(Wednesday 2010) We just got back from the swimming
hall and finished cleaning the schools jeeps. It was a hard day for me today. I
had to lead 11 men through a mission and things didn't go exactly as planned...
The instructor kept giving me new challenges to make it hard and it seemed like
the mission would never end.
But everything comes to an end. And so does the sergeant education. There are now exactly 2 months to go. As our Senior sergeant said, we can now see light at the end of the tunnel, however let's hope that the light isn't from a train steaming our way...
Tomorrow is a theory day, and that's good. We need a day in the class room to rest our bodies.
I took the bronze test in swimming today, along with some of the other guys. Some even took the silver one. We all passed. The bronze test consits of jumping in the water with soldier standard uniform, including 2 pairs of socks and military boots. Then you swim 50m, climb out of the water and then jump in again at the other end and save a person who is drowning and bringing him on dry land. You're well worn out after the test! The silver one is somewhat more demanding. It includes diving and under water swimming.
Now it's on to relaxing and drinking some beers. Yesterday was our last day of military service, so we are now corporals (I think).
(Saturday 1505). We finished the week off with trying
to incorporate MWD's (Military working dogs) in our plans to find enemy
infiltrations. It was great to see and learn about how the dogs work and find
out what they're capable of.
Tomorrow I'll be starting my exam assignment in LSP (Leadership, cooperation and psychology). It has to be delivered on the 14th, but I better get started in good time. On Monday we're off on another 3-day exercise, the last one of the kind. We're going to be doing alot of patrolling and will get very little food and sleep, so it's going to be hard.
Now it's off to enjoy the rest of the day, which is basically the only day off this week, for me anyway.
(Wednesday 1925). Exercise over, and we just finished
eating. It's become a tradition that we eat pizza after finishing an exercise.
That way, we also have something to look forward to when we're out there
The exercise was held at an old air base, which is now used as a civilian airport. Our main objective was defense of a building and an area at the airfield. We defended the area by doing offensive moves and patrolling the area. The enemy REALLY got their ass kicked this time!
They didn't have a chance of getting close to our command post building, so we're happy indeed.
Oh well, tonight we don't have any home work, so we're planning on watching a football game with Denmark and Albania. We'll probably all fall asleep within the first 10 minutes. Myself, I got about 3½ total sleeping time during the whole 3 day exercise, so I'm rather busted. Apart from that, I was apointed group leader from Monday morning until Tuesday 1800, so I was really busy all the time...and the enemy wasn't exactly sleeping, they kept trying to get in, sometimes from different places at the same time.
So I'm off to relax. Take care.
(Friday 1300). Day off today...well I wouldn't know if
one could call it 'off' since we have an exam assignment to write, so most of
the time this weekend will be spent at the keyboard. Apart from that, we have
our First Aid exam on Tuesday, so there are MANY pages to be read and many
procedures to be practised this weekend.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to take a few more pictures. This time it was during my lunch break, when we had a couple of F16s doing touch and gos. I still have a broad smile on my face from the lunch break. The pictures have been uploaded on the picture gallery, so just take a look if you want to see them.
I don't know what's with the weather at the moment, but I can't really figure it out. Wednesday morning (the last day on the exercise) we had temperatures below freezing! Yes, the dew that had fallen during the night turned to ice crystals at sun rise. And then a few hours later we had about 25 degrees.
Next weekend we have the airshow at our base, so I'm really excited about it.
That's it for now. I better start that assignment or else I won't get done in time.
(Monday 2045). Almost done with home work for today.
All I need to do now, is to correct a few grammar issues in the LSP exam
assignment that has to be delivered tomorrow. After that it's on to studying
First Aid, since we have exam tomorrow. That's 2 exams in 1 day! The assignment
has to be delivered at 0730. Then at 0800 we have the theoritical exam in first
aid, and the rest of the day will be spent with the practical exam, where we'll
encounter different situations and different people who need our medical help.
I'm quite at ease with the subject, even though it's a very large subject. It's going to be great when it's overwith...that just means 1 less subject on our schedule, and 1 less exam.
4 days to go before our base gest filled with military aircraft from all over Europe. Can't wait! It's going to be a great airshow!!
(Tuesday 1350). Wow a short day for a change. We just
finished the First aid exam and had lunch. All went ok, so we all think that we
Anyway, while I was at the Cafeteria eating, the ground starting shaking and to my surprise I saw 2 (probably German) F4 Phantoms taking off. It was great to feel the vibrations from those powerful engines. It's also great with a reminder of why we're here.
Tomorrow we're supposed to have another swimming lesson after working time, so some of us will take more award exams. I'll try the silver award this time if I get the opportunity.
That's it for today.
(Wednesday 0950). The instructors were called in for
an urgent meeting (don't know why) so we are on stand by until 1055.
We got the results from the first aid exam. Everyone got the bronze award except for 3 student, one of them being myself. We got silver award!
Myself I scored 92%, so I'm quite happy and feel confident with the subject. That's it for now.
Catch you later.
(Saturday 0420). Yes, that's 4:20am! Just got back to
the base after a night out with some pilots who I met at a party here at the
base. I met 2 Portugese F16 pilots and a Swedish Gripen pilot and they asked if
I wanted to join them on a night out and show them around. Well, you don't say
no to such an offer, so I agreed to do so. I'm more drunk than I've been for a
looong time, but hey, it's weekend! Tomorrow, or actually, in a few hours I'll
meet them again. The Swedish guy has agreed to give me a guided tour of the
Gripen cockpit, and so have the Portugese guys (of the F16A that, is...) So
it's going to be a great day!
