POP, POP. As it came closer we all thought we would have it easy. Not so, not so. It was a deluge of events. So here we go, in chronological order.
4 December 2007, Drill Competition
Our Company assembled a team of drill specialists to take part in this competition. Most of us had backgrounds from the various uniformed groups. Still, that didn’t make the training any easier. We had to reconcile and standardize simple things such as timings, position of hands and feet, e.tc.
The planning of the fancy drill was quite messy. Even the night before the competition, we had not confirmed our final sequence for the Fancy Drill. Nonetheless we dived into the Drill Competition. Basically the competition tested several categories, namely:
- Uniform (10%)
- Fundamental Drill (40%)
- Fancy Drills (30%)
- March Past (20%)
I think the weightage of marks was something like that. We lost 3 or 4 marks because of sloppy uniform. I felt that that was quite wasteful. An absolutely unnecessary loss of marks. We did well for the basic drills, but screwed up the fancy drills.
We got third out of nine or eight companies. We lost by 0.5 points for 2nd place. But looking at their special performance during Games Day, they deserved it.
On hindsight we could have done much better if we started practising earlier. Still, it was a good attempt because it was a first time for everyone, including our Sergeant.
If I ever become a instructor in BMTC, and end up taking a drill squad, I will keep some lessons in mind.
- Always, always have uniform inspection.
- Practice, practice, practice.
- Practise early.
5 December 2007, 24 Km Graduation Route March
This was to be the final challenge of our course. The original route consisted of plenty of uneven roads, but due to the heavy rain an alternate route was used. The event started several hours late, and it was still raining when we started. We were quite drenched. We were allowed to change into dry uniforms during dinner time. I also managed to air my feet and dry my boots. It’s quite funny to be able to pour mud out of your boots. The grandstand was quite dirty after that.
Thank God for the amended route, if not the morale would have probably been worse. Most of the route was on paved road, as compared to the original one. We didn’t experience much darkness either during the night. If we followed the original one, we would be stuck in the darkness for a longer period of time. The darkness I speak of is absolute, the one experienced during Field Camp. We were all trying to lift up each others spirits by singing. At certain points of time we were singing self-composed lyrics.
To the tune of ‘Country Road’: Penguin Boat, take me home, to the place, where I belong..
The aftermath was horrific. Everybody had horrible abrasions. We were all walking like penguins, trying to avoid our thighs from rubbing against the pants. It was particularly funny to see our PC walk like one.
The march ended at around one in the morning. After sending the weapons back to the armskote, we went to bed at two thirty.
6 December 2007, Games Day
It was an exciting day. It was drizzling slightly, but we all continued to cheer by banging on our plastic pails.
Despite having a lack of energy and plenty of abrasions from the night before, our forces put in a great deal of effort. In exchange we managed to get second place. The tug-of-war team got first place. Everybody was very pleased, especially the commanders.
11 December 2007, Passing Out Parade
We had our parade on the morning of 11 December. Three companies: Pegasus, Leopard, and Viper, marched in formation into the parade square. The marching was accompanied by music played by the SAF Band.
It was a long awaited day. Glorious!
(I’ll have pictures up soon!)