It's been an eventful past couple of weeks here at basic training. First off, the week before last, we went back out into the field for another 5 days. The purpose of this trip was Exercise Grizzly, which is basically the final test of our "Initial Assessment Period" of basic officer training. This is basically where they figure out if they want to spend any more money on us. The gist of it was that we were all put in command of a squad of 8 people, and given some equipment, and told to perform some task such as building a rope bridge, or setting up a fake mine field. So while we were doing this, we were being evaluated. Not on if we actually finished our task correctly and on time, but on our leadership potential, and if we took the "correct" steps when going about planning the task.
Long story short, I screwed it up the first time around. I was given the job of lifting a concrete block onto a platform. The task itself went well, and we got the thing up there just fine. However, the Sargeant who was evaluating me though that I wasn't directive enough when supervising my troops, and didn't like the fact that I let them make some of the decisions on how to lift it. That'll be a side affect of having 5 engineers in the group.
So, anyways, I didn't pass the first go around, but thankfully, they gave us a 2nd chance. I had to throw together an improvised toboggan. I ended up having them lash together a frame, and we were just about to attached the water jerry cans that I was going to use as runners, when the Warrant Officer who was evaluating me stopped us, and told me that he had seen enough, and that I had passed. The actual task itself wouldn't have worked. I had forgotten to ask what terrain the toboggan would be going through, and it was much too wide for the forest it was intended for. It actually looked more like a catamaran than a toboggan.
But, it didn't matter, because they didn't really care about a toboggan. He thought I was on top of things, supervising closely, and issuing new orders when needed, and keeping my troops motivated when they were starting to slow down. Hey, yay me. Passing is fun.
The next day, the Thursday to be exact, I had a not soo good day. We were doing a Maritime Crossing, basically a zip line across a river. While waiting in line to do so, I decided I was hungry, and pulled a Vector bar out of my pocket. Opened it up, and bit into it. It was of course, almost frozen solid, so I had to give it a little force. Bad idea, as it turns out the bar won.
Now, I'd had a root canal on one of my teeth, and the dentist had screwed it up. Basically, within a year of the surgery, the cap or crown or whatever it was had started coming apart, chipping away a bit at a time. This tooth wasn't in the best of shape, so I'm not all shocked that it came out. However, it's rather annoying, when it's like the one next to the middle teeth on top. Interferes with smiling greatly.
But, we've got a dentist in our platoon, so I went to go talk to her about the tooth I had just lost a few seconds ago, and she said that since there was no pain, due to the aforementioned root canal, that I shouldn't worry about it till we got back to base. Long story short, got it looked at by the base dentist, and I'm getting a temporary crown put in tomorrow. 2 weeks later, not too bad I guess. Especially for being free of charge.
So, our platoon finished off the week with a 13 km march, complete with a 50 lb rucksack loaded onto our back. Took us 2 hours, 9 minutes to complete, which was definitely a nice pace. We were also the only platoon to finish with everyone, even if we did have to get some people to just grab onto the person ahead of them and get towed most of the way. Our staff was rather impressed with our performance in that regard.
The next week was uneventful until Tuesday, which was our course party, down in the Officer Cadet's mess, with our staff invited. It was the only time so far (Yes, including St. Patrick's Day) when we were allowed to drink on a week day, and also the only time we've encountered our course staff in a casual setting. While the Warrant and the Master Seaman weren't drinking, our Sargeant and the Master Corporal may have somehow obtained beverages of an alcoholic nature.
It was at this little shindig that we were told the big news. For the BOTP portion of the course, in order to even out the numbers between the 3 English speaking platoons, one of them would be disbanded, and split off into the other two platoons.
Thankfully, it's not out platoon that is getting broken up, likely due to the fact that we are, so far, the best platoon. Every time we've gone head to head with the other platoons, we've won, and we only had 1 person fail the re-retest for Grizzly, as opposed to 3 from each of the others.
So, anyways, we've gotten 19 new people, mostly pilots bringing our total to 57. They moved in last Friday, and much of this week has been spent getting to know them. So far, they're a pretty ok bunch, but I know it'll be tough integrating them fully into the platoon over the next 4 weeks. They've spent the last 9 weeks forming their own friendships, as have we, and you can't expect that to change overnight. Heck, I'm just having a hard enough time remembering their names, and I've got half as many new people to meet than they do.
We'll pull it off, I'm sure. Or at least, we'd better, considering we're going to have to to make it through the next 4 weeks, which are, quite frankly, the most critical step in most of our careers. Actually getting your commission does help if you expect to be an Officer in the Canadian Forces.
Palpz's Basic Training Adventure!
Farewell, Bronchitis, Inspections, Montreal, Tear Gas, and Guns, Camping, Canadian Infantry Style, Broken Teeth, A Brand New Tooth, A Fall From Grace, and Redemption