A weekend in the life of an aspiring Army Officer
My name is Officer Cadet Jack Loftus, currently posted to New England University Company, University of New South Wales Regiment (UNSWR) as a part of the Australian Army Reserves. I joined the Army Reserves in Adelaide 2012, appointing into the General Service Officer First Appointment Course before transferring to UNSWR in order to commence a Bachelor of Medicine at UNE. Since then I have enjoyed a variety of both challenging and thoroughly enjoyable experiences that would not have been afforded to me outside of the ADF. Today I would like to discuss a recent training exercise that I recently took part in. The training involved Officer Cadets at all stages of training, from the newly appointed Officer Cadets who have only qualified on weapons such as the F88 Austeyr (the basic service rifle) and the F89 Minimi (Light Support Weapon) to others whom hope to be commanding a platoon of their own in just a few short months. The training emphasises leadership, management and command at all levels from small military team leader theory through to platoon level command.
Officer Cadet training involves a number of different challenges, while physical challenges are present, mental toughness; self-discipline and perseverance are also tested.
One of the most physically demanding tasks was carrying a stretcher weighing 80kg between a Section (8 people) for 3.5km while wearing equipment weighing up to 35-40kg. While this task appears extremely difficult, with the help of your team and mental toughness the task becomes quite achievable. This difficulty of this task was compounded by the fatigue, weather and lack of sleep experienced over the preceding two days. However rather than feeling down and unmotivated due to the task at hand, as a team we spurred each other on, before finally enjoying the sense of achievement as a team once the activity had been achieved.
Throughout my time in the reserves I have overcome many challenges and reaped the benefits, I am fitter than I’ve ever been, more motivated and possess the personal organisational skills which have allowed me to achieve my goals outside of Army, most notably, academically. I have gained notable civilian qualifications including senior first aid certificate and navigational skills, as well as learning about a variety of different weapons and pieces of equipment I would not be exposed to elsewhere. Despite the difficulty of these challenges, they are possible, not only are you filled with a great sense of achievement when the job is done, but the team that you share these experiences with become great lifelong mates.
This training exercise was indicative of the course as a whole and while the challenges are great, there are always new and exciting activities, which are thoroughly enjoyed as much as the common bond you share with your team mates. When I return to my studies and college I am always filled with self-confidence and the knowledge that whatever new challenge or task is thrown at me, its achievable with persistence and a team of like minded individuals standing next to you.
If this sounds appealing to you or if you would like to know more we are running information sessions at the Army depot behind Sport UNE every Monday from 4 pm until the 30th of June 2014. Alternatively you can drop in to the depot on a Tuesday night where our recruiters can help you through the recruiting process.
By Officer Cadet Jack Loftus
Armidale Depot, University of New South Wales Regiment