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Defence Broadcasts replay: Royal Military College

Defence Broadcasts replay: Royal Military College


Hi, everyone. And welcome to the Army Royal
Military College Duntroon live interactive broadcast. I’m Captain Nick Williams, and
I’m second class instructor at the Royal Military College. With me this evening is Captain
Sara Robertson, who is an RMC instructor as well. Sara, do tell us a bit
about yourself. Hi. My name’s Sara. I’m a member of the Royal
Australian Corps of Transport. And I’ve been at RMC
for two years now. My role at RMC is an officer
commanding of one of the five companies in which cadets are
housed on a day to day basis. My role involves mentoring these
cadets in regards to character development
and also leadership. I also work with them on a daily
basis to ensure that their welfare is looked after,
moving through RMC, and then graduating. In the Royal Australian Corps of
Transport, my main role is air dispatch, which is the
aerial delivery of cargo and personnel both in Australia
and on operations. Thanks, Nick. Thanks, Sara. And just a little
bit about me. I’m a second class instructor at
the Royal Military College. And I come from the Army
Aviation Corps. Some I’m a pilot, normally, that
flies the reconnaissance helicopter up and down. However, throughout the last six
months I’ve been posted to Royal Military College, where
I’m an instructor in second class, as I said before. During second class, we teach
people platoon-level tactics involved with learning how to do
warfare, as well as all the admission requirements that
are required to be able to carry out their jobs as platoon commander when they graduate. So let’s get started. We’ll go through a list of
questions we had from previously first. So first question we’ve got
is, what are some of the social activities that occur
at Royal Military College? Sara? So, Nick, there are a number
of social activities. And they include formal
and informal. So the formal social activities
which you’ll see throughout your career in Army
if that’s your choice, are which we call regimental
dinners. What that involves is turning
up for the night and going through some traditional
processes, which were introduced through the early
stages of the Army, obviously from the British. And there’s also opportunities
for partners to also to attend the regimental dinners, which
is exciting for them. And also the cadet that’s
in training. In regards to informal social
activities, this is really run by the cadets themselves. For instance, this year, within
Gallipoli Company, the one that I’m the officer
commanding for, we’ve had three social activities, which
include barbecues, which is a very family inclusive
environment for both wives, husbands, partners, and
also children as well. Yeah. I know when I was at that
college, my favourite part was the wine and cheese nights
we got towards the end. Because as you go through the
college, you do start to progress with a few more fancy
things, including getting to go to the general’s house,
have some drinks there. That was quite fun as well. What was your favorite
experience at the college, Sara? So, looking back as a cadet,
obviously there are number of good experiences. And some not so good
experiences, but hardships. So I would say the best
experience for me was the day to day teamwork and mateship
and comradeship with your friends and also your
classmates. So it is helping each other
in morning duties. It’s winning the sporting
competition. Or it’s supporting
them as a platoon commander in the field. Yeah. I really enjoyed the
sport there. And getting to compete against
not only other members of the Royal Military College, but
external agencies, like civilian clubs. However, I must say that my
favorite part was finally graduating and getting out to
the real Army and getting to lead troops. It was a very good experience,
graduation day. So we’ll start of with
[INAUDIBLE] here with what’s the difference between first,
second, and third class? So life at RMC goes over
18 month course. I’ll talk about third class
and second class, and then Sara will finish off
on first class. So when you come to
the college, you start in third class. So it’s the first six months
you’re training. And the first few weeks of that
is dedicated to giving you all the kit that
you require. So all your packs, your bags. All the little pieces of
equipment that you’re required to actually do your training
over the next 18 months. You then go out and do an
intensive course for the next 10 weeks where you learn how
to march, you learn how to shoot a weapon, you learn
how to clean the weapon. You learn how to look after
yourself in the field environment, including cooking
up food, how to patrol tactically. And on completion of that, you
come back here and you join the corps staff [INAUDIBLE]. And you get to stay at the
lovely Duntroon for the reminder of your time. So that first 10 weeks takes
part in the training area, not far from Canberra at all. You then come back to the
barracks life and you mix between barracks
and field life. So throughout second class, the
milestone is becoming an effective section member
and section leader. So a section is a
10 man group. And you go out there and you
work with your nine other friends to learn how to all
of the basic stuff. You then move into
second class. And in second class, we start
really concentrating on platoon level, which is
what the job will be when you first graduate. So that’s 30 people. So it’s three sections, all
joining together, working to try and achieve a common goal. During second class your assist
mainly is being an effective platoon commander. But the whole way through,
you’re also learning all the administrative requirements to
be able to help you to manage and lead your soldiers, as well
as all the basic tactical considerations so you can
plan the exercises that have to occur. That’s another six
months there. It’s broken down
into two parts. So you get a bit of a break
in between each class. And then they go across
to first class. Sara? Thanks, Nick. So first class is that the
senior class, as we call it. Within first class, it’s really
the [? rounding ?] class prior to graduation. So you’ve already sort of proven
that you’re able to lead troops in regards to
conventional activities. And first class really provides
you that, I guess, common training in today’s
age of the military. So you do things in stability
operations. So think about the men
and women deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. But you also do a number of
leadership and ethical type lectures, studies, debates. You also do activities such
as strategic studies. And again, those daily
administrative processes that you’re required to know as a
junior officer ready for graduation. Within first class as well,
being the senior class, there’s opportunity for you to
actually have a rank or a role within the corps of
staff cadets. So you actually lead and mentor
cadets from third and second class. So developing those leadership
skills whilst a trainee. And again, ready
for graduation. Yeah. It’s good fun the whole way
through the college, getting to progress through. It’s a real milestone each
step of the way. So, while training at
the college, do you get much free time? Well, I’ll talk personally
from my experience when I joined the college. I actually had a two
month old baby. And I still got to spend a fair
bit of time with my wife and my baby, watching my
little boy grow up. It is a very busy lifestyle
at the college. However, you still do get a
certain amount of free time. If you want to expand
on that, Sara. Yeah. So looking after the cadets in
my company at the moment, seeing the free time that
they have is generally as Nick went through. So there’s three six month
periods whilst at RMC. And yet it’s really based on a
semester type system, like you would have at school. So every term, there’s
a holiday. And then every semester, which
is after six months, there’s a two to three week
holiday break. Obviously, it is a high tempo
environment, as Nick stated. However, when you’re in the
barracks, you get Sundays off and also half of Saturday. If you’re lucky enough to be
around for a public holiday, that’s also opportunity to get
yourself away to the snow or to Sydney or visit family
in other locations. Yeah. So most cadets will
return back to their family for leave. However, I really enjoyed, when
I was at the college, getting to stay in Canberra and
seeing all the really good stuff that happens
around Canberra, especially during summer. Because it’s actually quite
a nice, warm place. Winters are a little bit cold. But coming into autumn you get
lots of beautiful colours. OK. So it looks like we’ve
got some questions coming through now live. So next question
is from Travis. Once I get through RMC [? ES ?],
what will my career options be with inside Army? Sara, you want to
start with that? Yeah. Thanks, Nick. So within the Army, obviously
there are a number of career choices, whether they’re in a
combat corps, for instance infantry or armoured. Whether they’re in a combat
support corps, for instance signals. Or whether in a logistics corps,
for instance such as my corps, transport, ordinance,
and so on. Whilst you’re at RMC, through
second class, which is the second six months, they provide
you a number of corps briefs and give you the, I
guess, the basics of what they actually do. And then when you go into first
class, you get some more professional development by
actually visiting a brigade location where there are all
of these corps represented. And you get to speak to the
junior offices, and also the soldiers that are currently
serving within those units. So that’s the knowledge
