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Thursday, July 4, 2013

My PMA Cadet Years (Cow Year) - Leading A Squad

April 1997

This would be the first of the last few posts as part of my second class cadet experience in the academy.  I was one of the lucky few who were able to survive that far considering many got a hard time with the yearling subjects.  But as I've said, my cadetship story is nearing it's end, for the Lord had a different purpose in my life.  Hope you guys enjoy reading and learn something from my life as a PMA cadet.

1- Given a normal condition, the new class entering PMA is always scheduled to begin on the first day of April.  The acceptance of new recruits in the academy is called  the "reception".  As to the arrival of the class of 2001, our class was officially elevated to the 2nd class rank.  And we took the role of handling the plebes' (new recruits) "summer camp".  I was designated as squad leader of 6 plebes (namely: Cdts. Angeles, Enriquez, Estrada, Panerio, Rodriguez, and Rosete) and 3 yearlings (Cdts. Melo, Suarez and Arojo) back then.  I've given it in detail to make it obvious that I have kept a journal and was not relying in my memory alone.

2- Usually, if you got carried away with the shouting in the reception, you lose your voice.  That's what happened to me, got no voice the whole day.  Good thing no one messed up in my squad that day.  Also, my squad showed good potential in their stamina in running... everyone conquered the preliminary 3 rounds Borromeo field run without breaking a sweat (idiomatically speaking).

5- In the Saturday Inspection, cadets should be at their best: properly shined metal parts and shoes, clean and well-ironed uniform, well shaved, in good posture and condition... in short and simple language: snappy overall.  And the upperclassmen (the squad leaders and their assistants) should be the role model... for in leading, how can you tell your men to do something properly if you can't do it yourself?  Well, most of the time, the plebes got the corrections from the officers inspecting the ranks.  We took notes of their violations and taught them the proper ways, so they would do better next time.  One's squad performance reflects what kind of leadership they have.

9 to 26-  Plebes' Training.  We used exaggeration in molding our plebes back then.  Head up, chin in, brace up, stomach in, march higher and faster than the usual pace, use peripheral vision, fixing things like an OC (Obsessive-Compulsive) person in the fastest way, memorizing lots of things (names, menus, and other plebe knowleges), and the never ending "masi-masi" (physical exercises conducted by an upperclassman)... apart from their basic military training course, were just part of plebes usual day.   These were not made just for inconvenience purposes.  It helped develop cadet's good posture even in a relaxed stage, sharper mind, stronger body and keener senses.

A pose before "commence exercise...".

Foot March.  Through my years in the academy, the series of foot marches might still  be of the same destinations but each time was a unique experience. For at that moment, we were the ones leading the troops and directly responsible for their welfare.

Tired but all smiles for the shot...
The ones smiling were upper class cadets.
Having lunch with my squad.

Birthday.  I celebrated my birthday in the academy the third time.  We had this tradition of plebes (or the lowest ranking in the corps) carrying upperclassmen during victories and celebrations (such as birthdays, graduations, etc.) to the rooms of his mistah(s) or classmates, where the latter could do anything (from tickling to putting shaving cream in your face, etc.) as greeting for such event.  Then the plebes proceed in dunking  the celebrator to a drum filled with water or fountain (for 1st class cadets).  It was a very uncomfortable experience... but tradition is tradition... hehehe.

27- Turnover Ceremony.  I belonged to the first plebe detail (Navy-Air Force group).  It was our turn then to have our hands on training for our chosen branch of service.  And it's the Army's group turn to handle the plebes.

28- It was the start of our Southern Cruise.  It was sort of an on-the-job training for second class cadets.  We met the FOIC (Flag Officer in Command) in the Headquarters of the Philippine Navy (PN) at Roxas Boulevard.  Then went to Cavite, aboard PF11 Raja Humabon (PN ship), where our lectures were held.

29- First time that we wore our working khaki in a field duty.  It was something we don't usually wear as cadets.  The uniforms were specifically designed for cadets who's joining the Philippine Navy.  We were always been mistaken as commissioned officers by enlisted personnel since the only difference we had with them were our PMA insignias.

30- We were given our first "liberty" and spent it with the company of some mistah(s).  It was really an advantage that where ever we go, there was always a mistah (classmate) living nearby, serving as our guide in the place and if lucky enough, a home to stay for the night.  Yahweh bless.

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  1. That's a cool birthday / celebration tradition. I'm sure people are not expectant on their celebrations.

  2. Losing your voice during the reception must have been really hard. It's no joke to communicate using signs there in the camp.

  3. Nice to see the traditions you have at PMA. It would be tough to lose one's voice there I guess.

  4. What a recollection of your past PMA training. I sometime came across with this foreign term, I should say, mistah. It is just simply means "classmate." This adds to my new-found word glossary.

  5. Thanks for sharing your experiences during your cadet years.

  6. yeah tradition is tradition in the field of PMA but as long as you accept this tradition with arms wide open this will be just easy to pass

  7. Are you happy spending birthdays in the academy for three consecutive years already? If I were you, I'd surely miss home. :|

  8. Seeing your pics makes me want to send my brother to PMA too =)

  9. PMA culture is an interesting subject to learn. You've just given us, continually, an idea of your great experiences in the PMS :)