Lieutenants and sergeants were put to the test on a series of resilience activities at Gallipoli Barracks recently, with 8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment’s Exercise Ramsilience.
CAPTION: Sergeant Peter Byrnes, from the 8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, checks his notes during Exercise Ramsilience at Gallipoli Barracks, Brisbane. Photo by Trooper Jonathan Goedhart. Story by Captain Taylor Lynch.
Exercise Ramsilience gave participants the perception of ‘no end in sight’ and nothing but each other to get through the ordeal.
Only told a time and place, the four-day experience saw junior officers and platoon sergeants conduct physically demanding fitness sessions and mentally draining decision-making activities, all while navigating through varied terrain with little sleep.
Lieutenant Simon O’Hara was one of the ‘lucky’ participants and thought the experience was invaluable as a tool for building solidarity in his team.
“The experience greatly increased team cohesion across the unit for those who participated,” Lieutenant O’Hara said.
“Deploying on a field exercise is always a great way to reinforce purpose, develop rapport and get to know one another through shared experiences.
“Planning training programs with my platoon sergeant, the ability to conduct a tactical exercise without troops, all while under the pressure of reduced sleep was challenging, but good to get back into some intense training post-COVID-19.”
Lieutenant O’Hara said the activity made participants get outside of their comfort zone.
“The most challenging part of the exercise was the aspect of the unknown, given no information and no end date,” Lieutenant O’Hara said.
“Exercise Ramsilience was one of those rare opportunities within a battalion context where the focus for development lay at a platoon level and nowhere else.
“The time and effort invested in the rifle-company lieutenants and sergeants shows a genuine desire to improve command teams at the platoon level and it was really effective.”
Exercise Ramsilience derived its name from the 8/9RAR mascot, a merino ram officially named John Macarthur IX (after the Australian wool pioneer) but known affectionately to the diggers as Stan the Ram.