you get at RMC. But perhaps you want to talk
about the options upon graduation. Yeah. So, Travis, it’s not just
the corps that you’d be allocated to, then. Although, that is quite
a lot of it. You can stream. You can get off into getting
into recruiting, for instance. You can get into planes. You can get into the contract
management throughout defence. However, your first initial job
is what we train you for. And that’s the troop
commanding role. So that’s the main role
that we focus on. And that from that,
it changes. If any of users are having
problems seeing their questions at the moment, press
the refresh button and resubmit your questions and they
should start showing up. Our next question
is from Abigail. She asked, Captain Robertson,
what prompted you to move from ADFA to RMC after
your first year? So, yes. As Abigail has clearly pointed
out, I first joined the military to go to the Australian
Defence Force Academy, which is where you
can conduct studies in a number of different degrees,
such as engineering, arts, business, and so on. I moved straight from year 12
into the Australian Defence Force Academy. And at that point I wanted
to be junior officer within the Army. But I also wanted to study. Whilst at ADFA, we did some
military studies, preparing ourselves for the Royal
Military College. However, I felt that at that
particular time my heart was really in being an Army officer
versus studying. So there was that opportunity
to transfer, which I took. And then, obviously, succeeded
through RMC. Post-RMC, however, I’ve
conducted a degree in professional development based
on human resource management. So though I left my studies at
the Australian Defence Force Academy, the military provided
me those opportunities to further study, in which they
paid for most of that degree, luckily enough. And there are all also other
opportunities that they actually pay for a full degree
through the Australian Defence Force Academy post-RMC, if
that’s what you’re seeking to do for a professional
development. Also, other universities, you
can go back to long-term schooling to study other various
aspects and career paths as well. Our next question
is from Travis. Once I get through
RMC– sorry, got that question already. Next questions is from Jason. What did you find was the most
difficult thing to adjust to going from being a civilian
to life at the Royal Military College? Well, Jason, I know when I
joined the Royal Military College, I was 28. So I wasn’t a school
[INAUDIBLE]. Probably the first thing I had
to get reintroduced to was being around 18 year
olds again. And also all the mischief that
18 year olds and younger teenagers like getting up to. It can have an impact
on everyone, not just what they do. Because you’re all
part of a team. And if one person is doing
something, the rest of you have to all be involved with
correcting that action. So that was probably the
hardest part for me. As far as other parts that can
be difficult, is there is initially long days. Having to wear a set uniform,
although some people find it great. Other people miss that
little bit of flamboyance, their own styling. That could be a bit of something
to get used to. What did you find Sara? I just agree with Nick’s first
point in regards to– I guess being thrown into an
environment where, at school or whether at your workplace,
you really can sort of choose who your friends and who
you hang out with. And you sort of have
that common thing. So when you go to RMC, obviously
everyone has a common goal. But because there’s
people from age– it could be 17 all
the way to 40– with different life
experiences. It’s going through that phase
in which you sort of develop as a team and get to
know each other. And use each other’s strengths
and weaknesses to actually get through RMC. So that is definitely– not an issue– at the start. But it is a hurdle for some
people to get through. Our next question is
from [? Aaron. ?] What skills do you learn during
the 18 months and how are these taught? Well, [? Aaron, ?] we touched
on that briefly before with going through the classes. But we’ll try and get a little
bit more specific now with some of the things
that you learn. So you do learn how to
shoot all the weapon systems that we have. So you’ll learn how to shoot
the Austeyr, which is our current rifle. The Minimi, which is
our current light support machine gun. You learn how to shoot
a 66, or basically like a rocket launcher. You get to shoot– throw a grenade. And you get to shoot a grenade
launcher as well. So that’s quite fun, learning
through that. You go out to the range and you
get taught the basics on weapons that don’t work. And then you get training
weapons. And then you work on
to the real stuff. You also learn quite
specifically how to do all the tactics involved with planning
offensive, defensive operations, security operations,
all the like. So we go through the of
learning the tactic considerations for it, what the
doctrine that Australia uses to do it. And then we step that up slowly,
where you start having to do more and more complex
operations. And go from just planning,
to actually then executing your plan. Do you want to touch on some of
the other things that you learn, Sara? Yeah. Thanks, Nick. So, obviously, a lot of bases
at RMC as far as tactics. However, there are a number of
other packages, as we call them, within the curriculum. So for instance, we have the
administrative package, which is all the processes and
procedures that you need to learn to be able to support
your troops. So for instance, welfare,
counselling, document writing, and so on. Also, we a lot of, obviously,
leadership and ethics type stuff. Character development. So we have character development
days where you sit down with instructors and padres
and a number of other externals and go through
situations that might occur and how you’re going
to deal with it. But also learn more about
yourself and do a bit of self-awareness training. We also look at things
such as history. There are a number of lectures
in which you look at lessons learnt from previous military
campaigns in order to professionally develop yourself
and understand those lessons learned. And then there’s also training,
obviously, in physical training, which you
will learn things such as the obstacle course, packet
carrying. But also circuit type physical
training and sport. And then, obviously, one thing
that you never get away with not doing in the military is
drill, which we do mostly on a daily basis. And it’s just part
of life at RMC. And obviously, Army. Yeah. So basically, to summarise that,
you learn all the skills that you’re required to know to
be able to do your job as platoon commander on
completion of RMC. However, they’re taught to you
by various different ways. Some are firsthand, actually
getting out there and doing them. Some are by demonstrations. And some are from discussions
and learning points. Our next question
is from Cassie. Is there a difference between
an officer who enters with a degree and one that doesn’t? She’s got a psychology degree. Do you want to start
on that, Sara? Sure. So that’s a good question
Cassie. So if you apply to go to the
Royal Military College Duntroon, you’ll graduate
as what we call a general service office. So you’ll be allocated to a
particular corps, much like Nick or I. And you’ll continue
in that stream. However, through your time as an
Army officer, you might do more general jobs, such as
stuff officer, operations officer, and things
such as that. So, however, if you do have a
specialist degree such as psychology, dentistry, you’re
a doctor, or you’re an education officer, there’s also
opportunities to join the military as a special
service officer. And what you’ll do is you’ll
do a short course at RMC, which is two four-day-a-week
courses back to back. So one month of basic
military training. And what you’ll do, however, you
won’t be employed in those general service officer roles. You will be a specialist
for your time whilst in the military. So for example, currently at
RMC at the moment, we have three psychology officers
posted there, which we identify as student counsellors
to assist these cadets going through training. Yeah. So I suppose, Cassie, the choice
is then yours whether you want to join to be a leader
or whether you want to join to keep going with
the psychology you’ve already done. For instance, myself,
I had a radiography degree before I started. I haven’t used it since
joining the Army. I’ve really enjoyed the
time getting out there and leading people. Our next question comes
from Damien. He asks, in your personal
opinions, what is the best way to prepare for the officer
selection board? Sara? So, part of our duties at RMC
is to actually be the secretary for the officer
selection board. So it’s good that it provides us
a little bit of an insight and then easy to answer
sort of answer this question from Damien. So the best way to prepare
is to understand what the Army is all about. What is an officer being? And you also need to identify
what you want out of it and what you can offer Army. What they really look for on
the particular selection boards is an honest performance,
you could say. And someone who’s very aware of
what Army life is going to be like, which starts with
an understanding of RMC. Yeah. For sure. So know that job that
you want to do. If you don’t know the job that
you specifically want to do in Army, have a good understanding
of what Army life is about. Your pay and conditions. I think a big one to probably be
prepared for is to be able to do impromptu speaks
for the board. Yep. Because they ask you to
a few two minutes and three minutes speeches. So if you learn how to do the
