Commando for a Day
My girlfriend had bid and won a prize at a charity night, it was for 8 people to spend a day at Holsworthy Army Barracks with Australian Commandos. The Holsworthy Barracks only opens to civilians one day a year and this was it.
We were picked up at my friend’s house bright and early by the troop mini bus and taken to the Georges River.
We arrived at the river to be greeted by an army boat and two soldiers wearing balaclavas. My eyes nearly popped out of my head! I didn’t realise but no Commando can be seen in public in uniform. I was so excited to get on the boat, before I knew it we were zooming up the river going so fast the wind was stinging my eyes.
The Barracks had been given our sizes so waiting for us was a full army uniform that fit perfectly even the boots. For the next 8 hours we were going to be Commandos.
We were buddied up with a Commando my guy was called “Tiger” – he was great. Our first task was to interlock arms and be able to stay on the back of a four wheel drive holding a firearm with body armour, helmets and night vision goggles.
Another mission was to abseil down a building. This was one of my favourite missions and something I never imagined I could do. It took a little while to build up the courage but with Tigers guidance, 15 minutes of deep breathing and sweating I was able to do it. It was such an experience and at times I had to pinch myself to believe it was actually me doing it.
Finally as the day came to an end we had our final mission. Our task was to invade a building that was under attack. We started in bed, had 2 minutes to put all the gear on and get to the location of where the building was under attack and invade it.
This was amazing! My heart was racing, I was sweating, my adrenalin was pumping it actually felt like I was really defending my country. We were running up and down stairs, chasing people, it was dark, very loud, smokey it felt so real. With all the gear on my poor body was aching but you can’t stop you have to keep going – Tiger was unreal he had my back and didn’t leave my side and kept pushing me on until the mission ended.
When the day sadly came to an end we all went and sat on the top of the Barracks where the black hawks land and chatted for hours, it was incredible. I walked to the top of the building hot, sweaty, dirty from the day and so proud of myself for what I had just done and been involved in. My body was sore and bruised from wearing the clothing and equipment all day, it is really heavy but I didn’t care.
We sat and spoke to the Commandos about their experiences, tours to war zones, injuries and sadly the death of mates. It was so inspiring to listen to these men who love their country so much, they leave their families to fight for it. At the same time it was heart breaking to hear and see what they go through for us and our country.
I left Holsworthy Barracks that night with a different view on life. I had always admired and respected our Australian soldiers and appreciated what they did for us and our country.
After spending the day with such incredible men and getting to know some of them personally, it made me even more grateful for what they do for us – it takes a special person. I still think about Tiger and wonder where he is today.
This is why my day at Holsworthy is one of the best days of my life and I will be forever grateful.