Thursday, March 19, 2015

Week 8-9/38

This post is not gonna follow previous post structures because it's my first exercise since coming into OCS, meaning I am stuck in camp for two whole weeks (and of course it would feel weird to label the activities done each day).

----- Exercise Centipede -----
8 days back in Tekong, running around in Standard Battle Order (SBO) and section stores, aka 10+ kg of load, knee-breaking high kneeling every instance, battle formations et cetera. Worst of all, CAMO ON 24/8! Maybe for the freshly POP-ed recruits privates it will be a refreshing journey down memory lane and they get to see their company line again. But me being a 1 year old soldier already, it is sad for me to say that I do not have anything to relate to, first of all BMT evolving and changing to suit the current recruits and secondly all the officers and sergeants I know have ORD-ed months ago. The nostalgia in seeing the Changi ferry terminal and iconic Penguin ferry just wasn't there anymore. As I sat inside the ferry, there was no memory flashback, no reminiscence of my BMT experiences nor missing of my BMT sectionmates. Nothing, that's what I felt.

As we reached Tekong, we boarded the tonner which brought us to the camp. Setting up the basha (tent in layman non-NS familiar term) was different from what I did in BMT - we tied a rope between two trees as overhead cover then laid a groundsheet as base. TA DA our new sleeping place for 6 days. Section training was horribly tough and as expected, being in SBO for extended periods of time killed us. Definitely not used to it... Fresh outrations was a blessing though, downed it like a wolf ahahah.
Always remember the golden equation --> Training + Shouting officers = Fatigue + Hunger

Next day was similar although less tiring as we gradually got used to the weight of it. Was supposed to have a 6km tactical route march but heavy downpour. Kinda happy yet sad because although we missed the 6km route march, we got shittingly wet and the feeling sucks. Stuck in the basha for about 3 hours. Highlight of the day was probably encik asking us to open our palms and discreetly pass us gummy bears to boost our morale even though the rain was still heavy. Simple gestures like this really touches me and I am sincerely grateful for commanders like encik whose actions are noble and intentions pure. These are the people I truly revere from the bottom of my heart. Commander SAFTI came down to address us and wow, his commanding aura is fearsome. He does not need to raise his voice to be respected; he's a natural leader who knows it and puts it to full use. Being in OCS exposes me to so many different styles of leadership which I'll never forget.

Navigation exercise was next in line as we were put to the test of navigating foreign undulating terrains and clearing checkpoints. There was a signal set dispatched to every section and it was hell carrying it throughout the exercise. Navigation was fine; the only challenge was rotating the carrying of signal set. Perhaps it's due to the fatigue and weather, people in my section started man-modeing (ignoring everyone, zoning in their own world and generally not helping anyone but himself). The true nature of most of my sections were revealed that day and I shan't disclose my personal bias I developed as a result of that. I myself hate being ignored hence I always tell myself to toughen up and brave through this. Even if my section is being this way, if I keep talking sense to them, they will somehow regain themselves back. Selfishness ain't gonna help the section, selflessness will.

Technical break came at day 4, which marks the halfway point of Exercise Centipede. So glad I made it up to this point. However, we got turned out that dawn to experience Prisoners-of-War training... the experience sucks but the lessons learnt were deep. All I can say is this execution of POW training was well intented - the best medicine tastes bitter. Swam and had pizza. Life's great then. And it's back to hell again.

From day 5 onwards it's just blocks of 6 hour missions including planning and execution, 4 missions in 48 hours.Most importantly, there were no more FRESH OUTRATIONS :( eating combat rations which essentially are compressed food ziplocked and airtight. Wow, I was freaking shagged out for these two days, especially when one of my sectionmates lost an equipment and we had to march back to find it. Fortunately we did, but at the expense of our rest time. Just glad someone din't have to serve extras for losing it...

Penultimate day we shifted camp site so that we can be tested on another aspect. Less tired, may be because it was the last day? Marched to parade square at BMTC School 1 parade square and everything out-ed for inspection. Dinner was awesome because IT'S BACK TO FRESH RATIONS. So hungry and elated that I finished two boxes of fresh outrations XD

Last day before going back to HQ. So looking forward to it then BAM! Charlie Mike (continue mission in again laymen non-NS familiar term) Did 6km, ended up so damn tired that I slept my way back to wingline. Post admin back at wingline was just back-breaking rifle maintenance.

----- Wednesday to Friday -----
GPMG practical handling and test the whole day. The only interesting thing was we got fucked so bad because our wing commander received a message complaint that we marched like shit. All hell broke loose on us. We, Platoon 3, had to suffer shitloads of parade drills, PT, being screamed at. In essence, it was a total mental and physical torture only with one purpose - to break us down completely as punishment for not being disciplined. Thursday we had No. 2 uniform sizing which again being in Platoon 3 caused us to not have fitting attires to impress our dates as the other platoons took all the good fitting uniforms already zzz such perks of being in the "last to get everything" platoon.Had 6km fast march, Holy shit, what a painful march for my legs... Had to camo on midway during our rest because again we did not clean our helmet straps free of camo and it stained our faces. Hate the unnecessary camo-ing but oh well, suck thumb. The limelight is already on us; we have no say even if the officers are pissed at us and want to discipline us. Hope we prove them wrong and regain back their faith and confidence of us. Friday hopefully a chill day and yep, BOOKOUT DAY!

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