basic structure of a speech, that will help you. As well as being able to
be a dominant leader. Because they always look at the
traits that occur amongst the small group that are having
the board each time to see who stands out to be
a dominant leader. Because at the end of the day,
that’s what we’re after. We want to try and get someone
who’s already got the natural instincts and teach them
how to apply that in the military way. And so I’ll just quickly touch
on then– so obviously, that’s the mental preparation
for that. We’ve also got the physical
preparation as well. And obviously, when you go
through recruiting, you’ll do the initial fitness assessment, which is a big test. The shovel tests and push ups
and also some sit ups. What you need to do is prepare
yourself for the best. Don’t just do the minimum. Go far and beyond. Because that really shows that
physical and mental robustness and dedication to wanting to
be a part of the military, specifically training at
RMC to be an officer. Our next question is
from [? Aaron. ?] When do I get to see my family
during training? That’s a good question,
[? Aaron. ?] We kind of touched on that
a little bit before. But, as we said before, you do
get most Saturday afternoons and Sundays off when you’re
not at field. So in a six month class, you can
expect to spend probably two three and a half week
blocks away from home out in the field. During that time, you actually
won’t have access to your phones because you are
out in the field. There’s nowhere to charge
phones, so [INAUDIBLE] quite quickly. However, when you’re back in
barracks life after the initial 10 week training,
you can ring your families every night. If you have a computer
you can speak to them via that as well. You can email them. You can send mail. Even when you’re out in the
field in an a barracks environment, you manage
to get access to mail. We still get it brought out
to you in the field. So apart from that, weekends is
the main time if you’ve got family that live close
by to Canberra. Or on your leave periods, you do
get to return back to where your family is from. Anything to add to that, Sara? No, not really. As Nick said, we sort of
touched on it before in regards to the leave periods. And I’m very aware that a lot
of my cadets go overseas during the June and December
leave period to sort of travel with their mates and also–
yeah, catch up with family as they need. Next question is
from Mitchell. Captain Robertson, do you feel
that your time at RMC assists you substantially during your
time in New Guinea? Yeah. So as Mitchell’s pointed out,
when I was a platoon commander– I think I was 20 or
21 at the time– I deployed to Papua New Guinea
to assist and to provide humanitarian aid to some
locals due to some flooding at the time. Absolutely. So I was a platoon commander,
as I said, at the time. What also assisted me, however,
was the course that I did post-RMC, which was my specialist course for transport. So I had the technical skills,
but I also had the leadership and command skills that
I learnt at RMC. And you could sort of look
back and delve in those lessons learnt whilst you went
through your training at RMC in preparation for
Papua New Guinea. Next question is from Alex. Are there many mature recruits
over the age of 30? And does age limit future
career options? Alex, I haven’t seen any problem
with people being older going through. As I said before, I was
28 when I started. By the time I graduated,
I was 30. There was actually eight people
in my class that were over 30 at graduation. The class behind me had
a 42 year old in it. And we currently have quite
a few people over 30. Physical robustness
if you’re older is usually easy to achieve. A lot of young people sometimes
have niggling injuries because their bodies
are still growing and developing, because you still
are doing that at the age of 18 or 19. Whereas you know your limits a
lot better when you’re 30, plus you’re a lot more mentally
robust, prepared, to be able to handle
the hardships. So it’s not really an
age limiting factor. Obviously, there is a mandatory
retirement age in defence, which is currently
sitting at 60. So you’ve only got 30 years to
get as far as you can, whereas someone who’s 20 has got 40
years to get a bit further. But, no. There are commanding officers
out there that are 36 and there are commanding officers
out there that are 56. So it actually doesn’t
stop you at all from being any set age. Anything to add to that, Sara? No. I think that’s clear. Next question is
from Jennifer. What has been your
most challenging experience as an officer? Sara? So I would say the most
challenging experience being an officer is that when you
come into a new unit, especially as a young
lieutenant– or even an older lieutenant– is that you’re coming to an
environment in which you’ll lead and command soldiers who
might have been there for 10, 20, 30 years. So as a junior officer
coming in, that is a little bit daunting. However, we are taught to work
alongside our sergeants, who will be your [? 2RC. ?] And they are also taught that
they are there to support and mentor the officer through their
junior times within that particular job. So absolutely a little bit
daunting, people more experienced with you. But it’s how you approach it
and your flexibility and utilising those around you to
come up with the solution to the task and achieve
that common goal. And a lot of people found that
one of the more challenging things was always having
to be, as an officer, that role model. So you might get
quite close and friendly with your soldiers. However, you always
need to be able to distance yourself slightly. Because at the end of the
day, you are the boss. You’re not just one of the boys
or girls out there in the platoon or troop, doing whatever
else they’re doing. So although you need to
encourage them to bond quite closer together and still need
to have a good understanding of how they all work and make
sure that they are socialising appropriately, you need
to keep yourself that little bit distance. And that can be a
hard experience. Because you become quite good
friends with some people. You get some very good
close bonds. Maintaining that professionalism
at all times can be a hard experience
to do. The next question
is from Robert. What are some examples of
exercise and training undertaken at Royal Military
College Duntroon? Well, Robert, so we do have
physical trainers at Duntroon. So they’re called physical
training instructors. They wear these nice little
red shorts and yell quite loudly at people to make
them get out there and do lots of exercises. But they focus on everything. So you get your basic boot camp
sessions that you’ll see where you’re just doing
aerobic exercises and activities. You also get to go out and learn
obstacle courses, which I really found fun
at the college. It was great fun climbing over
a wall with– having to use five or six people to help
you get over that wall. You learn how to pack march
properly, how to carry the weigh loads. So you spend a fair bit
of time doing that. But unfortunately, probably not
enough time as some of us would like to do, running
around the block. So some of it does rely on you,
because there is so much other stuff that needs to
be taught at Duntroon. So like Sara said before, it’s
always good to have that really high standard of self
physical training. But the Army does teach you
all the skills that you require, as well as a
few other fun stuff. Sara? Yeah. So that’s the physical
training side of it. And I’ll just touch on some of
the exercises that we do in regards to field training. So, for example, in third class,
I’ve just come back from our viewing and exercise. And what has occurred was
it was a two and half– I think two, two and a half–
weeks in the field, in which you work in a section
environment. So there’s nine of you
working towards doing basic sort of training. So every day there will be
assessments in which one of the cadets will be the
section commander. And they’ll lead a task. So for example, it might
include some sort of navigation. Reconnaissance. Or it might be something
such as an ambush or something of the like. So what will occur is every day
you’ll get given a task. You’ll get time to appreciate
the planning, come up with a plan, provide orders to your
section, and then you’ll step off to achieve your mission. And then come back in,
and then you’ll be provided a debrief. So all the exercises are shaped
pretty much the same. But it’s just, obviously, what
time in training you’re in. So for instance, in second
class you’ll be leading a platoon same type of assessment
environment, but it will be up to 30 to 35 people. And we’ve also both just come
back from an exercise called Exercise Shaggy Ridge, which
is a food and sleep deprivation exercise which
is done in second class. And I’ll let Nick sort of
provide you a review of what that actual exercise is. Cheers, Sara. Yeah. So it involves, basically,
people learning how far they can push themselves so they
know their own physical limits, as well as so they know
and understand how hard they can push their soldiers
if I needed to in really trying times to be able
to get through a task. So it’s done at the end of one
of the other activities that you do during second
class, normally. Although, it’s kind of kept a
bit of a secret when it’s going to be for most of the
cadets just to keep them on their toes. So the guys that already have
been exhausted, they’ve been in that field for a while either
walking around 12, 14 Ks a day with packs on their
back or digging large holes to prepare for defensive
operations, they then get this exercise kind of
sprung on them. And they go out and spend
a period of time– which is never pre-determined– out covering some quite large
