18 October 2017

My Army Story Part 2

Here's the continuation of my army story. If you haven''t catch part 1 of it, here's the link to it:

So after our POP also known as Passing Out Parade, all recruits are entitled to 1 week block leave. So in this 1 week leave most of us will be going overseas, hang out with friends, etc. For me, well I'm pretty much the latter cuz I'm too broke to go overseas. LOL!

On the last few days of our block leave is the day where the army tekong group chat become super active. Your alert/notification is constantly flooding with messages one. Because this is when we'll receive our postings on our next phase of army life. Whether you get posted to SCS (Sergeant Cadet School), OCS (Officer Cadet School) or Unit (basically a trooper or driver or medic). And guess what?!?!?! I was posted to a unit. A BAD ONE SOMEMORE!!! Its more like a dumping ground when you're nowhere good or bad. I cried, I cried so bad cuz I really didn't want to spend another 1.5 years going outfield and having to CHIONG all the way. It's like BMT all over again but at another level higher.


Can't remember its 21st or 22nd December that I got posted to 4th Singapore Infantry Battalion (4SIR) yeap the dumping ground that I was talking about earlier on. Who would have thought, I so "nua", can't even barely get Silver for my IPPT already, yet I'm posted to a "CHIONG SUA" unit. So together with some of my Gryphon Kias, Matthew, Ben, Jeffrey just to name a few, we were all super reluctant to report to camp. Firstly, the camp is right opposite a fucking cemetry. Secondly, we all went to google information about this camp so that we have a heads up of what to expect. Basically, nothing. LOL! We only found some information on hardware zone from the previous troopers who have already ORD saying that the cookhouse food is awesome, the bunk is haunted, toilet is haunted etc. I mean, what do you expect??? We're staying in 24hrs, 5 days a week opposite a cemetery!!!

When we reached there, we were directed to Support company. After which, they split us up into 3 platoons, platoon 10, 11, and 12. I was sad, because Matthew, Ben and Jeffrey were all posted to Platoon 11, and I was posted to Platoon 12, but luckily, there were some familiar faces from Gryphon( Hylman, Danial, Hakim and Chun Yi ) It was hard adjusting the first few days, but soon it got better. The camp even did a Christmas Day celebration for us and the cookhouse did an amazing job in the food as well. Hahahaha! But we're too early to say that.


Vocational Fitness Training/Combat Skills Badge

Soon after we're being introduced to the Vocational Fitness Training (VFT) where we go through a few weeks of fitness training to get us ready for our upcoming exercise. Then after that we were also introduced to CSB (Combat Skills Badge) where its a MUST for all infantry unit.

Some of the requirements to attain the CSB:
- Endless amount of route march. (3km, 4km, 6km, 12km, 16km, 24km, 32km) For those that didn't do their 24km route march during their POP then they'll have to walk the 24km, if they did for their POP then they'll walk 32km after they have done their 16km route march.
- 10km Run (must finish within a specific timing, If I'm not wrong its within 60mins. Correct me if I'm wrong)

On the day of the 32km route march, we did river crossing towards the end, I can't remember at which mark, and we also did our 100m live firing at the 30km mark. For the 100m Live Firing, we are required to get 5 out of 10 shots in order not to fail.

- Weapon handling
Just some proficiency training to see how well you're handling the weapon.

- Navigation Exercise in the forest
Lol, this one is terrible, it rained the day we went out and our assault bags were soaking wet. Failed the first attempt cuz my team couldn't find the card at night. 2nd attempt on the other day, it rained as well. But lucky for my team, we had leads and information from outsiders and also the rifle coy that helped us. Somehow I feel that these kind of outfield stuff, the rifle coy are extremely good at it. Hahaha!

- At least a IPPT Silver and above
Thank god I still manage to get a silver at least!!!!

Platoon Selection

I think the killer were the route marches, the thought of it just kills me. So while we're doing this CSB shit, the commanders are also having their selection of who they want in their individual platoon. In an infantry battalion, there's Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, and Support. The first 3 being rifle coys and Support being the dumping ground for the recruits from Tekong. So back to the individual platoons in Support, there are Scouts (also known as Recce), Signals (they deal with signal sets) Pioneers (they set the mines and claymore and explosives to destroy the enemies), and Mortar (Artillery, but infantry context).

Of course, I wanted the easy way out, the commanders were saying how prestige the Scouts is and the amount of "CARROTS" they're gonna get after a period of time (TROLLOLOLOL FYI THE CARROTS NEVER CAME, IT LEFT!!! HAHAHAHA!!!). And they had to go through a special selection course where the commanders will wake you up at FUCKING 3am just to go down to the parade square and everything out. SO YEAP! Definitely a no no for me.

Pioneers on the other hand had to follow the rifle coy during outfield and that means more CHIONG SUA! So no no for me too. So I was deliberating between Signals and Mortar and I chose the latter eventually because #MortarLepak. But the final decisions still lies with the commanders. Like your next 1.5 years of army life depends on them. So even if you tick the platoon of your choice, it's not even 100% guaranteed you'll end up there.


The Cohesion Day At Wavehouse
It's also the day where the company reveals who is going to which platoon, and after the reveal support coy will be heading to the wave house for our cohesion and for some of us who are posted to rifle coy, will be joining them for their cohesion. At that point of time my mind was only thinking about not getting posted to rifle coy because it's really terrible. Like I've been here for a few weeks already and after getting to know some of the people here I'm going to be send to another place where I'll have to start getting to know people from scratch again. I just can't. So when they were calling out the names for Mortar platoon, I was closing my eyes and hoping to hear my name being called. It's pretty drama if you think about it. I feel like my world is about to come crashing down. But thank god from all religion, my name was called. I'M LIKE YAAAAAAAASSSS! It was a sigh of relieve. But to some it was their worst nightmare coming alive. Tears drop when some of them didn't hear their names being called and was sent to the rifle coy. It was hard, but as days went by, they manage to adapt over there.


