NEWS FROM RTMC – Chilwell
Airtpr’s Leo White & Poppy Gosling
Arriving at Chilwell was an experience within itself. Initially we decided to stay at 677 so that all four of us could travel down to Chilwell together early the next morning.. our beds being the two man sofas in the crew room, ergo: no sleep and some serious boy snoring (Leo!!!)!
We arrived at Chilwell and found accommodation very similar to the delights we endured during our CMSR, but was slightly more impressed when we found out that RTMC (Reserves training and mobilisation centre) is able to mobilise over 3000 reservists in times of crisis.
The first two days were briefings (death by powerpoint.. it’s definitely a good idea to master the skill of sleeping with your eyes open before attending) a medical appointment (I’m officially qualified as obese, a very proud moment for me, thank you BMI) and kit issue (all very exciting, up until the point where they take it all from us and put it in storage). The first week we managed to finish before 1500 nearly every day. Apparently we were meant to be doing phys in the free time following knock off…
I was lucky enough to be sharing a room with Airtpr Turner-Dockery, the other female mobilising from 6 Regt (Who was not only ‘obese’. but apparently seriously ‘at risk’ from it.. yet somehow had a slightly lower BMI than myself..go figure!?) We managed to be in bed by 2000 every night, it was definitely required though. Most mornings were 0500..ish..starts for the girls. We started MATTs training and testing on the Thursday, with a PFA (which most of us passed with no dramas) followed by hours, and hours..and hours of CIED! It was actually quite an eye opening, productive lesson. Friday, we were issued our tour weapons and had our WHT (we were allowed to keep the Osprey, helmets and ancills we had been issued). They then decided it would be a fun idea to finish the week by gassing us, so they requested all of us finish the horrorbags we had been issued, don our suits and panic about the effects of CS gas. Unless you’re Leo, who managed to keep his cool and not panic throughout the entire course! I Thought it was a particularly nice touch when they decided to open the vents up on us as we were trying to de-kit…which lead to Airtpr Turner-Dockery causing all the poor innocent civilians on the train home to suffer from the effects of a nerve agent! (Top Tip: shower before you face the public after hanging out in the CBRN ‘testing facility’)
With the PFA over, it was time to focus on (or in my case, panic about) the CFT. There are some BIG hills at Chilwell.. and all of them are at some point included in the route. So I spent a lot of the weekend thinking about doing phys (both Leo and myself stayed on camp). On Monday we had BCD, they put together a pretty cool scenario in the mock afghan checkpoint that has been built. A lot of fake blood, shouting, pushing, and artificial smoke later we had all passed our MATT. (Even those who are completely squeamish.. No names.. Airtpr Oakey)
The next stage was navigation. We had a revision session, followed by a written test, followed by an orienteering type Nav-ex, which was used as a build up for the CFT..We were recommended to carry half CFT weight, but most of us opted for the full amount. I’m fairly sure we were meant to run the route..But after attempting the first hill, and with my obese status..myself, and the people I met up with along the way decided it would be a far more pleasant experience if we tabbed it! (there was a time limit so we couldn’t go too slow).
The next two days were spent on the range, day 1) zeroing and practicing for the ACMT and day 2) real ACMT. We do have SUSATs, so most of us found it reasonable. Although a little chilly..(I still can’t feel my toes).
Thursday was CFT day. I’ve tried to block most of it out of my memory. (Leo will say otherwise) It was hard, and sore, and there were some very cheeky hills..However it is far from impossible. The Pace bought us back in at 1 hour 57 minutes and 58 seconds, which was a perfect time. All I can remember is feeling awesome for the first 2.5 miles + first hill then halfway up the second hill threatening to vomit on the guys, verbally abusing the PTI for the last two miles (actually felt guilty at the end) and Airtpr Turner-Dockery singing the top gun theme tune for the last 20 metres (in between gasping for air).
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