distances, carrying some heavy loads, while getting some very
peculiar tasks that aren’t just your basic run
of the mill stuff. And really to see how they
cope under stressful circumstances. When they get lost in the bush
and they’re trying to negotiate with someone who’s
playing the role of a displaced person who’s desperate
for food and is also getting aggressive for food. Yet they’re in a situation
where they’re trying to calm that. And to see how they go, to see
how they inspire their own team to give up some of the very
little food that they’ve got to get through
the scenario and see how they do it. It’s quite rewarding. Very rewarding activity
to watch as a staff. And it’s a very rewarding
activity to finish and accomplish as a staff cadet. Just loading up the
next question. So the pay at RMC
is quite good. And also going into the military
after that as well. So when you come in to RMC, I
think you’ll be on something between 40,000 and 45,000
as a base salary. What it also provides you is
medical and dental, which is part of the paying conditions
within the military. And then, upon graduation from
RMC, depending on what corps you go to and what job you
fulfil, you will then get a pay rise effectively every year
and will just continue on from there. Next question is up from Damien,
who asks, what are the living conditions like while
attending RMC with examples of food, living quarters,
and free time? We’ll we’ve discussed the free
time pretty [INAUDIBLE]. I’ll briefly touch on what the
married quarters are like. And I’ll let Sara touch, as
being a company commander there, what the in quarters
[? lives ?] are like there. So the married quarters are
a three bedroom minimum. And it depends on how many
people you’ve got in your family to how they get those. So they’re quite nice. On base. It’s only a very short walk. Some people do have to live
off-base if we have quite a lot of married members. And you get to live in suburbia
inside Canberra or any unit in the city. It’s up to you, your choice. You do get a say in
your housing. Yourself and your wife or
partner if you are in a relationship. And you get to spend a fair
bit at that house. And then obviously you’re eating
your own food at home. Whatever you desire
for dinner. Do you want to touch
on barracks? Yeah. So RMC is split into
the five companies. And obviously, as I stated
before, I’m one of the OC. Within each company, there’s
70 to 80 cadets. It is a single room with a
single bed with a desk and also a cupboard space for your
uniforms and also some of your civilian attire. Each cadet, as I said,
gets a single room. If you’re living off member–so
you’re married or you’re a defector– you’ll also keep a room,
actually, within the company. And the purpose of that is for
you to, obviously, study in there when required. And also leave your
uniforms in there. And we also do inspections of
those rooms on a weekly basis, on a Wednesday. In regards to the food at RMC,
we have what is called a mess. And they’re all across Army
on each different base. It’s run by a civilian
contractor. And they provide breakfast,
lunch, and dinner. And obviously, snacks
are your own. So it’s pretty much I guess
what you would expect at a boarding school. And meat, veggies, choices. And obviously they mix it up
as required to sort of meet what the chef wants to
cook on the day. It’s reasonably healthy food
alternatives there. So for breakfast, there’s all
the cereals and the fruits and the likes you’d expect. I’ve always found it hard to go
past the scrambled eggs and bacon myself. And lunches and dinners
are all the same. There’s quite a good variety
there of foods you can choose from each day. The next question is from
Zachary, who asks, Captain Williams, can you tell me what
duties you undertake in a typical day as a helicopter
pilot? Well, as a helicopter pilot
in the regiment– and especially being a general
service officer, I did the full Duntroon course as
opposed to the special services officer. You do get to do all those
command roles, as well as getting to fly. So it’s quite fun, getting
to do the best of both worlds there. So on a regular day, we’ll come
in in the morning if we have time, if we’ve got
the afternoon flight. We’ll do a bit of PT in the
morning before we start getting ready and planning
our flight. If we’re the first flight,
we’ll go straight in to planning the flight
for the day. Go out and give orders
to the troops, who we are responsible for. And we’ll then go out
and fly the mission. So I flew Tiger, but the Black
Hawk and Chinook are also inside Army. And we’re currently bringing
the Multi Role helicopter, which will replace Black Hawk
in Townsville and Sydney. On the completion of flight, you
come back and you debrief. Debrief your flight. So you go through all the
mission procedures with the guys from you corps, with the
maintainers to go through any issues for the aircraft. And then you go back to the more
barracks life stuff that you have to do as a troop
commander, as a GSO officer. So there you might be sorting
out leave applications, planning the next deployment
somewhere. So whether you’re going on
exercise or have to do some trials down there, you’re going
out to support the wider army on a large field
exercise. You get involved with
planning that. You also get all the fun life
day to day stuff of managing the soldiers, speaking to the
trainees that look after your aircraft, find out how
they’re going. As well as planning all the
cocktail parties and all that you get to go to in [INAUDIBLE]
nights, which you still get to experience
at Duntroon as well. Next question comes from
Mitchell, who asks me, did I have any flying experience prior
to joining the Army? And if so, did this help prepare
me for my training? I actually did have quite a
lot of flying experience before I joined up to Duntroon
However, it’s not a requirement. There are guys I went through
course with that had zero flying experience. They just had a basic
interest. They built model planes and been
for a joy flight or two before going to flying
training. And they did as well as me on
course the whole way through. So one of the guys, a good
friend of mine who went through in Townsville. He had zero hours before
starting, whereas I had a couple thousand hours
before starting. And he actually beat me on
course to get [INAUDIBLE]. And I finished second going
through Para School. So it makes no difference. I don’t think it helped too much
because you really are focusing on fighting the
aircraft as opposed to flying the aircraft. And especially as the command
role that RMC teaches you how to do, you really are focusing
more on the bigger picture. How do I need to get this
aircraft to where to achieve the mission, as opposed to
just flying the aircraft. So in regards to recruiting for
pilot, there’s two ways that it can be done. The first is what’s called
aviation cadetship. So you’re actually recruited
into the military, in which you are allocated to
aviation corps. So whilst you’re going through
RMC, you’re aware that you will graduate, obviously, to
start training as a pilot. However, there’s also
opportunity whilst you’re at RMC to undergo a flight
screening, in which you’ll undergo a number of testings
which will identify whether you have to aptitude and
capability to actually then be selected to then go
to flight school. So whether you join up as an
aviation cadet or not, there’s opportunity as you go throughout
to apply for that if you decide that that’s
something that you’re actually interested in prior
to graduation. Yeah. That’s right, Sara. And that’s happening at
the moment for our guys in second class. Their mostly devastated that
they have to miss out an entire week of drill to go and
get to fly some aircraft and do some aerobatics instead. The next question comes from– I hope I pronounce the
name correctly– [? Guile, ?] who asks, what is the best way
to build leadership skills before joining ADFA or RMC? Sara, what do you think? So a lot of opportunities
to the build your leadership skills. We often see from people that
come in are generally through sporting clubs, social
committees, and also other formal committee such
as fundraising. Red Shield and things
like that. So involve yourself in the
community would be definitely a good option to go for, whether
it is sporting or whether it is committee
type stuff. Because that provides you an
ability to work in the team, and also to develop individual
leadership skills to then, obviously, identify that you’ve
got the aptitude and the skill to be able to thrust
yourself into ADFA or RMC ready for training. Yeah. For sure. Also, family lifestyle. How you deal with your
mom and dad, brothers and sisters at home. Whether you’re the brother or
sister who sits in the corner and gets pushed around by the
others or whether you’re more the person who encourages
everyone to get along. Or whether you’re the person
that bosses everyone around. That’s wise. And we look at that when
you go through the selection process. And we’re already picking those
people who have got their basic leadership skills. So you probably don’t need to
build them anymore than you’ve got by the time you get through
our selection boards. Obviously, you want to
build them to get the selection board. But as Sara mentioned, those
ways that she mentioned like sports and the likes is a very
good way of doing it. But once you get to Duntroon and
get your leadership skills and then we refine them to how
we want you to lead the military lifestyle. Next question comes
from Cassie. She asked, Captain Robertson,
have you felt any negative effects from the Army
being a mostly male dominant workplace? So, joining ADFA and then,
obviously, subsequently RMC, it is equitable environment in
