Don Spinks - Initial training
Enlistment date effectively was 16th of January 1979, so first day in army. And I joined, took the oath in Sydney at the recruiting office there, and the first night in army was spent at HMAS Watson. So then down to Kapooka, to Wagga Wagga, and then in the middle of summer, three months of training down in the Wagga/Kapooka training area….You were just a general enlist and then after several weeks you were given some aptitude testing.
You know, sit in the classroom and answer those questions, run by the psyches, and then you were given a corps suitability rating, and then those that had choice put their hand up for a particular corps. But I will say that most of us didn't have a clue.
One or two in the platoon had some reserve service or some cadet service, but at the end of the day, we didn't really know. And you took a lot of the lead off your instructors. So you knew what corps they were and you knew their experience. Most of them, in fact, all of them were Vietnam veterans. And you got to, if you had the choice, you'd make a choice or put it down as one, two, three. But it was really service need, and it was what army needed on the day is where you went, basically. I
was selected for Royal Australian Armoured Corps, and my initial employment training was conducted at Puckapunyal at what was then known as Armoured Centre. And we then just joined a queue, waiting for an opportunity to jump on your initial employment course. There were two streams in those days, there was a tank stream or there was a cavalry stream, which was basically mostly APC. And someone flipped a coin for you and you either went heavy or you went light, and I went to the APC stream.