Thursday, July 9, 2015

Week 22-25/38

This is gonna be a long post so please bear with me. Finally writing after a long hiatus (maybe I'm over-exaggerating) because of my overseas exercise - Ex Lancer @ Lakiun Camp, Brunei. Will be sub-dividing the weeks for easier comprehension.

Phase 1: Infantry Training Package

Day 1 (15 June, Mon)
A day of in-processing which took half a day but could have been faster had it not rained zzz. The welcome dinner was great :)

Day 2
Started all the required briefings (safety brief, conduct brief, exercise mission brief yada yada...)

Day 3
Crossing Water Obstacle (CWO) training in preparation of Ex Helang 2.

Day 4
Actual dry/wet run of CWO (is it considered a dry run when we got wet doing it?) at Sungai Batu Apoi river, not forgetting the mandatory rifle cleaning thereafter.

Day 5
Ridgeline fighting lessons at the "Saw mill", in preparation of essentially all exercise missions. Really important to master fighting on the main terrain for all infantry troops.

Day 6
Climbed up to Landing Point (LP) Pheonix to wait for air insertion into Jungle Village. First exercise to come was Ex Hornbill - a Platoon Battle Course intended as a search & destroy mission. Took us quite a while to navigate into the correct enemy location due to the misleading forked paths which led us off the wrong track twice.

Day 7
Ex Temada (the usual section ridgeline fighting) in the morning, followed by closed terrain live firing in the afternoon.

Day 8-9 (23 June, Tues)
Ex Helang 1 to 3. Sorry I can't really describe much about it due to me falling out after Ex Helang 1 but nonetheless, the worst back-to-back missions an infanteer will experience yet. Imagine route march with a 25kg load on harsh unforgiving undulating terrain with missions in between. Yep, blisters, abrasions, heat rashes!

-----------------------------END OF INFANTRY TRAINING PACKAGE--------------------------

Phase 2: Pre-JCC

Day 10
JCC start proper. Course Instructor brief, more random but important briefs... We got jungle cadre team 2, which consists of 3WO Ezekiel, 3WO Joe, LTA Rajwinder and CPT Utama. Not forgetting of course, their signaller CPL Gary.

Day 11
Knots & lashings lesson/ test. Also had a lesson on identification of edible plants.

Day 12
Tour of the Survival Village (not to be confused with Jungle Village which uhh duhhh is in the jungle). Saw the standards of the A-frame shelter, fireplace and monitor lizard trap. Then we witnessed live skinning of quail, chicken, rabbit, snake and goat <- exactly in this order typed. Sampling of sago worms, which I valiantly volunteered to try and ... no comments guys and gals, you have to try for yourselves to understand my "predicament".

Phase 3: JCC

Before I begin on my JCC experience, I shall share how the scoring system works:

Physical Fitness
Peer review
Commander Bonus**

JCC consists of 4 exercises, Ex Nomad, Ex Explorer, Ex Forager and Ex Trekker. All 4 exercises contribute to the 80%. Prior to JCC, there will also be tests which takes up 10%. 5% from peer review comes just before the end of JCC where the detail is given sheets of paper to grade every individual of the detail. Lastly, the commander bonus, 2% of which is gotten if the detail manages to find all 4 Checkpoints (CP) and reach the Endpoint (EP) on time in Ex Nomad, the other 2% given if an individual scores more than 70 out of 90 in Ex Forager. If you are actually still alive after all the math done, the last 1% is randomly given on the whims and fancy of the cadre assessing you.

Throughout my JCC, I penned down my thoughts and reflections every day in my black notebook, something I took pride in doing and in doing so, became my countdown timer to the end of JCC. Typed out my reflections at the end of each day.

Day 13 (27 June, Sat)
Start of Ex Nomad - 0600. It is a test of navigational skills within closed terrain and discipline. Trust in your teammate's navigation/ plotting/ pacing is integral to the dynamics of the detail.

+++"Started Ex Nomad at 0600. Felt confident at first but lost every ounce of it 1 hour later. Brunei terrain is really no joke. Spent at least 6 hours searching for CP ROAD but gave up to find CP BLUR. Equally shitty to locate but luckily still found :) harbouring near Midpoint (MP) tonight, honestly unsure of my skills..."

Day 14
Ex Nomad.

