View Full Version : Gaz's Deployment Blog #3 by [R-DEV]Gaz

2010-05-09, 21:50
Installment 3, and I'm literally in pieces!

Just come off our final pre-call up training beatup, so this blog will be rather brief, as I am falling asleep! It was a big one, and the culmunation of the past 4 months of theatre specific training. Friday evening was the usual briefs and a trip to the armoury to fit the new RIS hand grips the our rifles, which will be coming with us to theatre.

Saturday started off with a 12 miler on Saturday morning. This is a 12 mile tab, with 30kg of kit (including rifle), to be completed in 3 hours 30 minutes. The pace was more than managable, and other than hotspots and the odd twinge, nothing major was reported. Until we were given an hour's admin time that was! End result - 3 lads off to hospital will serious blisters. One bad enough that both heels were literally hanging off in a bloody mess when he went to change his socks! On all accounts, the fella hadn't complained once during the tab about sore feet!

After that, we tabbed 2 miles out to the ranges and carried on with our TTFF (Transition To Field Firing). A requirement on the buildup to be competant in carrying out live shoots (from individual, pairs, fire team, section, platoon, coy and upwards). Once you get into Section level, the range packages are als good for blowing the cobwebs off commanders' command skills as well. At this stage, we have only worked up to Fire Team. This stuff is actually quite enjoyable, even though it's a little bit physically demanding, simply because it's so different from being static and firing a set number of rounds.

The second range was conducted as a Close Quarters Movement range with the IWs. This is a new range package that teaches updated firing stances at close quarters from lessons learned from theatre. Some of us 'older hands' learnt new body positions when engaging on snap shoots, to maximise the protection we wear. Although it sounds simple, it was kind of strange as an older hand having to re-adopt a new firing position from what I'm used to, and pretty much having to re-train my muscle reflexes. Interestingly, this is the only package that I have seen that now teaches the guys to aim for head shots, and allows them to find their point of aim with sights zerod to 300m on a head from ranges of 10m-50m. Quite important information for the lads who probably will not have attended courses to understand how zeroing works, fall of shot compared to point of aim at differing ranges etc.

After dinner, we received lessons on the 12.7mm (50 cal) HMG, and the H&K GMG. Then on to a number of briefs on our callup process. One was a cultural brief on Afghanistan and it's people; very interesting, having taught the same lesson a few days before and not actually taken in what I was teaching! The final one was a briefing on the amount of kit to be issued to us and a detailed breakdown of dates and times before we deploy (pre deployment training, any time off etc).

Sunday morning came along, and most of the lads woke with aches and pains from the day before. However, we knew we had another 12 miler ahead of us! My feet at this stage were mangled, and I can honestly say I have never had blisters before during my mil carerr, save for one on my heel (which I tend to ignore as it's not a pressure point with decent boots) when I was given brand new desert boots last time I was out...on every single toe, on both sides, the skin had ripped off and raw flesh was exposed over at least 60% of each toe's surface (on each side), with 3 of the toes bleeding to an extent. Zinc Oxide taped them up and cracked on. This second 12 miler was done with less weight but with less time to complete. 20kgs to be done in a total time of 3 hours. We cracked that out. At the end, the majority of the guys were limping. A few, including another Pl Sgt were down to a 2mph shuffle when moving about for the rest of the day. I didn't remove my boots until home time, and kept the same socks on til I got home as I didn't WANT to see the damage done! All I could think of was "thank f**k I took Monday off as I knew this was coming up....".

We then tabbed out to the ranges again and carried out our ACMT (Annual Combat Marksmanship Test) on the Sig Sauer P226; my secondary weapon for the tour. I have to say, I MUCH prefer the Sig over the old Browning HP 9mm. I don't know what it is; it just feels better, and you don't need to aim off by default ;) Guys not firing went through C-IED drills and medical training refreshers.

Back in, kit squared away, and home. When I got home, I was greated with a white envelope. Upon opening it, it was my official Compulsary Notice of Call Out papers. "Welcome back to the regular Army, Gaz", I thought. Shortly followed by "my boss is gonna LOVE this on Tuesday...." ;)

I have a Team Medic qualification to do next week, so will post an update detailing som of the info within that. Looking forward to the depth it teaches in. Until next time, here's my feet (with blood cleaned and freshly dressed at home)....

EDIT: This is part of the Parachute Regiment final test. I am liking the fact that 3 of our 70 failed, compared to 30 out 90 from the Paras ;)


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