Hello guys and girls! I'm back! (for a couple of days) and my god what an emotion three months it's been. In this rather different post I will cover some of the things I have done over the past three months, my highs and lows and more importantly, what I found out about myself.
I generally can not believe how fast that time has gone and exactly how much I have learnt over the space of time. From my usual civilian life of playing games when I could and going to the gym, to spending 5 days out in the field, becoming a rather good shot with the SA80 and learning all different combat/survival techniques which I'm sure will help me in the future, the difference in lifestyle is huge and if I could put one word on the whole experience, It would have to be epic.
In any job there is always highs and lows, the lows here came in bucket loads. But the people I was training with also had the same lows and they were always there to help you along. Anyone can do this line of work, its just how you over come fear and doubt that sets you apart from the weak, and believe me, they went within a few days/weeks.
The first couple of weeks went very slow. It's during this time when most of the administration will get done. Then you're introduced to more vigorous parts of the course like tabbing, daily PT lessons, SAA (Skill at Arms) Foot drill and so much more. It's actually surprising how much information you actually retain despite being thrashed. But that's their way of making you learn fast and effectively.
After our long weekend at week 6, that's when the training program become much better. For one, you dont need an NCO to march you around camp so you had more freedom to do what you wanted in our own time. Our working days become more normal and by normal I mean 6 am till 5 pm, not 4 am till 11 pm. Those are expected in the first few weeks.
We then went to Belgium after our half way exercise which was incredible. You get to go to the town of Ypes and visit the mennin gate and take part in the daily last post ceremony. To me this was one of my highlights. It was a great sense of accomplishment to had got this far and feel proud of what we had done.
We then moved on up to South wales to take part in solider development week. I completed a number of activities like mountain walking up the PenyFan, canoeing, rock climbing and a NAV ex which is a map reading exercise.
After our trips we came back to range week were we put in to practice all we have learnt from our SAA lessons and pass the shooting test. I manged to get the highest score which was 38/40 and was the only one in our troop of 23 to get the Marksmen badge.
CO cup was next and was by far the most physically challenging part of the entire course. It consisted of the following activities in order:
1 night in the field (Non tac)
300m ammo run
300m ammo run
1 mile stretcher run
Final fling was our last big push (not to mention all our pt lessons and PFA we had to pass) this was were we put everything in to practice from night patrols, observing the enemy and section attacks to digging in, staging, staying tactical and planning attacks/missions. It was a great experience and I finally felt like I was comfortable in the field.
During my time in Phase 1 I had a ton of lessons, so making sure you had a fresh note pad and pen was essential. I think I filled up 4 books of notes which I still keep! I always preferred the theory side of things so I actually took as much information as I could in every lesson to help understand the subject and feel confident in what I was taking in as I knew it would safe my life one day.
So week 13 arrived. 1 week to go and all we did was drill drill drill and more drill ready for our PoP (Pass out Parade) which when it finally came, was one of the most amazing experiences I have had and will never ever forget it.
I feel like my time in phase 1 was well used. You get out what you put in and I know for a fact that I put 110% in to everything and the results showed. I was able to finish phase 1 training with the following:
Marksmen - score anything over 36/40 rounds on target at 100m and 200m using the iron sight.
Co CUP winner - One day of hard physical work as a section.
Best Shot - is warded to the person who had the best shot over the course.
And the one I'm still shocked I received was the..
Hollister Trophy - This is awarded to the person who excelled in the theory side of the course. Improved on their basic maths and English skills during the time here and presented a confident presentation in Belgium and in the class room.
I have had an amazing time in phase 1 and met some incredible people and done some great things during my time there. I will never forget that place and one day look to return there to train new recruits myself. I would like to thank everyone who supported me during my journey and I look forward to the next stage of my training! See you soon boyz.