PASSING OUT PARADE
Every time I hear the word “Passing Out Parade”, I will have people passing out in my head. I will imagine people fainting with a fanfare.
There was one parade sometime during BSLC, which I cannot remember what it was for, there were a number of trainee from my company who fell out or pass out during the long stand in the parade square. I remember that I didn't fall out and completed the whole parade but I cannot remember how long we stood there that was probably long enough for people to pass out.
There were a lot of casualties from my company that day and we got quite a scolding from a lot of people. I remember that the scoldings were harsh. Then the last person who talked to us was our Company 2IC whose name was Warrant Estrop. He was a cool guy. The only commando in our batch at that time. Initially he said nicely to us saying that he wouldn't scold us after all the scolding we got. I cannot remember what he said. I only remember the last part. He said something like, “You all can only improve from now on. Because you cannot get any worse.” I laughed a bit under my breath when he said that.
Anyway, we are going to have our 17th ASLC Passing Out Parade. A parade that marked the end of our training in SISPEC. On this day, those who somehow excelled would get their silver bayonet and the best trainee will get his golden bayonet. I didn't bother to “work hard” to get the bayonets. I just wanted to get this course over and done with and move on nearer to end the army. We all would get our “3 stripes” anyway. On this day we would be given the 3 striped chevron and pass out with a rank of 3rd sergeants.
I think I mentioned this before in my BMTC post. I told my Platoon Commander in SISPEC that I wanted to be posted back to BMTC. Personally it was because I bear some kind of grudge with my BMT sergeants and Physical Training Instructors and I wanted to get back there and show them that we are of the same rank now and I cannot be your pushover anymore. But my PC told me that the people who were sent to BMTC are there because of a reason. (I cannot say the reasons here. It could be a personal reason. I don't know. But it made sense.) He said I will never be sent to BMTC. “You are fully trained here in SISPEC. With all the training that makes you a leader of men in the battlefield, why would I send you to someplace to teach people how to tie shoelaces?” That was just a part of it. I cannot say more. But yes it made sense.
Unlike in BMTC where we were told of our posting results after the parade, here we were told of our posting results a few days before the parade. I realise that it was all already planned. This 17th ASLC was a Guards batch. And these people who came to this 17th ASLC were from the Advanced PTP and BMT batch. Not everyone but most of us. It's like 60% from BMT went to SISPEC BSLC. 70% goes on to ASLC. And about 80% of us who graduated from this ASLC were posted to 3rd Battalion Singapore Guards 10th Mono Intake. So we would see each other again after all.
It was a normal parade with just 2 companies. Alpha and Bravo company. Nothing special. Nothing as exciting as BMTC pass out parade. Though on hindsight, I don't see what the hype is about for a BMT passing out parade.
Anyway I like our uniforms. They were old school starched and waxed and stiff. I don't know if the army does this kind of regimentation anymore. I heard that boots don't have to be shiny anymore now. So it was kind of an experience. The last few batches of the 2nd generation army experience.
After the parade, our parents or guest would come down and remove the corporal rank from our shoulders and attach the 3rd sergeant rank. I still think the chevrons on the shoulders look cooler than on the chest like now. It felt old school. It felt like the army we knew.
Anyway the parade ended quickly because there were only 2 companies. We will see most of us in the next vocation anyway. Just a few days break and we will check in into our new camp that we will stay in for the next 1 year 9 months. Yes. My army term was 2 and a half years. My unit vocation last as long as a current soldier's full NS term.
I was quite happy to be posted to 3rd Guards though I have heard about how tough it is going to be. But at that time I couldn't care much. How much worse can it get? I was just looking forward to check in to the 3rd Guards camp. At that time it was a new building and we would be only the 2nd batch to use the new building. So it was quite new and nice. And also, it is located at Bedok.
That was my motivation. I'll be back on to the mainland. Goodbye Pulau Tekong. Thank you for the past 9 months. Good riddance.
NEXT WEEK : Guards Conversion Course
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