Sweat, Hard Work and a Knocked-out Tooth: Recruits Underwent Intensive Training

 27. 07. 2020      category: Army of the Czech Republic

"If I wake you up at midnight, you must be able to grab a weapon and handle it without batting an eyelid" – this was the main slogan of the instructors of the 151st Engineer Battalion at the Intensive Supplementary Training Course in Bechyně. Thirteen recruits had to learn what was not managed to be taught during the basic training in Vyškov due to coronavirus. 

2fPicture: Training of combat drills | Sergeant First Class Lukáš Martinů, army.cz

"Our goal was to find the golden mean, i.e. to review a bit, to touch upon the areas of engineering which our recruits will continue their education in, and especially to push them to the minimum level of other comrades-in-arms who have served here for a long time,” said the Deputy Commander of the 151st Engineer Battalion, Major Jan Štipčák about the goal of planning the training.

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Picture: Training of combat drills | Sergeant First Class Lukáš Martinů, army.cz

The two-week program thus included not only all-army training, such as shooting, topographic, medical or even combat drills, but also acquaintance with the department, how it works or where what is located. "In addition to the mandatory training, we also focused on this department's duty in the sense of the guard service, because these soldiers will certainly guard the field ammunition depot sometimes in the future, located directly with us in the Bechyně garrison,” said the combat training instructor of the 151st Engineer Battalion Master Sergeant Petr Libič.

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Picture: Chemical preparation, Portable test chamber PZK M-10 primarily intended for OM 90 gas mask seal testing | Capt. Zuzana Králová, army.cz

However, the greatest interest was aroused by the employment with EOD specialists. In addition to an interesting lecture about their experience from foreign missions and about booby-trapped explosive systems, they demonstrated their work with a detector. At the same time, they explained to the recruits how to behave when entering the minefield.

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Picture: Chemical preparation, Portable test chamber PZK M-10 primarily intended for OM 90 gas mask seal testing | Sergeant First Class Lukáš Martinů, army.cz

"I really enjoyed this topic. It's great to listen to people who understand their profession and have a lot of experience. One can read a lot, but when you talk to someone who has really experienced something, it is completely different,” said the lance corporal Klára Benešová, who took up the position of driver of the command company.

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Picture: Chemical preparation, initiation of CS bodies with irritating gas | Capt. Zuzana Králová, army.cz

The professionalism of the instructors of the entire training was praised by the oldest participant, Corporal Miroslav Holienka. "I joined the army in my 50s mainly because I enjoy weapons and technology. It has always been my dream, and only now have I decided to make it happen.” Holienka is a trained car mechanic and served in the army during compulsory military service. "At the time, I was working with technology, and now I'm going back to it, albeit from the driver's position."

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Picture: Minefield entry | Capt. Zuzana Králová, army.cz

The culmination of the two-week efforts took the form of a one-day comprehensive training in which recruits reviewed everything they had learned up to that point. From topographic knowledge, through chemical preparation to medical care. In the end, the participants of the training took a test and got an overall evaluation.

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Picture: Visual search for booby-trapped explosive systems | Capt. Zuzana Králová, army.cz

"I was very content with this group. After a long time, it was finally a bunch of people who were really enthusiastic and had a desire to work. No matter the rain, heatwaves or exhaustion. We also had a cut lip and a knocked-out piece of a tooth during the combat drills, but they kept working hard and didn't complain about anything," said Master Sergeant Libič about the training.

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Picture: Operating a metal detector | Capt. Zuzana Králová, army.cz

It was not only the recruits who gained experience during the course, but also the members of the staff and battalion units.  They practised planning, organizing and subsequently managing the course. "We will use the experience gained in the preparation of further training for recruits in the future. We will analyse what worked, what did not, and we will be one step ahead in further planning,” added Major Štipčák. Another batch of recruits should arrive to the unit early next year.

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Picture: Topographic preparation | Capt. Zuzana Králová, army.cz