Afghanistan-A-Go-Go

A Reservist's Tale Of A Tour

Into Every Training Plan A Little Rain Must Fall

with one comment

Today was our last day out in the training area until the end of this block of training when we get RTU for Christmas leave. Today’s training was a trip to Drummond Close Quarter Battle Lanes (which are commonly known as “jungle lanes”) to do pairs fire and movement. Rather than a conventional (static) range where you fire from a specific firing point, jungle lanes are lanes in which two firers move down the range engaging a series of targets. Normally, it’s done with electronic pop-up targets, but to make things easier, we just used conventional paper targets called Figure 11s, basically the silhouette of an angry looking bad guy sometimes called Chargin’ Charlie. The aim is to work with a partner and practice communication, basic battle drills, and so on.

We took buses out to Drummond, and divided into five groups headed to the different ranges. It wasn’t until we got off the MSVS’s at lane 6 that I realized that my friend Adam was on the same relay. Being that we are both infantry, we decided we’d pair up, and we ran through the dry training before the live range pretty quickly. We were set to go first before being stopped for not having flak jackets, which we’re supposed to have already but had to order. So we waited for some other teams to go downrange and grabbed theirs on the way back out.

When our turn came it went pretty slick, though I think I kind of rushed things and got myself into Condition Black (a physiological state where heartrate and respiration makes fine motor skills difficult and there’s an element of panic), and it wasn’t as good as I would have liked. This was the first range I did with my SORD rig, too, and mag changes were easier than with our old Tactical Vest but not as slick as I’d have liked. I’ve also decided I don’t like the way my single point sling hooks up: the sling caught the charging handle of the rifle a couple of times and made it difficult to do some drills.

The lane was full of sucking mud, and I slipped into a puddle, coating my boots in mud and drawing laughter from the safety staff, and Adam once he had the chance to get some rounds downrange. It’s drying off now, but I don’t think I’ll be able to wear those boots for a couple of days, and they’ll need quite a brushing off when I do.

We were done in no time, which was great as the rain started hammering down, and I scrambled into the back of a LAV-III parked on the range to get out of it. We were done so early that our buses were nowhere near picking us up, so the range staff decided to pack everyone into two MSVS’s and send us back to camp that way. It’s a long, slow ride because army trucks cannot take public highways while loaded with soldiers (“trooplifting”). I called shotgun as a joke, and was rewarded with a ride in the cab of the truck which was much more comfortable, despite the driver’s taste in some pretty heavy rap.

Getting back to camp, I gave my rifle a quick clean and turned it in and returned to the office to finish off the leave plan, which I had to reformat to fit in the master document. It was a tedious process, but I got it done eventually. I was also able to learn that my second pay on my Class C contract went to the wrong account, because some clerk transposed digits in the bank transit. Fortunately, a friend at the bank got it sorted out in no time, and the clerk who was responsible has been reassigned, apparently. It wasn’t only me that had problems with pay based on this transposition problem. It should now be good to go for next pay, on December 15th.

I then headed over to clothing stores and was able to pick up my very own flak vest, right after the last range I’ll need it for until the new year. Oh well. It’s good to have and get used to wearing. We have training plates that simulate the weight of the bullet resistant ballistic plates we’ll get before we go, and as I’m not used to wearing them, it only makes sense to start.

We capped off the day with a slightly comical briefing on “AFV Recognition”. Normally this would be “armoured vehicle recognition”, how to identify different types of tanks and other vehicles. This, however, was more “Afghan Vehicle Recognition”. I’m not totally checked out on the differences between Toyota Corollas (90% of the cars in Afghanistan), Corolla Sarachis (station wagons), Toyota Hilux pickup trucks, Toyota 4Runners, Toyota HiAce minivans, jingle trucks, cargo trucks, and so on. The only real key point is that the bad guys use all of them. A Toyota Land Cruiser carrying 700kg of homemade explosives was what killed MCpl Greff in Kabul just before Remembrance Day, after all.

Tomorrow we have nothing official on the schedule, so it’ll be some cultural briefing and readings, some language study, and my unit CO (and possibly the CO of my old unit) are going to be in town for a graduation parade at the Infantry School. I’m hoping to see them for lunch or something like that. I should also be able to head over to clothing stores again to pick up my new rucksack, which apparently arrived in a shipment today, but the supply technicians hadn’t been able to get all the parts together when I picked up my flak vest.

Friday is a bunch more briefings before I head back to Halifax again, where I’ll be off to Costco collecting stuff to pack in my UAB since it’ll be shipping out next week. I’ve got some ideas about what to pack – simple things mostly – coffee, tea, shave kit type stuff, and so on. I have lots of space, so I’ll fill it up with stuff I want to make sure I have over there, rather than being at the mercies of whatever I can acquire.

Here’s a picture of me from the range today, making the best effort I can to look like I’m having fun with all the liquid sunshine.

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Written by Nick

November 30, 2011 at 11:48 pm

Posted in Workup Training

Tagged with , ,

One Response

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  1. Thanks for the picture Nick. I’ve added it to our “Nick” file.
    I enjoy your “story” and read all the “episodes”.
    Keep those cards and letters coming.
    We’re proud of you.
    Bruce & Joy

    Bruce Cowan

    November 30, 2011 at 11:55 pm


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