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How to prepare for a Wstrn Bde PNCO's Course

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  • How to prepare for a Wstrn Bde PNCO's Course


    I am going on this eyars PNCO's course and I have a few questions

    1) what gear should i bring?
    2) Will i be allowed to use my own kit 9PLCE webbing etc)
    3) Is there much of a fitness aspect (ie: running etc.)
    4) Is it necessary to attend field days prior to the course or could you learnt everything if you got a hold of the material and manuals
    5) How long does it take to actuall become a Corporal
    6) Do you do any on the ground/tactical training on the course?
    7) Do you do any shooting on the course?
    8) The 19th Bn. are running it, where are they from and what are they like?

    Any answers to these questions are appreciated.


  • #2
    what gear should i bring?
    anything issued, lots of writing material

    Will i be allowed to use my own kit 9PLCE webbing etc)
    Only issued kit is allowed in theory

    Is there much of a fitness aspect (ie: running etc.)
    In the east last year they were made do IT2000, two passed!

    Do you do any on the ground/tactical training on the course?
    lots you better be fit

    The 19th Bn. are running it, where are they from and what are they like?

    HQ in roscommon, all have shinny glowing necks!!!

    Courses do vary from command to command even though they shouldnt so i may be well off the mark

    hope thats of some use
    You're even dumber than I tell people

    You might have been infected but you never were a bore


    • #3
      Can't deal with the specifics of the Western Brigade course (not being from the west) but I can answer some points.

      What to bring (Tactical, which probably will not be issued to you):
      Compass & Map of tactical area
      Notebook (waterproof)
      Pencils (sharpened both ends)
      Spare rations and spare hexi
      Extra water bottles
      Multi-tool and/or swiss army knife
      Clear Zip-lock bags
      Torch (with complete set of filters)
      Mess Tins
      Cup (one of those insulated ones that keep your coffee hot for ages)
      If you can get your hands on one, the army sleeping kit
      Gloves (leather)
      Bush Hat
      Skip Cap (wolly hat - black)

      What to bring (Non- Tactical)
      Paper (lots, A4 type)
      Pens (lots, red, blue, green, black)
      Overhead overlays plus markers
      Folders plus plastic pocket inserts
      Tracing paper
      Small pocket notebook
      Thumb tacks &/or bluetack

      Should I bring PLCE webgear
      Bring both, in case you get the option to the wear the plce.

      How long does it take to become a corporal.
      The day you are published in routine orders plus one year on the job training or your first **** up, whichever comes first (I presume your are talking about when you really become a corporal not when you get the stripes)


      • #4

        Foot Powder, A good first aid Kit (Savlon, plasters, etc.) Spare Boot Polish, Even extra Socks, sun cream, Highlighter Markers (as well as black blue red etc.) Any extra issue gear you can get your hands on. Washing powder (Ariel Liquid also can come in handy) Lots of spare batteries. A small electric lamp (for those late nite lesson plans) try and get Pre formatted balnk lesson plans and photcopy them, (can come in handy). a Decent Iron.

        Have you got a Trailer???

        You can leave the Laptop and home enterntainment system at home!!

        Friends Come and Go, but Enemies accumulate!!


        • #5
          Thanks for the advice guys....any more advice people have is welcome.

          The list is pretty comprehensive, should form a checklist for me when i go.

          As for the suncream, as the camp is in Donegal I dont think i would need it!

          One question; Do you normally shoot on this course and also, how important is it to attend field days beforehand? Could you learn the same if you got your hands on the learning material?


          • #6
            The other guys covered much of what I would have suggested to you except for a few extra items.

            Know how to read a map a compass, the more confident you are with the map and compass the easier you will find the tactics IMHO.

            Bring both sets of webbing if you can find room for them, I doubt that you will be allowed wear PLACE unless everyone on the course has been issued with them. Check your joining instructions it should tell you what webbing to bring.

            Check out the RDFRA website for the Irish words of command and their translation, try to learn off as much as you can.

            The training material can certainly be studied before the course but you won't really learn it until you put it into action, such as MOI's and skills involved in leading a section. Everyone has their own style and the more you practice it, the easier and better you skills will be. This is where those extra weekends will pay-off practice, practice, practice.

            Try to talk to someone in your unit who has recently completed their PNCO's Cse, the standard should be the same no matter where you do the course so they will be a valuable source of information as to what to expect.

            Remember you will be watched from the word go for every little thing that you do, how do you fit into a team, can you take command etc. Always remember that young recruits or gunners (oopps sorry Privates) will be looking up to you to see how it should be done, at all times you must show your juniors and peers how it should be done in you dress, your skills etc. they will try to match you level, if you set a low level you will get a low standard of soldier!!! And besides you don’t want to be another PNCO on the Cse, you want to be THE PNCO.


