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As a registered supporter of Defence Force Reserves Raine & Horne Darwin gets an invite every year to pack a member or two of our Management Team off to do an exercise with the combined Defence Services in the NT called Executive Stretch.

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Having completed this three day course a few years back I am very aware of it’s ability to test the fitness levels of all participants. Because I was so willing to share my experiences with the team upon my return there has always been a certain amount of hesitancy in getting them to agree to participate in the course.

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It is a challenging experience however one that I found to be very rewarding and this year I was fortunate that two of my Team signed up, waived their personal safety insurance and dived in to become weekend warriors.

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My Assistant General Manager, Ilyse Elphick led the way and was joined by rising star Business Development Manager, Natasha Bland.

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The course commences with being decked out in your Army fatigues, allocated a bunk and then having a few beers to relax….sounds pretty straight forward.

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Day 1 sees you up at the crack of dawn for a gruelling PT session with the Australian Navy, followed by learning to march on your way to the pools where you are thrown in to do a swim test so that you are fit to access the Navy boats. This includes learning how to board the Rapid Response Boats from the water which is an understatement to say it’s challenging.

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Off you go to the Patrol Boats then the real thing riding the waves on a Rapid Response craft where you get another chance to drown. Now you are headed to see the fly boys in the RAAF.

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Another PT session in the pool in full kit whilst they try to drown you again followed by leadership games which involve being blindfolded, jumping in tyres and hanging upside down on poles suspended in the air….Most people do 2 workouts a week and now you have completed 2 before 3pm.

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No time to rest you will have to dry off in the beautiful 90% humidity of Darwin whilst you delicately disarm a bomb in the full bomb suit or alternately drive a big claw connected a mini mechanical tractor…..bomb….golf ball on a traffic cone….sounds the same when you say it quick.

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By now you are pretty tired so the best bet would be to get you to have a break which means set up your swag so you can get saturated in the thunderstorm tonight or alternately struck by lightening before you get 15 minutes to cook up a stew that was stored in a ration pack in 1935…..Yum Yum….I’m feeling reenergised.

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So I better run through the bush wearing night vision goggles before jumping in an ASLAV where I can simulate blowing up terrorists for a bit. Let’s face it…fatigue sharpens my skills. Great replies the Sargent…..you will need that when we hit the wets in a minute and fire the machine guns??? Targets should be pretty safe!

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Day 2 after 8 hours of deathlike collapse under the stars listening to the dulcet tones of 8 men snoring in chorus…the girls were ready to go. Which was good as they could get stuck into another PT Session which involved hand to hand combat, defence moves and other coordinated killing manoeuvres.

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Just in case you are afraid of heights lets climb this cliff face….ooops the ladder is broken….better jump off hanging by a rope? Not good enough Ilyse….do it upside down. OK that’s enough of relaxing. Grab that Steyr and we are off to the range to fire some real bullets….I think we have fatigued you enough that you are ready for that?

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Back to base, clean up, grab a beer and listen to the band…..sound good?

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Ilyse “Absolutely amazing. I had a great time!”

Tash “That was friggin AWESOME!”

Much the same as my comments. We cannot recommend it highly enough. I spoke with a 5 year reservist when I did Executive Stretch and he told me that I had just completed every fun thing to do in the 3 services. He had not even done all the things I did that day with the Army in the 5 years he was signed up.

Way to go…..Value for money! It’s FREE!