So travelling back to the UK, that'll be a simple process off home, right? ... Wrong! The same day that I was flying back I was also due to go on another attachment, but this time with 101 (City of London) Engineer Regiment (EOD), but hey my flight gets in at 1455, that'll be plenty of time, right? ... Wrong again! The flight got delayed in Germany due to unscheduled maintainence - despite it being perfectly serviceable 20mins earlier when it landed - this delay eventually turned into a 24hr postponment, great. Luckily I managed to get a free transfer to a later flight and after consulting with my parents for a lift from Manchester it was starting to look good again, so time to hit the bar after a rather stressful afternoon.
An early morning to drive down to Carver Barracks, Essex and I eventually arrived for my second attachment. So without rest it was straight into work, met with the Troopy that I'd be working with for the next two weeks and then I was off with the guys to do a vehicle handover.
The troop that I was with was a bombs troop on UK Ops, in short when some builders or a farmer dig up an old german WW2 bomb theses guys go out to make it safe. The basic way they operate is that there are 3 crews. A 1hr response unit, 12hr response unit and a 3hr crash crew, each crew will have at least a Bombs Disposal Officer, No2 and Driver (tea/ciggy bitch :p).
Every Monday morning the crews would hand over the vehicles they'd had the previous week as long as the pagers. The crew that I was with were taking on a vehicle for 3hr CC, so we had to go around the wagon and do a stock check to make sure everything was there. Another part of the handover was to test the ACE cutter kit, this is used to cut holes into the side of Unexploded Ordanance using a very high pressure nozzle - in the region of 10000psi - with a water and sand solution, sounds daft but it does work eventually!
The ACE cutter set up and ready to rock.
The next day I took part in a little Troop PT, general office work and then in the afternoon bridge building. Having never done bridge building before I was basically told follow that Sapper there, anything he picks up you pick up, well that's a simple enough instruction. So in the pouring rain we get to building this bridge - well hey if it ain't raining it ain't training - and after a lot of "hands on lift up!" we'd completed the bridge, took us about 13mins which was a lot of room for improvement before the inter-squadron competition in 10 days. Was a good day, the bridge building and the 6 miler in the morning had taken its toll on me though and at the BBQ in the evening I kinda fell asleep drink in hand, whoops.
What we were building, we didn't have the Chinook though
During the rest of my stay I was taken around the training wing, which is literally wall to wall inert bombs and UXO so you can get a lot of hands on with them without the fear of hands coming off. There was also the opportunity for me to have a go at fast roping as it's a technique used by the search troops when they work along side UKSF. It's a simple enough procedure, beforehand there's a small hang test to prove that you can support your own body weight for at least 25seconds. Then after that it's onto the rope, "hands on, slide down!" great fun just a shame there was no helicopter available.
A view of the tower, it was about 45-50ft
Me giving a perfect demo, no need for harnesses, just a working pair of Mk.1 hands
The rest of the time was spent much like when I was in Germany, following the Troopy about to see what they do on a day to day basis and also 'socialising' (yeah going on the lash), plus to odd bit of sport and PT.
After this, I went down to Portland near Weymouth to do a weeks sport climbing. The weather was awesome for the week and i managed to add a good 27 routes to my logbook, even got my first outdoor lead done. It was a planned AT exped by my Squadron which meant that I got payed for it, but I managed to stay at a relatives so I didn't have to camp it out, turned into a great little holiday!
Now looking to chill for the rest of the summer, play and work on PR (if I can get my PC at home connected to the internet again) and hopefully PR:ARMA will be released too.
Stay classy TG