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PARA Recruits

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Sarastro
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PARA Recruits

#1 Post by Sarastro »

Seen quite a few posts from people looking at joining Para Reg with the TA, so thought I'd give a rundown of my experience. I trained with 10 Coy (London) at White City in 2007. Other companies might vary in initial training, but towards the end of basic you train with the entire battalion recruits, and CIC/P-Coy is done as a battalion cadre under Catterick staff at P-Coy lines.

Training breaks down into:

Insight
Recruits
Combat Infantrymans Course (CIC)
P-Company

Insight / Joining

Tends to be a weekend from what I've seen. My cadre was a single day. Consisted of: paperwork, more paperwork, driving out to Pirbright, doing a PFT, and then tapping off a few rounds on the ranges, and talking to company soldiers. I understand that if there had been a second day, there would have been more phys (battle PT style, introduction to pairs fire & maneuver and such) and basic infantry skills introduction.

Don't be scared by the paperwork: you are not signing your life away. You are not committing yourself to anything, and can never return if you want. You can actually drop out at any time during your recruit cadre, CIC / P-Coy, or even afterwards, with no problem. Essentially, Para Reg don't want people who don't want to be there.

Recruits

Consists of 9 weekends, one weekend every two weeks, and one drill night a week. In practice, the drill night was mostly optional, since many people couldn't make it. Drill nights therefore consisted of PT and drill / skills, which would be a headstart on stuff you would learn on the weekend, rather than training that you would miss otherwise.

Without revealing too much of the schedule, which is liable to change, weekends are essentially:

- 2 field weekends, second up at Catterick. First field w/e is a trainer, second one at the end of a course you are expected to know your stuff.

- 2 range weekends, second up at Catterick. First range w/e is 25m ranges & introduction, second one is 100m ranges and preparation for your weapons test at CIC (the APWT).

- 5 general skills weekends, the first few of which focus on phys and basic introduction to military life (drill, death by powerpoint), the rest of which focus on infanteer skills (weapons handling, field skills, infantry skills, section attacks etc).

Phys from the insight weekend throughout recruits up to CIC is progressive. This means 4 PARA do not expect you to be a superman on joining up, they expect a basic level (generally 9:30 on 1.5 mile run, 60 odd pressups and situps, but if you are close or lacking in one area, this doesn't seem to be a problem) and will build you up from there. There were plenty of guys on my cadre who you wouldn't have thought could hack it physically. These people dropped out, but they were not prevented from attempting the course.

Point being: you want to be as fit as you can be on starting the course, as 3 months being comparatively little time to get yourself used to tabbing and fit for P-Coy. However, don't shy away from going on an insight weekend because you think you will be turned away for running a 9:45 PFT. At least at 10 Coy, this did not prevent us starting recruits, and the emphasis is on you to demonstrate improvement over the course. 4 PARA focus on building you up throughout recruits, rather than expecting a high starting level as the regs do.

The rest of the lessons to be learnt from recruits differ little from any other military training, and probably need to be learned in person. One tip thought: learn the meaning of a 'bone question', and learn not to ask them.

CIC

[CIC and P-Coy are a single 2-week course with 4 PARA. When I did the course, CIC came in the first week, and P-Coy was the second week. There was some talk about changing this around, so P-Coy may be first from now on. This is better for you if so - trust me!]

CIC is:

- 2 days of phys. One day doing a PFT (1.5 mile run under 9:30, with a 1.5 mile warmup nontested slow as a squad, then best effort situps / pressups in 2 mins each, target 60 each or above). One day is a CFT, 35 pound tab over 8 miles in 2 hours, piece of piss if you are ready for the P-Coy 10 miler in the same time.

- 2 1/2 days on the ranges, practice shoots and zeroing, followed by the APWT test.

- 3/4 days in the field; basic infantry skills, section attacks, platoon attacks, ambush and extraction, night ex and extraction, final ex being a battle night march and platoon attack. Get used to working on a few hours sleep, rations, and carrying 50-odd pounds of kit around with you at all times. Yes, that's more than you tab with, go figure.

The field ex is the major part of CIC. Two tips that come to mind (which apply to all inf skills really) are:

1. Do not neglect your admin in the field. Everyone wanted to jack it at some point in CIC, but only those who had bad admin and came down with infected blisters / illness from lack of personal admin actually came off the course.

