All part time soldiers in the Army must first complete Soldier Training at the Army Recruit Training Centre Kapooka, near Wagga Wagga.
The one page outline of the 35 day part time soldier course is also known as the Reserve Recruit Training Course (RRTC) (PDF, 65KB). This provides recruits and parents a day by day breakdown of the key training events.
Information on the Physical Fitness Assessments can be found on the Army website.
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Background & Outline of the Reserve Recruit Training Course
The 1st Recruit Training Battalion (1 RTB) is part of the Army Recruit Training Centre (ARTC), which is located at Kapooka, just off the Olympic Highway, approximately 10 kms south-west of Wagga Wagga, NSW. 1 RTB is responsible for the basic training and administration of the Australian Army’s recruits prior to them commencing Initial Employment Training (IET) as they move forward with their reserve service within the Australian Defence Force.
The 35 day course is physically challenging and mentally demanding. The course is designed to allow the vast majority of recruits that commence training to progress through and ever increasing level of physical and mental challenges, and to ‘March Out’ on the scheduled date; however, some recruits may be unable to complete their training in the minimum allocated time due to unsatisfactory progress, medical problems or disciplinary issues.
There is limited opportunity for medical rehabilitation, retraining and re-assessment to ensure recruits are given appropriate opportunity to complete their training; however, a small number of recruits are unable to meet the requirements of the course, and are returned to their unit to await another time when they can resume training. A small number of recruits who commence training find that service in the Army is not for them, and will decide not to continue training.
The Australian Government first acquired 878 hectares of land at Kapooka in 1942 to establish an Army Engineer training camp. 1 RTB was raised in November, 1951 and has been in operation in this location ever since. Blamey Barracks, the current permanent camp, was constructed during 1965 and 1966 to cater for the reintroduction on National Service and Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War.
The nature and intensity of the course at 1 RTB leaves little time for recruits to be in regular contact with family and friends; although there are planned periods when phone calls can be made. Training begins early in the morning and continues until late at night, and is seven days a week. The standard recruits must meet is high and requires both male and female to recruits to achieve the standards in the vast majority of tasks. The only exceptions to this are the preliminary and recruit fitness assessments, both of which have different standards for male and female recruits. Although course content may change from time to time to reflect changing training requirements recruits can broadly expect to follow the program below.
Induction ‘week’ is three days, Friday to Sunday, each of which involves full days of training. Recruits are inducted into the Army, and attend a number of lectures on issues such as gender awareness and appropriate behaviour, and personal security and Army safety. Recruits undertake the ‘pre-enlistment fitness assessment’, and are introduced to physical training in the army. They are taught some basic drill movements such as turns and inclines. A high priority is placed on Personal administration during this week to ensure recruits know where and how to clean, maintain and administer themselves, their equipment and the buildings they live in. On the Sunday the recruits attend church and there is the opportunity to access mobile phones.
Induction ‘week’ is a busy three days for recruits; it builds the basic knowledge required for recruits to begin assimilation into the Army and Australian Defence Force. Induction week is stressful for recruits and staff alike. For recruits the tempo is high and many are experiencing culture shock of the change from civilian to military life, home sickness and in many cases anxiety of the unknown ahead. All of these emotions are normal and the Platoon Staff, Padres and mental health professionals at 1 RTB will help them work through these feelings as they build the teams that will see them through training.
The focus for this week of training is learning to effectively use the F88 Austeyr. The week commences with the Army swim test. The recruits are also introduced to endurance marching for physical training. Weapon training focuses on all aspects of the F88 Austeyr, by the end of the week the recruits undertake a summative assessment on this rifle, allowing them to progress effectively and safely to live firing of the weapon in the following week. Recruits are ‘issued’ their initial equipment, which includes the Army Disruptive Pattern Camouflage Uniform (DPCU), physical training uniform and various field equipment, for carry weapons and other items. Recruits are introduced to self-awareness and participate in resilience training with military psychologists and character training with army Chaplains. The week concludes with introductory lessons on the army in-service radio.
