Military Service - Month #5

November 2013

Published on . Takes about 19 minutes to read.
Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot

Week #18 (01 - 03 of November)

The sky promises occasional autumny showers and the weather is cold as we get into protective rain outfits - that’s five layers of clothing to protect against the cold, the rain and the sand that’ll be all over us in a short while when the lesson at Männiku practice range begins. We drive our cars to a sandy area and get stuck, on purpose. The lesson: digging out the trucks from sand, one inch at a time. It’s a slow and tedious process and I’d rather just pull the car out with another truck - but I can not cheat, it’s more than likely I need this skill in the future when I’m in the woods alone with no help within miles.

Another weekend, another weekend pass. My hands still smell of weapon oil when I get home, a hundred kilometers from the base. It’s good to wear civilian clothes again.

A package from Sparkfun Electronics arrived, containing my first Arduino and other DIY/MAKE goodies I can’t get from Estonia. NO99’s play “Kolmapäev” with a lovely long-lost friend makes the evening come alight.

Electronics from Sparkfun

Going back to the battalion is scary: I lost a part of my uniform… luckily, pvt Tm confessed of having accidentally put it into his bag.

  • The SBC had to clean their weapons with earplugs in, I guess they got too chatty.

Week #19 (04 - 10 of November)

New week, new adventures! Both the SBC and NCO units go to forest camps, leaving us all “alone” to the barracks. We have tasks to do, though: the equipment on all the cars (wrenches, nets, hammers…) needs inventory and I’m not the happiest person doing this in the rainy, windy, cold, miserable weather we call Estonian autumn. On the positive side, we aren’t in the forest and get free time after five pm.

The guys blow me off when I need someone to help me, that offends greatly. I don’t have the will to beat someone into helping me.

I got 2 extra driving lessons, but still fail with parking - and the exam is close.

Driving failures
  • Pvt Rk had to wash his hat and report to the duty officer.
  • The evening goes into research on multiplexing LEDs.

I’m at the driving lot from 0800 on the day of the C-category driving exam. Much to my surprise, I did well and didn’t fuck up; the instructor was neutral and I passed. Time to continue learning, the next milestone is CE - a truck with a trailer.

My truck

I’m on duty as the “janitor”. The rooms are being renovated, the workers use machines and the smoke alarm goes off. The duty officer runs upstairs to turn it off. Pvt Kr manages to jam a cloth in the middle of the barrel of his gun that refuses to come out with no amount of force nor trickery. We laughed so hard… A corporal from the NCO course left his hat unguarded and we made him do 66 push-ups (which he did) to get it back. I’m allowed to sleep the whole night while on duty (instead of the usual four hours) since everyone from our floor are in the woods.

Mrs cadet came back from the woods the following day, in battle gear, face painted green, hit the showers and came out fifteen minutes later as a freshly showered lady in civilian clothes and with a handbag. From a forest-clad warrior lady into a ‘normal’ girl in such a short time…

The corporal from the NCO course ordered 26 pizzas to his unit, which they ate in their rooms once back from the forest.

The first lesson with a BIG CE truck is very… other. The truck feels slow and powerful and is just so big. My new teacher is “other” too, someone whose personality I can’t stand very well and this affects learning, negatively.

DSC is probably the best time during our service, there’s so much free time. We get off at four again, a luxury compared to the others.

Half of us got to go out for the weekend, even though it wasn’t our turn. I wasn’t one of them and was jealous. The cleaning day meant raking leaves for three hours, solitude and peace. We finished before SBC and waited in the tents while they wrapped up (a unwritten rule: thou shalt not help the SBC when you don’t have to). The tent is pitch-black with many small illuminated spots near the beds that go dark as soon as the door opens.

  • Pvt Re jokes about replacing our malfunctioning oven with one from the SBC tents

I’m on duty on Sunday for the 2nd time - which means I don’t get a day off. This is so unjust! I’d like to have words with MSG Ls who puts me on duty way too much, but I can’t because he outranks me. I mess up the nightly count every single time and today is the worst, resulting in fifteen minutes of angry scolding, which results in one seriously broken guy and four hours of staring blankly ahead, contemplating life.

I consider organizing a IT-sports day: there are about 47 people with a medium/strong IT background here… The competition would feature checkpoints with assignments like “locate the WiFi access point with a signal scanner (two Android phones)”.

Week #20 (11 - 17 of November)

As drivers, we’re free to go to the city for our driving lessons. Sometimes, a shop gets in the way. A cute cashier of Rimi asked why I looked so serious (getting yelled at affects me more than a little). That small, warm moment with a stranger stood in my mind for the rest of the day.

