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Training at Duntroon is not all dining-in functions and
sports activities -- staff cadets are trained and tested
through three distinct phases of theory and field work
CPL GLENN POWER
You're taught to take the lead, assess situations and make the big
'' SCDT TAMARA MALKKI, RMC
IN TRAINING: Soon-to-graduate SCdt Tamara Malkki
makes her way to class at RMC Duntroon.
PHOTO BY CPL GLENN POWER
means to me
FIRST-class SCdt Tamara
Malkki, Kapyong Coy, is one
of many cadets experienc-
ing life at Australian's Army
officer training facility RMC
A proud Queenslander from
Bundaberg, SCdt Malkki believes
RMC has unquestionably pre-
pared her for the unexpected.
"Some RMC days are struc-
tured, other days you just don't
know what to expect -- that's the
excitement of officer training,"
"You're taught to take the
lead, assess situations and make
the big decisions quickly."
Every day starts early and
normally ends late. Nevertheless,
SCdt Malkki knows each day
brings improvement in her lead-
ership and lifts her already high
"RMC has really strengthened
my sense of duty and of service.
It's definitely hard work but I just
take one day at a time," she said.
"There are so many sub-
jects and lots of hands on.
We're taught leadership, tactics,
weapons systems, military law,
accounting and history to name
just a few."
Testing cadets physically and
mentally, the training doesn't
guarantee graduation, as it's
intended to create officers capa-
ble of commanding platoon-sized
elements within Army.
In preparation for Army life,
cadets are placed into an infantry
battalion structure with compa-
nies, platoons and sections.
"Cadets are divided into
five companies -- Alamein,
Gallipoli, Kokoda, Long Tan and
Kapyong," SCdt Malkki said.
"Cadets from each of the
three class levels fill the compa-
nies, all doing their own admin,
and the battalion structure cer-
tainly provides a taste of how the
chain of command works."
During their 18 months
at Duntroon, cadets progres-
sively move through three dis-
tinct classes each indicating the
cadets' level of training.
New entrants start as third-
class cadets, but the cadets who
come across from ADFA have
completed the initial six months
of their training as part of Army
Single Service Training, so they
enter directly into second class
when they arrive at Duntroon.
Each class lasts six months
and cadets need to successfully
complete all three to graduate
and receive their commissions.
On arriving, third-class
cadets are welcomed to
Duntroon then sent into the field
at Majura, near Canberra, for
their initial introduction to life in
"Third-class cadets spend
most of their time outside learn-
ing section-level tactics, sleep-
ing in small bunk houses and liv-
ing for about two weeks under a
hootchie, bringing all the lessons
together," SCdt Malkki said.
Moving up to platoon-size
strategy, second class includes two
one-month periods in the field,
broken by a month in barracks.
"Month one focuses on offen-
sive tactics in the field like patrol
formations and ambushes," SCdt
"Then we enjoy a month of
barracks life, primarily being
taught defensive theory, which
leads to a second month under
hootchie putting all the theory
into action -- preparing defensive
areas and digging pits and so on.
"First class is not the home
stretch -- there is still lots to learn.
Training intensifies, time contin-
ues to be consumed -- I thought
there were only 24 hours in a day.
"It's not that bad, as a first-
class staff cadet your time-man-
agement skills are honed and you
can find time to unwind."
Holidays and leave at RMC
are similar to other universities
and are vital for cadet health.
Cadets are supported with
travel costs to visit their families
up to three times a year, provid-
ing a total of five paid visits over
the full 18-month course.
SCdt Malkki will graduate on
FIELDCRAFT: SCdt Tamara Malkki
out bush. Staff cadets spend much of
their 18-month course in the field.
PHOTO BY CPL BERNARD PEARSON
STRESS: Staff cadets are pushed to
their mental and physical limits during
their time at Duntroon.
PHOTO BY CPL BERNARD PEARSON
SCdt Adam Grigg
20, 2004. Promoted
to bombardier in
2008 while at 16
AD Regt, Woodside.
After six years in
SCdt Adam Grigg
was looking for more
"The nature of
air defence meant I
was probably going
to stay in Adelaide
for some time and
I really wanted to
broaden my Army
experience," he said.
"A mate in my unit had recently gone through RMC
and he convinced me this was the way to go.
"Understanding Army life is unquestionably a bonus
and knowing what command and support soldiers expect
from junior officers is another added advantage.
"I haven't found the physical elements too strenuous,
but I certainly had to learn to manage my time better."
After graduation, SCdt Grigg will be posted to 7RAR,
where he is looking forward to deploying as an infantry
SCdt Daniela Dietzold
19, 2010. Arriving
in Australia as a
Dietzold did not
want an occupa-
tion that focused on
"I wanted some-
sibility -- I wasn't
interested in just
earning a wage,"
"Sport is my pas-
sion -- I wanted an occupation that would be physically
challenging and after discussions with some close friends
I chose RMC.
"Cadets work long hours and as you achieve positions of
leadership, you have to find even more time, I'm well organ-
ised but I did struggle a little -- it definitely builds character."
After graduation SCdt Dietzold will be posted to intel-
SCdt Zavia Tiplady
19, 2010. Married
late last year, SCdt
Zavia Tiplady and
his wife are thor-
oughly enjoying their
"I always thought
Army was a good
career choice. I
completed a chemi-
degree in Brisbane,
but decided against
ADFA at the time as
I really wasn't ready
for the commitment,"
"After uni, I moved back to Cairns where I met my wife.
We travelled overseas for 12 months until friends of my
brother -- both infantry officers -- helped me decide to go
to RMC. My leadership has really matured at RMC and
I cannot think of a better place to improve my skills than
under the extraordinary pressure of Army training.
"Everything from assessments to discipline is
designed to take your time so you need to be organised --
make decisions and quickly."
SCdt Tiplady is looking forward to his posting to 3CER,
where he can use his studies to further his engineering
career within Defence.
PHOTOS AND WORDS BY CPL GLENN POWER
RMC CENTENARY June 23, 2011
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