This week I have been on my 5 day Core Militray Skills Initial Refresher course.
The reason the Air Force runs a course like this is because we are tradesmen - ahem, tradespeople - first and airmen, or military personel second. Unlike the army where people are soldiers first and tradesmen second. So it became apparent in the last few years of joint exercises and deployments that we were a little lacking in weapons skills and needed extensive PDT (Pre Deployment Training) before racing away to save the world.
This course is designed to brush us up on the skills we learned on recruit course, then we will have a one day refresher every year. The end result is less time required for PDT.
The week starts out pretty full on and eases down day by day till Friday which is the test and then the afternoon off. Tough life eh?
Turned up at "Expeditionary Support Squadron." Carried out course admin. Had a quick half hour practice at handling weapons (Steyr 5.6mm Automatic Rifle) including Commands (Load, Action, Instant, Watch and Shoot, Fire), Instant Actions (what to do if we pull the trigger and the rifle does not fire - Suspected Gas Stoppage, Confirmed Gas Stoppage, Blockage, Reload, Unload drills) and Stripping the Weapon (bolt group, butt group, trigger group, gas plug and barrel)
Theory and Practical NBC. NBC stands for Nuclear, Biological, Chemical warfare. We need to know what to do if an atom bomb goes off (close eyes, drop to ground with hands and weapons under body, pray). How to recognise symptoms of biological poisoning and what to do (instant action or IA) if someone screams GAS! GAS! GAS!
The Chemical Safety Rule
Chemical IA if any of the following happens
EXPERIENCE: Bombardment of any kind
SIGHT any low flying strange or hostile aircraft
SEE any suspicious mist, smoke, droplets or splashes
NOTICE the following in yourself or others
- dim vision
- tight chest/difficulty breathing
- excess salivation
- runny nose
- pinpointed puplis
HEAR any alarm
We learned how to put a respirator (gas mask) on in less than nine seconds while holding breath and with your eyes closed. How to change the cannister (outer air filter) with eyes closed and breath held. How to shove biscuits under the mask, how to drink water, how to play soccer in full kit. Now we'd been taught all this before. It was just a refresher to kick-start us back into it all again.
More theory. How to search a bomb site, for victims. How to help the civil defence after a cyclone. What to do in the event of discovering an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) or UXO (Unexploded Ordinance). Safety distances to keep people away from IED's. Confirm, Clear, Cordon, Control.
After lunch we went out for a little patrol in the trees. What to do in the event your patrol is shot at by the enemy
Dash, Dive, Roll/Crawl, Observe, Aim, Fire (according to the rules of engagement).
Observation galleries - how to see hidden things. How to direct a group's fire at the enemy.
"Rifle Section! One Hundred Metres! Two knuckles right of white tree, enemy in the open, Open Fire!"
How to make up a range card so that everyone knows where the white tree is, and so that we don't fire outside of our designated arcs.
VCP - Vehicle Check Point. 5 areas to search, Interior, Exterior, Underneath, Boot, Engine Bay.
Detaining personal. Don't strip search them!!! Tell them why they are being detained, remain with them until you can hand them over to an MP, member of Air Security or the NZ Police.
More practice at TOETs (Test Of Elimentary Training) which is really just handling the weapon.
Load - load the magizine
Action - cock the rifle
And so on.
Home. Assignments to be completed ready for tomorrow.
Primary Survey, DRSABC. CPR. Severe Bleeding.
Blanket stretchers, knot tying (clove hitch, sheet bend, reef, bowline, figure of eight) rope maintenance, types of bandages and dressings.
CPR test. ratio of 30 compressions to 2 breaths.
Fire Lecture. Actions on discovering a fire. Types of Fire Extinguishers
CO2, Water, Dry Powder, Foam, Fire Blanket. What was really interesting was BCF. This is almost completely banned as it is harmful to the ozone. However it is also required to put out magnesium and some other metals which are used in aircraft. If these metals catch fire it is really the only way to put them out and so BCF extinguishers are contained on the air craft only. The Air Force Fire Engines are different to the ones civilians have as they are designed specifically for aircraft fires. Though they also cover building fires and car crashes around and near the base.
In the aftenoon it's off to the range. I can't hit a rabbit at 10m with a shotgun, but I can get a marksman on a 200m range with a semi-automatic rifle. This however is the 25m range and too short to wualify for marksman. Still - 60/66, a pretty good score for a girl ;-)
More assignments, more study. Test tomorrow.
Test. 97% (I got one question wrong.)
Operational Test. Ours was the best group our instructor had seen. A quick 40 minute search and rescue. Victim has severe bleeding in upper arm. Unconcious. Stretchered back to the Incident Control Point. Pass.
I have two games of hockey this Sunday. 1st on one side of the city in the morning then off to the other side for the afternoon game. I'm not too keen.