Soldier under Training (SuT) Siobhan Spiers blogs from the Army Training Centre, Pirbright, as her Phase 1 training draws to a close.
We knew week 12 would be hard. Assessment week, and we were constantly reminded of that.
It began with grenade day. We had a few lessons on the different types of grenades first, then how to prepare them and throw them at the enemy. Once thrown we have to shout “Grenade!” so that friendly forces are made aware of it, and can take cover by diving to the ground. During the day a lot of grenades were thrown, so we spent a lot of the day taking cover. After the grenade lessons we were tested on preparing and throwing them, making sure we were following the drills correctly. As well as grenades, we were given Smoke Grenade and Trip Flare demonstrations and shown how to use them because when we go on Exercise FINAL FLING in Week 13, we’ll be using them too.
On Tuesday we did our Representative Military Tasks (RMT) – a 6-mile march, ammunition lift and jerry can-carry assessment. It was the final tab we will do at Pirbright (apart from exercise). The first 2 miles went well and it seemed easy enough to complete until we hit the first hill. After each hill there was no rest or slowing the pace down to recover, because we had to complete the 6 miles within a set time. Finishing the tab was a massive relief, but straight afterwards it was the ammunition lift and jerry can- carry – so we all did them with a slight limp either from blisters or muscle soreness!
We also completed more Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) tests (eating and drinking drills, changing a respirator canister – all in the Respirator Testing Facility filled with CS gas) and BCDT (Battlefield First Aid) training.
The week wasn’t all tests though – as mid-week we had an inter-section competition on the assault course. This time, the assault course was different as we carried our rifles and wore webbing on. After spending the first half of the lesson casualty dragging and lifting each other across the field, we tackled the course a section at a time. As we made our way around, the rifles that were slung across our backs proved to be a nuisance, as not only did they get in the way, they sometimes swung around and hit us. There was a point to having them though, because when we go on Operations our rifles go wherever we go.
With this week over, its just the final exercise to go and then rehearsals for our Pass-out Parade.