Memories of the Rli
Chapter 2

Copyright© 2014 by Dreaded

An Army Career?

Officer selection in the Rhodesian army was a 2 week long intense exercise. A bunch of youngsters tossed together and watched every minute of the day and night. They start off teaching a bit of map reading and making you do all sorts of physical and mental tests. For me the most fun was the obstacle course and the weapons side of it. I got to fire the FN and MAG and didn't do to badly at all. This very basic training ended with us being gathered up at midnight and trucked off to Ngesi Game Reserve in closed trucks and dumped in groups a few Kliks (kilometers) apart. With each group was a young experienced officer who said absolutely f•©k all but just watched. Early that morning at sunrise he handed the one guy a map, a piece of paper and a compass. The only words he said was "You are the leader for this section, there are your instructions". Holy shit and all – 8 young 18-19 year olds, in the middle of bloody no where, don't know where the f•©k they are and its bloody cold ... O well I suppose this was where they saw who were leaders or followers ... Of course we all started chirping and advising our designated leader on what to do and how to do it – shit the poor guy just fell apart and started crying – damn I felt sorry for him. I then noticed that the Lt (Lieutenant) had a radio on his back and after 10 minute a Land Rover pulled up ... The poor Sob who broke down was shoveled into the back and that was the last we saw of him ... We were all now feeling like right royal pricks but now down to only 7. Damn!!!!

Chris a guy I met at the beginning of the week was handed the kit and he quietly told us to shut up and started studying the map. Leaning over his shoulder and looking at the map I realized exactly where we were as a few years before we had been here with our neighbor helping with game counts as a youth project. I quietly whispered to Chris this info and showed him where we were on the map. And pointed him in the direction we had to go to our first check point. The Lt was now close and trying to listen in but Chris just smiled and quietly asked me to give him some room, stand back and shut my mouth. Chris then made a big issue of plotting our position on the map with a compass and a protractor drawing his intersecting lines back from identified points – yes guys that's how we did it before GPS. Chris just smiled at me and asked me to please just keep my knowledge quite as it would help us all if the Lt observer did not know. Shit Chris was 500meters off on his first position but he knew it and just shut up. Chris then told the guys to load up their packs and lets get walking – those packs had to be the worst ever made ever in world history. Damn they were uncomfortable and bloody horrible ... So started the first morning walk, but not without drama ... As I found out later the 15 to 25 Km legs were supposed to take us all day. By lunch time we were about 10 klicks into our leg with about 5 to go when the Gobby bastard of a Lt Observer put a spanner in the works and we all realized that this was not to be a walking safari. The biggest of the seven was tapped on the shoulder and told that he was seriously injured and had a broken leg and could walk no more ... Damn, shit, krap and all the swear words under the sun – the sadistic sod of an Observer had picked the biggest, overweight mummies baby that there was. This prick whined so much on the walk so far that 2 or 3 of us were talking of cutting his throat and feeding him to the local ant population – not a popular little boy. There was this slob now lying on the ground with a smug look on his face, a look we would wipe off before the week was done ... Ok now to the really tough physical part of the day. Cut two long poles, button up 3 combat jackets, thread poles though sleeves pulled into the insides of the jackets and presto, one field stretcher. Now came the hard part, 5km's of a walk though bush that was nice and healthy from recent rain – remember that November December for us is almost the middle of our summer and right in the start of our rain season. Lets put it this way, the next 5km's were defiantly not fun, carrying a 240lb lump of mummies lard gave all six of us a severe sense of humor failure. I was reasonably fit as were 3 other in our group but we were all physically stuffed as we neared the RV (Rendezvous). We were in sight of our RV point (a picnic area) when our esteemed Observer told us that our wounded warrior had been miraculously cured and could walk again. Now we were carrying him on our shoulders as this is the best place to carry a heavy weight. Without any form of communication between us we all had the same idea at the same moment – yes you guessed it – we just stepped away and the poor slob descended from shoulder height to the ground where he impacted and wobbled like instant Jelly ... That shut his whining up – and now we were down to six ... None of us would talk to flaber Slob so he also started crying and left on the Land Rover not to be seen again...

Dinner was served, an Orange, a tin of Bully Beef and a packet of dog biscuits. What a great meal after a little walk ... Ja right ... I think you get the picture, not the best meal I had ever had. But, never fear, remember the 6 P's of life and that I come from an army family ( O the 6 P's – Preparation & Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance). Knowing the night before that we were going on this little walk, as I had most of the timetable in my note book., (I may have failed at school but me not Stupid) I had hidden in my pack a loaf of bread, a packet of sliced roast beef, salt, Chutney and Chili. Meal time!!! – Dodging the observers was now becoming difficult as the Sods wanted to see everything you wanted to do. Chris & I paired up and had a quiet nosh hiding the tins of Bully Beef and eating our perishables – still enough left over for breakfast to...

Shit what a night – this bloody idiot in all of his 6 P's had, after thinking about food and comfort, had left his bloody sleeping bag behind – O shit was it cold ... Luckily I had liberated the fat slobs combat jacket from him before he was carted off – I wonder how he explained that one...

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