RFA - the new divide...?

beer_bosun

Lantern Swinger
#1
I have just completed my latest BSSC (Basic Sea Survival Course) and am happy to report that it seems (to me at least) that the divide between RN/RNR on courses seems to have completed dissappated. Throughout the course, the RN lads didn't realise I was a reservist nor did I play the "I'm a reservist" card or utter those words which really piss me off when (some, not all) experienced reservists use them, the "I don't know what I'm doing" (without even trying) comments.

It wasn't until day 3 during a stand easy when we were talking about what "ships" we were going back to that they realised. I guess a comfy office in London which didn't start with HMS gave it away. It was then that I came out and said, "yep, I was a reserve". Armed with this knowledge, absolutely nothing changed - we chatted for a little while about what I do civvie side before getting back and cracking on with the job and taking the piss out of each other as we had done for the previous few days.

Being such a salty sea dog, and it being my 3rd BSSC they newer guys were happy to look to me for dit rustling about what was coming next on course and I was happy to give them a heads up with the warning that of course things might have changed. The course itself was made up of mostly RN and RFAs with a handful or RNRs for good measure.

Bizzarely, the divide on the course was not between RN v RNR but RN(inc RNR) v RFA. It seemed with every evolution there was a RFA guy with a major major snag about something, be it the escape chute, the sea survival (which I hold my hands up to, I was very panicky on for some reason this time), the DRUI or the fire fighting. I'd normally put it to first time nerves but the impression I got was that they were simply not prepared for what they were going to do and more importantly were not listening to what they were being told. I lost count how many times we had to rebrief some of the RFA guys.

I nearly pissed my pants when during a centre feed fire fighting drill, I was the attack party with the extinguishers, and the RFA guy didn't want to come in with the centre feed because he would "get me wet"... Err hello, the ship is on fire...

All through the course it reminded me of the days when we were the whipping boys on courses. Hurrah for progress...
 

beer_bosun

Lantern Swinger
#3
danny said:
Sleep well knowing that if the RFA hadnt been on course you would still have been the whipping boys :p (joke)
It would have been an absolute pleasure :)

javascript:emoticon('post',%20'message',%20':whew:')
 

trehorn2

Lantern Swinger
#4
My experience of BSSC is that the RN guys and gals are usually very inexperienced themselves and haven't yet had the (sometimes misguided, sometimes understandable) opinions that some of the RN have of the RNR drilled into them.

I have to say most of my experience with the RN has been good with very little negativity from the RN towards me and my comrades. I've only had one what i would call bad experience in seven years.
 

beer_bosun

Lantern Swinger
#5
trehorn2 said:
My experience of BSSC is that the RN guys and gals are usually very inexperienced themselves and haven't yet had the (sometimes misguided, sometimes understandable) opinions that some of the RN have of the RNR drilled into them.

I have to say most of my experience with the RN has been good with very little negativity from the RN towards me and my comrades. I've only had one what i would call bad experience in seven years.
Yep there was one young lass on the course that fits that description - still there's always one on every course. Thankfully not me this time.
 

sgtpepperband

War Hero
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#6
trehorn2 said:
My experience of BSSC is that the RN guys and gals are usually very inexperienced themselves...
That's why it's called Basic Sea Survival Course, designed for first timers. More experienced personnel conduct the Intermediate Sea Survival Course prior to joining subsequent ships.
 

beer_bosun

Lantern Swinger
#7
sgtpepperband said:
trehorn2 said:
My experience of BSSC is that the RN guys and gals are usually very inexperienced themselves...
That's why it's called Basic Sea Survival Course, designed for first timers. More experienced personnel conduct the Intermediate Sea Survival Course prior to joining subsequent ships.
Whoever its designed for - its a great course. Though as RNRs we currently only ever do BSSCs now (regardles of our experience), ISSC is not open to RNRs (probably rightly given that we don't really have a need to do it)
 
#8
As far as the BSSC goes, you're probably right. Our new entrants don't have the benefit of HMS Raleigh - or indeed any kind of basic training - so are almost always going to come off second best in non-trade related areas. However, RFA newbies rapidly gain experience thanks to spending 8 months a year at sea in vessels crewed along merchant lines (i.e with relatively few personel). We are not fighting sailors (except in the most extreme of circumstances) but we are very good at what we do thanks to the sheer amount of time we spend doing it! So if there is a divide, it's because you're comparing chalk and cheese. I think that's fair.
 

FlagWagger

GCM
Book Reviewer
#9
beer_bosun said:
sgtpepperband said:
trehorn2 said:
My experience of BSSC is that the RN guys and gals are usually very inexperienced themselves...
That's why it's called Basic Sea Survival Course, designed for first timers. More experienced personnel conduct the Intermediate Sea Survival Course prior to joining subsequent ships.
Whoever its designed for - its a great course. Though as RNRs we currently only ever do BSSCs now (regardles of our experience), ISSC is not open to RNRs (probably rightly given that we don't really have a need to do it)
The RNR used to do ISSC a few years ago and personally, I found it far more rewarding than repeatedly undertaking the BSSC. However, given the fragmented nature of RNR sea-time on RN platforms, the lessons of ISSC would soon be forgotten - daily firexs are required to reinforce the knowledge and certainly, I think most civvy employers would look somewhat bemused at the sight of a fearnaughted employee practicing a re-entry from below, ooo-er Mrs! :)
 
#10
sgtpepperband said:
trehorn2 said:
My experience of BSSC is that the RN guys and gals are usually very inexperienced themselves...
That's why it's called Basic Sea Survival Course, designed for first timers. More experienced personnel conduct the Intermediate Sea Survival Course prior to joining subsequent ships.
You dont say!!!!!!!! :number1:
 
#11
the guys in the rfa that i had dealings with were top notch. i would say 30% of them were ex mob anyway. it was the best 12 month deployment i ever had.
 

beer_bosun

Lantern Swinger
#12
RFA_Stoker said:
As far as the BSSC goes, you're probably right. Our new entrants don't have the benefit of HMS Raleigh - or indeed any kind of basic training - so are almost always going to come off second best in non-trade related areas. However, RFA newbies rapidly gain experience thanks to spending 8 months a year at sea in vessels crewed along merchant lines (i.e with relatively few personel). We are not fighting sailors (except in the most extreme of circumstances) but we are very good at what we do thanks to the sheer amount of time we spend doing it! So if there is a divide, it's because you're comparing chalk and cheese. I think that's fair.
Totally agree - I should add that on the whole, the course performed well as a single team and overall everyone got a lot out of it.

My comments are intended to highlight the different mind-set of the RN / RFA. As pointed out, RFA are not on the whole fighting sailors and I've no doubt the RN may not really that good at merchant seamanship.

I felt sorry for one of the RFA lads that walked off course because of his snags, we tried to reassure him but in the end it was a decision he wanted to make.

I don't want this thread to become a "them and us" thread - there are plenty of those on this site as is.
 

beer_bosun

Lantern Swinger
#13
cameraman said:
the guys in the rfa that i had dealings with were top notch. i would say 30% of them were ex mob anyway. it was the best 12 month deployment i ever had.
Agree - I deployed with them in a SPO capacity some time back and was very happy while I was staying on board with them. Despite an incident on day 1 which shall not be repeated here but because of an over-reaction by our CPO caused a stink between our team and some of their guys.
 
#15
well well bb. wonder who you are. i was 2 i/c of my team ( acting po )and when the teams changed in the december i may of had the said culprit as my i/c.
i found that most of my team joined the rfa after being deployed with them for so long. brilliant bunch of lads and lasses. salt of the earth and i met and kept many friends.
 
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