Life in new camp

The day when I reported to the Home of Combat Engineers in Nee Soon camp, I told myself that this will be another fresh beginning of military training and I’ll have to have a more positive thinking and look forward for the training. The engineer’s headquarters was a few hundred meters away from the guardhouse and I thought this was similar to SAFTI MI. After the initial registrations and settling into my bunk, I was “welcomed” by the previous occupant of the bunk (senior cadets) where they left a piece of note with advice together with three pairs of epaulettes as a form of blessing.

Unlike when I first enlisted into OCS where all our personal stores were properly laid out, this training wing seems to be unprepared for our arrival. We were told to purchase our own PT-attire and admin T-shirt (No. 6) as they will not be issued by the unit. Furthermore, we had to sort and collect our own stores and pr’ecis within a short period. I believe all of these should have been prepared in advance instead of us having to do it personally.

Anyway, here’s a breakdown of my first week in Engineering Training Institute (ETI).

Day 1: We spent the entire morning sorting out and unpacking our personal stuff. Thereafter, there was a course opening by the Commanding Officer (CO) as well as an introduction of the various coaches (instructors) by the Officer Commanding (OC) of Engineer Officer Cadet Course (EOCC), Cadet training wing. Although the weather looks gloomy, we continued with the familiarization run which didn’t really seems like one because we simply ran and sing along without being introduced to the various landmarks. I wasn’t exactly pleased with the way things were conducted as it soon started to rain heavily with lightning and we did a total of 150 push-ups and 60 crunches. The lesson we had to take away was “Overcome fatigue and work as a team”.

Day 2: Had a so called “excursion” where we visited the Armored Engineer Training Centre and 30 SCE (30th Singapore Combat Engineers) unit to learn more about it since we were told that many will be posted out for seven weeks of specialized training in various engineering unit.

Day 3: As usual, we had IPPT categorization test. From the way OC sees how we cadet conduct the IPPT cat test, he told us “Everything must have a proper form of structure in order for things to work”.

Day 4: First book out – except that we booked out at 2345 hours. Before book out, there was the usual standby bed as well as a summary test on what we have learnt for the week. We were told that unless we pass the test, we would not get to book out. It seems like it is a tradition for engineers to book out (or even) work late into the night.

Before I forget, there’s this seven-minute thing that was mentioned. This means that we will have frequent turnouts and everything (field pack inspection) is expected to be laid out within seven minutes — regardless of where you. Besides this, we were told that engineers do not really sleep as they work best at night. Hence, this explains the 2300-hour Routine Order timing as well as the 2359 lights out timing on “normal” days. Looks like life as an engineer isn’t going to be that enjoyable after all!