            Sorry for going on a bit there but if we can instil a sense of professionalism and set high standards for our Junior NCOs then they will teach that to our new recruits and as the NCOs advance through the rank structure they will bring those high standards with them. Best of luck on the course - Oh! And most of all have fun!!! :D


            • #7
              Try and liberate some rain gear if you dont already have it
              Last edited by Big Al; 14 January 2003, 15:26.
              You're even dumber than I tell people

              You might have been infected but you never were a bore


              • #8
                In Finner the main thing you get is ****in windburn...last time I was there my face was red...all that salt air and sand blowing into your face doesnt help!

                I will do my best to strike as high a standard as I can but as for attending weekends etc, my home unit is 5 hours away and field days take place usually on Sundays so i dont know if i cna make them or not...i will do my best though.

                I am looking forward to this course as everyone who is there is actually there for the training, no beer muppets who just want some money and a weeks drinking. Dont get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a good session but sure, we can do that every weekend in ordinary life....whats the point in spending every night you ar ein camp on the sauce? I always find you ejoy it more if you save it up for the final night!

                I will need to speak to our Coy QM to see what the craic is with Wet gear...I expect he will give me some. last course i was on, the COY supplied everything and we took our gear down to the base with us as opposed to getting it issued down there. the only thing we got issued were helmet covers and rations (oh....and ammo as well!)

                out of people who have done this course recently, what in your opinion is the hardest part of the course? Do the people training you have a bit of a Full metal jacket Drill sergeant notion in there head?


                • #9
                  I take it your in dublin if your home unit is 5 hours away, what about trying to get a place on the east bde course, I dont know if thats possible but if it was it may take some of the travel stress away!
                  You're even dumber than I tell people

                  You might have been infected but you never were a bore


                  • #10
                    It's hard enough to get a Spot on the EBDE Cse without transferring in from the West. It Just Wont Happen.

                    I knw I forgot Something.. Vaseline (Dont Laugh) Lots of it ICUN this will help against windburn, You migh also want to put it on your Arms, Torso, and thighs to Stop Heat rash and Friction Rashes,
                    Friends Come and Go, but Enemies accumulate!!


                    • #11
                      Finner PNCO Cse

                      I think the lads have covered nearly everything in previous posts. Remember, teamwork is everything. Help your mates when they are having difficulty - there are no individuals in the field.

                      If you can get the time I would advise you to attend the field days and weekend training. If not, get the notes and ask your cadre about anything you’re not sure of. Know all the MOI stuff and the section battle drills etc. If possible familiarise yourself with the manuals (Weapons, Tactics, Fieldcraft) and concentrate on the likely lessons.

                      Know the ‘Screed’ (the correct sequence of instruction for section drill) and be able to recite it verbatim. It is essential for the course.

                      Know your weapons inside out. If you do not pass your TOETs with a high standard at the beginning of the course you might find yourself in the Cookhouse for the fortnight!

                      Draw your webbing (58 Pattern) the week before the course and invest time in adjusting it correctly. Bring strong black insulating tape. The 58 patt will get loose and you will need to constantly fiddle round with it. Even if you don’t need it someone else will. Clean out your mess tins, canteen, etc, etc with scalding water.

                      Have a very good deep polish on your parade boots. Have your combat boots spotlessly clean but do not have a shine on them. Bring spare bootlaces. Anything like that you can do to save yourself time before the course is useful. You will be under enough pressure on the course without having to spend time at things that could have been prepared beforehand.

                      If you can borrow a spare Combat Jacket, Shirt, trousers beforehand then do that. You will be expected to look presentable at all times even if you’ve spent the morning out in the field. Bring a nailbrush for scrubbing your kit. Get as many t-shirts as possible from your unit. There are washing facilities in Finner but the last camp I was on there only PDF were allowed use them.

                      Start working on your fitness now. Run for a while, do some press-ups, sit-ups etc and you will be fine. If you can find a quiet spot try running in your boots. Not only will it improve your fitness and get you used to your boots but also it will help better prepare you for the tactics section of the course.

                      If the course is like last years course in Castlebar you will be allowed to wear stripes as an Acting Corporal after you pass out on the last day of the course. Check with your unit about this.

                      The 19 Bn are from Roscommon/Sligo area and are a good unit, but like every unit in the army they have their fair share of w****rs.

                      There is usually no shooting on the course but you will get plenty blanks and pyros to play with.

                      Put serious consideration into doing the Cse in the Eastern Brigade. I did it there and it was a very well run and enjoyable course, and two lads from Dublin did the Castlebar course last year. You do not have to transfer to an E Bde unit - simply explain your situation to the Cadre in Donegal and there should be little problem.

