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Sunday, July 03, 2005

Passing Out

After ten weeks of learning to march, shoot, run, live outside, conduct CPR, and fold t-shirts to exactly A4 size it was official. I was a soldier. Ready to defend Queen and country. Probably a good job the 5th Shock Army didn't pick that moment to land at Folkestone is all I can say.

The culmination of the ten weeks basic training was the dreaded, sorry i meant eagerly awaited pass off parade. The format of these formal parades tends to be pretty much the same. Hours are spent in bulling boots, polishing brasses, ironing formal uniform. More hours are spent rehearsing, rehearsing, rehearsing, rehearsing. You march on as a formed body men (and in many areas of the army these days women as well). You stand still for an inordinate length of time. Your arm aches from the weight of your rifle. Eventually the inspecting officer graces you with his presence. Inspecting officer has a quick walk up and down totally ignoring the amount of effort you have put in to bulling your boots. Inspecting officer asks every third or fourth man a very boring question such as "Have you enjoyed your time here?" Inspecting officer totally fails to look interested at the answer he receives. Inspecting officer then stands on a podium and makes a rousing speech that no-one really listens to but generally goes along the lines of "To all of you who have done well, well done." You march past the inspecting officer for one last time. You march out of sight. You breath a collective sigh of relief that it's over.

If you hadn't noticed I'm not a great fan of parades.


Blogger Jason Lomberg said...

"To everyone who's done well, well done."

Yup, that's pretty much how it is in the states as well. I had an admiral brief us, and he went on for about 3 hours, repeating himself more than once.

10:03 pm  

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