Mortar Course
So after that, individual platoons began their training and expertise. All of us went through a few weeks of course training at our own respective vocation camp. Eg: Signals will be doing their training at Signal Institute, Mortar will be doing their training at Artillery Institute etc. The period was probably the best time ever. At first I didn't know anyone in my platoon because most of them were from Platoon 11. And they were already in their own clique, so naturally I would feel sort of left out. But thank god they're all pretty welcoming and open to new people joining them HAHAHAHAHA and we soon clicked.


EX Lancer (Brunei)
This has got to be the worst overseas training out of the many. My friend from Tankie gets to go Germany and Australia for his overseas exercise and I got the shittiest out of the bunch. Initially we were told that only the Scouts, Pioneers and Rifle coys are required to go for this oversea exercise. Turns out, the whole battalion needs to go. LOL!!! I hated the person who told us that!!!

All the building up training for our combat fitness, staircase climb, and route march again just kills. It was a grueling 3 weeks in Brunei. We had to go through a 2D1N Navigation Exercise, and some miscellaneous outfield exercise in the jungle. NOTE, IT'S A JUNGLE!!!! ITS 2 TIMES AS BIG AS WHAT YOU SEE AT AH MA KENG!!!

In bunk

But all shagness and toughness couldn't be compared to the rest of the platoons. I admit, Mortar had the best times in Brunei. In fact, 70% of our time were spent in bunk, either sleeping or playing games because there's limited amount of data given to us, therefore we had to live on a budget with our data usage.

While the rest of the platoon were out in the jungle eating combat rations, we were in bunk eating canteen food. LOL!!! We didn't feel bad, cuz we all knew that we were fucked up lepak and most people hate us. HAHAHAHAHA


I didn't look forward to the 2D1N Navigation Exercise at all honestly speaking. Because it was constantly raining every night, and we've all heard stories about how haunted the jungle is, and the creepy crawlies living out in the jungle. And yes, the insects out there are monstrous. And you can't even see anything when night time, you can put your hands away from your face and can't see them at all. It's that dark.

So lucky for Mortar platoon, we're only required to find 1 checkpoint and we can call it a day, so my Platoon Sergeant was super kind enough to hurriedly find 1 and build shelter for the night. Hahaha! Rain was expected to come at around evening time, so we quickly build our shelter and gather some woods to last us through the night. Lucky my team had Kok Yeong, who is a beast at outfield, thankfully we had him in our team who had initiate in gathering the woods, if not I think our 1 night out in the field will be quite bad because there will be no fire to keep us warm.

As the sun was setting, the rain started pouring and poor us had to gather at some really congested area together with our fieldpack and rifles partially soaked with rain water. As we're waiting for the rain to stop a little, we started our field cooking. During outfield, the best 5 star food is really your Maggie Mee. No kidding! Hahaha! Somehow it tends to taste 10 times better when you're cooking it with a mestin. Hahahaha! The next day we woke up early at first light and started packing our stuff and head on to the meeting point. It was a long and torturous walk because of the slopes and uneven grounds. Needless to say it was raining the day before and the ground was super muddy. But long story short, we manage to get back to the meeting point on time and that concludes my 2D1N Navigation Exercise.


I shall skip all the boring outfield trainings and get to the RNR at Brunei. LOL!!! Okay, so basically after every overseas army training exercise there'll be a day or two for Rest & Relax (R&R in short), depending on your unit some may have 3 days some just 2, it varies. So anyway, for Brunei, there's practically NOTHING to do during your R&R. There's only 1 infamous mall at Brunei which you have probably heard from your friends which is called "THE MALL". The day before we left for our R&R, we had to send all our duffel bags and barang barangs back for them to ship it back to SG. After which, the following morning we set off on the 3 hour ferry ride back to the mainland and star our 1 day tour from there. So after all the tour and etc which really didn't take much into the 1 day that we had, and we are left with 8 hours for us to do our own stuff. Basically 8 hours for you to rot yourself in Brunei. Well, it was once in a lifetime experience I would say. I watched a movie which takes up to an hour half, and I still have plenty of time left. So a few of my friends and I decided to just roam around aimlessly and explore. In the end we ended up at the arcade at "THE MALL" where we saw many of our unit people there, including our sergeant major. Hahaha! OHYAH! AND I ALMOST COULDN'T GET BACK TO SINGAPORE.


So here's the story, my friends and I are so immersed in the arcade games that I didn't notice that my 11B had drop out from my pocket. Thankfully kind hearted souls still exists, the guy from the arcade center tapped my shoulder and ask if the 11B was mine. And I was like, OMG YES! Without realising that I've actually dropped it. WHEW!!! Thank god. So after that we head off for dinner at some restaurants, and bus back to (I forgot the name of the camp) and had to everything out again for inspection. Then after that to the airport. When we reached Changi Airport, we had to wait 2 hours until we can get our duffel bags cause apparently, something cock up and our duffel bags ended up at some other place instead of our lane's conveyor belt. And that summarizes my overseas training at Brunei.


Alright, I think that's enough for 1 post. I'll post the next 1 year of my army journey in part 3. Till next post. :)