which there’s a number of diverse characters
which are there. So male and female. And also cadets from
international militaries. So throughout your training, it
is definitely an equitable environment because what you
achieve is up to you. And it’s all based on merit. So your actual performance. It’s not gender based or
nationality based. Past RMC, again, graduating to
the Royal Australian Corps of Transport, there are
males and females. Obviously, still being a male
dominated environment. However, as you go through
promotion and also the next job that you get is very
much based on merit. And also that current situation
you’re in your time. And also what you also want to
get out of the military. As you’re probably aware,
Cassie, in recent times all corps have been opened
up to females in the Army, which is fantastic. And if you want to join, all
your require is the skills and the aptitude to do that
particular corps. Male or female, there
are standards. And the standards have
maintained the same and will do so in the future. Sure. Next question comes
from Damien. What are some of the things to
expect when training in third class at Royal Military
College? Well, Damien, as we said before,
when you initially turn up we induct you
into the college. And we give you all the
basic kit you require. So drill is going to be
a major part of that. Because we don’t just walk
around in the Army. We do march around the place. So learning the words of
command to be able to understand that drill, as well
as learning the actual drill itself, is probably the first
initial component that you’ll go through, as well as how to
iron a uniform, how to iron a uniform the correct way and to
the correct standard, and how to maintain your room. Then you get your weapon. A lot of it comes through then
through how you maintain your weapon, how you clean
your weapon. And you go through using
your basic field kits. So we’ll take you out. We’ll teach you all about field
hygiene, because you don’t get to shower when
you’re at field, unfortunately. We teach you all about how to
feed yourself in the field. How to really look after
yourself, as well as how to do all the Army basic duties
of patrolling. Sara, did you want to touch on
the administrative other training that occurs? So as Nick sort of touched on,
third class is really about building your self-discipline. And also those basic standards
of leadership. So within the field environment,
as we indicated before, it’s that section
level training. And that includes things such
as navigation, tactics at a basic level. As Nick indicated, living
in the field. And you also do administrative
things such as writing an email, verbal communication,
and also written communication as well. So it’s really the basics of
being in the military, which will then push you through to
second class where it gets quite much more complex in
regards to the learning and what you actually need to
achieve in regards to tactical knowledge and war fighting. Yeah. Defence has got its own version
of writing, which are– myself being
mathematician– I always struggled with writing
through year 12. But coming through defence
I actually found it great because there’s very specific
rules about where commas are supposed to go and full
stops aren’t. In short, if defence had written
the English language, you wouldn’t have to worry
about i before e except after c. It would always be i before e. Next question comes from John. What is the intensity of the
Royal Military College like? Sara? So the tempo of RMC, as we’ve
previously discussed, is quite high, I guess, throughout
the 18 months. And that’s why they have
provided the leave periods in December and June and also
mid-semester as well. You can expect study of an
evening, most evening, in preparing for syndicate lessons
for the next day. The way that the teaching occurs
is that they provide you a general lecture first,
then go into a syndicate room. Generally, what will then follow
from there will be a test of some sort or
an assessment. So in regards to that, the
process is continual. And you’re also learning
more than one particular thing at a time. So you might be learning
defensive operations. But you also might be doing some
leadership package work or also some administrative
package work. So any one time, you can be
doing assessments from different ones and continuing
on with that. So it is very high intensive. But as I said, that’s why we
have these scheduled leave periods, so you can rest
and recuperate. And then also prepare for the
next training period. Yeah. For sure. So five and a half days
a week, basically. So you’re looking from about
6:15 in the morning through 5:30 most days, in
the afternoon. Some evenings or most evenings
you’re just doing your own personal study. But some evenings, you are
required to participate in some extra training or an assessment piece, for instance. And Saturday mornings, Sara
can touch on that later on with regards to company admin. But it’s not overly arduous
activities that occur then. When we then go out to field for
the three and a half, four weeks that you go for
each time, those periods are very intense. So you can find yourself going
from four o’clock in the through almost midnight. You do have times for breaks
during the day while you stop and you change who’s in the
lead, and that person then gets to prepare the orders. So everyone else gets to clean
their stuff, sit down, air his feet out, have a bit of a feed,
get a quick nap before going back out and doing
some more activities. But then, as we said before,
when you finish those field activities, we go through
a bit of a rest cycle to get back up. Did you want to touch
on Saturday morning? Yeah. So working Monday to Friday is
generally the curriculum and the teaching and
the assessment. Saturday mornings is generally
used for each company. So one of the five companies
on the officer commanding [? floor ?] to do administrative things
such as counselling. We’ll also to social activities
for the cadets themselves. And also sporting things such
as obstacle courses and things like that. So it’s a very easy morning. But it’s much required to sort
of round out the week and sort of get ready for the next week
and understand where all your cadets at within that company,
ready for assessment or teaching on Monday. Cheers, Sara. Next question comes
from Joshua. Joshua asks both of us, once
we complete and begin our regular job in the Army, are
your days structured similar to your training at Royal
Military College? That’s an interesting question
actually, Joshua, because it really does vary depending on
which unit you go to, what phase that unit is at. And it’s a really hard
one to answer. In general, the rest of the Army
works from 7:30 to 4:00 Monday to Friday when they’re
not on exercise. You will find differences
for that. For instance, myself, when I
was in aviation unit, we’d actually probably once a
month go for an entire week of night flying. So we would work from 3:00
PM through 1:00 AM in the morning, if not starting later
and finishing and even finishing later [INAUDIBLE]. So that can change
around a bit. Some people work in headquarters
jobs where they do shift work for the night. So they’re always manning a
desk or manning a phone to discuss what’s occurring. But you still have got that
basic building blocks of doing some PT with the guys. Going out there, teaching your
guys that you’re commanding some basic lessons, some basic
training, before you then go back into carrying off some of
their admin requirements and knocking off for
the afternoon. There’s still always
the social parts. And sport plays a part
throughout Army. Thursday Afternoon
[? Sportos. ?] A lot of units– not
all units– get to participate in that. They’re quite fun to play
against the rest of the Army, different sports. Sara, anything else? Yeah. So I guess absolutely
why my job is very different to Nick’s. However, again still structured
the same in that when you’ve got a task on,
you’ve got a task on. And when you’ve got down time,
you’ve got down time. I think the biggest difference
between RMC and, obviously, being within the military,
is that you really– it is your life. Obviously, Army is a very
high tempo job anyway. However, as a junior officer,
you can own a house you can live. You can rent a house
you can live in. And you’re weekends are
very much yours. You don’t live in a, I guess,
supervised environment. So you really sort of get
to enjoy your life. Do your work during
the week or on the weekends as you’re required. And just sort of– yeah. Go on and live your
life really. Yeah. There’s a whole lot less
assessments once you get out. You still have certain courses
you need to go through the whole way. However, they’re a lot
less frequency. Because we really do try and get
all this training that you require for those first couple
years into those 18 months at Duntroon. So you get a lot
more free time. Dinner, movies, all
through the week. Quite good fun. Next question comes
from Jennifer. What are some of your personal
strengths and weaknesses which affect you as a leader? Well, obviously for me I’ve
found the biggest one is your communication skill and
communication style. If you can’t effectively
communicate with people and understand what type of
communication they require, that will have a drastic
effect, Jennifer. So if you’re a good public
speaker, if you’re good at reading people’s body language,
if you’ve got good compassion and understanding. Because the problems and tasks
that you encounter are wide and varied as a commander
in the arm. So I’ve found that’s probably
the strongest thing you need to have, and also the biggest
