Well, so I thought anyway. As I mentioned previously, during those days, we had three military colleges going full swing plus a large number of us 'civvie u' types (those of us who attended civilian university on military scholarships) and Women!! Basically, my University Liaison Officer, a Captain who worked out of the Avenue Road site in Toronto (at Avenue Road was the Canadian Forces Staff College and Staff School, a place where officers learned how to be better officers; Captains being groomed to be Majors and Majors being groomed for more senior ranks). The University Liaison Officer for we Officer Cadets (OCdt) who went to university in central Ontario had an office there and he looked after us, so to speak, and arranged our summer training programs. Anyway, he informed me that, no, unfortunately, the Civilian university types would instead be attending Basic Training at Camp Borden, just up the road from Toronto. There were too many military college types and Chilliwack was full to the brim; well, with just enough room for the female OCdts to attend there. The overflow from the military colleges and we civvie u types would get the enjoyment of going to Borden.
|My summer digs|
|My roomies, Jim Dunstan, Tom Beggs and Lorne Ness|
As you can see from the photos, we didn't have a lot of room for storing our kit. The locker by the bed had to be set up in just a certain manner, uniforms hung in a certain order, the top three doors of the small dresser containing specific items in a specific order; top drawer, a comb, shaving kit, etc, next drawer, so many pairs of socks and underwear and third drawer, a certain number of t-shirts. The bottom two drawers could be filled up and we also had a barrack box at the end of the bed we could cram full of our civilian clothes. On either side of the door to our room, we had the storage cabinets for our FNs (the rifles we carried on parade and to the ranges).
Our first responsibilities were to get our floors shiny and smooth. After we had them nicely waxed, we spent most of our time skating around the room in our wool socks to keep the floors shiny for inspection. Each of the three platoons had other areas of responsibilities; a section of hallway to wax and buff, one of the washrooms or showers to keep clean. You quickly got into a routine each day and night, what to do before you went to bed, how to minimise your efforts in getting your rooms ready for morning inspection, all those basics.
|Be vewwy vewwy afraid!!|
|A day at the ranges|
If we weren't shooting, we were doing the obstacle course; which I have to admit, I quite enjoyed; crawling through tunnels, swinging across creeks on a rope, climbing walls. That was fun. What wasn't quite so much fun was doing the gas hut. We got some classroom training on how to use our gas mask, then off to the gas hut, some more instruction and explanation on what was going to happen and then in we went. First they had us run around the room, do some jumping jacks to get us nice and sweaty; because tear gas loves sweat, makes it burn nicely. Then standing in a circle around this little fire and the instructor drops in some gas pellets and shouts 'Gas Gas Gas!' and out come the gas masks from our carriers and with eyes closed shut tightly and holding our breath, we quickly don our masks, test it to make sure it's snug and then off we go again, running around the room, jumping jacks, our necks and hands and any exposed skin burning. The exit is opened and out we go, single file. Before we can leave, we have to take off the mask, shout our name rank and serial number and out we go, hacking, coughing, spitting. Of course, stupid me, as I shout my serial number, I get it backwards (not that the instructor would even know or care) and I say, damn, and start over again, taking a breath before I do so... gag!! (I never said I was the quickest rabbit in the forest and I do like to mix metaphors).
So besides the routine stuff, we also spent every second weekend in the field. This was to give us the opportunity to really test our mettle and leadership skills. We either marched to Blackdown Park, or poison ivy hell, and found our campsite, set up our hoochies and spent the day doing small tasks; building bridges, setting up a communication line, doing map work, etc. Each day one of us got to be Platoon leader and either find our next location and keep our platoon on the march, or direct one of the tasks, or multitudinous other ways to see that we were suitable as leaders. Our instructors were a mix. Lt Fenton was the head instructor and firm but fair. Lt Allen was a bit of a wild card, somewhat strange at times and could be a picky stickler. WO Mushrow was our hero. He was strict and fair at the same time, 5' nothing, but a true leader. We called 13 Platoon 'Mushrow's Mushrooms' in his honour. Our Sgt Carmichael (I think that was his name) was a good guy, during some of our tasks, he'd drive off and bring us back coffees or hamburgers.
|Having a break on the side of the road|
|13 Platoon - Mushrow's Mushrooms|
|I did graduate! Woo hoo!!|