Memories of the Rli
Copyright© 2014 by Dreaded
RLI Training Troop
The first part
Well Guys I was here – RLI Training Troop – The top training unit in the country. All regular soldiers started their careers here for the first 6 weeks of basics – from cooks to wannabe SAS hopefuls – this is where you started. My first impression, HOLY SHIT THAT GUY IS BIG!!!!! I had just met CSM Moose. Now understand one thing, the mans nick name is not a joke – he was BIG...
I off loaded my kit from Lt Peit's car and Moose called for the Clerk to come sort me out. The clerk bellowed out some ones name and a funny little guy called "Sailor" popped around the end corner. This guy was instructed to take me to the CQ (Company Quartermaster) and get me some bedding to get me squared away in a barrack room, to show me around and to report with me tomorrow morning for muster parade.
What an eye opener, Sailor was a character who had been in & out of DB (Detention Barracks) so many times that in 2 years he had never passed a recruits course. He was not with us long this time as well as he went AWOL (absent without leave) 2 days later & we never saw him again...
Sailor showed me how to square my kit away and filled me in on how to protect my kit so it didn't walk ... I was shown the back route to the Troopies Mess and we sat and had a good graze with an ice cold Lion, that I had to pay for. A nice Gonk (Sleep) that night and breakfast next morning. At 07:30 we were lined up at the corner of the Trg Tp (Training Troop) trying to stay out the way of everyone ... Just after 08:00 off we went to draw kit from the RQMS (Regimental QM). Shit was there a pile of it. Sailor the little beauty made sure I had the correct things, the best of the Trunks, correctly fitted boots and all the rest of the odds and ends ... To some one straight out of civy street this was a brain overload ... Thank the good Lord I had that weird little man helping me ... I don't know where he got it but as my kit was been issued he was there on the steps and marking my kit ... Shirts went to one side for sleeves to cut off and the rest was neatly packed and folded into my trunk. The QM clerk was helpful as well and many years later I worked with him back in civy street ... Lugging all my kit back to our temporary barrack room was a mission but we got it all done by the end of the day ... The next 2 days Sailor gave me an intensive induction on, how to dress, how to march, how to show respect and how to dodge trouble and work ... As I said before he disappeared at that time with all my money out of my wallet hidden at the bottom of a locked trunk – Shit I was pissed off ... Of course to get my revenge I acquired all of his left behind kit which was the same as mine except a little smaller ... Not a problem as I could swap it out as time went on...
At this time I was joined by a gradual flow, daily for the next week, of guys joining up for the next recruits course ... We were referred to as Wasters as we were wasting everyone's time ... This pre recruit course period actually allowed us time to get our kit together, learn how to dress and how to maintain kit to the proper standards ... How to make up a bed and bed pack, how to clean and display polished kit, how to clean and polish floors and a week later how to teach a new recruit how to shower. The filthy slob hadn't washed since he arrived 3 days before and stank.
We had a great bunch of characters in the end – Gordon who was only there for basics and then went on to be one of the Battalions best cooks – Willem destined for SAS, Corey going to Signals and the rest of us joining the RLI.
Well the first day of training course was on us. We fell in in front of training troop and were joined by a crowd of new recruits for the first day of our course ... Shit I felt sorry for those guys; they ran their arses off the whole morning getting done what took me 2 days to do when I first arrived. Unfortunately us wasters were split up among the new arrivals so as to try and get their kit jacked up to at least a minimum standard. I was lucky that I had Sailor that first couple of days as all my kit was up to and above most instructor's standard. My Stick (Drill) boots were taken to the RSM's Batman on my first day where I was instructed to pay him $50.00 to prepare and polish them. I got them back the day course started and was amazed at them – they were of an equal to the RSM's boots and you could use their toe caps to shave in they shone so well ... I never polished those boots again as they always went to the CSM's or the RSM's Batman – one lesson well learnt ... Mind you not that I was lazy, my combat boots got all my attention so they shone like crazy as well.
That first week of basics was hell for most of the guys. PT twice a day, drill and work on kit. Man I saw some tearful eyes at times in that time ... Believe you me most people have no idea what it is like to become army fit. It is bloody hard work and very very painful. Sleep does not come easily and every joint in your body is bitching at you ... After that first week of intense work things started to settle down. Not that the pace slowed down, in fact it stepped up a level or two, but our 18 year old bodies were now becoming men's bodies and growing muscle most guys thought they would never have.
Six weeks is set aside for basics and in this time you do drill, weapon training, PT and lectures on the basics of the Military. In this time there are no passes out for the weekend but you are allowed family visits in the guard room car park on a Sunday afternoon. Sunday evenings were always time for us to check out all the goodies after visiting hours and was always fun.