Patrick O'Hara - Arrival at Puckapunyal

Running time
2 min 26 sec

Department of Veterans' Affairs

Getting of the bus at Pucka it was just go, go, go. Get your uniforms, big piles of shirts and trousers and boots, running around putting things down.

Sergeant coming in and one of the first things he said was "You're going to make this bed, you fellows. You know, you don't have your mothers now". It was just all shock or just running around. You look around and other blokes were doing it. You do it too, you know. Nah, it was firm instructions.

Once we got our own sergeant and once we got the hut, then the yelling started but at the beginning, these were professional, hard-nosed scary sergeants who barked orders and didn't look at you, looked through you, so it was just a case of you do as you are told and you do it quickly and everybody is beside you. It's a real system, you didn't get time to sit around and think, "Will I take one of those? Will it fit?" They fitted you out, gave you the right size, it was a well-oiled machine that got you through that process very quickly so they could get into the army bit.

Organising it, being told everything had to be put up like this and "I want you in this gear in half an hour" and that's what happened. You got of the bus and didn't just wait around for something to happen. We snapped it all off and put on the gear and you're wondering whether you've got the right gear or not and you're watching blokes and the next minute we're out for a run. They got us active very very quickly and then they came back and the sergeant walked up and down the hut and just yelled at us, where to put your shirt, where to put your trousers, how to do your socks, and then have a shower and ready for the, line up outside the canteen in half and hour.

I did feel that panic, that stress level come but I was just totally focussed on not, well not being a dill, I suppose, not being the one who says "I can't do this", you know.

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