Memories from Army Attachment Camp during NCC

I was in NCC ( National Cadet Corps) for 5 years. I have attended few training camps as a part of NCC and my most memorable one is the Army Attachment Camp in Wellington, near Ooty, Tamil Nadu.

As the name suggests, it is a training along army soldiers. Army soldiers would undergo 1.5 years of rigorous training here. Some of our trainings sessions were with them.

Rifle Disassembly & Assembly

Most enjoyable sessions were those where they taught us how to completely dismantle a SLR (Self Loading Rifle)

Soldiers had to do this by having their eyes closed with a scarf. Basically this preparing them to do this in the night.

Also, there was a weapons storage house which they used to clean every week. This was the only chance to enter that room. We used to go there as volunteers. That room was heaven if you had fantasised about army Guns and Rifles. It had everything.

I was mostly interested in AK47. Thanks to movies. I used to think that this is the deadliest weapon. After seeing other rifles and weapons my perception completely changed

In the image above, first one is AK 47 and second on is a SLR which was used in training.

Food

I should say food was the only thing that was not great there.

They don’t add any chillies & salt to the food. Just imagine eating the food without that.

After some concerns were raised, they started giving salt in a separate container only for us and not for soldiers. This was some what better.

We later spoke to the soldiers and asked why did they cook food in that way. They told us, having spicy and salt added food created unwanted emotions and feeling which will weaken the training process. So everybody should adhere to this strictly.

Poori was the one which was done regularly. It was completely filled with oil. It tasted bad. I hated poori for few years due this.

We couldn’t eat that food for long. We brought pickle from army store nearby and started eating that secretly.

No Mobile phones

We were not allowed to carry mobile phones. We didn’t have it either.

If you want to make any phone call to you parents you should depend on the only available telephone booth in entire campus. There used to be a long queue every night in front of the booth.

I got only two chances to call back home in 15 days. But it was fun.

Waiting in queue to call someone – is such a unique thing of past. It is a history now for the current generation.

If only we could do that today, there wouldn’t be any unnecessary calls and disturbances. You call people only when it is extremely important.

Shooting

As expected we had a shooting exercise.

We were given 20 bullets of .22 caliber and we were supposed to hit the target.

In the end they would count no of bullets that hit the target. If the count was less than 20, that means you have hit outside the target. You would be marked as wash-out on hand. You’ll be punished for that.

Mine was wash-out and I was asked run three rounds to the ground.

0.22 mm rilfes were not self loading. If you see the image, there is no magazine which holds the bullets.

They are Bolt – Action rifles. This means, after you fire a bullet, you need open the bolt using bold handle and load one more bullet in the chamber.

You can fire only one bullet at a time.

We were told that India fought initial wars using these kind of rifles. We were surprised. The bullets were so small, what impact they could have in war ?

Longest Trek Ever

One day we were asked to prepare for trekking. No much preparation, just that we had to be ready by 5:30 AM.

We started walking. It was fun, we were marching initially in sync, later we all were dispersed. We started walking in groups.

Entire scenery along the journey was beautiful. It was filled with mountains.

We kept walking and walking without any clue.

Finally we reached the destination. It was Dolphin’s Nose Viewpoint in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu. Dolphin’s Nose is well over 1,550 Meter above sea level and is a spectacular spot to visit. We were so tired we couldn’t enjoy the view much.

We asked the Chief, how much we had walked. He calmly said, just 35 KM.

We had walked 70 KM that day.

Talking to Soldiers

They were not soldiers yet because they were still undergoing training. After they complete 1.5 years of training here, they would become soldiers.

I spoke to many of them. Almost everybody had similar story.

Poverty in their homes pushed them to Army. Most of them were from villages across the country. But now they are happy that they have taken this decision. They feel proud being part of this exercise and are confident that they will clear this training.

Only one of them told that he was missing his Girl Friend and was planning to go back.

My Learnings

  1. If you’re disciplined, you can achieve anything in life. People undergoing training were doing so many things which we thought were difficult for any human being to do.
  2. Practice definitely makes man perfect. Disassembly and assembly of rifles with eyes closed is the peak of domain knowledge. I was so thrilled by that.
  3. If you are trained on one thing for 1.5 years, you’ll definitely become expert in that.