Reality bites at Kapooka: ‘Not everything is always nice’

This is the army: Knowing how to shoot is one thing, but Recruit Benjamin Cattermole says providing medical aid to someone who has been shot is another story.
This is the army: Knowing how to shoot is one thing, but Recruit Benjamin Cattermole says providing medical aid to someone who has been shot is another story.

Having mastered the “fun” side of weapons training, Kapooka’s recruits are discovering the harsh realities of battle. 

It comes six weeks after the first 160 men and women arrived at the First Recruit Training Centre (1RTB), to begin the life-changing 12-week army course.

Benjamin Cattermole, alongside his fellow recruits from 41 and 42 Platoons of Echo Company, was on Thursday greeted by a screaming and bleeding causality, in a mock scenario as part of this week’s first-aid training. 

Within a matter of minutes, recruits were tasked with saving the life of a gun-shot-wounded soldier.

Recruit Cattermole said it was one thing to memorise the theory, but another entirely to witness the trauma of combat. 

“Within seconds you have to make decisions,” Recruit Cattermole said. “It’s quite shocking … They do it realistically so we know what to expect.”

The 18-year-old said it was understandably intense. 

Sergeant Daniel Heslop said the week-long training exposed recruits to a real-life scenario they could experience across their career. 

“It’s important to expose them at an early stage to what can occur in the army,” Sergeant Heslop said. “Not everything is always nice.”