Friday, 30 May 2008

The Debriefing

My five days of hostile environment training on the base have been very enriching. Of course it does take a bit of getting used to waking up to the sound of a bugle and reveille, queing up for breakfast with a few hundred soldiers in full combat gear. But the food was better than I expected and I learned to appreciate the benefits of discipline, straight talk and marching. Somehow it seems I'm moving far quicker from A to B now. I mean, we civilians are still miles away from any serious discipline and our military trainers made no secret of that.

We certainly tested our trainers' patience. We're not always punctual. Looking very unmilitary-like carrying our mineral water bottles and wandering around with our mobile phones. Leaving class to the toilet whenever we felt like it, and to make things worse without asking. We also occasionally mixed up our trainers' ranks and grades. There's a lot of room for improvement for us as journalists to understand the military. But I guess, the learning process is a two way street. I loved the little video they showed us about media training at the Bundeswehr: journalists don't follow orders, you have to present them arguments.

No seriously, it's been an amazing week of training. If you're reading this and have done a similar hostile environments course, I'd love to know what your experience was like.

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