I adopted easily and soon found myself preoccupied with spending a much needed quality time with my civvie friends…and uninterrupted SLEEP!
Here’s the link to the rest of the series: