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Week 8: Fire in a Can

“My eyes, my eyes! Oh the humanity!”

RCMP, Canada and Saskatchewan flags in front of the Drill Hall

2005-08-14

We were welcomed to Week 8 with fire in a can. In PDT, the troop was OC Sprayed on Monday and overall it went all right considering it's an absolutely horrible experience that I would not wish upon my worst enemy (not that I have any of those)! OC Spray (commonly called “pepper spray”) in the face feels like putting your face in the oven and turning it up to about a thousand degrees. To add to the pain and discomfort, trade in your eyeballs for fireballs, and let’s not forget the cross-contamination and re-contamination factors. It spreads like wildfire: up your nose, through your mouth, down your throat, in your eyebrows and hair, and when you've finally managed to calm your senses, the whole affair starts anew with your attempts to actually remove the residue by showering. All I can say is that I never want to go through that again. At least it's another one of those necessary Depot evils that's behind me now. Although is seems like cruel and unusual punishment, it is worthwhile as it's the type of thing that needs to be experienced in order to truly understand the effects, which will add to our credibility later on in the field. Luckily we had very agreeable weather for this experience: cloudy and relatively cool.

The cool weather continued throughout the week, which was much appreciated when we had our winter shooting hour block in Firearms on Tuesday. We simulated how it would be to shoot in winter conditions by getting all bundled in with our storm coats, gloves and recycled rodent hats (as they're comically referred to by some of the Firearms facilitators). I must say I felt rather warm wearing all that stuff (in August!) on the 100-metre range. The phrase “Could I be-e-e-e wearing any more clothes?” came to mind. (If your not familiar with Season 3 of Friends, disregard that last comment!) Besides running around, feeling and probably looking like blue snowmen, I did learn some good lessons: I went on the assumption that it would not be much different than usual. How wrong I was became very apparent when I went to pull the trigger and noticed that I could barely move my fingers! In addition to the tight gloves, I had to contend with the bulky coat and the fogging-up of the eye protection. I guess the bottom line is: in terms of conditions and situations, prepare for the worst and deal with any additional surprises as they come!

While on the subject of too many clothes, Wednesday was our second kit issue. Great news: more stuff to put away and polish (the list just never ends)! Luckily we only got to keep the Sam Browne (the belt that goes with the Red Serge); the high browns need to be customized and the Blues and breeches need to be tailored (finally, pants with yellow stripes!). We will actually have the chance to challenge for our Blues very shortly. Let's see how that goes: it can't possibly be worse that the ankle boot blunders! It'll all be up to Drill to decide whether we're ready/worthy!

Drill continues to be up-and-down, we have our good days and our bad ones. Currently we're learning to salute which is also something that's more complicated than it looks, especially while marching. It's amazing how certain Drill movements can make the most coordinated people look like a bunch of Clydesdales with inner-ear infections who may at any point poke themselves in the eye.

Speaking of poking yourself in the eye and causing one’s self unnecessary pain, our final Fitness class this week was one filled with many, many push-ups. That's right, a whole class dedicated to push-ups, or at least it felt that way. All this because we missed a few minor details. Note to self: never forget to bring any of the necessary equipment to fitness and follow instructions to the letter, because any of these little inconsistencies will result in push-ups for the entire troop (way over a hundred for this particular session). Well, lesson learned: attention to detail and teamwork are never overrated and should always be adhered to regardless of how minor the situation may seem.