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The Great Escape

CST – Combat Survival Training, the most dreaded course in our Scout Platoon has resurfaced again… And this time, its confirmed and scheduled from the 3rd of July to the 7th…

According to those who’ve went through the course, it involves killing of live animals for food, navigation and POW training.

As for the schedule, it goes somewhat like this:
On the first day, we’ll book-in into Tekong and stay at Eastern Pier for the night feeding mosquitoes. Since they didn’t say anything about not allowing civvie food for that evening, I think i’ll bring some canned food over. The next day will be the start of the navigation exercise. You might be thinking: “Hell, you’re a recce trooper, navigation will be a piece of cake for you.” But you haven’t got the whole story yet, its a navex with MP tracking dog hot on your heels. Hows that for working under pressure…

Next on the list, whether you’re caught by the MP or not, will be the POW training. The infamous training which cost the life a commando and the careers of a couple of regulars. Only this time, they omitted the dunking. (How thoughtful of them…) They’ll sort of torture you (I view temptation with food when one’s hungry as torture) and interrogate you into giving up information. Should you not able to withstand the interrogate give up the information, you’ll have to go through the whole shit again…

Up next will be the jungle survival training, something like JCC’s Ex Chill Hermit but not as siong. We’ll be required to build an A-Frame out in the jungle and live alone, although our assigned sites be quite close to each other. Basically, we’ll have to “live off the land” by getting food and preparing shelter using anything we can find. And the grand finale of the course will be *drumroll* the killing and preparing of live animals for food. Yes, we’ll be learning how to kill animals with our bare hands and prepare them using any tools we have. We will be killing eels and frogs and there might even be quails and rabbits. I gonna spare the details on how to kill them… I have no idea how am I gonna do it but I think when the hunger comes, anything goes.

And did I mention that we’ll not be getting any cookhouse food (except for a cup of Milo and some bread) but only ‘fresh’ ration at the end of the course?

*Update*
If you’re looking for my experience during my CST,  read this post.

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Let the games begin!

The World Cup officially began on Saturday with the kickoff between Germany and Costa Rica. Managed to stay up and watch the match but I could only last till half time before I get knocked out cold… Had to wake up early for combat shoot, so didn't really wanted to stay up and watch the entire game. Handling live rounds the next day you know 😛

Had to go for my combat shoot the third time… Had to complete two combat shoots during my NS term and the first one was void due to the IPETS malfunctioning… At least the for the next two shoots, they were conducted by the rifle coys. Who were much more efficient then our support coy… Was really demoralised yesterday at the live firing area 'cause its a saturday and instead of sleeping at home, I was at the SAFTI live firing area feeding mosquitoes… Rained a little yesterday but thank God it was only a little drizzle (as compare to the downpour the previous day…) and we managed to complete the shoot with a little hiccup (the IPETS screwed up again… but they managed to fix it). Got bitten like crazy by the mosquitoes… Got bumps all over my body including my ass-crack… How the hell they got up there, I have no idea. The bumps are still itching now…

Anyway, reached back camp at around midnight and had to clean my rifle… The carbon deposits are bloody hard to remove… One can go crazy cleaning the rifle after shooting both live rounds and blanks with carbon accumulating at every nook and cranny. Ordered McDonald's for supper and due to some miscommunication, the delivery guy ended up waiting at the gate for some 15 to 20 mins. Poor guy. Finished everything at around 3am and since it was too late to sleep (no point sleeping for 2 hours… had to wake up at 5 plus) and too early to do anything else, me and another two of my bunkmates went to watch the match between Argentina and Ivory Coast. A very exciting match with Ivory Coast putting immense pressure on the Argentines. The match ended with 2-1 and although they lost, the Ivory Coast team played beautifully.

Feelin' pretty screwed up now since I've only slept like 4 hours for the past 30+ hours. 

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The good old days

Saw this video on Andy's blog.
Reminds me the of days back on Tekong.

