THE REGIMENT OFFICER’S BASIC COURSE By Scott Duncan Richards, 6 RAR
Having recently been commissioned as a junior officer in 6 RAR, I was required, along with all other new lieutenants, to complete the regimental officer’s basic course at the School of Infantry just outside Singleton, NSW. It was a mixed course of both regular and reserve officers and included armoured corps officers being posted to reconnaissance regiments and air force ground defence officers.
During this course there are two stories that jump to mind. The first one involved a discussion amongst a number of the course candidates about the female members of our recent graduating class from RMC. Specifically it was worked out, over a great many drinks, that several members of the course had slept with one particular female member of our class at RMC.
While not in anyway a slur on the character of the woman involved, it was to the amusement of quite a number of us that one of the non- infantry members of the course should recount in quite graphic detail the specifics of his encounter. In fact he was so precise that he could recall the exact date, mentioning that it was after one of the many formal occasions and functions that are observed at RMC.
Now, this is where it got amusing as one of the infantry officers on the course became intensely interested in the time of the evening the non-infantry officer claimed he slept with the lady in question. After questioning and re-questioning and affirming that he did in fact sleep with the subject of the conservation at approximately 1 am, the non- infantry officer excused himself to purchase another drink. At this point the infantry officer asking the questions burst out laughing, exclaiming, “Thank God he fucked her at 1 am because I fucked her at midnight!”
To this day I am certain that the said non-infantry officer remains unaware of his ‘runner-up’ status and while I remain in touch with him, I haven’t the heart to tell him…
The second incident that jumps to mind involved the detaining of a reserve officer who, for lack of a more articulate description, had been a fucking cock for most of the course. I say detain because he was held down in the Officers’ Mess by several drunken regular Army officers while a ball and chain was attached to his leg and the key ‘lost’. This had happened several times previously to other members of the course so it was not particularly out of order and was normally taken in jest, with the detainee being released some minutes later. This guy, however, was not going anywhere.
After an extraordinarily long time and not devoid of several pleas from the detained to be released from the 15 kg ball and chain attached to his ankle, the situation came to a head. A regular officer who shall remain nameless informed the man in question that he was not going to be released until he stopped being a cock. This in turn opened a floodgate of abuse from quite a number of other members of the course. So much so that the detainee grabbed up the ball and chain and limped off into the night, I am reliably informed, crying, to seek the guard room and the hope that they may have a hacksaw.
My memory fades but I believe it was this same night that while this was occurring, the air force officers on the course decided to post a banner the size of a bed sheet (I believe it was a bed sheet) on the balcony of the Officers’ Mess. I no longer remember the specifics of the message contained within but it was something to do with the RAAF being good and the Army being not so good.
The quick thinking of one Army officer saw him retrieve a lighter from the depths of his pocket and set the banner on fire. Of course, he should have read the highly flammable label warning before doing so as next thing the balcony near on went up in a fucking ball of flames. Another equally quick-thinking group of officers then grabbed fire extinguishers and anything else they could use to fight the fire. To be honest, I am not even sure if anybody got his arse kicked for that or not.