Field Camp is the key milestone every Singaporean soldier will go through before passing out of BMT. I looked through my blogging draft folder and found this nearly 2 year old post sitting there, begging me to relive those wretched memories.
note: the events that occurred during this field camp don’t feel as dramatic to me anymore in hindsight after going outfield countless times, but it was memorable as the first I’ve ever experienced.
See we had this system of booking in camp every Sunday, however the ones in control of our lives decided to toy with us by ordering us to book in on a Saturday and starting the Field Camp on a Sunday. The reason given was because the FC was 6 days long, so by starting early we can book out on Friday as usual. I call bullshit on this.
Falling asleep that Saturday night proved to be a tougher task than usual; after all, everything we have trained up for will be tested here, both physically and psychologically.
Plit plat, plittery fucking platWe woke up to the melodious tune of rain falling outside our bunks. I thought: “Great, now everything’s going to be postponed because of lightning risk”.
Haha nice try brain.
The truth hits me dead smack in the face as we hear the dreaded words, “Everything on!”. Marching 8KM into the forest with full combat gear in the rain, how bad could it get? Oh damn I jinxed it.
At the 5KM mark, we got to take a short break by putting down our field packs that felt like it has been steadily getting heavier. If not for fatigue then it has to be all the rain it has been soaking up. As I watch my buddies remove the load off their backs, a strange phenomenon happened that I have never before seen in Singapore.
Their bodies (including mine) started smoking. There was a proper, visible steam coming off our heated bodies. That should give you a pretty good idea of how much heat we were producing, as well as how cold the weather was. A short rest got us through to the destination that felt way longer than it’s supposed to, thanks to the rain that just kept falling on our helmets. “plittery fucking plat”
If god exists then he must’ve been playing us like a video game; as the moment we reached our destination, the rain magically stopped. Looking on the bright side, this has softened up the ground for our camp site so getting all the poles and pins down securely was noticeably easier. The location actually feels rather calming, with rows of big trees that seemed to provide some form of natural shelter from elements.
We then proceeded to do some soldier-y stuffs, after ensuring that we are drained, the SGTs released us to rest for the night. Night time in a forest is really dark, 伸手不见五指 kind of dark. We can rest easy knowing that the made-up horrors of our over-imaginative mind will accompany us to sleep in total darkness.
“Plittery fucking plat”
Sleep is of course conditional, if we can even get any as it started pouring in the middle of the night. Rain has this annoying ability of finding it’s way into any open space and splatter all around us. It gave me a free foot bath at 2AM that I did not request for, along with it a free industrial grade air-conditioner. I kept myself warm by hugging my wife. Remember the big trees I just mentioned? Man were they pretty standing there doing absolutely nothing.
Day eventually came, we owe that knowledge to our incredibly accurate watches that rang some time before 6am. After stumbling around to get ready for another day of exciting adventures and free showers, everyone was rounded up for some adrenaline pumping rifle PT.
The rest of the day proceeded with soldier-y stuffs of practicing movement and firing blank rounds. It was a hot, tedious day where we cultivated a very close relationship with nature, until my SGT messed up big time and made all of our days.
While my platoon was taking turns for some activity, a civilian looking car came into view and parked some distance away from us. Who the hell drives a car into a jungle?! I didn’t have to wonder for long, an old man in uniform stepped out of the car with 3 crests on his chest.
The only Colonel on this island, the highest ranked, and also the commanding officer of BMTC.
Back then we were recruits, scrubs worse than maggots; I haven’t even fully understood the ranking system yet. None of us knew what to expect from this encounter.
My SGT followed procedure and saluted the higher ranked officer. It was at this moment that everyone realized, he fucked up. He was holding a document on his right hand; because of that, he unconsciously saluted with his left hand.
“Sergeant, are you sure you are supposed to salute with this hand?” - Col
He did a quick switcheroo, but the damage was already done. We had to slap each other (not on the face) to stifle our laughter. We did not see him for about 3 hours after that, I’m sure he was just watering the plants with his tears. The other SGT told us not to broach the topic to him. Rest in peace Jordan, I will always remember your name because of that you did.
After a long day of activities, night eventually fell. We cleaned ourselves, then finally lay our backs against this plastic sheet that totally shielded us from rocks underneath. Fatigue started setting in and my eyes closed for a good night’s rest.
“Plittery fucking plat”
to be continued in part 2