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The Beginning of the End

Finally, after preparing for a year, 3SIR has finally fought and completed ATEC Stage II. To prepare for this final test, we had gone through four BMEs and countless other CMEs and field exercise and now that it is over, we can expect very little outfield or even no more outfields (very unlikely IMO…). Now my foot rot can finally heal properly, yay! In return for participating in ATEC, all troops involved will be given the entire of next week off. Another yay! 😀

Now we can all finally ORD in peace 

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Helicopter Ride

Went for my first helicopter ride on a RSAF Chinook on Wednesday. Was suppose to have my first copter ride during Ex Lancer in Brunei but due to bad weather (really bad weather…), I only sat in the UH-1H without any actual flying…

Went to Sembawang Airbase first in the afternoon for the dry run where we practice embarking, disembarking and emergency drill. Its the first time I saw a Chinook up close and boy, it sure is huge and spacious inside. The aircrew man first briefed us on the operation and safety of the aircraft, then we were divided into our 'stick' level and began practise running to and from the chopper.

After the practise, we went to Yishun training area for the actual exercise. We first had dinner before having a final safety brief and familiarisation walk before the actual thing. After which we were broken up into our 'Wave/Stick' level and moved into the holding area. It was not before long when the first wave of Chinooks came and it was spectacular. They flew directly over the holding area and you could flew the thumping and downwash from the rotors. After waiting for three waves to take their flights, it was our turn.

Waited for the chopper at the dispatch area and when it landed, we all ran towards the tail ramp and boarded the chopper. Quite a long run from the dispatch area… With potholes filled with rainwater from earlier in the day so when I got to the chopper, my legs were all wet, and it didn't help with the pilot landing the chopper with the tail ramp directly infront of a huge pothole…

The helicopter ride was one of the coolest experience on Earth. Even though the Chinook is a big chopper and its very stable but you still can feel the rumble of the rotors. The aerial view was totally spectacular. We flew from Yishun to Rakit so the route was along the northern coast of Singapore so you can see the HDB flats, Sembawang Wharf (I think) and JB.

When we landed at Rakit and had to disembark, it was like in the movies. With the dim lighting and the troops running out of the tail ramp, it was like something straight out of a war movie.

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Republic of Singapore Mosquito Force

The mosquitoes over at Lim Chu Kang are sure damn fierce… Had a two day exercise there on Thursday and Friday and didn’t slept a wink on Thursday night… The mosquitoes were all over me, literally… I tried applying SAF insect repellent, didn’t work… Smoke out, didn’t work. Those damn things are pretty persistent. Not only the bites were irritating, their incessant buzzing around were too much… Simply too much… Ended up having to put on ear plugs before I get about an hour of sleep before day break… One of the worst night of my life… Their bites are extra potent too… My lips were super swollen at daybreak… And the swelling didn’t ease off completely till Friday night. The bite marks are still itching… Even today… Grrrr… I think we need to harness these mosquitoes and integrate it into our army… They’re a force to be reckoned with… We could fight and win any war with those mosquitoes…

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Burn baby, burn

A couple of stuff got burned today. Firstly, its my saturday… It was taken up by the battalion field live firing which I was involved in firing the GPMG. Went to Kidney Hill at SAFTI Live Firing Area this morning to shoot the GPMG. As usual with SAF doctrine, we were told that the bus will be moving off at 0630 and we were to fall in by 0600. Ended up we didn’t leave camp until 0700… Talk about “Rush to wait, wait to rush”… Fired at total of 250 rounds at one go. Felt quite shiok, its not everyday that you get to fire live rounds and its not at every live shoot that you get to fire 250 rounds at one go. Burned my finger next while trying to remove the MG from the tripod mount… Although any idiot would know that the MG would be fricking hot after shooting off 500 rounds but I had to depress the handle catch to straighten up the handle and remove the MG properly… So… OUCH! The next thing that got burned was E-Shaped Knoll at SAFTI LFA, the ‘butt area’ of our live shoot. When I left the holding area at Kidney there was only a small flame and some smoke on the knoll due to the tracer rounds igniting the dry grass but when I got down of Kidney hill about an hour later after lunch, practically the whole knoll was on fire. Quite spectacular I must say. For the last time I went there, only a small part of knoll caught fire and when I get to see it, the fire had been put out and left with only a small burnt patch. This time, the fire was still raging when I left the area.


