Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Excerpts from a Soldier's Diary II

The previous post chronicles the days before my first ever book-out. This set of entries is written in the middle of my BMT.

280109

This would definitely be one of the hallmarks of my life as firing a live round into a target is the closest one gets to experience real combat.

Firing the rifle is both an exciting and harrowing experience for me. The excitement comes from the adrenaline rush if a series of good shots. Yet, as I step back from the experience and contemplate the implications, I shudder in utter horror for it means that I have killed innocent men. What a lethal mix it will be when rage and excitement meet on the battlefield and killing becomes more than just winning the war, or staying alive, but a sport that disregards the sanctity of life!

As I was pondering on this issue repeatedly, I start to weep for the many children out there that are made to be soldiers. Their innocence is stripped at such a young age as they will be either plagued with nightmares of war or turned into a dehumanised killing machine. Peace is the best gift upon this broken world.

~

290109

Another long and slow day has just passed as the other half of the company spends the day at the range, we were dismayed to find out that our second bookout will be on a Saturday rather than on a Friday. Nevertheless, bookout is always a welcoming prospect.

The movie, 'Drumline', do bear an extremely close resemblance to the army. Yet, there are some compelling insights that I was left with. The first would be the idea of professionalism, the balance between craftsmanship and a crowd-puller. I, for one, am a fan of the former and the motto of '[Excelling] through Basics' does hold true because at the end of the day, we have no one to prove except ourselves.

Another theme that runs through the movie would be the flexibility in instilling discipline. While those two ideas seem in direct conflict, I believe that it is very important to marry the two. Doing so will actually motivate one to endure the tough training but it will also forge a closer bond between the superior and the subordinate.

~

300109

Today was by far, the most boring and uneventful day as half of the company are at the range re-shooting while the other are back at the company line rotting away. As for me, I came down with a nasty bout of cough and sore throat. Thus, not being able to go for the re-shoot.

We literally spent the whole day cleaning the rifles and getting frustrated of the fact that the rifle never seems to be clean enough. All I could think was the fact that I'll be going home tomorrow and will cherish the pathetic day's rest before returning to continue training.

~

310109

We were all quite surprised when we were told that we will be having an excursion to the Singapore Discovery Centre (SDC). To my delight, it meant that I will get to bookout somewhere nearer to home.

The exhibition in SDC and especially the Army Museum was certainly intriguing as we got to see the different operations that the army was involved in. The various operations and historical events came alive thanks to our wonderful guide who added a personal touch to these events be relating his personal experience in the various operations. The most compelling story amongst them all was the story that made our guide signed on with the army. The story of how he was prohibited from entering a local pub, during the colonial days, due to the fact that was Asian stirred patriotic sentiments within myself. I sometimes wished that I could return and spend a few hours with the guide and listen to his stories.

~

030209

To my surprise, I was awarded two days of light duties due to the fact that I had an MC till yesterday.

However, the officers seemed suspicious of the fact that a case of influenza warrants my staying away from camp. Yet, I believe that it is better for someone who has a serious illness to rest well for a day than to do menial work in camp and be perpetually sick.

Nevertheless, I do envy my fellow mates during the training as they get to do a routine of punches and kicks with the punching bag. In addition, I wonder if my results would improve from the last horrific IPPT results this Friday. However, I doubt that I would ever get to book out.

~

040209

I'm glad that I'm feeling much better as I went on a long march and completed the fall grenade course despite being on status.

To my surprise, throwing a grenade is rather difficult and not as glorious as portrayed by the likes of many movies out there.

The combat training lesson was absolutely interesting as new techniques are incorporated into the training routine. The elbows, jabs and 'kneeing' certainly compels most of those on status to kick and punch a little. Ah well, I shall get back to full training tomorrow.

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