weakness that people that suffer seem to not have. What do you think, Sara? I definitely agree with Nick. I think interpersonal skills
are one of those number one things that is part of
being an officer. And that sort of skill is
developed as you go through RMC and all throughout your
career as an officer. And I think what has extended
to that is your personal strength as being able to
work as part of a team. Even though you’re the leader
and you’re very much the decision maker, it’s all about
using your team around you to identify the best way to do
something and come up with a compromise plan if that’s
the right situation. And then implement it to achieve
that common goal. So that can be both a strength
and a weakness, whether you sort of want to lead from the
front and not listen to anyone else or whether you want to sit
back and let everyone else run their team. So it is a bit of a balance. But very much being a team
member and also a leader at the same time is one of those
attributes that you need as a junior leader and you
develop at RMC. Next question comes
from Damien. Is the training similar to
what the movies portray– getting yelled at
the whole time? Damien, it’s not unless you
really do something wrong. There’s not too much
yelling at all. A lot of yelling occurs,
actually, out in exercise. But it’s just to communicate
over when you’re firing with blank fire weapons and
everyone’s running around the place, sometimes initially
like chooks with their head cut off. But eventually it starts calming
down and becomes quite controlled. So there’s little actual
screaming at you. And in fact, I know my own
instructional style that I like is I kind of play the
disappointed dad routine with the cadets. I seem to find that people
listen better when you tell them what they want as opposed
to when you yell, like the Simpsons episode where everyone
just switches off, and he’s blah, blah, blah. So each instructor has
got their own style. Some people’s role in the
college, for instance the drill sergeants I’ll get
you to talk on Sara, can be a lot noisier. But in general, the instructors that look after you– so in third class they’re
mainly sergeants. And in second and first class
they’re mainly warren officers and captains. They’re more there to try
and teach you stuff. And as long as you’re staying on
the right sort of good and not doing the wrong thing,
you don’t get yelled at much at all. There’s no yelling for the sake
of yelling, unless you want to touch on what
drill sergeants do. No, no. I agree. I think there’s very much
a time and a place. Generally it’s when
discipline, I guess, has been breached. However, RMC is a professional
and also an adult learning environment in which we lead and
mentor and utilise yelling as required. But it’s not on the drill square
every day doing that sort of stuff. That is a portion of RMC. And it’s a part of life
in the Army as well. Yeah. It’s definitely not like
Full Metal Jacket or any of those movies. And it’s not the solider
training establishment that we have as well at Kapooka. It’s training young leaders
to be future officers in the Army. So there’s probably not many
movies on establishments like that, actually, unfortunately. They’re mostly usually
aimed at the recruits level, the movies. Next question is
from Mitchell. What level of fitness are
you expected to maintain throughout your career? Do you want to start
on that one, Sara? Yeah. So as I spoke before, there’s an
initial fitness assessment when you join the military,
which is a shuttle test, some push ups, and some sit ups. From there, when you actually
join RMC or you go through recruit training, you then
step it up a level. And you have to be able to
undertake what is called a basic fitness assessment. And that includes a 2.4
kilometre run, a sit up test, and also a push up
test as well. Now how it’s structured is that
male and female standards are different. And also as you get older, the
requirement in regards to times and number of repetitions
drops as well. So it’s very much targeted at
both gender and also age groups from there. Generally, within most units
at RMC, they do physical training two to three
times a week. And also some in
their own time. As you go through your careers,
again, there’s also physical training at each unit
you go to, which is generally two to three days
a week, which is mandatory for you to attend. And then it’s really up to
yourself to be able to maintain that basic fitness
assessment standard throughout the year, as you need to pass
that on a six month basis. Yeah, also, that’s one of the
common questions that’s been coming through tonight has been
to do with leadership. It’s really hard to lead and
inspire your soldiers if you’re at the back puffing
really hard while they’re at physical training. So as a junior leader,
you do want to maintain a high standard. And then even more so as you
progress through the ranks. When you get to your company
command and you get to unit command, you’re a lot busier
with the actual work you have to do. So you get less time for your
own physical training when you turn up. People expect to see you, if not
at the front close to the front in order to inspire them
to also work for you and work as hard as they can. So you do need to maintain
a pretty high standard of training. And most of us find it fun to
actually go out and do that and try and compete against
the younger people and keep going. Next question comes
from Jacob. Where are the locations
you can get deployed? So, do you want to
take that, Sara? So, yeah. There’s a number of areas that
you can get deployed to. And it depends on what job
you’re actually going for. So currently, obviously in the
war-like environment there’s places such as Afghanistan. And there’s also a number of
humanitarian aid areas that we work in. We’re still in places like
the Solomons, Timor, and things like that. And then there’s also
jobs available as you are more senior. So in captains and majors
with the United Nations. So there’s– I’ve got a friend actually
heading to Egypt next year. And there’s also people in
places such as Lebanon, Sinai, and so on. So around the world, there
are a number of different deployment opportunities
with a number of different job scopes. My experiences would be
different to Nick’s, given that aviation would deploy
into a different role. Yeah. So as well as just the
operational deployments that you all see there on the news
and the peacekeeping roles with the United Nations that
Sara spoke about, there’s all sorts of exchanges. So after you graduate as a
lieutenant, there’s what we call Exercise Longlook,
which is an exchange with the English. So you get to go across to work
in an English unit for three to six months. And then, likely, they come
over here as well. So it’s a good swap. Various different corps have got
various other postings and exchanges with America, with
England, with other allied countries, as well as, as you
go up through the ranks, there’s various courses that
you get to go and do. Like staff college. You can do Indonesia. You can do it in Pakistan. You can do it in
whole different countries around the world. But one of the big ones,
I suppose, that affects deployment apart from all
[? it is ?], as Sara pointed out, the humanitarian stuff. Especially coming from an
aviation background, we’ve had our Black Hawk guys and our
Chinook guys respond to almost every instance that occurs
around the world, especially in the Pacific Rim. And that’s only going to
increase with us getting the LHD, the helicopter
carriers that are coming in very shortly. So we shall have a continual
presence in the South Pacific in order to respond to not only
any requests for help with maintaining the peace or
stability, but also responding to any natural disasters like
tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, droughts, the whole works. That’s probably one of the
biggest factors that is affecting our deployments
at the moment. And I think also, we’re talking
about internationally based deployments. But there’s also a number of opportunities within Australia. For instance, the recent bush
fires, all the recent floods. So the military responds to all
those different disasters to support the local
community. Yeah. For sure. So Alex asks, what factors are
considered when deciding what corps each graduate
is allocated to? Well, Alex, I’ll start with
the easy part of that. And I’ll let Sara take
the hard part. Most important factor of
that is what corps you want to go to. So you get to put your
preferences in. So the whole way through, as
we talked about before, you get given briefs on what various
corps have to offer, where their posted locations
are, what career paths they have inside them. And you get to put down your
preferences one to four. And most cadets usually end up
with– if not their first, their second preference. So you are the biggest
consideration on what corps you want to go to. People end up getting closer to
the corps that they really want as opposed to
ones who don’t. People have a realistic
expectation of how they’re performing. So whether they think that
they’re going cadet, going for the very elitist corps. Or that they realise, I’m only
performing average so there’s no point in putting down that
really hard to get into corps. Which can be very different
based on the class dynamics as well. So self-awareness is
a big one for that. As well as, you might find that
when your join the Army you want to go into infantry,
but found it really hard for your body to maintain carrying
the pack the large distances. So you decided you wanted to
go to a corps that doesn’t have to carry its
pack as much. And so you change your
preferences. But I’ll let Sara go through the
actual process that then occurs and the grading. So thanks, Nick. So, yeah. Very much for putting four
