Second Lieutenant Sam Westlake writes from the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick, about his latest experiences of P Company.
The first day of Test Week on the All Arms Pre Parachute Selection Course (AAPPS) is a day to look forward to. We have all been keen to start the events after the long build-up/beat-up phase. We were reassured by the P Company OC that by making it this far, we were capable of completing the course and this gave us a confidence boost. We would be conducting the events alongside Parachute Regiment recruits going through their Test Week, some of whom I know from my time training in Catterick.
The 10-Miler is the first event and it was far easier than our previous tabs. The first 2 miles were difficult as always due to shin pain and general stiffness. Knowing that we had done plenty of tabbing and 10 milers before hand meant we were all confident about passing this event with the maximum 10 points. Those of us who had had a pre-beat-up in Catterick knew the exact route and this also helped. There are some hills but the Land of Nod was avoided! A photographer and a cameraman are now following us around and are building a portfolio that will be available to us at the end of the course. If you’re after an impressive Facebook profile picture, you’ll find them at the top of a hill or some where else they can catch you hanging out, so do your best to hide the pain. In summary this is an easy tab by P Company standards but injuries can make the initial miles a challenge. One man did come off in the early stages but strong performances on the other events can still get him the 44 points required to pass.
The Trainasium follows the tab. It’s a pass/fail event but one that we’ve all done before on screening day. With that in mind I found the shuffle bars easy. Again the photographer was present, an attractive blonde woman who sounds Scandinavian. She spent her time capturing action shots of us flying in to the cargo net or doing the illusion jump. Few men had to repeat elements of the Trainasium – either we are getting good at it or the staff were slightly distracted by the blonde taking pictures.