Keep a positive attitude and finish

Soldier under Training (SuT) Spiers’ latest blog has it all. 6-mile tabs, 12-foot walls, crawling in the mud…

SuT Siobhan Spiers

SuT Siobhan Spiers

As we get closer to the end of basic training there’s a lot of tests and assessments to complete.

We need to complete the Annual Combat Marksmanship Test (ACMT) to pass out, and repeat it every year throughout our Army careers. To practise for it, we spent Monday on the electronic ranges and all day Tuesday on the live ranges, so that we felt as confident as possible for the test on Thursday. We were tested on firing from different positions on the 50m, 100m, 200m and 300m distances, and every round that hit the target counted as a point towards our final score. On some of the shoots the targets were only exposed for a few seconds, and we had to run forwards, get into position and fire before the target went back down, which made it that little bit more difficult. The practise sessions made us realise how hard the test was going to be, so we were all nervous about it. The test took all day on Thursday, and most of the platoon had to reshoot, but by the end of the day we’d nearly all passed!

We also had our first night shoot. It went well (considering we could only just make out the outline of the targets), and for most of us hardly any of the rounds missed.

Another upcoming test is a 6-mile tab carrying 15 kg in week 12, so we went for a tab on Wednesday to prepare us for it. We carried all the usual kit, our bergens, rifles, and wore our combat jackets, trousers and boots. Tabbing is always a big push, as well as most of the physical training (PT), and the hills always tire us out – but we have to keep a positive attitude and finish.

Tabbing’s not the only PT we did this week. We were on the obstacle course again on Friday afternoon. After our warm up (which involved a lot of crawling through mud), our first challenge was the 12ft wall. Our section did well and managed to get everyone over again, but it was harder than last time because all the mud made it slippery and harder to grip, especially when we were pulling the last man over the wall. After the wall we reported to another PT instructor, whose intention was to make us casualty drag and lift each other up and down the pitch, but somebody was caught talking and laughing so this was not the case. Instead we spent some time leopard crawling (crawling on our stomachs to stay low) up and down the pitch, repeatedly getting up to sprint for a few metres before diving back down to crawl some more through the mud. After this we did a lap of the whole obstacle course before finishing the session. I really enjoy the obstacle course because it’s more fun than a run, and teamwork is massively important to complete parts of it. However, after all the crawling and diving in mud, cleaning the mess it leaves behind in the block is not so enjoyable.

Week 11 was mostly spent on the ranges or doing PT, and there were a few late nights, especially with the night shoot. Even though some of the days were stressful or long, all the girls know how to keep each other cheery and the banter is always flowing. Next week brings some more testing, including going back into the Respirator Test Facility, and another day on the ranges for Grenade Day – which I can’t wait to do!