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Week 14: Training Officer Inspections

“BOLF (Be On the Lookout For) sleep-deprived cadets”

Cadets on the Parade Square

2005-09-25

Well it's been a long week. I can safely say that this has been the most tired I've been so far. And it's not because we had a number of Fitness classes. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that we had our TO (Training Officer) inspections bright and early Thursday morning. The stress started at about 12:45 on Wednesday afternoon when I got my second-ever LA (learning assistance), which of course was for my hair. (On a side note it was really unfair as I had just finished running an interval circuit in Fitness, managed to redo my hair to above-average standard, and because it was very windy, one little fly-away made an appearance! At least I wasn't the only one caught up in the Drill staff LA-giving rampage - there were at least 30 cadets at the Drill Hall the following morning.) Anyway, after the LA everything seemed to spiral downwards: the countdown was on to get everything perfect for the inspection.

At first I thought the TO inspection prep work wouldn't take me that long, as I usually have my things in order. Yeah, right! There's no such thing as being organized enough, and when you start making a list you realize there's so much to organize and clean, yet so little time. There are so many details to consider: dust, layout of kit, dust, perfectly creased bed, dust, everything polished, dust, placement of books in the desk/wardrobe, dust, etc. Did I mention dust? It doesn't matter how often you dust they'll still find a dust-bunny somewhere even if it is just a wee little one. (They probably take out one of the ceiling tiles when no one's looking!) At least you work together with your troopmates and you help each other out, but still there's no avoiding the sleep deprivation. In our troop we didn't do too badly, most of us got to sleep at around 1:00, but I heard the stories from others who were up until breakfast!

Well, following our little cleaning frenzy and standing at attention for the actual inspection for an extended period of time, I was thoroughly exhausted, which made for an interesting Firearms session. It's really hard to sight the target if there's two of them! On the upside, the TO inspection is now over, we all passed (very few deficiencies), and we don't have to worry about another mad dash for the mop until the CO’s (Commanding Officer) inspection. Not to minimize the possibility that at any given time, on any given day, Drill staff can come and do a surprise inspection of the dorms, it's just not something I would lose sleep over.

On Friday the atmosphere was a little less pressure-filled. Well, for some of us anyway. To kick off the weekend, the troop had their peer assessments and the BOLF drive. For the peer assessments some of my troopmates got a rude awakening, or in the cases of a few, the comments were just plain rude. It's amazing how everything can appear to be so wonderful on the surface (or maybe just to the oblivious such as myself, a choice I make to help maintain a certain level of sanity) and when anonymity comes into play, all hell breaks loose. It didn't come as a big surprise as this happens in all troops: not everybody can get along with everybody, all of the time, especially if you're always together. A good comparison would be to think of your troopmates as your 29 siblings, that you see 24/7! Conflicts and irritations are bound to arise. Lucky for me my feedback was relatively positive, and some comments were even flattering.

The BOLF drive was less of a tear-jerker, but for some it was a little bit of a stomach-lurcher. (These poor saps, what are they going to do when we start track driving? Airsick bags anyone?) Essentially the BOLF consisted of a drive where a team of cars looks for a suspect vehicle and is communicating its whereabouts on a continual basis. I had a good time; it was like playing hide-and-seek, or cat and mouse, but with police cars! I could tell that we had some pedestrians and residents of the neighbourhood worried. Can you imagine a convoy of five unmarked police cars following a truck that's weaving and swerving? Some of the facial expressions were just priceless.

All in all, the week was tough but it came to a good end with our halfway party. Although we're already past the halfway point, the actual celebration usually comes at the end of the 14th week. It was the opportunity for us all to come together and unwind like a big dysfunctional family! And that means the countdown is on: only 10 weeks to go!