IOT 2009 Offers Up 96 Officer Cadets
10 March 2009
By OCDT Jack Seabrook
Few people would consider standing to attention an achievement.
However Tuesday 17th February few could have been prouder than the friends and family of the graduating Initial Officer Training (IOT) class of 2009. Coming from throughout New Zealand, and as far abroad as Munich, Germany, this year’s officer cadet trainees proved that they not only had what it takes but that they could lead, follow and perform together to a notable standard.
LTCOL John Coleman, whose daughter OCDT Leigh Coleman has completed her Initial Officer Training, was one of several military parents who helped attach gorgets to trainees at the Waiouru ceremony. WN-09-0001-92.
Recently appointed Associate Minister of Defence, Heather Roy reviewed the day’s parade, which also doubled as the graduation for the 2009 Territorial Force Commissioning Course (TFCC) class. Under the watchful eye of the DCA BRIG Phil Gibbons and with help from high ranking proud parents from both the Army and Navy, gorgets were attached to show the trainees’ entrance into the New Zealand Corps of Officer Cadets.
The parade proved to be a fine finish to six intensive weeks of training that shocked the trainees out of their civilian habits and made them ready for their future roles in the Army. After quickly adapting to rising early and zipping through breakfast, the trainees were often training until late evening and enjoying every moment of it.
Particular favourites of the course proved to be learning and honing skills on the IW Steyr and the C-9, and using Waiouru Camp’s Weapons Training Simulator which enabled speedy and quality learning of weapons usage while also allowing the trainees to know exact shooting statistics.
Despite the appeal and enjoyment of the initial training, most trainees had their minds thoroughly set on the centrepiece of IOT, Exercise Maadi, their first real contact with fieldcraft.
Split into sections of twelve, trainees delved into soldiering skills, learning the humility of digging a shell scrap late at night or the finer points of trading ration pack meals. More advanced tasks such as a night exercise on avoiding detection from night vision goggles proved to be a favourite. A day of live firing in Long Valley gave the trainees another chance to test themselves in pairs’ manoeuvres and twenty-three lucky trainees had the opportunity to set up and fire live claymores.
An explosively good experience produced a total of 96 enthusiastic officer cadets, 50 of whom will now continue on to New Zealand Commissioning Course and hopefully graduate by year’s end; others will return to Waiouru after a year with their Territorial Force Battalion; and the rest will join the Kippenberger Class at Linton Camp. Though only a small taste of experiences the Army offers, IOT proved to be exhilarating for all and only the first step in many military careers.