Suck it up, soldier.
These are words I never thought I’d hear.
What young blonde girl ever imagines she will grow up to be a military member? There aren’t many of us, I imagine.
Nobody expected this line of work to be in my future. It was a totally, completely unexpected chapter in my life’s story.
I’ve always chosen the path less traveled, so to speak. It’s harder, but far more rewarding. Maybe I thrive on thinking differently than others, or at the very least believing I do.
You can prepare for training, but you aren’t ever really prepared. There’s always the weight of realizing the culmination of the decisions that you made to get here.
During the interview process they told me physical fitness is the obvious goal to maintain, but to also start conditioning my mind to have very few down moments in a twelve hour period. Set the alarm for 5 am, get up and don’t stop moving until 5 at night. At the earliest. This is what it’s going to be like on course at BMQ.
Challenge accepted. I was all heart, focus and passion.
On the morning of my flight out, regardless of how prepared I felt, I still woke up and thought holy shit, I joined the damn military. What? That’s not even a decision I can legally back out on now. Ha! Way to go, ambitious one.
Fear and excitement pronounced themselves my best friends on the way to the airport, training gear and the basic foundation of my life stuffed in a hockey bag.
“We have a slight delay here folks, looks like we have a hockey team on board with us today. It will just take a few extra minutes to load the extra gear”, the pilot announced after boarding.
A hockey team. No, not at all. I felt special. Secretive. Important.
My military training, incidentally, was beginning with my first flight. Ever. I was such a kid.
The exotic destination was that of Brandon, Manitoba; a two hour bus ride through flatness after the flight into Winnipeg. Actually for the sake of precision, it was CFB Shilo we traveled to, which is 35 km east of Brandon, which was small enough to begin with.
Welcome to your new home
Barracks are old, barren as the name, and devoid of such frills as air conditioning. Fashionable paint. Sometimes hot water.
I settled right in. It only took a few hours for the rest of the course, arriving from across the country, to get organized. I was ready to do my unit proud.
After a few hours it became apparent to myself and the rest of my platoon just how much we had to learn and how hard we would have to work to succeed.
Coveralls before combats. Shiny boots, always. Shinier, then shinier again. Socks rolled up and lined in the drawers. Measured. Bed measured. Clothes on hangers, hangers in closet. Measured.
Yes, I was right where I believed I should have been. It was going to be the hardest challenge of my life to date, but there was no way I was letting that intimidate me.
I was hungry. I wanted this more than anything.
Stay tuned for Part II: Basic Training