Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Stoopid Lee-Koot!!!!!!

Everyone knows someone like Recruit X. The fumbling soldier with two left (or is it two right? He never seems to be able to tell) feet, an amazing propensity to proverbially 'screw-up' any exercise or training session. Well, I knew one such Recruit X and boy was he a goner.

Most NSF post-1998 would know Tekong intimately. That sunny (read: damn bloody heat-stroke inducing hot) holiday resort just a ferry ride across from Changi Airport. Me, I was a trainee there and was eventually posted there (my first thought on receiving the posting was "Lord! Why has Thou forsaken me!!!"). However, I think the time I spent in Tekomg has provided me with some of the best Army stories ever to tell over a cup of tea or occasionally something stronger and darker :p

Having sidetracked enough, we come back to our good friend Recruit X. Now Recruit X had the unfortunate posting to the most garang of companies in BMTC2, with garang written into every sinew of the company’s ICs, right down to the Company Clerk. We were mean SOBs but we got results, and in the Army, that’s what counts. Recruit X was in one of the batches who had failed their fitness test in school and thus had the privilege of spending more time to get to know us SOBs.

Now, no one can blame him for being a tad like a klutz, but it was a tragic understatement. He marched with the usual gait suited to robots and R2D2 would have been an dancer when compared to Recruit X. Every drill session was a chore and I think it was safe to say his platoon probably hated him for dragging their sessions for longer than expected.

A whole string of screw-ups later, it was time for the great adventure for all Singapore boys – live-grenade exercise. Every possible precaution is taken for this, every SOP is read through and memorized by every officer, platoon sergeant, section leader, auxiliary instructor and medic. As Murphy’s Law will have it: 'Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.' In the SAF however, we take it one step further, we say anything that can go wrong will f**k up big time.

Recruit X had been primed and trained and whipped into shape, everyone knew the drill: "Pull pin, drop pin, throw grenade". That was drummed into him till he snored the drill in bed, nothing can go wrong right? WRONG!!!!!

He steps up to the throwing bay, the big concrete barrier that protects people INSIDE from any blast from the OUTSIDE of the bay. Our Recruit X saunters up confidently, the OIC stares at him, gives the order and away it goes "PULL PIN! DROP GRENADE! THROW PIN!"

In those dramatic Matrix scenes we are now so used to, the grenade makes a slo-mo drop to the ground INSIDE the bay. The OIC’s eyes go so wide his face disappears, his mouth screaming silently "NABE C*** B**!" before grabbing Recruit X and flinging him to the OUTSIDE of the bay in a drop roll and then said OIC leaps on top of him.

In that moment, everything slows down, you can hear your own heartbeat drumming away in you head. Your body tenses up like some mangled spring caught under a three-tonner. One one thousand, two one thousand, three, one thousand, four one thousand… nothing… no BOOM, no ARGHHH, no sound at all… is it over, has the explosion knocked out your hearing, have your corneas been torn by the blast waves, your back broken by the impact?

"NABE C*** B**!!!!!!" The dud had thrown a dud… the moral of the story is, if you're an officer or spec or instructor out there who thinks you're the most garang tough guy in the SAF, here's an experience that will still make you piss in your pants.

P.S. Pissing in your pants is as much a means of saving time as it is a natural reaction to fear. So dounch you go funny on me.

More battle-scar stories coming up soon :p

- zayam


kureshii said...

i've heard many stories like this one before. there was one case i heard where the guy swung his arm backwards to give the throw momentum, but ermm, released it at the wrong time.

and a tip to those about to do their grenade throw: please do not torpedo it into the ground. give it a trajectory, do not release it too late but please fucking please do not release it too early as well! torpedoing the grenade downwards is the best way to waste your whole day at the range waiting for the demo team to clear out blinds.

lun said...

hahaha my live-throw in bmt only had 1 blind. and the demo guy waited for all of 10 mins before going in to plant the c4. he sure had iron balls.

kureshii said...

LOL...i suppose if you're confident enough you could go in much earlier than that. teh first blind that was thrown, my PC stuck his head out trying to locate it, until he realised his mistake a few seconds later. "oops" isn't the kind of thing you want to hear from your PC durign a livethrow.

he's a responsible guy, don't worry. he just happened to flout a safety rule that could have gotten him killed, but at least he didn't put the recruit in danger. unlike a certain case study i'm sure everyone has heard of. said officer finds himself in possession of an unidentified projectile covered with dirt (turns out to be a LAW blind; if anyone has seen a real one before please let me know). tried to knock the dirt off, fails to kill himself, someone else leaves the world in his place.

Anthony said...

Nice story.

That god ammo stores around Singapore give us the oldest rounds first yeah?

kureshii said...

yeah. apparently they give you a sample of rounds from the oldest batch in the store. if a certain percentage of the rounds don't go off properly they'll suspend the whole batch. one of the reasons why instructors are so finicky about ammo paperwork.

lun said...

yeah my sarge told me that if on the day of the live throw if there's more than 5 blinds the throw's cancelled and they'll send the batch of nades back.

MaKan GuRu said...

My PC planned out extra trainings for my platoon because as he so aptly put " i am not dying for any of you SOBs" Yo have to understand, we were his last batch, he was going to ORD liao.

On the day of the drill, we were all a little nervous. Afterall, we had heard of the story of the guy who was so freaked out he pulled the pin, and then his right had froze up and he could not open it. this was one SNAFU all of us did not want.

Anyway, one of my platoon mates goes up for his turn with me just behind him. He gets all primed, shouts "PULL PIN!" proceeds to do to. Shouts "GRENADE!" and proceeds to throw it. Then we hear "O FUCK!" As we learn very quickly, he had thrown the grenade DOWNWARDS, thank god it made it over the barrier, but it landed freaking close to that barrier. He froze, my PC, also very matrix like, grabbed him by his SBO, and yanked him to the ground, the rest of us all dived into prone. Grenade went off, no one was hurt, except my platoon mate got all muddy and a really bad fucking from my PC.

Jack Chen said...

My throw was riddled with blinds,
luckily my throw was in between the 2nd last blind and last blind allowed before the entire batch will be given back.

I had the opportunity therefore to look at the place during the 30 minutes waiting for the grenade to do it's own business.

Kinda funny looking at all the PCs and Rec sitting down like best buddies and calmly having a nice long chat, you can't do anything else. Bay 1 was semi-flooded because of heavy rain, so they were like squatting over a toilet bowl. The explomo guy was pretty experienced, joking and talking non-stop. He buring some I-chain to measure the timing and then attached it to the charge he is going to use. THen he do the 'walk' and then walk back. I asked him why is he so calm to walk back. He explained that some grenades didn't explode because the firing level was pindown by the grenade and so any sudden movement mind cause the grenade to roll aside and then explode, killing him. So he simply strolled back.