Saturday, 11 January 2014

Grunts 'n' guns

This week's section of my RAF life covers the topic of guns and my reaction to them, if you wish to follow the serialised story of my six year tenure, the story is on my friend Julia's page @  https://www.facebook.com/TheIndiePENdents 

 The original idea came from some friends who had read about some close encounters I had with death -- during my tour of Germany -- I wanted to do the book to help a forces charity called F.L.O.W. who help people affected by life in the services, but the group had a problem getting a publisher and then I left LinkedIn.



 Here is this week's instalment:-

One thing which irked me for all my time in the Royal Air Force was the uniform. I joined up hoping to get a nice great coat and battle dress top, completed by the “chip bag hat” as seen in the film “The Battle of Britain,” and what did our Flight get?
We were the first to be issued the “modern” style of uniform. A mackintosh that couldn’t keep out more than the lightest drizzles, a top best described as a Thunderbird uniform – thin material with a zipper – and a beret. In all the six years, if I wore the top a dozen times that is a stretch – and the only reason – the reason was probably I needed a new No. 2 jumper.

GUNS ‘N’ GRUNTS
From the off let me tell you, guns and I have didn’t get on well for a number of reasons -- some I will explain later – the firing range was a nightmare for me. Being right-handed but only able to close my right eye for any length of time meant I was firing across my line of vision as most guns are designed for right-handed people. When I realised the error and changed sides to fire the casings flew across my vision, I may not have won a marksman’s badge but if you can put a bullet between the eyes, I don’t think it matters, especially as my next shot was a groin hit.
As the week rolled on certain things became apparent, the ‘grunts’ are your first line of defence with the SLR (Self Loading Rifle) having a range of up to 400 metres, their job is to hold the enemy at bay. The SNCO’s (Senior Non-Commissioned Officers) – Sergeants to Warrant Officers – are issued with SMG’s (Sub-Machine Guns), the effective range of these is about 50 metres and their purpose is to lay down as many rounds as possible. Officers are issue with 9mm pistols, which have little range and are designed for personal protection – there are exceptions to this rule -- as I was to find later in my tour.
I don’t know if it is indicative of anything but I prefer a knife to a gun -- probably because I was never any good on the range – or is it more sinister?
It was during this first week that I had my first conflict with authority and almost got put on a 252 AKA “a fizzer.” A 252 is the section of QR’s (Queen’s Regulations) where a person or persons get charged with disobeying an order.  In my case, this occurred during a swimming lesson.

The reason for almost being charged was that we were told to use the diving boards and high platform to dive in and I refused flatly. There is no way on earth I was bouncing on a spring board when I could barely dive from the side and as for the high platforms –I would gladly have taken the charge rather than the board – after explaining my reluctance to use the board for safety reasons and my fear of heights, the matter passed on and nothing more came of it.

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