Alex’ Mother, the Charity’s Director of Care Pauline Shaw, tells how the latest phase in her rehabilitation following a pelvic stress injury involved a two-day exercise!
Last week Alex and the whole of her flight were involved in a two-day exercise, which gave a small insight into some of the aspects of ‘Exercise Blue Warrior’, the four-day exercise undertaken on the basic training, although at a much slower pace to accommodate the fact that everyone participating is undertaking a rehabilitation programme.
The two weeks prior to that she took part in lessons to prepare for the exercise, such as how to speak correctly over the radio and some basic first aid. There were a few people, such as Alex, not yet able to be involved in the whole exercise and therefore they were not able to carry bags, walk the distances with the rest of the group, or sleep out overnight. The aim of the scenario-based exercise was to ensure the safe landing of a light aircraft carrying sensitive information. As the day unfolded they found out that the aircraft had been ‘shot down’ and some information stolen by ‘the enemy’ (who were played by four members of the group). Alex and one other female recruit were acting the part of casualties from the crash; the other girl had cuts over her arms, some glass sticking into wounds, and a neck injury. Alex had a bad bruise on her neck and a large burn blister on her arm. Their simulated injuries were produced using clever makeup techniques. They had to yell out for help and act injured when the groups of rescuers came along. From her description of events, Alex seems to have got very much into her acting role!
Lunch was RAF issue ration packs, which she didn’t think were as bad as they have been made out to be! After lunch they ‘camed up’ – by putting cameo paint on their faces and were then told to hide out in the trees and grass. For this they split into two groups – the observation group, and those who were hiding. Alex was convinced she hadn’t concealed herself very well, but she wasn’t found – even though they had binoculars! After that they created model maps, which are made to create a 3D version of the map in order to show the lay of the land better. To do this, they used sticks, moss, rocks and anything else found around – as long as there’s a key and everyone understands it!
Alex reports that it was a really fun day and she was sad to have to leave the group later that afternoon to return to the barrack block – although at least she was able to have a shower and a warm bed!
The next morning they walked around where the group had done their night time watch of the enemy, had their final lunch from the ration packs and set off back to base.
It was a fun and interesting couple of days, and she hopes next time to be much more involved. She enjoyed acting out her part as a casualty and must have been very convincing as both groups that dealt with her said they were genuinely worried about her! She always was a bit of an actress – missed the chance to become Hermione Granger (in Harry Potter) – so maybe it’s time now to apply for that Equity Card!
Well done Alex, and keep up the good work in your rehab programme – I know that you are getting stronger every day.