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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gillman Camp

Interestingly, after JC when I did my full time NS, I found myself back at Malan Road at Gillman camp which was just next to SAJC. So altogether, I managed to spent 4 years of my life in that area.

After my BMT and SISLs training, I was posted to the School of Combat Engineers for more training as a combat engineer. That suit me fine since it was just a few bus stops away from my home. After the basic field engineer course, I was sent for further training to become a plant engineer and after that managed to land a deal and stayed back in Gillman as a plant specialist whose job was to train plants in the art of war. You know the movies where killer plants attack people in the forest? That was our tasks to train plants to do it. Can you imagine how advance we were back then? Ha ha ha.

Unfortunately, it looks like the plants managed to overcome the subsequent trainers judging from the photo below.
This was the long and sloppy road up to our barrack or wing as it was known then. Look at it now. Totally overgrown with plants. No more road to go.

The photo below was the Officer Mess, a place that we Specialist seldom venture into unless invited. Our wing looks like this too. There were many similar buildings in the camp, one cluster for the Commanders Training Wing, another for the Basic Training Wing and finally our own Plant Training Wing.

Our Plant Trainign was right at the top of the road and overlooks the Telok Blangah flats. Some of the plants men would use binoculars to spy on the residents in the flats. Some smart guys even managed to tap into the telephone conversation of the residents using their radios. And these guys are when we called Hokkien pian!

There was also an admin block and both the BTW and admin block overlooks the Parade square. And of course, as in any army camp, there were stories from the people there about hearing soldiers in chain walking along the corridor, marching in the parade square in the middle of the night etc etc

One memorable incident was when we did our first full battle order obstacle course. We had to carry the full pack with standard battle order and 2 water bottles and run down from our wing to the obstacle course about 1 km away. I remembered running down the slope. No big deal. And then came the low wall and I literally hit the wall. With the FBO on my back, try as I could, I could not make it over the wall. The result, remedial training under a sadistic Japan trained Captain.

Another time, I was driving an army crane up this road from the MT line (picture below). I had to lift a fallen tree from the parade square and halfway through the lifting operation, I snapped the cable and nearly dropped the boom on my fellow operator. Thank God he wasn't injured and we managed to hush it up with the help of some of the enciks. The MT line now appears to be home to some construction workers. What a waste!

NS days at Gillman held many fond memories for me. There were many incidents. Too many to post here. Maybe I shall come up with a series of post for this?

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