When the teams had finished, they were speed marched back to the barracks and everyone was ordered into ranks as the Corporals and Sergeant gathered around to collate their marks. After all the effort, this was it. The Sergeant walked purposefully to the front and cleared his throat. He explained there were three grades. Elite pass, marginal pass and fail. Without messing about, he read the name of each recruit out and their grade. Steve closed his eyes and breathed evenly. It had all come down to this.
“Nobody… elite pass!!”
Steve listened with a deep sense of relief. After everyone’s names had been read out, the failed recruits were gathered together and led away. Steve stood in the group which had passed and the instructors congratulated them all. The very next day, training continued as the recruits focussed on stripping and putting weapons back together. They spent time on the ranges and fired rifles, sub-machine guns and the larger general purpose machine guns. After a military exercise which involved learning how to attack and defend positions, it was the end of the course. On an open, windswept parade ground, a senior officer walked down a line of men and awarded each their maroon berets. Steve put his beret on and marched away with the other soldiers to join the regiment.
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