November 2002. Our second time travelling to Australia. Again I dread travelling overseas. But this time it felt ok because it is our second time and I kind of know what to expect. The flight duration, where we land, where we are going to stay and of course, what we will be doing.
This time around, it will be our ATEC 2. ATEC means Army Training Evaluation Centre. Every NS and reservist unit will have to go through this test organised by the centre. There will be 2 tests. Like an exam for the unit.
ATEC test 1, or what we call ATEC 1, will be a few months before ATEC 2. Like mid year exam like that. Then ATEC 2 will be year end exam. The scores for both tests will be combined and then you will get your overall score for the unit. I just realise I didn’t write a blog post about ATEC 1. By now we would have completed it.
So what happened in ATEC 1 is basically a test for a soldier’s readiness. We were tested individually for our technical handling skills with our weapons, meaning we can operate our weapons efficiently. Like, strip weapon and assemble weapon within a stipulated time, weapon malfunction contingency actions and also our marksmanship. There was also tests for the section in combat situations too I think. Every soldier will be tested and then the scores will be combined to reflect the unit’s overall score. For ATEC 1, we got the top score which was called Redcon 1. Basically like getting A1 for exams.
The gradings were something like:
High Redcon 2A
Low Redcon 2A
If your unit gets Redcon 3, you will have to do a retest, meaning you will take ATEC 1 all over again.
So we completed ATEC 1 with Redcon 1. Now we are going on to ATEC 2.
ATEC 2 is to test the combat effectiveness of the whole battalion. Meaning, how the whole battalion execute missions. No more tests on the individual or the section but for the battalion as a whole. Same thing, we try to avoid Redcon 3 so that we do not have to do a retest. Once all this are done, only then can the unit ORD. ORD actually means Operationally Ready Date. Meaning, when you pass both tests, then the unit is ready for operation.
So we are here at Rockhampton, Queensland Australia again for ATEC 2. For us, we just want to ORD and get our pink IC and our lives back. (At this point of writing, I found out that NSF now don’t have to surrender their pink IC to MINDEF anymore.) So the morale is quite high. Get this thing done and we ORD. But the shit thing was, we were supposed to ORD on the 12th of December 2002. We heard stories from those who completed their NS before us that they could clear their leave before their ORD. Sometimes up to a month plus. But we couldn’t because we had to do our ATEC 2 in November 2002. A month before we ORD. So we just had to say goodbye to our leave. For me personally, I had about 14 days of leave unused. And also numerous more days of unclaimed offs. I am still annoyed by that till today.
November 2002. Exercise Wallaby again. ATEC 2. No chance to clear leave and off. November means it is summer in the southern hemisphere. Meaning daylight is longer. And at that time it was the fasting month. Great. Graaaappeeeee!
It’s the same Rockhampton airport again. The same Vanilla Coke. The 40 sticks cigarette packs. The same 2 litre milk drinks.
The same ride to Shoalwater Bay training area. The same first checkpoint at Samuel Hill Camp before heading to Old Camp Growl.
Eh wait…. we reached Samuel Hill Camp and we were told that we will be settling there. Woohoo! No need to go Old Camp Growl! Samuel Hill have much better facilities. Our tentages will be on cement and not gravel. There’s a proper administration building made of concrete and most importantly, there is a proper toilet and shower! We still had to be butt naked with everyone to take a shower but at least it’s proper. Not some makeshift tents. I don’t have much photos. Like I said before, we didn’t have digital cameras. But I found a blog with photos which you can have a look.
So we settled down in our camp. We are already familiar with the routines by now and also the schedule.
1st week. Administration and practice exercises.
2nd week. ATEC 2
3rd Week. Administration and R&R
Yup another 3 weeks here in the Australian outback. Let’s get it done and then we can ORD! Make sure don’t get Redcon 3 la.
Next week : Exercise Wallaby Again (Part 2)
Categories : The Army Series
Web logs of art activities on a regular basis (hope).