It’s funny how one word can bring back so many memories of one part of your life. For me the word phase immediately conjures up my military training – mainly because it was split into phases;
Phase 1 – basic training (9 weeks + 2 weeks physical conditioning)
Phase 2 – trade training (16 weeks)
Phase 3 – Specialist trade training (7 weeks)
My reasoning for joining the military in hindsight was ridiculous – I’d worked as a Police Civilian for some 8 years in various roles which I absolutely loved. The only thing I wanted to change was the county that I was living in as I had been there on and off for about 25 years. The big question was what on earth could match or even better the roles that I had worked in. It was inevitable really that I would look at the Armed Forces as my dad had done his full 22 years and had absolutely loved it and I had, had an amazing childhood because of it.
So I decided to apply for the Royal Air Force at the ripe old age of 35.
OH MY GOODNESS I thought I had prepared – turned out I was wrong. It is to date THE toughest period of my life – both mentally and physically.
The majority of them were so young – practically HALF my age so trying to keep up with them was tough. Phase 1 was bad enough but Phase 2 was ten times worse as I was the only female in a class of 16 and there was one PTI that absolutely loved to humiliate me EVERY chance he got. Anybody would think he felt threatened by little ole me ….
What’s also hysterical is that I can barely function when I don’t get 8 hours sleep….didn’t think that point through either! What’s more is that by the end of my 1st year I had major insomnia problems which then carried on for the next 4 years.
It’s left me with an aversion to ironing …. I only now iron when absolutely necessary (basically for weddings oh and christenings).
I was also one of the ones that looked like a bus conductor in their dress uniform – hilarious (NOT)
The food in the mess was more often than not HORRENDOUS and what’s more the rat-packs (rations) on exercise were even worse than the mess food.
On a lighter note I made some friends for life and the camaraderie was second to none.
You’re either cut out for life in the military or you’re not – I wasn’t. I served my country and I’m proud to have done so. No words can express the depth of gratitude and respect I feel for past and present members of our Armed Forces.
Lots of love