There’s No Stopping Me Now…
Well, today, it became official.
I am fit to go to Afghan.
There is nothing wrong with my dicky-ticker, the last hospital appointment and the crazy-mad Stress Echo Cardiogram proved that on a scale of 1 to 5 (where 1 = normal and 5 = rubbish), all the bits of my heart, down to a resolution of about 1/4 of an inch are at level 1. Normal. 100%. To quote the Cardiac Consultant Nurse “There’s nuffin wrong wiv you, mate.”
So. Off to the RAF medics, who today, concur and say, sure, yeah, you’re fine. I can continue on my preparation for deployment.
And then it dawned on me, that I am now fit to go. The only thing that is holding me back is myself. I need to pass the training course and come March I will find myself ‘somewhere’ in Afghanistan. But there is a long way to go before I get there yet.
The training course is not an attendance test. It is a proper course where I will be taught all the skills I will need to both keep myself (and others) safe out there, AND to allow me to do my job. And this job will be with the Military Stabilisation Support Group – getting out on the ground on theatre, living in Forward Operating Bases. I will need to learn a whole load of infantry skills (that in the RAF I would never normally need) – the HARD skills, and then be able to flip over to the SOFT skills of interacting with the local population out there.
As a refresher of the basic skills I already have, I am booked on to an RAF specific Individual Deployment Training course in a week after next and for that I was issued a set of body armour and a Tactical Vest. This all added up to making it just a little bit more real…
And then the real specific training course starts on the 1 November. One month away exactly. And I realised something when I was out for one of my training runs this afternoon. It’ll be like joining up all over again. I have no idea of what to expect. No idea of what the training will be like, how it will go, the hurdles I’ll have to face and the things I’ll be doing. I will be well out of my comfort zone along the way, and as I will be spending a lot of time with the other services, I do think it’ll be like it was when I was joining the RAF.
And that was scary, and it was a test of me against me. As will this be. A real test of me. But that test starts very, very soon. But I want to really test myself. This is a real challenge for me. I have never been particularly fit, or particularly brave or particularly clever. And of those three the real challenge will the fitness one…I am genuinely scared that I will not be up to it physically, that I will fail in doing something I really want to do. That I will let myself down. Who knows. I certainly don’t. I am just going to do my very best, give it everything I have and set myself to it.
But I will need to be at the very top of my game for this challenge. I only hope I am up to it.