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Week 24: The Countdown to Freedom Begins

“Smile! You're very nearly a Mountie”

RCMP Chapel


In this final week we had so many things to wrap up and complete with enough activities to keep anyone busy for at least two weeks! And let's not forget those last-minute evaluations and inspections. The week started with the EVO (Emergency Vehicle Operation) exam, and for the results of this we were kept in suspense all day. It's always nerve-racking to wait for your test marks, especially if it there's any possibility that you don't get to graduate. Luckily it all worked out and we all passed this final exam.

Also at the beginning of the week we had our final FTU evaluation: the Stress Course of Fire. Although this session usually doesn't make or break your Depot career, it is still stressful, hence the name Stress Course of Fire: flashing lights, sirens, loud noises, and armed assailants approaching as we struggled to get our pistols and/or shotguns to cooperate. Following these little scenarios we packed up our pistols and had them shipped to our detachments. To finish off the day (yep, still Monday), we attended part of the previous troop's graduation ceremony for the changing of the numbers. Changing of the numbers is when the graduating troop removes their number from the Drill Hall wall and the new graduating troop puts up theirs. We're so steeped in tradition around here! But it was a great experience for which I got dressed up in walking-out order which broke up the monotony of my prep and cleaning for the Commanding Officer's (CO's) inspection.

The following morning, the insanity continued with CO's inspections (I had absolutely no deficiencies!), followed by a mad dash to reassemble and put on the Sam Browne to go have our pictures taken. Troop photos, grad photos, service photos, a seemingly endless procession of lightbulb flashes: how everyone loves to snap pictures of the Mounties. Best get used to it I suppose! This also marked the beginning of our Stetson wearing: one more privilege or distinction of being the most senior troop on base. It was tricky at first but I did finally figure out how to wear and adjust my Stetson quickly. Now all I need to work on is not bumping into things as the brim is quite wide. It's actually quite handy to be wearing Stetsons as it's very easy to spot the rest of the troop in a sea of forge caps!

After the picture-taking frenzy it was off with the Serge and onwards to the courthouse for mock trials for files we've been working on in APS. It's interesting to see how quickly the defence counsel can poke holes in what appeared to be a solid file! While on the subject of poking holes, on Wednesday we had our final PDT session during which we engaged in some two-person handcuffing. This is much harder and more strenuous than one may believe, resulting in many scrapes, bruising and a few more serious injuries.

On Wednesday evening the troop had its Regimental Dinner in the Officer's Mess, where we got to mingle with facilitators and a number of the higher-ranking officials at Depot. Another traditional event at Depot is the peer performance that we put on Thursday evening. The performance was the culmination of all our hard work in Drill class. We were all pleasantly surprised at how well it went - without any major or noticeable hiccups - considering we were still piecing it together during the latter hours of the afternoon!

Friday proved to be a day of running around with loose ends to tie up, each of us meeting with our APS facilitation staff for final progress reports, and for many to start picking up family and friends from the airport for graduation. Oh and did I mention the need to start the packing process? I noted that I accumulated a lot of stuff over the last 24 weeks and it all had to be stowed in my suitcases and shipped to the detachment. Of course it's hard to pack everything when there are still certain graduation-related events and happenings on the horizon, each of which requires a different order of dress!