It wasn't quite a week that appealed to my mental health - a week marked by continually changing standards, schedules, and even instructions. Last week, with plenty of administrative stuff left undone with three days till the turning ops parade (there were vehicles to draw from the central Motorised Transport Line, field pack standards to be checked and followed, action plan in the case of a real activation to be briefed), the whole company went on the usual business of physical activities. Area cleaning and inspection done in true military style, along with the obligatory push-up punishments for that dirty patch beneath the cupboards, lessons carried on with the usual slack pace - until somebody panicked. Instructions started to drip down in trickles, with such short deadlines we were forced to forgo sleep to accomplish it.
Maps had to be done, equipement to be de-rusted, and inspected for damage. By right, there should have been a more organised way of notification of all these tasks, not only to prepare everybody mentally for whatever would be coming, but to give them enough time to react without placing undue stress upon them. They didn't.
"Oh, the battalion HQ did not agree on the standards for the field pack, that is why you had to change the contents again."
"Instructions are coming in dribs and drabs - even we don't know what to expect next, please understand."
The first day of my marksman traning fell on the day of the battalion's turning ops parade, resulting in everybody painting their faces in the morning for the parade, and removing it hastily for a quick rush to the rifle range.
Tempers flared. I did break down - in fact, I used up quite a few pieces of paper just writing my frustrations down, and tearing them down till the very last piece before relegating them to the black bin near the staircase. From the contents of that bin, it is probably true that people do gorge themselves silly when they are stressed. Ironically, I don't see the other companies to be as busy as we were. Perhaps it is because Support Company is an unusual company with different support platoons doing different stuff; but there are just no excuses for mismanagement.
Anyway, now that the dust has settled some, everyone has put their attention back to training: it is as if we are not under Alert Red. I now carry a pager on me, so that I can get recalled back to camp in case of any national disaster. Communication has never been such a curse. Hopefully, as things get back to normal, people would get less tensed up. After all, it is bloody tiring to be angry at everybody at the same time.