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Ducks


seconds before the smoke screen begins to take shape. A second canister thrown from the other vehicle assists in it’s formation.


“Move!!!”


Peeling away under the cover of the smoke and the continuing fire cover, we’re on the hoof. Fire and move, fire and move. It’s exhausting, breathing is laboured under the body armour, but the adrenalin is driving the limbs and the mind. Pulling the trigger once more I get the ‘dead man’s click’. Glancing at the weapon, I diagnose I’m out of ammo. Magazine off, new one on. Fire. We’re picking up speed now, no casualties so far as I can see. Incoming fire still there. Fire, move, fire. A bellowed command has us peeling into the cover of a small wooded area, fire-move-fire-move – mag change – fire-move, it goes on.


“Stop!!!” Thank Goodness.


I slump to the deck and look left and right to see effort etched on the crimson faces of my patrol. We are crouched, and checking each other out, changing magazines, doing up webbing pouches, sorting our kit out, ready to react if required. There’s an uneasy silence – no gunfire, incoming or outgoing. Just the panting of sweating troops and the metallic clicking of preparing weapons.


A figure looms out of the clearing smoke in front of us, he’s under 6ft tall, hands behind his back, beret clamped to his head like it’s glued there.


“That was sh*t!” he bellows. “If that was for real, very few of you would have got out of there!”


I’m looking left and right, I’m met with the expressions all too common, in engineers playing soldiers….it says:


”Oh no, we’re going to have to do this all over again ’til we get it right.”


This training is something we all do before we deploy. We train for the ‘just in case’ for the ‘you never know’. It’s essential. We moan about doing it, we can bitch with the best of them, but deep down everyone of us accepts we’d rather have the training and not need it, than need it and not have it.


This is just a taster of what happens, it may not be quite what you were expecting to hear from an Aircraft Engineer – and that was my point.


Now, any volunteers to help me pick up all that brass…?  www.raf-ff.org.uk Envoy Spring 2013 15


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