Soldiers tough it out for their Skippy

21 May 2024

Exercise Hardcorps, the culminating activity for trainees at the School of Infantry in Singleton, NSW, pushed members of Long Tan Platoon to the limit.

Private Thomas Campanella said it tested their readiness.

“It’s very physically and mentally demanding, that’s for sure,” Private Campanella said.

“You’re already so tired, so it’s a challenge to make even simple decisions. However, working with your teammates, you get the job done. I really enjoyed it.”

Beginning at midnight, the soldiers took part in a number of arduous activities, including carrying jerry cans, long pack marches, run-and-shoot drills and assault courses.

For Private Jarrod Ross, the jerry can carry was the toughest part – carrying eight jerry cans over a 4km course with a team of 12.

“It’s pretty hectic,” Private Ross said.

“You’re exhausted and in pain. You start to cramp up. But I wasn’t going to stop.

“A lot of things in life you don’t have to earn. This you do have to earn. That’s what makes it so valuable.”

School of Infantry instructors use Exercise Hardcorps to test the trainees’ resilience and the incorporation of knowledge gained from their course.

Platoon Commander of Long Tan Platoon Lieutenant James Robinson said the exercise was a tough challenge.

“When they first come in, they’re scared and unsure,” Lieutenant Robinson said.

“As the exercise goes on, you can see they gain confidence, and at the end of it, they are real soldiers.”

Finishing the exercise by 10am, 45 exhausted yet ecstatic soldiers were allowed to clean up before being presented with their ‘Skippy badges’ – marking them as fully qualified to join the Infantry Corps.

“Presenting their Skippy badges is really rewarding,” Lieutenant Robinson said.

“Infantry is the best corps in the Army. All the hard training we do makes you into a good person and a good soldier.”

Private Thomas Campanella said finishing the course was an amazing feeling.

“Everyone was high-fiving each other,” he said.

“What kept me going was my desire to get the Skippy – to call my parents and tell them I succeeded.”

To find out more about the roles and capabilities of Infantry Soldier, head to ADF Careers.



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