Shock of capture

Junior Soldier (JS) Bradnam is a new recruit at the Army Technical Foundation College, Winchester (ATFC(W)). In his first blog, he recalls his experiences of the first two weeks of Junior Entry Phase 1 Training.

Junior Soldiers from ATFC(W) on Exercise ICE BREAKER

Junior Soldiers from ATFC(W) on Exercise ICE BREAKER

The first week of training was one of the most nerve-racking – yet exciting – times of our lives.  The anticipation levels felt throughout the Troop could be sensed, as we all gathered into the gym for opening addresses and completion of paperwork.  After the first night in our 10-man rooms we  began to realise how we were going to fit in together. It really started to hit home what we had all signed up for. They call week 1 the “shock of capture” for a reason – the late nights and early starts were enough to put anyone off. But not us hardy warriors!

Although a shock to the system, the first week was enjoyable. Many of our lessons were fairly relaxed and about getting to know each other, and our strengths and weaknesses. The military swimming test on day 4 and the RMTs on day 5 looked at our physical abilities, and our mental attitudes towards physical fitness.  One person in particular sticks out in my mind. Even though he was scared of deep water, he still jumped into that swimming pool. The determination in his face captured the spirit of the week, and certainly gave me a standard to aspire to.

On the Saturday night, 13 Troop descended upon the training area at the rear of the camp, to undertake Exercise ICE BREAKER. This exercise gave us an insight into what sleeping out in the open is like, and was also a chance for the Troop to get to know each other. In the evening we gathered in a Troop Shelter and sat around a fire. Each of us stood up and talked about themselves – the good and the bad! This was an interesting night as we began to get to know each other in greater detail, and we began forming friendships based on common interests. The Troop Commander then talked us through the 6 core values of the British Army – courage, discipline, respect for others, integrity, loyalty and selfless commitment.  All of these are crucially important.

When week 2 got underway we all began to notice the gradual increase in discipline and standards expected of us. We were also introduced to a thing that most of us teenage boys never knew  existed – tidiness!  Our first ever locker inspection was carried out, and to our untrained eyes they seemed immaculate.  However, the Corporals were soon quick to point out that they were far from perfect. The second week was made even more memorable as we were introduced to weapons for the first time. Weapon handling lessons were conducted daily and we all began to get a feel of what soldiering is really about.  There was also more physical training – swimming and introductions to various types of exercise will remain wedged in people’s minds for along time, in particular the introduction to boxing. It was  hard, but many volunteered for boxing afterwards.  The week flew by and before we knew it week 3 was upon us, and the anticipation of what was to come was beginning to build again.

12 thoughts on “Shock of capture

  1. Wonderful blog. I could just picture what was happening and what you were feeling. Keep up the good work. I’m impressed.

    Like

  2. Fantastic…. What a great read.. My lad is in troop 16 and started on the 7th November. It’s good to read what genus actually doing.. Keep up the gud work and keep posted info please.

    Like

  3. Great blog – glad, but not surprised, to read of Daniel doing well and enjoying himself. Hang in there when the times get tough.

    Like

  4. Hi (JS) Bradnam

    Glad to see you are doing well and enjoying your new chapter in your life.

    Keep working hard and befor you know it you will have completed your basic training phase.

    Hope you have made some new life long friendship’s we are proud of you keep it up.

    Best wishes

    Amanda, Mark.

    Like

  5. Hi Daniel,
    A very descriptive account of your first two weeks, I am shattered just reading about it! Late nights and early starts what a shock to the system.
    Your blog really does bring back somr memories of my own training, although not as physical, the friends you make and the pride that grows within each week. Not only from your own successes but also those as a team.
    Good luck to you all and I look forward to reading more.

    Susan

    Like

  6. hello js bradnam, lovely blog for us parents to read and understand what you all go through both my sons been through phase one in winchester one still there and loving every minute does get easier honest keep smiling you’ll get there 🙂

    Like

  7. hi JS Bradnham
    hope you get to read all the good comments
    Thats an amazing blog, glad your doing well mate all sounds very exciting. Keep up the good work and all the best in the future.

    Jamie

    Like

  8. Hi JS Bradnam
    Good to hear that everything is going so well! You sound like your enjoying yourself! A very well written blog, hope to hear more from you.
    All the best
    Katie

    Like

Comments are closed.