Soldier under Training (SuT) Amazu is a new blogger from the Army Training Centre, Pirbright. He’ll be writing regularly about his experiences of Phase 1 Training. Here he looks back at the first 2 weeks…
Monday: As soon as we stepped out of the rail station, there was a coach to take us all to Pirbright, our home for 14 weeks of training. I’ve been to Pirbright once already, but today felt different. Phase 1 training was starting today. All my section mates where excited, despite the paperwork and the crash course in bed-making we all received…
Tuesday: I so wished there were tablets or syrups instead of needles! Yeah, you guessed right, I hate them. But I endured the injections, thankfully. I must confess that being issued with quite a lot of military kit was a delight (regardless of the endless boot polishing and ironing that will soon follow!)
Wednesday: First physical training (PT) lesson, yay! I wasn’t let down by my legs or fitness at all (my 10min 36secs time was pretty decent).
Thursday: Alright then, today was the first drill lesson. Some of us marching in the most diabolical ways ever seen. I also contributed my fair share of goofs. Keeping time, halting and standing at ease all required a lot of practice. I am really loving this so far.
Friday: Bergen! Webbing! Followed by more bergen and webbing stuff! Argh! I am no fan of ambiguities, but packing these rather simply-named pieces of kit can keep one dazed and confused. Thank God for teamwork – we got them sorted in the end. I loved watching the Corporals demonstrate during the shooting lesson (the closest I have been to a rifle so far). And I wish I recorded some of the hilarious stories I heard on Exercise ICE BREAKER prior to retiring into the bushes for the day. Brilliant!
Saturday: I don’t remember emerging from the trees on a weekend in my life. But I’m in the Army now so things are a bit different. We ran out on the Sergeant’s command. I aimed at getting on top of my ‘admin’, which I eventually achieved. Also I had a bit of ‘banter’ with the guys as well at the canteen. Nice weekend indeed.
Sunday: Dressed in uniform and marching to church is something new to me. There was quite an upbeat atmosphere in the service so no complaints from my end at all. We declared war on the block jobs. And won. Ha ha.
Monday: Today’s PT had little or no dramas. I found the rope climbing pretty clumsy, grabbing it with my feet, though the thought of the skill being a lifesaver motivated me to grasp it in the end. My first intro to the rifle was today as well in the Skill At Arms lesson. Hello SA80 A2!
Tuesday: More Skill At Arms lessons today. There’s a word of command for just about every move with the weapon: ready, make safe, load, unload… my brain’s getting full already. We’re now at the saluting stage on drill, 3-2-1, salute to the left or right or front.
Wednesday: The map reading lesson today was simply awesome. I found military maps and grids quite cool (mind you, it’s eastings before northings!). Before that we had an engaging lesson on Security. Some of my mates seemed to have the tilapia gene in the swimming test, the rest were more like submarines in the way they went down! Remedial classes in the coming weeks…
Thursday: More drill lessons today – perfecting salutes. I feel our respective sections are bonding very well. And we sustained the caterpillar position for the longest time. (Come on 2 Section!)
Friday: Smile, you’re on camera! That’s our Army ID cards sorted. Then we were in the revered gym for volleyball. (It turns out my service was so natural, the other side went down 4-0 straight away – amazing stuff!) Learning marksmanship principles was brilliant too. No flapping your head on the ranges, and keep your weapon oiled for obvious reasons. Busy day.
Saturday. Another PT day. We played softball. I loved the game (2 Section came out on top again – yeah!). Up next was the cultural day. I now have Fiji on my list of top ten vacation locations. I also learnt to say hello the Fijian way to one of our Corporals.
Sunday. Great Sunday Service in the morning (the communion was a particular highlight for me). Rehearsing the fire drill made me appreciate how large a parade of all SuTs at 2ATR Pirbright can be. The instruction was to exit the blocks of residence as quickly possible. ‘Any questions?’ ‘No Corporal.’