Soldier under Training (SuT) Thomas writes from the Army Training Centre, Pirbright about the seventh week of British Army Phase 1 Training.
The week began with a lot to achieve on Monday morning. We’d spent the whole weekend working hard and preparing. First off was our Troop Commander’s inspection, followed by our Drill Test and then the mid-way fitness assessments. Our inspection went smoothly but no one was able to relax until the Drill Test was done – left right left and a number of salutes later we were a happy troop, having passed! It started off shaky but got progressively better and by the end we had passed, earned our cap badges and a long weekend home – nearly! Straight after drill we were at the track for our 1.5 mile run. The girls were impressive and all the hard work paid off as every single member of the troop ran it within the time needed to pass out. There was not one person who did not improve their time by a significant margin – the average improvement was around 1.5 minutes, through a combination of physical fitness and mental strength. Some of the girls were gobsmacked by their improvement.
This week we had the chance to visit our Phase 2 training schools and speak to some of the soldiers and staff. Mine was a very useful visit and we all felt better knowing what lies around the corner and what to look forward to. However, back at Pirbright it was back to work and bayonet training! Everyone was a little on edge as we didn’t know what to expect but at the same time we were strangely looking forward to it. We had some fun and games to start with to get us in the mood – sprinting and leopard crawling up and down the field got us more than warmed up. Then we began the learning curve. We surprised a few people with our inner anger and right from the start we threw out our girlyness, brought out our controlled aggression and went for it. It was one of our best lessons yet!
This weekend we all got to go home, leaving on Thursday afternoon. During the day we held an event for our families and got to show them a sample of what we had been learning. Two brave visitors even attempted some drill in front of everyone, after a little persuasion! It was a good day and a proud one too. We were presented with our cap badges in front of our families and when we return next week we will all represent our own trades and must salute officers! But until then we get to go home for a well deserved rest!