Junior Soldier (JS) Field writes from the Army Technical Foundation College, Winchester, with an update on the progress of his training.
This was week 18 of 23 – more command tasks and activities which encourage team building – the idea being to develop our courage and build our self-determination.
On Monday morning we were straight on to the high wires assault course – various activities at height. I was not looking forward to this part of the week as I don’t like heights but I actually surprised myself as I did not get as worried as I thought I would. The best part was when we had to climb to the highest part of the high wires and jump off with a small rope clipped to our back. It feels like your just dropping to earth with nothing stopping you until you slow down just before touching the ground! The rest of the activities involved working in groups to achieve tasks, normally involving a large amount of trust. We also went to a local area on the Monday and practiced our navigational skills with our Section Commanders in preparation for the test next week. I feel quite confident at map reading so I am not too concerned.
On Tuesday we had to do our first tab (tactical advance to battle) – basically a fast walk carrying a heavy bag! This was not too bad although I’ve got longer legs than some of the lads in the troop and I think some people struggled a bit. It was a good challenge and I know they’re only going to get longer, faster and heavier in future, so I guess I’ll see how things go next week. In the afternoon we had a team building task which involved building a bridge and pulley system to pull a heavy stretcher across a large gap. We had been taught some knots and lashings in the morning and put these in to practice. This was quite a good afternoon and something different from the normal training.
For Wednesday we had a day learning about some basic survival skills. This was really good and everyone in the troop really seemed to enjoy it. We learnt lots of different survival techniques such as catching rabbits and then skinning them. We also learnt how to make fire, shelters and different ways of signalling for rescue. Finally in the evening we were taught about different star patterns and how to find the North Star.
On Thursday and Friday the whole Squadron deployed to Aldershot Training Area. We had to attend 8 stands in turn which each set us a different task – from recovering a broken down vehicle up a hill (using a pulley system) and then treating a casualty, to making an improvised dinghy to cross a lake out of just sticks and string. We had to tab between each stand. This was a really good 2 days and our half of the Troop came 3rd out of the Squadron so we were quite pleased.
So that’s another week ticked off. This one seemed to fly by and it was really enjoyable. It’s also got the added bonus of making us one week closer to pass off.