2. Be prepared for the worst. Whether this means it being cold and raining the entire time in winter (or even summer), having to do your platoon attacks again and again because people f@#k up, or having an extra kilometer of running hard with kit stuck on to your extraction, be ready for it, and don't jack. If you can't hack unexpected bad stuff happening, this isn't for you.

P-Company

You get a day's rest after CIC (or vica-versa if the switch I mentioned above has happened), then into P-Coy.

First day is a beat-up. Introduction to events: 2-miler in full, Steeplechase in slow and demonstrated to you, short log & stretcher races, trainasium run-through. Don't think these are 'practice' events, especially the trainasium. You are being evaluated already, and may even be booted from the course for underperformance.

The rest of P-Coy is outlined in detail elsewhere, so I'll be brief. Events are scored on:

Pass/Fail: Trainasium
Points, max 10 points each: 10 miler, 2 miler, Steeplechase, Milling, Log race, Stretcher race.

Nobody except P-Coy staff know how the points are allocated. However, it seems that you must complete either the Log or Stretcher to pass. Most important: points are not everything. A bloke on my cadre injured his ankle on CIC, and limped through P-Coy with slow times on most events - but he did not jack a single event, when other uninjured blokes came off them. He passed. Similarly, I have heard of fit blokes who passed most everything, but were failed on attitude.

Again, some points.

One, the trainasium. Many people seem to shit themselves about this event, and as 4 PARA, you won't get to try it several times beforehand as the reg recruits do. I'll just say that nobody has died on it in the past few decades, and the only people I saw fail on the trainasium are those who refused to do an obstacle. Don't jack, and don't psych yourself out. Just do it and pass.

Two, sprinting. Almost all P-Coy events are done fast. Even though you are carrying a log, stretcher, or full kit, you will be going flat out. Train for this by having excellent sprint fitness. If you train for hard hill sprints for 30mins+ you are in good shape for P-Coy.

Three, P-Coy is mentally tough. Very fit guys fail. Less fit guys who don't quit pass. Plenty of blokes have said to me: P-Coy is more about mental fitness than physical fitness. Well, I think the phys helps! But still, it's mental toughness that the staff will be looking for - anyone can get fitter, sheer will is harder to train.

Finally...

Not everyone passes P-Coy first time round. I didn't, got medded off in the first few days. I will be going back sometime soon though, and I'll bloody well pass then. Lots of those on my cadre who didn't pass - good skills, fit lads - simply didn't come back to try again. If you really want Para Reg, you'll come back and get the job done.

PS Might not even be there now, but (not full name, so pretty sure this is within PERSEC) if you get Sgt. Mac as your section/platoon commander or at any point during CIC/P-Coy, listen to the man. He's a fcuking legend and (with all due respect to the other excellent NCO's at 10 Coy and P-Coy lines) taught me more about infanteering and beyond in four days than all the previous months of training.
Last edited by Sarastro on Sat 03 Nov, 2007 3:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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alfao
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#2 Post by alfao »

Top post there mate.

Was advised by the staff that pcoy is first now to give you the best chances of passing it.

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#3 Post by 1664Kro »

Is it possible for me to watch 10 coy Train and get a feeling of life in the regiment? I live near white city and I'm very set on joining the Paras but as a regular. I've tried ringing their headquarters but it keeps going to the answering machine, this is where I got their number from http://www.army.mod.uk/para/4/10_coy.htm

It would be brilliant if I could head up there and talk to them.
cheers 8)

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#4 Post by plastic »

1664Kro, you'll find that the number sometimes does go to answer machine. Keep trying and eventually you will get through. As for watching the Joes train; they're doing PT most drill nights, usually away from the TAC.

