RMC Military Skills (Sandhurst) Team Selections
27002 OCdt (IV) Josh Hewitt, 11 Sqn.
It has been a long hard week for the 39 individuals who showed up at 0530 on Tuesday morning after Thanksgiving weekend in order to compete for a spot on this year’s Military Skills Team. Of these cadets, 30 were brand new faces to the team environment.
The first day of selections was grueling. A Tuesday morning spent at Fort Henry Hill with the team’s NCO, WO Wieczorek, took our numbers down to 31 and after an evening spent with PSP staff, Jean Blanchet, 22 cadets remained to participate in the second day of selections.
Only one cadet did not make it past the Wednesday morning session and 21 people arrived at KMCSC Wednesday evening for another night with Mr. Blanchet. That same night we removed the returning members from last year from the selection process in order to get a close look at the new cadets.
This left us with 13 cadets. The mental resiliency of these 13 individuals was outstanding; it would have been impossible to make them quit. It was impressive to watch some of the cadets willingly sink to the bottom of the pool while swimming in combats and boots with a 20lb brick: simply because they would not quit.
12 cadets moved on to day 3 for interviews in the morning then a 10km ruck run followed immediately by 5km time trial in the evening. The results were impressive considering what the candidates had been through so far. In the end, it was a necessary, but difficult decision by the staff to remove three individuals from the process.
As I write this article, it is Friday, October 14th, and there are 9 new members still working towards a spot on this year’s Military Skills Team. Tomorrow will be the last day of selection before the team is announced.
This year is going to be a big year for the team as we are potentially taking on three competitions in the second semester. We will be returning to Mexico in February to compete in the Chimaltlalli competition for a second time, this time with a better understanding of the preparation required to be a top team. We have also been invited to compete in an international patrolling competition in Chile as part of the celebration of the 200th anniversary of their military academy. Then in April we will be competing in the Sandhurst Competition at the United States Military Academy in order to keep the the Reginald E. Johnson Memorial Sabre on display at RMC for a second year in a row.
It has been a very busy week, but it has also been rewarding. Every year there are many cadets who show an interest in the team, but it is a general trend that only a small number of those will show up to selections. On behalf of the team leadership, I want to thank all of those who had the drive and determination to participate in this year’s selection process. It has been a privilege to watch you perform while pushing yourself to your physical and mental limits.
Note: We hope to have a follow-up article on the final selections in an upcoming Issue.