224 Troop. Week 3.
The third and final week of the Foundation Phase came around quickly, and the ‘lumi-tabs’ (orange tape that goes on the rank slide) that protected us from many things would soon be removed. During recent drill inspections, we would have all been flanked on three occasions due to our below standard uniforms if it were not for their protective orange glow. At the end of the week when they were finally removed, it still felt good due to it signifying our progress.
The biggest shock to 224 Troop is the pace of everything, which is typically around 100 mph. Even eating our ‘scran’ (food) has to often be done in 5 minutes. The days are very long but the week has passed, and it has seen us subject to inspections and rounds every morning but one. This has meant reduced sleep and us running around like headless chickens trying to achieve standards but often not reaching the standard required by the Training Team.
The PT sessions have upped their game a lot, changing from 45 minute periods to up to 1 hour 45 minutes, after which the entire troop are ‘hanging out’ (very tired!). In the gym we have also received a bit of remedial PT (Physical Training) and been tanked for not paying attention to the details during PT, persuading us to improve on our lack of discipline in the future.
A few swimming sessions have made us puff a lot as well, especially on Saturday, where a human powered wave machine was created while a section of men ‘carried the gold ashore’ (20 KG weights) while trying to stay afloat. This actually turned out to be good fun.
Close combat sessions have been good and are enjoyed by the whole troops, who approach it with the right attitude. In the last session we put together all the techniques from previous lessons in a pair’s battle to gain the upper hand on an opponent.
On the whole, Week 3 was good because we got to learn and become more familiar with our rifle drills, conducting function tests, loading, unloading, practicing firing positions and cleaning procedures.
A big morale boost for us is that we were allowed time for a few ‘wets’ (coffee, tea, etc.) in between the lessons and lectures. This is time when we can just chill, even if it is only for 5 minutes. We don’t have to touch our ‘admin’ (washing, cleaning, sewing, ironing, folding etc).
The PT is demanding but we all look at it as a good thing, and at the end of the day we are getting paid to get fitter. The troop in general is enjoying the experience but we are still adapting to military life and learning from all the errors we make along the way.