Feeling out of place.

Tuesday evening was the first parade evening as 675 (The Rifles) Squadron Army Air Corps. It was a little strange going in to the main hall area and seeing the pale and dark blue notice boards, skirting boards and doors. It made the hall look smaller somehow and I have to be honest that I did not really know what to think of it. I had driven past the flag without giving it a second thought when I drove in through the main gates and had not noticed that the Squadron board was still not in place. I am a little disappointed about the fact that the board is not there as it is not like the Army have not known this was happening well in advance and it seems like there is no identity for the Squadron, something which will be sorted very shortly by all accounts. The troops fell in ready for the first parade and I took my usual place at the rear. The prominent points were relayed to the parade and the evenings lessons were announced and then we were fallen out for the lessons and duties. I went with the recruits to listen to their briefing and followed them on to their PT session.

I was not the fittest of the Battalion when I was able bodied but could achieve the tasks and duties I was presented with. I would also train with the recruits to encourage them along and whilst I was not the most eager to go for a run, it was not an enjoyable thing to do, rather a necessity but I would as it was important to be able to do the job that you are employed to do but despite this it is really hard for me to watch the troops train as I am unable to participate. Never in my life did I think that I would be jealous of people doing sit ups, press ups and running! The evening ended with us toasting each other in to the new Squadron, I of course was simply toasting their new Squadron as I was not allowed to transfer. Throughout the night I was thinking, and to an extent remembering how things used to be before when I was able bodied and then since my return in a wheelchair. Tonight though was different, tonight I was a member of The Rifles, nothing had changed for me on the Battalion front but it seemed that everything had changed with regards to my being at Taunton. How was I to be any part of the recruit training team when they would be AAC? I would be a visiting NCO with no real job and for the first time in 13 years of being in uniform, I felt uncomfortable. I felt as if I should be somewhere else and it was not because the troops did not speak to me but more because I had no purpose.

I drove home wondering if it is time to stop parading at Taunton and go to Exeter which would not be as simple as it sounds, whether to keep parading there and roll with it, to turn up rarely and wait to see the outcome of my medical or to simply hang the boots up. This is something that I honestly did not think would come up but I cannot begin to explain how it has been going round in my head and confusing it is. The biggest confusion is how the Company could be so different now it is a Squadron. On the final parade I listened in envy at the briefing of their exercise this coming weekend where they will be embarking on an airframe and flying to the exercise location and after working with the airframes all weekend will then be returning by airframe. As I have said previously, I loved the infantry and soldiering in general but wanted to work with aircraft from when I was a young boy so to have the Company swap to a Squadron and not be able to be a part of it is frankly a kick in the nuts. Guess though that it could be worse.

Goodnight all.


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