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Wenona Cadets at Bivouac

During the last week of Term 3, the Wenona Cadets arrived at the Marrangaroo Training Area in Lithgow, ready for the next five days of Bivouac.

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Here’s what Cadet Captain 2019/20 and Commander, Wenona Cadets – Operations Officer, Georgia (Year 12) and Company Sergeant Major, Wenona Cadets and Independent Company, Laura (Year 12) had to say. “During the past two terms, the cadets have been conducting training every Monday afternoon to prepare for their arrival in the field. Weekly training for recruits in A to C Company included conducting lessons on navigation, survival skills necessary for the field, abseiling and team-building activities. Support Company completed weekly training for Medics, Pioneers, Media and Signals Platoons, so they would be well prepared to provide these essential support functions to the Unit during Bivouac. Independent Company spent Term 2 completing barracks-based certification assessments to enable their successful deployment into the field. Term 3 training involved learning specialist skills necessary for reconnaissance and urban operations, including camouflage and concealment and the use of spotting scopes.

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The majority of Support Company arrived at Marrangaroo two days before the rest of the Unit, busily preparing activities for the cadets. All activities and unit support systems were organised and run by cadets, including the obstacle course, the radio system and medical support.

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Upon arrival at camp, the recruits completed a range of fun and challenging activities that fostered the development of skills that will be required for the upcoming Annual Field Exercise in Term 4. These included activities such as night infiltration, abseiling, 24-hour survival night and an obstacle course. Night infiltration, one of the favourite activities among the cadets, proved to be a challenging yet rewarding experience, involving stealthily crawling through the dirt to capture a given location without being seen by the opposing force. The two-hour infiltration allowed for cadets to develop a sense of resilience, teamwork, and confidence. Survival night provided an opportunity for the cadets to learn how to survive in the bush without the luxuries of a hutchie or the pre-prepared meals in the ration pack. The cadets worked as sections, building shelters made from natural materials, large enough for roughly twelve cadets to sleep in. They also had the opportunity to cook their own dinner consisting of kangaroo, potatoes and capsicum. The cadets spent the following day completing a high ropes course and abseiling. This allowed cadets to build on their confidence and teamwork. It was great to see all the cadets supporting each other throughout the challenges that the day presented.

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Independent Company’s first 24 hours of camp was spent completing a series of challenging assessments in order to qualify for their certification in the field. During the rest of camp, the members of the three specialist elements of Independent Company; Patrolmen, Operators, and Service Support Section were required to work together to successfully complete three full mission profiles. These missions involved the Patrolmen conducting a close target reconnaissance on an opposing force. The intelligence gathered on the target was used by the Operators to develop and rehearse a strike on the opposing force. The Service Support Section facilitated the strike by provide the Headquarters with real time information and maintaining communications with the various elements on the ground. In this complex and changing environment, the success of the missions relied upon the cadets demonstrating high standards of initiative, discipline and teamwork.

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This camp was the first opportunity for Junior and Senior rank to display their leadership in a field environment. For Section Leaders, this required taking responsibility for 12 cadets, leading them through a day of challenging activities by themselves. For Senior rank, this included the responsibility of leading cadets at a platoon and company level.”

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It was great to see all the cadets embrace the experience of camp and remain in high spirits throughout the duration of camp, even when faced with challenging conditions. Bivouac was a great way for cadets to develop leadership skills, push themselves out of their comfort zones, and create memories with their friends.”