Sunday, November 20, 2005

Exercise Spade

As I mentioned in my previous blog, Ex-Spade is the most XIONG field camp any cadet would want to attend in the service term. Even before the start of the Ex-Spade, the thought had made me even more sian.

Monday (15 Nov)
Counting down to Ex-Spade – 2 Days

I had GPMG live firing in the day and night. It was baking hot in the day and the waiting time for each detail to fire off was too long. GPMG is a platoon asset weapon. It weight much heavier than the rest of the weapon including SAR21. In this familiarization shoot, I shot off 40 rounds in a series of control burst. The recoil was strong and the weapon turned hot after 40 rounds. This was to allow us to get a feel on how the weapon works.

The night shoot was roughly the same as the day and it was equipped with the Night Vision Goggles (NVG) for us to have a clearer vision in the dark. The feeling was just the same and I can see the bullets head flying towards the target.

Counting down to Ex-Spade – 1 Days

Practically no major lessons but we got occupied with the preparation of the Ex-Spade. Packing the field pack for 3 days exercise was fairly easy as there were no combat rations. I was not at all feeling excited but was feeling down. Slept after last parade.

The start of the Exercise Spade. We had a lesson on signaling before setting off to Rambutan hill for our digging in the afternoon. My post as a medic for the day 1 of Ex-Spade was really ridiculous. I was practically doing nothing as a medic but as a HQ unit tasked to dig the biggest trend of the field camp – Command Post as shown below.

First we start off with our shell scrap. This shell scrap is a personal trench for soldiers to sleep and take cover in times of war. The depth of the shell scrap is to cover the body of the solider with Standard Battle Order (SBO) in a lying position. It took me 2 hours to complete it and perfect it. But it rained immediately making the terrain muddy and soggy.

As night falls, our HQ unit commenced the digging of the Command Post. Digging difficulties level had increased due to the depth and the condition of the terrain, which was muddy. We were no longer digging soil instead we were scooping mud water and mud, my boots got stuck numerous of times while digging. We dug the whole night long till next day. The weather didn’t help much as it continue to rain making the terrain slippery and difficult to access.

Weather in the morning sucks as well. Digging of the command post continues. The depth of the command post didn’t change much, I guess only 5 to 10 cm deeper. We had lesson on how to build a Triple constantina wire and setup claymore and tripflare to delay or distract enemy. For most of the day and night, I was digging the same command post. Rain stopped by evening. At 1800hrs, I took over as Cadet Platoon Sergeant (CPS). Around 2200hrs, while we were conducting our deliberate defence, we were contacted by the enemy deliberate attack. They did a flaking after pasting the password challenge by saying “We are friendly forces”. WTF, section 1 of my platoon just let them in. FIRST MISTAKE created. Second mistake, I saw the enemy on my right of the CPC (Cadet Platoon Commander), and I shouted contacted but no one returned fire. In the end, enemy overran us without firing a single shot by capturing the brain of the platoon, HQ unit.

We were captured as POW. After a few minutes, we were released and waiting for the next attack. This time the attack from the other platoon was neutral and we managed to return fire at them. Training ceased and I resumed with my digging only for a few minutes and I dozed off after that. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz…

The whole day job of a CPS was to do ”Shit” work like getting food and topping up of water.

Last day of my Ex-Spade. This time we managed to dig the “Wings” of the command post to a solider height with the help of rotation shift yesterday night. My greatest achievement so far. The condition was still the same as muddy as before. By afternoon, the shape of the command post was roughly out and I was quite satisfied with it. After lunch, we packed up, account for our store and cover the various trenches that we had dug and off to our Wing Line (Second home). I dozed off immediately upon heading to my bed.

Practically did nothing for the whole as I had passed my SOC and IPPT test. Waiting for book out and an unfortunate event happen. Two mobile phones were stolen from platoon 2 and they had to conduct a search. It took 2 hours and our book out timing was delay till 1500hrs. I Really sian loh, had to book out so late and book in tomorrow night. What to do…military life is like that.

Phew, Ex-Spade is over at last. The agony and suffering while digging leave me with a very deep impression. The mind over body played an important role in this field camp. Now, I was feeling lethargic and tired as well as sleepy.

Next week was quite relaxed as we only had demolition live firing and a 16KM road march. Recuperation time for next week is a must for me.



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