What reason do I have to be happy?

  • First hour of formation drills in a long while.
  • SGM Tm promised to cut the hair of all long-haired with his bayonet; everyone gets a hurried haircut.
  • Pvt Lo very nearly had to sew all of his pockets shut again.
  • Went to the sickbay with my hurting wrists: inflammation... and all I got was a salve (no help) and thank-you-please-dont-be-back attitude.
  • Changed oil and filters of many generators
  • I'm trying to do some work with my free time. Military 'salary' just doesn't cut it.
  • The duty officer asks for pvt Roots and gets two "Me!" from the opposite corners of the square. He smirks and elaborates: "The SBC one!".
  • A strict duty officer inspects everyone's appearance and orders me to re-shave. I'm in such a hurry that I cut myself, for the first time ever.

Every unit has to prepare something for the battalion anniversary party. No-one picked up the reins so I proposed a plan to wing it. About eleven volunteer-participants (the award was a weekend pass) gathered in a classroom and I explained the plan: a Slideshow improv game, learnt in a week. The guys accepted. Some volunteers are people who I don’t exactly want to work with, but I can’t kick them out, either.

I escape some formal celebratory event thanks to driving lessons. The first rehearsal for Slideshow goes well.

SFC Ps gives a stern lecture on discipline. Our weekend passes very nearly get cancelled… but the next fault will leave all 80 drivers grounded. I’m pissed at the troublemakers and slackers in my unit, can’t they behave? Those 51h of freedom every other week are a reason to live, when some fool screws it up…

What does it say about an organization where the biggest punishment is to not get away from it? My weekend passes with movies, friends, quiet solitude at a friend’s apartment, Arduino and relaxation.

I don’t want to go back. I’m 99 percent sure we’ll be left in for a month. Amazing how alive I feel when on the outside.

Week #21 (18 - 24 of November)

Its freaking cold! Especially during morning exercise. We’re ordered to switch to winter uniforms. There’s some progress with CE lessons. I have a really bad stomach ache for the 2nd night in a row and excuse myself from a mandatory history quiz to ask for pain meds. Our tent is cold; the heater broke from overheating.

I’m sick: fever, chills, weakness, inability to focus or move a lot. I don’t go to the sick bay though for I am too stubborn and still pissed that they turned so little attention to my aching wrists (which, I fear, will greatly trouble me in the future). There’s some breathing time from the days activities and I hide behind the furthermost bed in the long tent, sleeping with my clothes on, not caring what happens when an officer enters.

The military police searches us again, though this time it’s quicker and milder. We hold our final rehearsal of Slideshow, hours prior to the performance. Above all, I’d like to sleep, but the fever is forgotten as soon as I focus on my passion: improv. We’re shipped to a culture center and the show begins.

The units take turns to go on stage while everyone - soldiers, high officers in formal clothes and guests (dance girls) watch. Everyone presents a staged parody of their daily life, all mock the officers in one way or the other.

We go to the stage, I introduce improv, get a suggestion and we perform a five minute improvised sketch of Slideshow. There are laughs, but overall, we’re not the winners. I think it unfair, since my team put in the most effort, but hey… that’s life for you. I get many compliments for pulling this off afterwards. I’m proud of the men for sticking with me and trusting.

Improv Improv Improv Improv Improv Improv

See also: Improvisational Theater in the Estonian Army

Kairit Tuhkanen and dance girls in revealing clothes perform. Men are invited to dance and mingle. I think it a bit cruel that some (the single ones) who haven’t been with a girl in god knows how long get this meaningless moment of teasing. I retreat to a nearby coffee shop. Pvt Pr - our medic(s aide) - notices my fever and gets me a place in a warm car for the ride back. He cares.

Saw a loud drunk on the way from driving school. How would I react when he got violent? I’m in uniform so I’d have to step in and possibly physically restrain him. Call the cops?

On duty again. Asked MSG Ls for an explanation on why it’s on Sunday again, he agreed to change the day, if possible (it wasn’t).

SFC As trolls people and goes into rooms in his T-shirt, he looks so normal that mostly everyone ignores him… until they realize that a) he’s an officer b) he’s been standing in their rooms for quite a while c) no-one has yelled “attention!” I don’t escape trolling either: mopping the floor looking gloomy, he starts singing about how fun it is to wash the floors.

My favorite duty officer allows his aides to drink coffee and use the laptop during the night. At least there’s that.

Pvt Kk from Sõdurileht gives me an interview form for a persona story. A bit flattered.

We have half an hour of free time. The lights are taken out from the tent (it’s pitch-black), four soldiers hide behind beds (on the floor) to sleep. I sleep in.

