Here’s the latest blog from Junior Soldier (JS) Bradnam, currently at the Army Technical Foundation College, Winchester. He writes about a busy week and sporting success!
This week was probably the first week where there have been no tests – although the training has been just as intense.
We’ve had various lessons, some physical and some mental. They included CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear) theory, physical training and grenade training. The CBRN lessons were the most interesting and made me think about the realities of the Army’s role in the world and the constant threat that we are under. We had lessons on how to wear the protective clothing and how to put on our respirators in under 10 seconds. We also learned how to decontaminate ourselves after a chemical attack. I didn’t realise until I was wearing the protective suit how hot it becomes. It is charcoal-lined and certainly keeps the heat in!
The physical training has definitely increased in difficulty since we came back from Christmas leave. Each session now tops the previous one. The first saw us wearing our boots during the session and that made a hell of a difference. Each step was that little bit harder than normal. The rain had also turned the mud tracks we ran on into ankle-deep sludge, only adding to the difficulty. Although the session was hard, everyone put in 100% effort and we all felt the benefits afterwards. The grenade lessons showed us how they work and also the components that make them up. One of the lessons taught us how to throw the grenades from different positions, and what to do when a grenade is thrown – essentially diving onto your belt buckles as fast as possible when someone shouts “grenade!”
Throughout training so far, 13 Troop has been participating in the Sir John Moore sports competition. This is a contest between the troops in C Squadron, held once a week and involving various sports. This week was the time for the tag rugby tournament and – of course – as we are the best troop, we won by a considerable margin! Unfortunately I was not there to compete as I was undergoing yet another training session for the boxing in February, which is also part of the Sir John Moore competition.
We also went up a rather large hill one morning to practice our map reading and learn how to relate features on the ground to the map enabling us to find our position on the map. As well as this we had talks on equality and diversity and also fratricide (friendly fire) – a lesson which I’m sure you will agree is rather important to learn.
This week has gone by as quickly as the last and week 11 looms. It will include visits to our Phase 2 Training establishments and further shooting on the Dismounted Close Combat Trainer (DCCT, an indoor laser range) as well as other lessons on the military syllabus.
One thing is guaranteed, we will not be short of things to do!