Officer Cadet Todd Ledwith blogs from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He’s undergoing Officer Training and writes here about a busy week which has included an outdoor exercise, a Guest Dinner Night and blowing things up with plastic explosives…
This week began with Exercise EAGLE STRIKE. It’s the final TEWT (Tactical Exercise Without Troops) before PRACTAC – which is the formal assessment of our skills in the orders and estimate process, which takes place next Tuesday. The cadets of the intermediate term then spread to the four corners of the country, or in some cases to Germany, on their respective regimental visits. I attended a visit with the Royal Engineers which took place at their barracks in both Chatham and Minley. As ever, the Engineers hosted an action-packed visit which included crawling around a simulated search environment in blacked-out respirators, operating the up-armoured plant machinery, flying up and down the river Medway in the rapid ‘Rigid Raider’ assault boats and finally detonating PE4, the British Military’s plastic explosive, on the ranges at Minley. As well as showing what each Regiment or Corps has to offer in terms of their roles in the British Army these visits allow us, the prospective young officers, to meet serving officers, NCOs and soldiers in order for both sides to assess whether we would ‘fit in’, the importance of which cannot be overlooked.
Upon our return from the visits on Wednesday, it was time to brush down our Blues and ensure our George boots were so shiny that they could double as mirrors as they were about to undergo inspection from the most severe of all critics; our mothers. The Guest Dinner Night allows each cadet to invite two guests to a formal dinner so that they may experience the traditions of hosting and etiquette which frame such events. Of course, it is also a chance to enjoy oneself with the other members of Alamein Company. The following morning the cadets hosted the Directing Staff and Guests in the Chapel (prior to which the guests were marched over with threats of disciplinary action for their respective hosts if their drill was not up to standard) after which the event was concluded with a late breakfast. It was a fantastic event and many thanks must go to all involved in hosting and organising and also to the guests for remembering their left and right so that disciplinary repercussions were avoided.
Academia dominated the rest of the week with more time spent in the classrooms of Faraday Hall. The focus of the weekend will now be preparation of our ‘command kits’ in lieu of PRACTAC on Tuesday.