SuT Thomas from the Army Training Centre, Pirbright, looks back at her Weapons Handling Test, the experience of live firing for the first time and the challenge of a literally sickening 5-mile run.
The week began with a mixture of nerves and excitement. Our Weapon Handling Test was first thing Monday morning. Once we realised the best thing to do was to treat it just like a lesson, stay calm and do everything we’ve been taught we all ended up passing. The excitement was it now meant we could move on to the ranges! The next few days we used what is best described as a simulation range. Rifles linked up by laser to a simulation range and targets.
The troop is proving to be strong and 11 of us passed the required standards on first attempts and the rest passed by the end of our first lesson – go on girls! There’s some healthy competition emerging too…
The first day on the live ranges was amazing! Everyone stayed strong and carried on the good shooting with some impressive improvements by many of the girls. We spent the whole day shooting from 25m. It becomes addictive because all you want to do is shoot again to better your previous rounds. The theory also pieces together as you put into practice what you have learnt in the classroom. It was a good day!
The toughest PT session this week was the 5-mile run. It was hard. Hello, Concrete Hill! They only get bigger and longer – at least it feels that way! Good proof that we are working 100% and that it is possible to push through the pain barrier was the sickness of two of the girls! Being sick while running takes a lot of skill. The buzz of the Troop after the run was great – the feelgood endorphins had been found! They put a smile on everyone’s face for the rest of the day and inspired a mental belief that anything is possible!
We also had a swimming lesson, but even those who aren’t keen on swimming enjoyed it. It was a mixture of different strokes, using floats and playing a ball game. It was good to break up our theory lessons because it meant we could go back into the classroom feeling mentally refreshed.
It is hard to believe we have been here a month already. Saturday was a treat – a day out in London. The Tower of London was interesting and we got a chance to relax, go for food and a coffee. KFC and Starbucks – happy days! We are now thinking ahead to next week’s exercise – 3 days and 2 nights in the field. The transition from civilian to soldier continues.