181 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 9
1. 181 Troop began the week with a focus to progress through the Week Nine Gym Pass Out, which has been casting a shadow over us for some time now. This test is the culmination of the stone gym phase in our physical development and we were to be assessed as both a Troop and on an individual basis. Ultimately, it would determine whether we were ready to progress onto Bottom Field – the more advanced (and demanding) combat style PT designed to replicate the rigour of battle.
2. Aside from the increasing intensity of PT, the rest of the week was spent continuing individual skill development. This entailed further Arms Drill and the culmination of our first aid training which finished with a practical test that we all passed. The other main focus was navigation – further static map reading stances, lessons and orienteering to refine the skills necessary to pass next week’s Exercise HUNTERS MOON. It is really satisfying when a technique or skill that initially seemed very intimidating or unfathomable finally clicks – and you can really start to refine that area. Some of the knowledge taught in map reading or first aid can be very complex so repetition and practise really helps to commit the techniques to memory until they are second nature.
3. Gym pass out finally came about on Friday and the anticipation of how we would perform seemed to drive our effort and energy. We hadn’t considered ourselves a particularly strong Troop physically until now but on the day, we were really determined – our movements well synchronised with a lot of speed around the gym apparatus. This resulted in the Troop being awarded an overall Gym Superior grade, an achievement that every strong Troop aspires to, but that few receive.
4. With it being so close to Easter leave, this was to be a busy week and so we took our positivity and excitement into the Saturday’s orienteering exercise, prior to deploying early on Sunday morning for Exercise HUNTERS MOON – never any rest for the wicked!