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Army April 12, 2012
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Trainees make tracks
BEFORE any Armoured
Corps trooper gets a whiff
of exhaust fumes from an
M1A1 Abrams, ASLAV
or M113 he must complete his dis-
mounted phase as a part of Initial
Employment Training (IET), run by
Binh Ba Tp at the School of Armour,
The course covers the first six
weeks of the six months an armoured
IET will spend learning his craft driv-
ing and maintaining some of the big-
gest and most lethal machines the
Army projects onto the battlefield.
The course is the initial induction
and dismounted phase of training for
an armoured IET.
Binh Ba Tp leader Capt John
Ozols says the course is one of the
most demanding aspects of a troop-
"Fellas arrive here from Kapooka
and we carry out the induction pro-
cess for all Armoured Corps soldiers,
beginning with an outline on what
support mechanisms they have at
their disposal while they are on the
course," Capt Ozols says.
"We then train them on the suite of
infantry small arms, such as the 9mm
pistol, claymores, 40mm grenades,
MK-84 and 66mm weapons and give
them F89 and F88 revision.
"The six weeks concludes with
a 10-day bush phase where they put
into practice the generic cavalry scout
skill sets, such as observation posts
and breaking contact, and we give
them an understanding of the conduct
of reconnaissance patrols."
This course equips students with
the full range of basic skills before
they move on to their vehicle-specific
training, such as communications,
driving and vehicle servicing.
Tpr Zachary Neale can't wait to
get into the drivers seat of an M1
"Who messes with a tank? It's the
biggest and baddest thing out there,"
"This is why I transferred from
being a clerk. I love tanks; they're
He's training to be a grade one
crewman, which will have him main-
taining and driving the biggest beast
in Army's arsenal.
"The course so far has been great
as I've learnt a lot of new weapon
systems and tactics," he says.
"I've really liked firing the F89
Minimi and pistol, as when I was a
clerk I didn't get much of a chance to
do any of this."
He's also had a few challenges
during his time on the course.
"It can be quite physical with
the patrolling and pack marches and
at Puckapunyal it's been quite cold
when compared to Darwin where I
came from," he says.
"I'm really looking forward to get-
ting to 1 Armd Regt and working with
the other people there."
Tpr Scott Karney is training to be
an ASLAV crewman.
"I was a foreman in a tyre business
in Newcastle and I didn't really like
the job," he says.
"The Army was something I'd
always thought about and when I was
looking at the jobs, cavalry stood out
to me because I do a bit of camping
and four wheel driving with my mates
The standout aspect of the course
for him so far has been learning all of
the weapons he's been taught to han-
dle and fire.
"The 84mm was great to learn and
I'm really looking forward to throw-
ing grenades soon," he says.
"For the remainder of my IET
training the driving and servic-
ing component sounds interesting
as I'll end up learning the ASLAV
"I've applied to go to 2 Cav Regt
in Darwin as my first unit after finish-
"I'd recommend armoured corps
get to camp out in the bush and, of
course, we don't have to walk any-
where -- we drive."
Sgt Andrew Hetherington joins Armoured
Corps trainees in the early days of their
training at the School of Armour.
CO School of Armour Lt-Col Tony
Archer explains the School of
Armour's role and describes the
kind of people Armoured Corps is
seeking for its ranks:
"The School of Armour trains all
of Army's armoured vehicle crew-
men, drivers, gunners and officers
who are about to take over sub-unit
command in a major's role. We run
more than 20 courses a year with
2000 students coming through the
"Armoured Corps wants someone
who's a self starter, is intelligent due
to the complex systems we operate
and is able to work in complex, ardu-
ous environments, under pressure
and within a small group. So soldiers
also need to have good interpersonal
skills to allow them to do this. If they
don't, then it gets quite interesting
when they are working within an
"IET courses at the school are
critical to set the foundation for new
personnel for the rest of their careers
in the corps.
"It is the first time they will be
exposed to only Armoured Corps
instructors to take them through their
base skills to progress them though
WHAT IS THE SCHOOL OF ARMOUR?
Work experience: From left, School of Armour trainee Tpr Luke Lennox, checks his bearings with instructor
Cpl Jeff Egan while trainee Tpr Scott Karney mans the gun during a patrol as part of the School of Armour IET
course. Inset, trainees conduct a live-fire shoot with an Abrams on the range at Puckapunyal.
Photos by Sgt Andrew Hetherington
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