Monday, 25 February 2008

20 February - Week 4

Yet another week has gone by with a few things learnt about myself and the army. The biggest thing that I struggled with this week was my shooting. I failed my first practice shoot this week and felt like I'd let my platoon and myself down. I hadn't been able to apply myself to my shooting because I was wrestling with the fact I was learning to hunt down and kill another person. I don't consider myself a very aggressive person and I've never been in a real fight - "white line fever" aside; even then, I don't really fight or punch on with people. So I find it weird that I would consider killing someone else. I hadn't thought I would be so uncomfortable with this but I've now realised it goes very much against where my values lie. I understand the need to reatliate and to protect those who can't do so for themselves, and I can see the military's role in this, but I don't think it's my role. I only think of other ways to try and do those roles besides the military answer.

So, because I couldn't remain focused while thinking I was trying to kill someone, I had to change this. I now approach the shooting as a sport. This had an immediate effect - I came equal third in the next shoot.

On a lighter note, we got to go on the big obstacle course today. After weeks of learning the specific techniques that we are to use going over the difficult stages, we finally go to apply them. Was really good fun. Our platoon got in trouble for talking when we weren't supposed to and not listening properly, but apart from that, it was good. Running, jumping, dodging, swinging, balnacing, climbing - all that good stuff.

Another pleasant event at Kapooka - we also just got promoted to blue tabs. that means we are one step closer towards getting out of this place and apparently we have some new privileges. I'm still not sure what they are. We get local leave this week, which is awesome and should be fun.

Posted on behalf of MJ Waters

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

13 February - Week 3

This week, the time finally came for me to face the thing I had been dreading this whole time. Actually, even before I got here, it almost stopped me from coming - The High Ropes Confidence Course. So I'm not a big fan of heights and have known for a while that at some point in my life, I would probably do a high ropes course. I've always wanted to avoid it and have done so on one or two occasions. This one was unavoidable. I had to do it.

So the time comes for me to climb up the post to where the wire course starts, 10 metres above the ground. At the top, I started breathing a bit faster and the heart rate increased. Then it was weird - I managed to keep myself calm, while suspended 10 metres above the ground. I didn't think I would have the capacity to do this.

The course consisted of the usual ropes course stuff, with the 2 worst things being the log or plank walk and 'Jacob's Ladder'. The log was, well, just a log that was roughly 10 metres long, round and a little creaky, that you had to walk along unassisted. Real easy on the ground... a little different 10 metres up with a breeze and the odd shake or two from others falling off the other sections of the course. 'Jacob's Ladder' was the worst in my opinion. It's a 30 cm wide wire and wood ladder that tilts when you unevenly spread your weight. Like the log, you had to walk across without assistance. The course also consisted of abseiling off a 25 metre tower down a wall and an overhang.

It was a really good day and an incredibly satisfying experinece to have done it and I was very surprised at how well I did. If I had been made to do it a few years ago, I don't think I would have done anywhere near as well - or in a better way of putting it - 'as composed'. Something that made it all the more spectacular was that we got pizza, garlic bread and soft drink that night, plus two hours free time.

I attribute my success on the day to maturity, strong will, time spent visualising myself succeeding, work on high places and up ladders with my father and the heck of a lot of praying I did before the day.

I'm a very proud, happy and relieved person at the moment,

Matt Waters.

Posted on behalf of MJ Waters.

Monday, 11 February 2008

05 February - Week 2/Week 1 of Actual Program

This week has flown - the time is now really starting to tick over. Our platoon is also really starting to work well together and are switching on to life here. About halfway through this week, I was a bit down on the experience, but a few things managed to life my spirits. Firsly, thinking about what I'm hoping to do next year, as well as pausing and remembering where I was - Army Basic Training... how cool is that? Look... it's pretty cool and that thought keeps me excited. I also have to remind myself that I put myself through this to test myself and it seems to be working.

This week's highlights were:
  • showing up our sister platoon, 33 Platoon, by performing much better at the physical training, PT Indoor Obstacle Course, which also happened to be incredibly fun
  • firing our first live rounds today from our Steyr - good fun, but disappointing because we only got 10 rounds.

Tomorrow should also be fun; we're going to the WTSS - Weapon Training Steyr Simulator (I think that's what it stands for). This is a virtual simulator of the gun to test our accuracy before we use the real stuff again. All in all, it has been an awesome week. It felt more fun and I'm getting a bit more used to the whole thing.


Posted on behalf of MJ Waters.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

30 January - End of Week 1

G'day all,

So the first week has been and gone - initiation week - so not really a real training week, but still quite testing and fulfilling. A lot has happened as you might have expected. We get told a heck of a lot of information over short periods of time and are expected to use it straight away. This is done either in practical lessons or lectures - sound familiar to all you uni attendees? The big difference is I'm at work 6am - 10pm, with very little time to sleep on the grass/couch. The culture shock of being told to do stuff all the time and being yelled at was a bit hard to handle at first, but it does have a purpose and a place.

As a platoon we have been working hard on our marching and have just been issued our guns. It's weird to be wandering around carrying a rifle and practicing safety checks on it. We also just learnt how to strip, clean and reassemble the rifle. It's really intense and we've just started doing more physical work, so it's starting to become physically and mentally draining. I threw up on our first physical training session, mainly because I didn't anticipate the amount of sprinting and had a huge breakfast. This didn't sit well...woops.

Apart from that, it's all been pretty good. Actually, most things are like that here - when you're throwing up it feels like it takes forever and is the worst thing in the world, but when you look back on it, it wasn't so bad. The days are now starting to tick over a bit. As I alluded to before, the difference parts of the day feel like they take forever, but looking back on them, they go pretty quick. The worst part of the day for me is waking up at 6am and having to yell HALLWAY 3A at the top of my lungs, while grabbing my sheets and heading out the door. Too much yelling and movement for me. I hate it but hopefully I will get more used to it.

All in all, it hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be, but now that it's got more physical, it's getting slightly tougher.

Hope all is going well for everyone else.

Peace and love from your gun-toting friend.

Posted on behalf of MJ Waters