The fifth week of Basic Training in the British Army for Soldier under Training (SuT) Alastair Byrne has resulted in his first look at the civilian world in a month and an “admin nightmare” caused by a missing pencil!
I passed the Weapon Handling Test, so will be able to take part in live firing on the ranges. We had a swimming lesson in the afternoon and some of the guys were talking in the changing area so were sent on a run around the block – not a nice thing to have to do after a tough swimming session. We managed to go on the dismounted close combat trainer (DCCT – an electronic range) as a Troop, which let us put into practice all the drills we have been taught so far.
The next day we were back on the ranges, and I had an admin nightmare. I didn’t clip my helmet on properly and secondly, I forgot to bring a pencil! The result of this was me running around the block with all my equipment on. I got some funny looks from the other Troops!
On Thursday, we had our first live firing day, and it was amazing. It was very-nerve racking to start with, as you don’t want to make a mistake with real ammunition. After firing a few rounds, I started to concentrate more and ended up getting some nice grouping sizes. As the range was outside camp, we went on a bus. It was strange to see the civilian world after a month of combats and marching. We all stared at the normal things like shops, women and pubs…
On Saturday, we all went out on our Troop activity day – go-karting. We all loved it. It was a great morning where we could relax, but still compete for a place on the podium. The Troop Commander and other Training Team staff joined us after a “Medieval Night” in the Sergeants’ Mess, so were looking a bit worse for wear. After some tough laps and some dangerous driving, the results were as follows: Corporal Field and Corporal Pacey came second with Corporal Swanick and Captain Climpson first. They said it was down to their skill, which in part may be true, but we put it down to them having a smaller team, resulting in less driver changes.
To end the week, we had a masterclass from one of the Corporals in how to shine our boots for the Troop Commander’s inspection.