I was just thinking about my time in a para military organisation. (I can’t tell you which, otherwise I’d have to shoot this blog).
It was a while ago and my ship was out in Angola as part of the peace keeping mission at the time.
We’d been sent down to provide early support for a composite battalion of the British Army, to assist in a settlement of power in the country.
Well I usually keep my head down, and don’t volunteer for anything that might curtail my sojourn in the Officers bar and consequentially was distressed to be summoned to the Captains cabin at short notice, with no idea why.
Conversation goes like this.
Captain: FE. I want you to liaise with the Royal Engineers.
FE: Wouldn’t another younger, keener, promotion seeking engineer, be a better choice. (FE remembers his time carrying out Hurricane relief. FE’s bar time was severely curtailed).
Captain: No FE, you’re the man for the job (Add your own claptrap puff piece if you wish), so I’ve nominated you.
FE: Yes Sir. (Under breath remark. You Cunt)
Captain: You’ve full authority.
And here’s the rub. I actually fitted in well with the Royal Engineers that I was liaising with. Being a Marine engineer who has to adapt to any problem, I found kindred spirits in theatre. I was amongst people who used the information available to them and made things happen.
And they taught me all sorts of useful skills.
1. Very important. How to use and strip an SA80 assault rifle.
2. JCB operation.
3. How to use and strip an AK47 assault rifle. (In case I lost the SA80).
4. How to build a bar out of an old container in one day.
5. How to make safe an anti-personnel mine. (Done with some trepidation on my part).
6. How to defuse a BOMB.
7. Too old. Can’t remember 7. Oh yes, it’s coming back to me. The safe way of blowing a door off.
Of course the only really useful one in the UK is number 3. You never know when you might have to prize a cash machine out of a wall.*
*To the Plod. That was a joke.