Home' Army News : August 2nd 2012 Contents 6481_0712AS
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Army August 2, 2012
THE double march out of
Kapooka's 25 Pl and 26 Pl was
wet and cold, but not nearly
wet enough to dampen the
enthusiasm, excitement and relief of
the 98 graduating soldiers.
The Most Outstanding Recruit of 25
Pl, 24-year-old Pte Melissa Osmand,
said the graduating parade was a high-
light of her time at Kapooka, in more
ways than one.
"Getting to the end of this really
feels like an achievement after what
seems like a long time with the parade
as the focal point. It's a great feeling,"
"The parade today went a lot bet-
ter than expected. We had a few issues
during the week that we were a bit wor-
ried about, but obviously we were pretty
happy when we got the drill award.
"It was a lot easier with the band
when we could feel the rhythm, and we
could relax a bit more and concentrate
on what we were doing. In the end, it
just sort of happened as a natural thing.
"I did sort of listen to the reviewing
officer's speech, but the memory of it is
very vague because I was standing there
thinking 'oh my gosh, I know there's an
attention coming. I can't miss it, I can't
"And as for the rain -- I could see
drops of water falling off my hat, but all
I was thinking was that I was going to
hate cleaning my weapon after this."
Tpr Andrew Harris said the 12 weeks
leading up to the march out was "a pret-
ty full-on, intense course from day one"
when the NCOs jumped on the bus and
gave the new recruits a nice big spiel.
"Then they hurried us into a lecture
room and we're all like "what the hell's
going on -- what have I got into?" Tpr
"The first few weeks were pretty full
on. The NCOs were all over us like a
rash, just making sure we could cope
with a bit of pressure, I suppose.
"But the course itself was pretty
well delivered throughout, from day one
right up to today.
"I think most or all of us gathered up
the information pretty well in the end.
"I came from a job where I had a lit-
tle bit of responsibility and my age was
probably an advantage because I think
they left me alone a little bit.
"I was able to develop on the knowl-
edge I already had of the Army from
friends and family. So, in that respect
yes, I did enjoy it."
All the recruits interviewed nominated
The Challenge as the most memorable
part of their time at Kapooka.
"Being out field for five days, being
at the forward operating base for five
days and then doing The Challenge was
excellent, bringing everything we learnt
over the previous weeks together," Tpr
"The Challenge was really hard in
some places, but that's what made it
enjoyable -- it was a real sense of
"But nothing tops our march out --
not just the good parade, but knowing
that now you are actually an Australian
So what brings people to Kapooka?
Of course the answer to that is as differ-
ent as the number of people who enter
the barracks' gates.
For Spr Benjamin Blundell there
was no family history in the military to
"I was drawn to the Army for the
mental and physical challenge," he said.
"I've always said I could do it and I
guess it was time to put up or shut up.
"I did also want to do my bit for the
country too. I've heard a lot about the
IED strikes in Afghanistan and I thought
if I could bring my skills to the Army
and help out with that as an engineer,
I'm more than happy to do that."
Of course, for all the new sol-
diers, marching out of Kapooka is just
the beginning. All are now on initial
employment training in their fields --
Tpr Harris in Puckapunyal on the cav-
alry driver's course, Pte Osmand in
Bandianna for the clerk admin course
and Spr Blundell in Moorebank "play-
ing with really cool stuff".
But the bonds of friendship, forged
in the first hard-core life experience for
many will last forever.
Spr Blundell said he thought he
knew what mateship and friendship
were before he went to Kapooka, but
the friendships he made over those 12
weeks just didn't compare.
"I definitely made life-long bonds
with some of the guys here," he said.
"It is a life-changing experience
coming here. It's a very big deal going
through hard times like this together and
it really defines friendships."
All in all, the only difference this
reporter could find between his experi-
ence of Kapooka and today's soldiers
-- they had access to their mobile phones
during down time.
But, come to think of it, mobile
phones weren't invented in my day.
Catching up with Kapooka
Sgt Brian Hartigan returns to 1RTB to see if
anything has changed in the 22 years since he
Fresh faces: From left, Pte Melissa Osmand, Tpr Andrew Harris and Spr Benjamin Blundell recently
graduated from 1RTB after completing the 12-week recruit course with 25 Pl.
Photo by Sgt Brian Hartigan
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