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#5 Post by Boxingmad »

Great post there Sarastro. It seems the cadre has changed somewhat since I attempted it. Because 4 Para is now constantly in demand for Iraq & Afghanistan, there is an extra weekend (Weekend 9) instead of the 8 previously.
The fitness observation is a good one. There was one guy from Oz who turned up and he was really fat. Couldn't do a blind bit of training. However, he was determined as f*%k and when the training staff gave him a fitness plan he followed it to the letter, went out and ran ran ran and did all the circuit training he could and the weight fell off him very quickly and he got fit and passed P Company. The staff want to see determination. An unfit determined guy can be moulded - he will knuckle down and get on with it and keep going whereas a fit lad might not have the mental strength to do it.
Once you pass the world is your oyster in the reg. One of my fellow recruits is now in 1 Para and doing loads of ally stuff that he can't tell me about. So it's worth all the pain in the end.
Remember, knowledge is power, unless you forget it all.

mfat_man

#6 Post by mfat_man »

Thanks S-man :wink:

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#7 Post by Boxingmad »

1664Kro just do what I did and turn up on their drill nights - I'm sure they won't mind you sitting in on one of their lessons, and one of the staff will have a chat to you as well and tell you all about it. There's no point in waiting around until the next cadre when you can go down there on a drill night, meet the guys, get a training plan (if you want/need one) and get a heads up on what's what.
Remember, knowledge is power, unless you forget it all.

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#8 Post by fossanova »

Do 4 Para recruits have to do a set number of dips and heaves during selection like Regs?

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#9 Post by plastic »

fossanova wrote:Do 4 Para recruits have to do a set number of dips and heaves during selection like Regs?
No.

Just PFT. We did press ups and sit ups in the drill hall (with the PSI screaming "every man an emporer" top bloke!) and 1.5 mile run around White City.

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#10 Post by fossanova »

plastic wrote:
fossanova wrote:Do 4 Para recruits have to do a set number of dips and heaves during selection like Regs?
No.

Just PFT. We did press ups and sit ups in the drill hall (with the PSI screaming "every man an emporer" top bloke!) and 1.5 mile run around White City.
Thanks for the info.

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#11 Post by plastic »

fossanova wrote:
plastic wrote:
fossanova wrote:Do 4 Para recruits have to do a set number of dips and heaves during selection like Regs?
No.

Just PFT. We did press ups and sit ups in the drill hall (with the PSI screaming "every man an emporer" top bloke!) and 1.5 mile run around White City.
Thanks for the info.
No dramas. Which Coy are you looking to join?

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#12 Post by fossanova »

plastic wrote:
fossanova wrote:
plastic wrote: No.

Just PFT. We did press ups and sit ups in the drill hall (with the PSI screaming "every man an emporer" top bloke!) and 1.5 mile run around White City.
Thanks for the info.
No dramas. Which Coy are you looking to join?
Well since I'm a Londoner 10 Coy. My fitness is pretty good but I'm shite at heaves so I was a bit worried, now I've got time to work on that. Can't wait for the PSI to start bursting my ear drums, sounds like loads of fun!

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#13 Post by plastic »

fossanova wrote:
plastic wrote:
fossanova wrote: Thanks for the info.
No dramas. Which Coy are you looking to join?
Well since I'm a Londoner 10 Coy. My fitness is pretty good but I'm shite at heaves so I was a bit worried, now I've got time to work on that. Can't wait for the PSI to start bursting my ear drums, sounds like loads of fun!
Will you be at WC or Croydon? I personally wouldn't worry about heaves etc, just get some Fartlek/HIIT runs in. As for the PSI, he is one of the best instructors that I have ever had, a top bloke, knows his stuff and is a credit to The Parachute Regiment.

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#14 Post by fossanova »

plastic wrote:
fossanova wrote:
plastic wrote: No dramas. Which Coy are you looking to join?
Well since I'm a Londoner 10 Coy. My fitness is pretty good but I'm shite at heaves so I was a bit worried, now I've got time to work on that. Can't wait for the PSI to start bursting my ear drums, sounds like loads of fun!
Will you be at WC or Croydon? I personally wouldn't worry about heaves etc, just get some Fartlek/HIIT runs in. As for the PSI, he is one of the best instructors that I have ever had, a top bloke, knows his stuff and is a credit to The Parachute Regiment.
Sounds like a top bloke.

As soon as I get into tip top shape I'm heading to White City. Is there any difference between going to either Coydon or WC?

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#15 Post by plastic »

WC is the Rifle Coy, Croydon is the Mortar Platoon.

Good luck.

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