Sep 1, 2011

Talupad, ang init!

I had my fair share on being a cadet. My younger siblings never get to experience the thrill and the horror of being one every week. I know probably most of the kids in my generation get to experience CAT. A private or an officer, you know how it feels to be soaked in the sun for almost 8 hours. Back then I really didn't know what's the purpose of all that training. But somehow I realize the training we had back then helped a lot in terms of attitude, manners and tolerance. I could now officially tolerate heat exposure for more than 8 hours - an official beach bum and do not care to what shade of color I might end up with. Anyway, CAT in high school was unforgettable. I was an S4 (a staff) - you know the four decorative officers behind the commandant. Decorative in the sense we do mostly paper work and we're just practically decorations in the field. Except of course if there's a tactical inspection but on given ordinary formation we're celebrities. Ha! Squad Captains usually do all the work and the Adjutant too (I wonder if he still has a throat). My best friend in high school was a Squad Captain and he made a remark that we Staff Officers are no more than decorations in the field. I smiled and said, "could you please give 20 then?" We were still friends of course after the formation, but I was laughed so hard that day. It was only 20 push-ups and he was the superman in class - so no biggie.

College came and probably you heard about ROTC. The training is much more rigid and of course if your really look at the ideals behind ROTC - it is training young men to be a reserve force if an emergency should arise. Back then I had no idea what ROTC means, it was a requirement back in the day. I never applied for an officer but I was in the model platoon though. What started was the curiosity of who were those guys wearing officer-like uniforms but not officers? I would want to wear those uniforms and not this faded-green-generic-fatigue-private uniform. It was too common. So a bunch of us inquired and were told they're the model platoon. Wow, from the sound of it, it was sparkling! And accompanied with our stupid sense of seeking popularity - we enlisted on the model platoon. Who wouldn't? The ad campaign was deceptive! They said, the only difference between the model platoon and the generics is the uniform. Seriously Sir? Absolutely! Liar! They said we get to wear the camouflage-type uniform with add-ons. We wore caps instead of the officers' beret. Plus, as a bonus we get to carry one-tone wooden rifles! So by now I was thinking, maybe he lied when we said the training was the same. This rifle is stinkin' heavy!

Let's just say our training was longer, harder and impossible! Carry the earth! How am I supposed to carry the earth! Are you color blind? I'm no Atlas! So we carried the earth - go figure! Our sparkly uniform were heavier, absorbs heat faster and our training hours extend from 1 to 2 hours more than the generics! This happened every Sunday of the week! I was burnt with a ridiculous haircut - they call it white side wall because literally it looks like a wall that has a white side - go figure again!

Anyway, as I passed through this formation (photo above) this morning, I sort of miss the old cadet days! Just sort of, I would just want to visit them through memory lane.

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