Annual Field Training Camp

The 2021 Annual Field Training camp proved, once again, to be a successful and enjoyable camp for both boys and girls of the Trinity Grammar School/Meriden Army Cadet Unit. 

We asked a few cadets to encapsulate their AFT experience in a single word.  Some said “challenging”, others “cold”.  “Awesome” and “thrilling” were among the words used.  But, remarkably, the most common word we heard was “teamwork”.  On the third day of AFT, Charlie and Delta companies had gathered on the summit of the SIMEX location, sharing riddles, jokes and playing cards.  In that moment, just as the sun had begun to set, I experienced something profound.  We were kilometres away from home, shivering in one-digit temperatures, the cadets were huddled together with people they had just come to know, yet the feeling of belonging, of camaraderie, of strength as a collective, was unwavering.  This is the magic of cadets: the ability to feel invincible – as a team.

The HQ rank of SIMEX ran a series of activities, including Capture the Flag, hootchie-building relays, and a competition that involved capturing the Company Commander.  Cadets were also presented with a first aid scenario, and had to think on their feet to treat the ‘patient’, using the knowledge gathered from lessons delivered by corporals on a usual Wednesday.  We were impressed by the cadets’ enthusiasm and willingness to ‘have a go’ in approaching these unfamiliar situations and extending beyond their self-imposed limits.

Aside from SIMEX (Simulation Exercise), we also had FIELDEX (Field Exercise) and SURVEX (Survival Exercise).  FIELDEX entailed a bullring of five activities, each lasting half an hour.  The first activity involved the cadets navigating to checkpoints through the tall grass with only a map and compass.  The Quick Decision Exercise (QDE), involved the cadets playing games such as the ‘Human Knot’, the ‘Great Lap Sit’ and ‘Squishie Squares’, building communication skills and strengthening friendships.  An observation lane and a camouflage-and-concealment activity tested the cadets’ fieldcraft skills.

SURVEX consisted of an EggDrop task and the construction of a Survival Shelter.  With just 2x30cm lengths of duct tape, foliage, grass and sticks cadets devised a protective case to prevent the egg from cracking when dropped.  The survival shelter activity required cadets to engineer a temporary shelter against the rain and sun, using only foliage, tree branches and bark.

Year 12 cadets were lucky enough to participate in Weapons Training Simulation, with expert instruction on marksmanship and handling a firearm.  They returned to run their respective activities, abuzz with excitement to share their experiences.

For any cadets who have taken home any ammunition or other military items from the range – accidentally, or not, you must hand it over to a cadet staff member immediately,

We trust the cadets have left AFT having achieved some of their goals, overcome some of their fears, and have put into practice endurance, service, resilience and initiative.  We hope this drive for excellence, humility in competition and sense of teamwork will persist through the remainder of the cadet year.

SGT Shirley Wang and WO2 Lillian Havansky

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