THE VOLUNTEERS By Greg Hopgood, 5/7 RAR

Okay, confession time! Back when I was on the 5/7 RAR recon course we travelled to an Army camp called Gan Gan near Nelson Bay, NSW. It was a great place to teach us soldiers recon skills and I loved every day there.
One Friday the OC needed two volunteers to look after all the claymores, rifle ammo and 66 mm, as there was no armoury and the course was to head back to Holsworthy for the weekend. I put up my hand along with a mate of mine (name withheld just in case). A cook also stayed behind with us.
Well, as soon as the course left, my brain was racking up a way to monitor the live ordnance without us being there. So we put it all in a garden shed and put a lock on it. We thought that should do it. The cook, my mate and I headed into Nelson Bay and drank ourselves into submission. It was great. We headed back, had massive cook-ups during the days and ran riot at night. On the Sunday session my mate won the royal flush on the pokies and we were all cashed up so we shouted the bar and ordered seafood platters with passion pop! Well, after that I was so trashed that all I can remember was my mate eating his own vomit. We got kicked out by the police and were told to piss off. I woke up in the back of someone’s ute parked on the side of the road at about 08.00 Monday morning.
I shat myself and thought we’d blown in and would be thrown off the course. I was broke and had to walk about 10 kilometres to Gan Gan. I arrived at the camp at about 11.00 and there was no one around. Still in my civvies and covered in spew and shit, I headed to my room and found my mate sound asleep in his bed! I woke him up and he was all over the shop, still pissed. The cook came in and told us that the truck carrying all the course had experienced a flat tyre and the spare tyre was flat. They were due to arrive at about 14.00. How fuckin’ lucky were we?
We got our shit together, cleaned up and checked to see if all was okay in the garden shed. We helped the cook to arrange dinner. The course members and instructors arrived, saying what a good job we’d done and thanked us for volunteering. Yeah, no problems, guys. Anytime. After a couple of weeks, my mate, myself and one other were the only ones recommended for employment in a recon platoon! LOL.

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