Week two is ‘range week’ for the recruits. Physical training concentrates on endurance marching, and recruits participate in the ‘run, dodge, jump’ fitness and agility activity undertaken with the service rifle and wearing ‘marching order.’ The focus for this week of training is learning to effectively use the F88 Austeyr. Recruits are assessed on their skills and knowledge of the F88 before they fire the weapon with live ammunition. This week they spend five days firing on the range, learning and applying the ‘marksmanship principles.’ Towards the end of the week much of the training concentrates on voice procedure and being able to utilise the in-service radio and map reading. A short break is provided mid-week, where the recruits get an afternoon of leave in Wagga Wagga city centre.
Week three develops a recruit’s weapon skills further with the introduction to the basic operations of the F89 Light Support Weapon (LSW), a belt fed automatic weapon carried within a rifle section. Recruits undertake a summative assessment on use of the Army in-service radio skills further, and further training is carried out on navigation skills. Physical training commences with the recruit fitness assessment, and continues with ‘battle strength’ activities. Recruits progress to application shoots of the F88 Austeyr, firing from different positions (standing, sitting, kneeling and using cover for support) and firing at moving targets. They are assessed on operating the F89 Light Support Weapon and ‘live fire’ this weapon. Over the weekend the recruits undertake a two day civilian accredited First Aid course.
Week three concentrates on providing the skills required to operate in a fiend environment. The First Aid training received the previous work is further developed in a military context and LSW assessments are finalised. Early in the week recruits undertake bayonet training as a combat and physical fitness activity along with development of mental resilience on the ‘flying fox’. A confirmatory navigation exercise is conducted along with some battle Physical Training (PT) sessions. Some in-barrack lessons occur on military equipment, fieldcraft and orders to prepare recruits to go ‘out bush’.
The week ends with the recruits deploying to the field environment, where they have theory lessons on patrolling, fieldcraft, navigation and teamwork and then put the theory into practice. Skills that are developed here are an essential component for developing the individual within the team in the field a field environment. During the field training recruits do not have access to phones or other methods of communicate outside their small team. This conditions them to the realities of Army field work in Australia and on operations.
Week four sees the completion of the field exercise, the week is then devoted to ensuring that the finer points of drill, as well as dress and equipment, are as close to perfection as possible in preparation for the march-out parade on Friday. The field exercise culminates with the Kokoda Cup challenge. The Challenge includes all of the values, attributes, skills and knowledge they have been given while at 1 RTB. The final assessment is physically and mentally demanding on the individual and team. On completion of the challenge most recruits are on an emotional high, having been pushed to their limit and, in the vast majority cases, succeeding in the challenge. The remainder of the week is spent rehearsing for the March-Out parade and finalising administrative tasks.
Throughout training, recruits are taught Army’s values of Courage, Initiative, Respect and Teamwork to help their decision making. Other training instils loyalty and honour, physical and moral courage, dedication to duty, compassion and honesty. These values and attributes build the core of the Australian Soldier. Recruits are also taught about safety with equipment, in training and in the environment; they participate in a variety of physical training several times each week, and are given the opportunity to practice their religious beliefs every Sunday.
Assessment is carried out in a variety of ways. Individual performance is noted, and sometimes commented upon, during each lesson. Recruits are regularly given formal counseling and feedback on their performance and progress at regular intervals throughout the course. Formative assessment for many subjects give recruits an indication of how they are performing in an assessment situation and an opportunity to attempt an assessment without consequence if they are unsuccessful. Summative assessment is the final assessment for a particular subject.
The staff at 1 RTB have all been individually selected by their Corps to fill leadership and instructional positions and have successfully passed the Recruit Instructor Course (RIC). These Platoon Commanders, Platoon Sergeants and Section Commanders remain with the platoon for the full 35 days of training. They begin their day at 05:30 in the morning and normally do not finish until 10:30 at night. During the day the Platoon Staff and other support staff deliver lessons, look after the recruits, assess standards, and in the evening spend time assisting in revision and delivering formal lessons. Each member of staff invests heavily in their platoon of recruits with their proudest achievement seeing the recruits march-out in front of their parents.
Completion of the recruit course at 1 RTB is a big achievement and something to be proud of for all those who do so. 1 RTB provides instruction which is both professional and of a high standard. Recruits are pushed hard but are well looked after physically, medically, morally and spiritually, and ready to serve their country in a defence force that is internationally recognised for its high standard of training, commitment and integrity.