Anyway, Thursday we got off early so we had a good game of beach volley here at the base...in real Top Gun style, no shirts and lots of sun.
Then afterwards we went out eating together and enjoyed the civilian life.
Oh well, now I'm off to bed. I'm behind with sleeping, so I better start doing some cathcing up, 'cos it's the airshow weekend and on Monday we have a 5 day exercise!
Catch u later...
(Saturday 1755). The day started off very well with
the spotters arrangement. We had good time to take pictures of the static
aircraft and the flying displays. Then when the spotters arrangement was over,
I got a call from Johan (the Swedish pilot) and asked where I was, so that he
could send someone to pick me up. I went to the aircraft shelter and had the
greatest aircraft walk around ever. I must have sat in the cockpit for a good
half hour. We even had a nice walk on top of the aircraft.
Aircraft were performing their displays while we were enjoying ourselves in the sun. Unfortunately the whole thing got spoiled when the hard reality hit hard (really hard!) An ex-RDAF Harvard crashed while performing some formation flying with a Norwegian Harvard. Both the pilot and his passenger were killed. The silence that fell around us was unbelieveable. No-one said a word for what felt like ages. No-one wanted to talk about it. That's the grim part of the job. The facts are always lurking in the back of your head while you constantly try to ignore them. It was a terribly sad feeling. In the end we talked about things and after a couple of hours we were all ok, I suppose.
Now it's off to take a shower soon, and then get some dinner. That's it for now. A sad day for everyone at the base.
(Sunday 2010) Airshow over and we had a great day. The
weather could have been better, but we enjoyed it anyway. I took about 200
pictures in all I think, so next weekend when I get home, I'll upload a few of
them on the site. Anyway, the pizza just arrived, so that's it for now
(Sunday 2155) Here I am again, sitting in front of
'the box.' We ate pizza and packed our back packs for the exercise. As I wrote,
we have a 5 day exercise starting tomorrow, so I won't be able to update my
diary before next weekend. It's going to be a hard exercise, but I feel really
motivated after the airshow. If only we had an airshow before every exercise.
Well, time seems to be accelerating away now, and before I know it, it's going to be all over, and then it's on to flying school!
I just met Johan, the Swedish Gripen pilot who had been so friendly during the airshow so I wished him a nice flight back home. It was great fun partying with him and the 2 Portugese pilots last Friday...and I think I still have about 10% alcohol in my blood, even though it's 2 days ago!
Thanks for the much needed inspiration, guys! Hope to see you again...next time in the air perhaps.
Apart from all the new surnames that they've found for me, the guys in my class are also calling me Ray Charles because of the big sun-glasses that I wear. We took a great group picture with Antonio and his F16 today. I'll upload it onto the gallery next weekend. Good night now.
/Stephen 'Ray Charles' Galiano
(Saturday 0030). Finally home again after 2 weeks. The
5-day exercise was really hard. I am waaay behind in resting and sleeping, so I
better head to bed soon. The exercise ended with a 15km march at night after a
week with 20 hours working days! We were really pushed to our physical
limits...I can hardly feel my feet...however the blisters are rather visible.
2 of the guys got lucky and got 'shot and injured' during the exercise, so we called in a Medical evacuation and they were picked up and transported in a Fennec helicopter...lucky bastards! You should see the smile on their faces after landing.
Anyway, as you can see, I already started uploading pictures from the airshow, and more will follow tomorrow if time permits. I'm off to bed now. Good night.
(Wednesday 2045). Back home after 3 days of shooting
camp. It was quite hard, considering that we were on duty from 0730 to about
2300 and busy all of the time. Then, when you consider that we're up at 0600 to
eat breakfast, shave and clean our quarters, and then after work we clean our
guns, shower, eat and get to bed at around 2400...it's quite a long day indeed!
This week I'm also class forman, so it's probably my busiest week during the whole sergeant school. Our class leader will do anything to stress the class forman and put him under as much pressure as possible.
Now I'm off to unpack my back pack from the shooting camp and clean my equipment, and then I'm off to bed. In 1 month it's flying school!! I can't wait to getting my flying suit and helmet.
This weekend I'll start studying Force Protection, since we have the theoretical exam in the subject...and you will be kicked out if you fail the exam! So I won't have much time for anything else this weekend, however I'll still try to upload some more pictures from the airshow that we had last weekend here in Karup. I'm REALLY tired, so I'm out of here.
Good night all!
(Thursday 1800). Almost weekend once again, and it
feels good indeed!
Today we had some more group leading lessons and some physical training. We warmed up by teaming up in pairs, getting a piece of rope each, and then trying to smack eachother on the foot with the rope...and before you know it, you're really sweating.
Then we had some self defence and a little physical competition, where we were split into 2 teams of 8. One team had to sit on the floor and hold together, while the other team had to try to break us apart and drag us about 20m to behind a line in the gym. Our team won of course.
Tomorrow is a rather easy day (about bloody time!). We are having another orientation race in the forest, and rumors say that this is going to be quite a long one...about 90 minutes of running.
Oh well, that's it for now, I'm off to get some food. Catch u later.