My shoulders took a camel's load the whole of this week. My vocation course (Infantry Scout Platoon Course) started this Monday, and being a stay-in course, I wasn't able to get out of camp to get access to the online world. That's what happened to me. Shut off. From the outside world. It is just the great outfield, and me. Not to mention the commando mosquitos which apparently love my scent.
I was chosen to be a signaler (probably because I am among the bigger sized people in the whole platoon), and so had to carry the extremely unwieldy signal set. Not only did I manage to get sore shoulders after a week of carrying that bulky load (on top of my full battle order!), I also managed to whip a few of my platoon mates with the whip antenna in the process of getting my field pack (which had the signal set inside) on my back.
My platoon sergeant made full use of our newly acquired driving licences to ferry our bikes and jeeps over to the school (the School of Military Intelligence). It was quite a cool sight, a few guys inside the jeep, tailed by two bikes moving out of the company line in full view of the rifle companies. I felt generally good riding the bike, even as the eyes fixated on me, obviously out of awe.
Once there, the famous unofficial SAF (Singapore Armed Forces) motto came into play: "rush to wait, wait to rush". We hurried to get all our luggage and vehicles settled into the accomodations, and double-fast marched into the auditorium, only to find an hour's wait while the other two course platoons took their time reaching the place. Talk about waiting! We even sat erect in the chair, wanting to make a good first impression on the instructors!
Memory of Information is a module in which they ask us to do a set of exercises (called Power PT), after which they give us a few pictures to memorise, before they ask us questions on the pictures. It was very tiring, I am sure you will agree:
- ? counts of 4 (Diamond push-up)
- ? counts of 4 (Scissors kick)
- ? counts of 4 (Spider push-up)
- ? counts of 4 (Flutter kick)
- ? counts of 4 (Dive bombers)
- ? counts of 4 (Alternate leg thrust)
- ? counts of 8 (Burpees)
- ? counts of 8 (Psychomotor jumping jacks)
How we did the exercises? We went through each of them, changing to the next one, or retrogading to the previous one, as and when the instructor liked it.
The dry floor looked as if it had just been washed when we were done with it. Power PT anyone?
Even tougher training awaits. We had to slather on camouflage cream all over us, and do all sorts of infiltration skills in full battle order. Needless to say, I had to do leopard, worm and baby crawls, ghost and stoop walks with that signal set in my field pack. To add to the difficulty, we were supposed to be tactical, which means that we cannot be spotted by the any body. This meant that we could not make any noise, which was hard, considering that there were many dead leaves there. I ended up gritting my way through all the obstacles, and panting extremely heavily.
"Well, if I were to do that regularly, I would have no problems with my physical training test!" I thought grimly as my lungs screamed for more air. The exertion caused me to be in heavy oxygen debt, and I soon found myself staggering towards the end point. Movement too slow for the platoon commander, and we were tekanned (shouted and screamed at) all the way back to the waiting tonner, and back to the course accomodation. Oh well, at least there are no push-ups in full battle order. I was wondering how I would cope with it!
The overcast sky cooled the ground considerably to allow us to march effectively. We were doing the 6 km fast march, and I was chosen to be the rear scout (the rear group at the back to pick up drop outs). Amazingly, my field pack felt light enough for me to walk swiftly, even run. However, I could not say the same for some of my other platoon mates. They were visibly struggling with their loads, and some started to march out of line, which lead to the sergeants to shout encouragements at them. The whole chaotic mess reminded me of a thoroughly confused mess that resembled lemmings.
In the end, after much tekanning, we finished the whole route. The platoon commander seemed to be quite satisfied with the march, the grin was hanging on his face as if it were a permanent fixture.
As I was typing all these, realisation hit me. How could anyone possibly want to read all these details? It really is tough putting on hold to all those juicy details, but I can't expect anyone to read all my adventures from head to tail! I think I will bore you to death! What do you think?