preferences in which you’ll be counselled all through your time
at RMC of what you want. And from there, we go– and a
number of people sit on a board of studies. We identify every cadet. And we identify how well they’ve
done in a number of different areas of RMC, not just
the field exercise, but also within the barracks and
leadership assessments. So we’ll identify where you are
on what we call the Order of Merit list. And from there, we’ll start
allocating people against their first, second, third, or
fourth corps preference. What we also try and do is also
get our talent spread across the corps. So what we want to identify
is that, yes, you’re top performing. However, in every corps
we want it to succeed. So talent spread is another
consideration as well. Other considerations, at times
family commitments. If you have compassionate
reasons, which are things that are also considered during your
additional postings or so your subsequent postings as
you go throughout your military life. Family is definitely
a consideration. It’s part of that. Yeah. For sure. And background, where
you come from. It can affect. You might actually get the
corps that you want. But it might affect the unit
that you then go to. For instance, like Sara said,
family reasons to live in a certain location. Or if you’ve been a previous
serving solider. They don’t usually try and send
you straight back to the unit you’ve just come from, just
to try and avoid– as we discussed before– that command relationship. They’ll try and send you to
a different unit that does similar op. Next question comes
from Zachary. What if you decide to join the
Army and not another service? Sara? So always the golden question. And everyone asks that when
they meet you and they understand that you’re
in the military. From personal experience, I had
experience in cadets when I was in school. I found that that’s something
that I really, really enjoyed. So when I went to recruiting,
for me, I was very, I guess, gung ho on the Army. But I guess what sort of
attracted me to the Army versus the other services was
the command and leadership experience and opportunities
that you get. And I quite like
being outdoors. And I quite like being
on ground. So unfortunately, the Navy
wasn’t something for me. And I also liked in the armies
is the ability to be the general service officer. So though I’m allocated to the
Royal Australian Corps of Transport, I can also
do a number of other roles within Army. So I sort of really like the
diversity, as well as the deployments overseas. And also the exchanges that
are, I guess, provided to general service Army officers. Yeah, it’s very interesting
question for me, obviously, being a pilot before I joined. And with all three services
having flying aircraft, but obviously the Air Force is
the predominantly one. I really wanted to come in
and fly helicopters. And the Air Force doesn’t
offer that. And I didn’t like the
kind of work. So that kind of ruled
Navy out. But one of the big things that
Sara touched on then is how well Army actually develops
you as a leader, as a commander for the future. So I don’t always have to be
that pilot out there flying the aircraft if I
don’t want to. I can eventually start moving
into command management and get right up through looking at
doctoring how the aircraft replied or looking at safety
standards for the aircraft and set myself up quite
well inside Army. And also, if you look at wanting
to get out of the defence force, which some people
don’t stay in their entire life– I always use the analogy
when someone asked why did I join Army. I say, well, there’s currently
no retired pilots on the board of Qantas. But there are two retired
Army generals on the board of Qantas. Next question comes
from Peter. What is the relationship
like between instructors and cadets? Is it very formal? Do you want to take it from
a company point of view? I’ll take the class one. So from a my company point of
view, as a [? test jumper ?] for, each company has an
officer commanding. So a captain. Someone like myself. And also a drill sergeant. So one of those people that
barks commands around the drill square. So our relationship with
the cadets is a formal environment. And it will also be that
instructor-cadet relationship. So for example, I’m not going
to go up and say, hey, Nick. How’s it going, buddy? It would be, hi, Staff
Cadet Williams. How are you going today? And we sort of just develop
that really professional environment. They call me ma’am on a daily
basis of course, rather than my first name. It’s a respect for the rank and
also respect, I guess, for where we’ve been and the role
that we play at RMC. So whilst effectively I live in
their accommodation, it’s still very that formal
environment. However, we do have those
opportunities for social interaction. Yet still very formal and
very professional. Yeah. I suppose in the field
environment, as a class instructor, when we’re– we’ll
start off with the barracks environment at first. It is still exactly the same
as Sara mentioned. It’s a very formal
relationship. So we’re the instructor. We’re teaching them certain
ways of doing things. We try and get a bit closer to
the cadets so that we can really start drawing on their
personal experiences. Because we find that can often
help other people explain things as opposed to just being,
this is my way or this is Sara’s way. It’s, this is how someone did
something that was similar. Why don’t you help explain
it to the group? But when we get out to the
field, it probably comes to another level again. Because if you’re sitting in an
ambush next to someone at night, you’re whispering to
them right in their ear. You’re not sitting there saying,
Staff Cadet So and So. And so it becomes just
a little– the exact conversation that’s required. So there’s no loss of
who’s the boss and who’s not the boss. There’s probably just a greater
understanding that this is the job we’re
trying to achieve. If we can get that done with
just saying the bare minimum or by making our point
very concise, we do. There’s always that rank
structure there. It gets a bit jovial, especially
when you’re at field sometimes where– because instructors like ribbing
other instructors with their corps. And the cadets, especially
towards the end, know which corps they want to
go to as well. And they’ll start asking
questions that might be a bit jovial, a bit friendly. But they always know
their place. And they never step
it out too far. And we also know our place and
how to make sure that they don’t step out too far. Yep. [INAUDIBLE]. Next question comes from Alex. Is an RMC graduate ready
to lead troops in deployments overseas? Well, I think so. I’ve got people in my class
that, as soon as they finished and went and did their corps
specific training, they went straight to meet their guys
overseas on deployment. So I know a few instances
of that. I think that it prepared me very
well for my deployment when I went overseas because I
actually deployed not just in my role, but doing a few other
things with other corps. And I drew back on some of the
experiences and stuff that I’d learnt from RMC that I hadn’t
really done for a few years from being a pilot the
last few years. What do you think, Sara? Absolutely agree. Deploying straight out of RMC in
your specialist training is not an issue. And it’s all about, as
I sort of discussed before, using your team. You’ll have people that have
20, 30 years experience supporting you. And as long as you approach it
with the right attitude, they’ll assist you and mentor
you through it whilst being the leader. Obviously, you’ll
still command. However, you’ll be prepared
enough to be able to be supported and achieve that task
or mission as required. I know exercises that we go on,
each time, based on trying to replicate certain situations
that you’ll have on deployment. But when you get to your unit,
it’s bolstered by the fact that everyone who’s now working
for you is not just another cadet who’s actually
competing against you. They’re now people that actually
want to work for you and know their job very well. So it definitely does make it
easier, as well, when you actually get to unit. Because you’ve learnt how to do
it the hard way with people that all work with their
own idea for it. And now you’ve got these people
that actually are waiting for you. And they’re hanging off your
every word to go and execute your plan. Next question comes
from Jared. He asks me, what was
going overseas in a combat role like? What should I expect once
I’ve entered the Army? Well, deploying overseas at the
moment, if you enter the Army, is going to depend on
what deployment’s on. But you are well prepared
for it. You go out there and you’re not
scared to go out there and do the role that you’re
required to go and do. You understand the dangers. You understand the requirements
to get the mission done. But I think the training sets
you up quite well, quite well prepared for it. And you knew what needed to get
done in order to achieve everything that occurred. So I deployed out with
the UAV detachment. Then we head overseas. And my role was very much
different to flying aircraft. It was actually more to do
with making sure that everything was done safely. Because there’s lots of
other aircraft in the sky over there. And I was liaising with
all the other units. So actually getting out there,
and like Sara talked about before, having that
communication skills and actually having to go and deal
with everyone else that’s overseas to make sure that
everything’s done safely and that we’re not crashing into
our own aircraft and not crashing UAVs into an aircraft
that could damage our own lives, To try and [? mean ?]
