13 May 2024

How I became a training centre instructor

A training centre instructor went to Ukraine as a volunteer with no intention of going to war. Specifically for the regiment's press office, he talked about his daily life and work at the training centre, and how he became an instructor.

I was very exhausted after the battle

I am of Ukrainian nationality and originally came to Ukraine as a volunteer. I had no intention of fighting. But when I crossed the border I had problems with my Belarusian passport. And I realised that there were no other options and that I needed more than just volunteering. I knew that recruits were being recruited at the 'Belarusian House' in Warsaw. And there I found out that I had joined the Kalinouski Regiment. I was probably the only one of the boys who didn't know anything.

As it happened, when we finished the four-week training programme, our neighbours were not far away. Their brigade was in the process of being formed. Many recruits but no instructors. We met with them and got a request: teach the boys what we had just learned. Basic weaponry, basic tactics. Me and another guy trained them, and I thought, 'Man, I like this, this is cool.

And later, after I had done a combat mission, I was very exhausted. There were a lot of wounded. I know some guys leave the service after that. But I wanted to stay and help. And it just so happened that the training centre needed instructors. And I thought, 'Why not give it a try? At that time I didn't know all the difficulties, that it's a constant work on yourself. When recruits go on holiday, you sit down and take notes, read literature, watch videos and constantly learn something new.

Almost a hotel. What the training centre looks like now

The process of training recruits has changed a lot, now it can really be called a training centre. I'm not even talking about the living conditions, because the living conditions the recruits have here now are the best the regiment has ever had. There used to be 17 people sleeping in one room. Or 13 in a small room. Now they're almost hotel rooms.

First of all, I'm talking about the training process. When I was training, we had one instructor for all disciplines except tactical medicine. We had no lectures at all. We came to class and were given weapons immediately. There were questions that came up during the course and for each one we were told to do a push-up from the floor. So I had to learn everything on the fly.

It's different now. At the training centre, recruits are given a base, a skeleton of the knowledge they need. And on the firing range, they build muscle on that skeleton as they put the knowledge into practice and gain additional skills.

The daily training routine is as follows. Get up at six in the morning. Exercise for about 20-25 minutes, then morning toilet. If there is an opportunity to take a shower, drink tea or coffee. Then training and formation, where the training plan for the day is drawn up. Food, first breakfast. And classes start around nine o'clock. Lessons continue until lunch break, about an hour, up to two. Lunch break, 40 minutes and the second part of the class.

Recruits on an obstacle course at the training center

At best, recruits are released at six o'clock in the evening. At worst, they are released at half past eight or even closer to nine. Then there's evening formation, and at ten o'clock it's time to go to bed. By this time, the conscripts usually want to sleep. And if they don't, the main thing is not to disturb others.

Recruits on an obstacle course at the training center

Recruits at medical evacuation trainings

You've been properly trained. How recruits say thank you

The most unexpected feedback I received from recruits was a hookah as a gift.  But it turns out that none of our instructors smoke. So it just sits there waiting for its time. Recruits often say thank you. And it is very nice to go to the training ground after the training centre and be praised for something.

And also a very cool feedback that nobody gives. But you see it yourself when new, yesterday's citizens come in and don't quite understand what's going on around them. And then four weeks later you see people that you know exactly what kind of emergency you'd want him to be there for. It's great, it's great.

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