The Roof is on Fire

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Enjoy the run

The battalion conducted a 10KM run at ECP today so we booked out from camp at around 2pm and headed to ECP.

It started off pretty normal, with the usual waiting and safety brief and such. Quite shagged out from the 10KM run actually, since the last time I ran anything more than 10KM is eons ago…  My knees felt quite sore a few times during the run but other than that, everything is quite normal. Finished the run in around 65-70mins I believe. Not bad for someone who really sucked at running.

After the run, dark clouds started to form. Anyone with a hint of common sense will know that it is going to rain soon and they should release us. However, our CO decided that it is the best time to talk to the battalion and he went on to rant on how we should tuck in our singlet when we run and how we should not stop to walk during the run… Anyone who have seem the running attire would agree that the singlet looks better when you tuck it out and I suspect that it is supposed to be tucked out… And for the walking thing, imagine this, you just cross the half way mark and your knees are feeling painful, do you: A) Stop to walk and let your knee to recover or B) Continue running back to the end point… Next, he went on to regroup us and do the “Silent and Effective” bullshit… By the time the whole thing ended, it had started to rain and when I got to the shelter, it started pouring bucket loads of rain… Fearing that the rain might not stop soon, my buddies decided to walk in the rain to the East Coast Lagoon Food Centre. When we got there, we were all drenched… Silent and effective my ass…

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Celebration Time!

Yay, finally passed my SOC this morning. After a few months of torturous training and SOC tests, I’ve finally passed the dreaded SOC test… Clocked a timing of 9min 28sec… 2 seconds short of failing the test. Whew… Time to go celebrate, w00t~

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Hey man nice shot

Went to the Section Live Firing Course for my Combat shoot with Weiting yesterday. Was suppose to go with Support Coy on monday but because we were the ‘chosen ones’ to be attached out for ops, we tagged along with Charlie Coy for the shoot. As we were to move out with the main body at 0730, we chose to wake up slightly later than the rest of the platoon and went for breakfast on our own (its been a while since we had chicken pie and springroll for breakfast =P). Boarded the bus and headed towards NTU, didn’t sleep a wink on the bus… Must be the coffee for breakfast, funny how they don’t serve coffee/tea when you need to drive later on and when they serve only coffee/tea when you get to sleep after breakfast… Entered NTU through the Jln Bahar entrance, which is the entrance nearest to the Residential Halls. The blocks kinda looks like Army Barracks, plus its near the SAF Live Firing Area with soldiers firing live rounds and detonating demo charges… Don’t think anyone who has served NS would like to stay there. Went into the live firing course through an opening outside the NIE library with the public looking on, must be quite a sight. =P

Basically for the entire shoot, its waiting, waiting and more waiting. You get there, you wait. You finish shooting, you wait. You finish your meals, you wait. Quite a boring day, I should say, except when you are shooting live rounds, then it gets exciting. Scored perfect scores during my combat sighting and for my day shoot. But somehow during the night shoot, I crashed badly, shooting single digit score… At least on the bright side, I don’t need to reshoot the whole thing again…

Found out that the whole platoon was given off on friday by my PC… So while the rest of the platoon were booking out, we were waiting for the night shoot to commence… I’ve got a feeling that I’m getting ripped-off by my PC… Booked out only this morning after cleaning our rifles, grrr…

On our way back, Weiting accompanied me to ICA to extend my passport, now valid till 2014, woowee!