                      Best of luck and enjoy the course!
                      Last edited by Guest; 14 January 2003, 15:46.


                      • #12
                        Thanks again for the advice....

                        Regarding manuals. I have been in the FCA since 1997 and I have not once seen or read an official DF manual. Does anyone know where I could get them or would anyone have some stuff they could scan and email to me or photocopy and send (I could provide my army number as proof that I am legit)

                        Being in Dublin when your home unit is in Donegal is a pain in the arse and adds to any hassle. Normally, I could attend field days on a Sunday but if I am working on monday I will have to travel down to Dub on the Sunday night....hopefully I will get to attend as many as possible though.

                        Another thing occured to me, is there any chance of using the TESS equipment on the course? I have yet to use it but I reckon it would make any tactical excercise over the two weeks far better, more realistic etc.


                        • #13
                          Don’t worry about manuals at your level, too many think having one imparts mystical knowledge,

                          - it doesn't.

                          Photocopy a good set of notes from other NCO's / PNCO's

                          (not the whole folder, JUST the 'need to knows', see below)

                          Learn and PRATICE, ONLY the following upside down, inside out, back to front

                          (- believe me it will be more than enough for now)

                          (1) The screed
                          (2) MAIN Irish words of command - (not as easy as you think its going to be)
                          (3) NB. Section battle drills (make some little tac aides short, simple and clear)
                          (4) Section commanders orders (tac aides aswell)
                          (5) Learn the BASIC lesson plans on the styer, and have a good lesson plan on each for yourself

                          You will of course cover a lot more than the above, but the rest is more easily absorbed on course, so don’t worry about it, if you want a rough idea what’s in store, ask your Q for the standard syllabus for a PNCO course, or even get a programme from a previous course, they are all fairly similar, though each unit has their own slightly different styles and quirks when they run it.

                          (by the way you’ll find that everyone thinks THEIR course was the best one that was ever run in the history of the state)

                          If know the above, you can top the course, and it can be done on your own bat, however do at least one prelim weekend, it is invaluable as you can meet your comrades, put into practice skills, and get the lie of the land (instructors and required standards)

                          Spend the rest of your spare time getting your kit ready (LESS IS MORE)
                          amount depends on if you have a car with you, if you do, bring what you want, if not bring BARE MINIMUM, the rest can be bought in Bundoran if by chance you need it.


                          You wont have any time for range practice on the course.

                          A really good course might have TESS (by no means essential for good tactics by the way), but it is serious major admin work for any unit cadre to obtain and requires its own PDF minders,
                          -so I'd say unlikely.

                          Forget about wet gear, (except trusty poncho of course) wet gear is for a nice comfy relaxed day on the range (and you wont be having one of those), it’s useless for tactics.

                          In case your sleeping out alot, bring some bungees, a few tent pegs, and a kip mat (use will become apparent if you don’t already know)

                          From my experience 19th will allow PLCE (but it does feel a bit like cheating)
                          Whatever you use, have it well fitting and prepared before the course.

                          Above all don’t worry, a lot of the lads will turn up with none of the above preparation done, and suffer for two weeks, but even they will manage to get through it (barring misbehavior, or lack of effort)

                          The PNCO's is one of the most enjoyable courses you will ever do.

                          Good luck.


                          • #14
                            can i find a copy of the screed any where on line ?


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sideshow Bob
                              Forget about wet gear, (except trusty poncho of course) wet gear is for a nice comfy relaxed day on the range (and you wont be having one of those), it’s useless for tactics.

                              Good luck. [/B]
                              I have to disagree with this one..the poncho is absolutely useless if you have anything more than a gentle breeze. You will be out on the ground for at least 48 hours..if the weather is good then your raingear is an unnecessary load..if however it is not..and as we know,Ireland,and the West is known for occasional light showers..then you will be glad to have them. Every unit has a poll of the new type raingear,ask for them. Your unit should also be providing you with the manuals you require.

                              The Joining instructions will give a list of the equipment you require..Bring everything they tell you to bring. Failing to do so because you felt you didnt need it will mean that you will instead Be given, for example, raingear that neither fits you,or is capable of protecting you from the elements.
                              Your choice...bringing something you may not need,or having to use something useless cos you left something more suitable at home.

                              Last time I was in roscommon it was pretty miserable..also remember that the poncho as advised by the last poster, will at some stage be used for a bivvy. How do you shelter from the rain once your poncho is in tent mode?
                              Waterproofing the DPMs is an option..but I havent heard anything positive from anybody who has done it..they are not willing to take the risk.

                              Then again...You pack it,you carry it...Your choice..

                              Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.