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Week 21: Wardrobe Frenzies

“The Tazmanian Devil in Superman’s phonebooth”

Cadets practising crowd control

2005-11-13

The beginning of the week seemed to be so separated from the end with many long and tiring days (even more so than in previous weeks). The days were filled with many guest speakers on various subjects, nerve-racking and somewhat stressful tests and evaluations, peppered with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and experiences and many, many wardrobe changes.

The week started off with a Mod-marathon (Mods are Applied Police Sciences classroom sessions, which equal sitting and thinking for extended periods of time - very conducive to impromptu naps). This Monday also signified the end of filework (well until we get out into the real world) as we handed in the last of our files.

Around mid-week we broke up the Mod-monotony with shotgun qualifications. Contrary to my abysmal performance during pistol qualifications last week, I did quite well by getting the top score and the subsequent “superior” rating. One of the Firearms facilitators suggested I put in a request to have a special holster made for the shotgun, and this way I can get rid of the pistol altogether. (Sounds like a great idea however, if I ever have to use it I'll be deaf within the first few years of my service!) Of course that was only a comical suggestion and so I will still need to qualify with my pistol. I have another “shot” at it next week.

Although the long days continued, it did start to pick up a little toward the end. On Thursday we had our final PDT benchmark, which went well for most in the troop, followed by the all-deciding Drill class - we were determined to get our Blues back. Although being in fatigues and runners makes it easier for classes such as PDT and Firearms (there's less changing involved), it's quite tiring to run from session to session, not to mention somewhat embarrassing as one of the most senior troops on base (graduating in three weeks) to be seen huffing and puffing past the newbies! Fortunately for the troop, and contrary to some of our previous experiences, this Drill class went really well: we had practised many of the movements and it was apparent. The Drill instructor was almost speechless (this is relevant as it's a very rare occurrence that Drill is in awe)! Needless to say we got our marching orders back. This was a very good thing indeed as it would have looked mighty weird for us to have to wear runners with our Serge and breeches for the Remembrance Day memorial that we had the honour of attending.

We got our marching orders back just in time: Friday was pretty much an all-Drill day. Our Tactical Troop training was broken up by our stint downtown at the memorial service held in honour of the fallen soldiers and war veterans. Our troop was one of two asked to serve in the RCMP contingent and fulfill Serge duty that day - it was quite an honour. As I mentioned, we were all decked-out in Red Serge (like real Mounties, no cadet epaulettes or name tags anywhere to be seen) and subsequently we became camera magnets! I guess it's inevitable when we're in red and everyone else is in an unassuming shade of blue or green! It was a great experience but also very tiring: to stand at attention for any period of time is exhausting especially when you're expected to uphold the postcard image as everyone gawks!

After the ceremony it was back to Depot where we pulled another Tazmanian-Devil-in-the-Superman-Phonebooth stunt to get back into fatigues for the continuation of Tactical Troop training. Tactical Troop in its simplest form consists of crowd control (what some would refer to as the “riot squad”). We get to wear lots of heavy equipment, carry shields and riot batons, oh and let’s not forget the “Spaceballs” helmet! If you're not familiar with this particular movie, another great reference is Marvin the Martian from the Bugs Bunny cartoons - one of my troopmates is the spitting image! Come to think of it, the timing of this introduction to Tactical Troop was quite fitting as we had just come from a large crowd situation. Thankfully Remembrance Day assemblies are generally peaceful gatherings.

One thing I feel I've mastered is the Superman-Phonebooth-changing business. The number of times we change is surprising even for those of us who have gotten so accustomed to humouring the madness. I take the latter part of this week as an example: we went from doubling in fatigues and runners, to marching in boots and Blues, and before we knew it, we'd progressed to Serge and high browns marching down to Victoria Park in downtown Regina, and all in the span of less than 24 hours!