that we’re safer over there. It was fun. It was challenging. But you are well prepared for
it from once you finish. So I just want to touch on,
obviously we’ve discussed how RMC prepares you for things
such as operations. And what you have to remember
as well, when you graduate from Royal Military College,
you’ll then go on to do your specialist training. Whether that’s in a combat
corps or not. But post that, prior to going on
deployment, you do what is called force preparation. So the team or the [? DIT ?] or the combat team that you’re
heading over with, you’ll do what is called a mission ready
exercise in which you’ll head out into the field or you’ll
go into a mission. And people actually sit on the
external, much like a Big Brother set up, and actually
assess how you’re actually going through that
particular task. And provide you real, live
feedback and understand those lessons learnt about where you
can improve on as your team. And how you can best prepare. So it’s definitely not,
you’re going tomorrow. There’s a force preparation
cycle in which we go through for all deployments, especially
if you’re deploying in a team environment. Next question comes
from [? Aaron. ?] In terms of learning, how much
assistance do the offices give the cadets? [? Aaron, ?] we try and give
them as much assistance as we can, really. So if people require
extra training or– especially if they request
extra training– we give them as much
as we can. So I’ll talk about it from
a field point of view. And I’ll let Sara talk about
it from the barracks. When we’re at fields before
the cadet goes into their assessment phase, they go
through a mentoring phase. So they get to discuss with us
openly the problem that’s been handed to them, talk about the
planning considerations for that, what they think. They bounce a few
ideas off them. We try and push them in the
right direction without giving them the actual exact answer
or how to do it. And still [? a little bit, ?]
it’s going to be the flexibility that occurs
post the actual side of the mission anyway. But we really do try
and mentor them. And then you get very detailed
debriefing process afterwards. So for instance, the last
[? water ?] exercise that we went on, every cadet, at the
completion of that, had approximately 12 pages of
writing to go and read for to go through and see all the
actual points that they could improve on. Or points they did well on to
prepare themselves better for that next phase in training. Sara? Yeah. So, the barracks assessments
are much the same. The teaching, the learning,
the doing the assessment. And then if you haven’t achieved
the grade or the required standard for that
particular assessment, we’ll then provide you retraining
and then a reassessment as well. So that includes your
time during the day. But as Nick touched on
as well, after hours. And Saturdays and Sundays are
definitely not off limits. And the instructors are very
dedicated to providing their time to the cadets because we
also, obviously, want to see you graduate. So if you are consistently
having issues with particular areas, there is someone–
whether it is your instructor or whether it is your
office commanding– that will sit down with you
and take you through that particular learning criteria
to get you up to standard. But also, in regards to if
you’re not making the grade and require more assistance,
at RMC you do have the opportunity to– if you’re making the grade in,
say for instance, second class, to actually undertake
it again. And then meet that standard
and go into first class and graduate. So it’s not just one assessment,
that’s it, no retraining. There’s a number of different
avenues that you can ask, request. And you’ll also be provided
on a daily basis. And I must stress, it’s not just
the officers that assist the cadets. It’s the warrant officers
and sergeants. Because they’ve got the first
hand experience of what it’s like to be on the other side of
receiving the orders when they went through as soldiers. And they really do understand. And they also educate you on all
the requirements that you have and what you can expect
from your sergeants and your corporals once you
get up there. Next question is from Alan. How do you think your RMC
training will benefit you in the civilian world when you
decide what to leave? Well, Alan, to specifically
talk a bit about the RMC training, it’s the ability to
learn to command people, to manage people, and
to lead people. The administrative time that
you’re required to undertake a task, as well as the practical
time, the understanding of that and the processes that
are taught at RMC you can apply to almost any
aspect of life. Because, as you’d know if you’d
ever done anything like planning a part or planning a
wedding or just doing a basic job, you’ve got all those
same aspects. And you need to understand what
you’ve got, what’s up against you, much it’s going to
cost, what your budget is, what your time is. We do exactly the same
planning in military. Just, obviously, it’s a
lot more war focused. So it really does help prepare
you, as well as you really know your own limits. You know how much further
you can do. You wouldn’t be having to stop
for morning tea or lunch if you didn’t want to. You’d just be cracking on
because you’d know just how far you can push your body Which involves mental pushing
your body as well. Because one of the first things
we notice when people drop on those fatigue
exercises is their mental capacity. So understanding what’s actually
required of you can only help focus you better
for any civilian job. Sara? Yeah. So definitely agree with
all these points. And I think just another point
to touch on is the ability to work in a diverse environment. So what we spoke about before. Gender, nationalities, and age
within in the military. Some of my best friends
are 35 years old and some of them are 18. So that ability to just thrust
yourself in there and, I guess, get on the job with
the job, no matter the environment. OK, the next question
comes from Josh. And this will unfortunately
be the last question for this evening. What has been one of your best
experiences within Army? Sara? So, so many to choose from. And looking at from when I first
joined the Australian Defence Force Academy
to where I am now. So 10 years on. From 18 and now, obviously,
I’m 28. So the best experience within
Army probably is what I touched on before, is my
humanitarian aid experience in Papua New Guinea. I’m very interested in that
as a logistics officer. And I hope to continue with
doing that in the future within the military and
thrusting myself more into that sort of United Nations
work as I get more senior in the ranks. Yeah. And I’d say that my best
experience was probably the first time I landed on night
vision goggles a helicopter in a very small hole
in the trees. I really did not think that the
aircraft was going to fit. But the instructor ensured
me that it would. And today that’s probably still
one of nerve-wracking things I’ve done. I’ve obviously done a lot more
exciting things since. But that was very much one
of the highlights of my career so far. OK. Thank you for joining us. We’ve had some really good
questions tonight. And hope that it’s provided you
with the information that you require. if you’d like to watch this
evening’s broadcast again, it’ll be online next week. Thanks again, and have
a great night.


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