+++"10 hour sleep was shiok but the trek to come was hell. Survived climbing up & down at least 4 ravines... on 1 pack of biscuit. Gonna tank thru this. 7 more days!! P.S. Hooray for Endex Nomad."

Day 15 (29 June, Mon)
Endex Nomad - 1000. Start of Ex Explorer - 1300. The infamous self-discovering journey to the North-East (trust me, general direction to Mt Biang from the "piano bridge" is NE). Rough gauge of route would be .361, aka Temburong, followed by .169 and .168 helipads and finally Mt Biang. Climb on all four limbs; it helps.

+++"Reached EP COLD! Never felt so happy to see instructors :) Settled transition to Ex Explorer. Wow, eating 1 pack of biscuit today again. Somehow managed to survive my hunger... tmr confirm eat main pack alr... too damn hungry. Might start food craving list soon."

Day 16
Ex Explorer.

+++"Most tiring day of my life. Trekked uphill & downhill, total vertical distance covered about 800m? The climb up Mt Biang was... wow never again... Really unimaginable scaling until you experience it. Too sleepy to continue..."

Day 17
Endex Explorer - 0900. Transition to JCC combat swim and insertion into survival sites (not to be confused with survival village which is uhh at base camp). Ex Forager will usually start early due to the early insertion into survival sites.

+++"Surprisingly managed to chiong to 4B turning site and down to 4B for JCC combat swim! 18 pts for Explorer! :) last detail to arrive tho, so we waited till 3pm before we actually got inserted. Started Ex Forager feeling lost... dunnoe how to start & maintain me fire zzz plus it rained today... no mood :("

Day 18 (2 July, Thurs)
Official start of Ex Forager -0600. Be disciplined and do not be afraid to venture far for resources! Think creative and positive!

+++"Moody; everyone is so good at building and tying things but I am just clumsy and slow... morale all time low. Still have not done monitor lizard trap, roofing and fireplace shelter... so much to do, not to mention my rashes are itching like mad. HELP!!"

Day 19
Ex Forager skinning assessment (killing was sinful, eating was sinful too, although the intended meaning behind the word 'sinful' differs for the latter)

+++"Somehow managed to get my shit together and accomplish some stuff. Still left with 2/3 of roofing but aha fuck it... 1 layer hopefully can clear. *fingers crossed* I feel that Ex Forager really woke me up to how helpless & vulnerable I can end up judging from ytd. Shall sleep now..."

Day 20
Endex Ex Forager - 1200. Extrication to harbour site in preparation for transition to Ex Trekker.

+++"Ex Forager finally ended OH YEA!! Hope I passed. The angonizing 3 days 3 nights of moody me was horrible; made me reflect a lot on what do I excel in... JCC almost over. Lost the black screw but luckily managed to find it back WOO!! :) safe~ harbouring at 4A now feeling relieved that everything is coming to an end. And for the first time, I actually miss my family. Gonna treat them dinner when I am back^^." EDIT: I DID TREAT THEM YAY!!

Day 21 (5 July, Sun)
Start of Ex Trekker - 0600. How fast JCC ends depends on how fast your detail reaches Cynthia gate :)

+++"The awaited day of return to LAKIUN camp to mark the ENDEX. last night was memorable tho; it poured heavily in the middle of the night, making us soaking wet and unable to sleep further... I ended up reveilling at 0400. Started Ex Trekker at SP4 -> CP WATER -> CP NAGA -> CP OKRA-> CP PHEONIX -> CYNTHIA!! Not really a shag trek but rather just a casual route march with uphill feel. Somehow ended up crying having walked past CYNTHIA gate. JCC definitely went well!"

Day 22
Out-processing and loading of kit-bag. Prepare for R&R~

Day 23 (7 July, Tues)
R&R day. Went to the Royal museum of Brunei which housed all the international gifts offered to the Sultan, wished I had more time to appreciate the objects there :(. Boat tour around Water Village then lunch buffet at Jalan Aman camp. Good food yay! Went to The Mall (it is actually called that...). Watched Terminator: Genisys (really good, strongly recommend to watch), had double cheese fries from Jollibee and vanilla oreo frappe which was delicious OH MY GOD! Then dinner buffet again and hand carry inspection at Jalan Aman camp before departing to Brunei International Airport to catch my flight home woots!!

My food craving doodles LOL~

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