Having had some forewarning, I raise my hand when volunteers are called, it’s a task for me: connecting CISCO switches to ports. Five smarter ones from the SBC units help me, I’m in charge.

Our time in the tents is over, the beds are moved back to the barracks into the newly renovated rooms. They’re quite nice.

Fucking on duty again. It’s Sunday, so nothing much happens. Used the time to write a paper letter to a friend. The nightly count goes as usual: I screw up.

Week #22 (25 - 30 of November)

There’s a military psychologist available for advice, but there’s no further information about how to get in touch. The chaplain didn’t know much about it, either. Seriously consider going, but eventually decide not to; I don’t trust her.

SFC Ps goes into our rooms and collects a bunch of junk: phones, food etc. There will be punishment, I’m sure. 1.5h of football on the frozen ground. I put my back into fueling cars with pvt Sn, being busy feels good.

Much of my time goes into learning CE. There have been days when I’m out on the driving range all day, only back for lunch and dinner.

SFC Ps and MSG Ls gather all the drivers an hour before bedtime and announce that we’re going on a 20k fast hike. The reason, of course, lack of discipline. Everyone gets on their combat gear and marches through the city towards the woodlands at the city border. It gets dark once we’re afar from the streets and streetlights. The night is extremely windy and when I stop the cold sets in quickly. The officers walk at the back, joke and talk among themselves while I only wish it to end. We endure and march in silence with the NCO in the lead. We’re back by 0100 and get four hours of sleep. I walked the whole track with two-three sips of water.

I pass the school driving and theory exam. No one gets weekend passes this weekend - yet another punishment.

Using phones in bed during the night is a lot like masturbation: it isn’t strictly encouraged, but everyone does it and you just don’t bring it up.

  • When they ask for volunteers and say it'll be a quick task, be very skeptical. You might end up moving furniture and office equipment for hours.

TeKo intervjuu Sõdurilehe jaoks

Rms Kk Teavituskompaniist andis mulle persona-nupukese lehe, et sisutäidet saada. Kuna see tulemus tõenäoliselt kunagi lehte ei jõua, toon ta siin välja.

Kui kaua oled ajateenistuses olnud?

Kohe lõppeb viies kuu.

Milline oli viimane üldfüüsilise testi tulemus?

194

Kes on väeosa kõige kenam naisterahvas?

Kadett Nettan

Mis on kõige suurem muutus mis on sinuga ajateenistuse ajal toimunud?

Positiivne - oskan hinnata igat teenistusvälist hetke.
Negatiivne - keskmine enesetunne on tugevalt langenud.

Mitu tüdruku pilti on sul kapis?

0

Kas ja kui palju suudad lõuatõmbeid teha?

Käisin ja proovisin. Kuus.

Kas oled ajateenija staatust ära kasutanud, et naisele külge lüüa?

Ei - aga sportlikust huvist tahaksin teada, kuidas see käib… ning kas peale üheöösuhte sealt üldse midagi välja tuleb.

Mitu korda päevas viksid saapaid?

4 - 10. Alati, kui saapad porised on.

Mis on sinu esimene tegevus väljaloale saamisel?

Vorm kappi / kotti, tsiviilriided selga. Enamasti on järgnenud mõni sotsiaalne üritus, aga ka omaette lõõgastuda on tore.

Mis on ajateenistuse ajal kõige raskem?

Üksindus, isoleeritus, tunne, et sul pole oma elu üle mingisugustki kontrolli… vähemalt esimestel kuudel.

Mis on kõige ägedam asi Eesti kaitseväes?

Kvaliteethuumor. Vbl / ltn / srs, kes suudab ainult oma karakteriga isikkoosseisu naerma panna. Praktilised naljad ja kaaslased, kellega neid teha.

Milline on kõige haledam põhjus, millega oled laatsaretis käinud?

“Kurk valutab. Päriselt ka!”

Mis ametimehe positsioonil sa tahaksid kaitseväes kõige enam olla?

Autojuht-sidemees. Sinna ei tahetud, praegu soovin NODE autojuhiks, tõenäoliselt saan ka.

Mitme nööriga suudad bibi püsti panna?

Tehniliselt polegi mul nööre vaja. Kord sain kahe seljakoti rihmaga hakkama. Mugavaks olemiseks siiski kuus.

Disaini uus relv jalaväelasele!

Lõpetasin just Kunnase lugemise. Antiaine-granaadiheitja oleks tõhus. Nagu Galil SAR, jämedama toruga. Kergem ning elektroonilis-optilise sihikuga.


Rms Mk leidis netist meie rühmalaulu stiliseeritud versiooni: