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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



01 October 2016

On the 27th July 2016, 4 Officer Cadets embarked on our long flight to Santiago, Chile. After more than 24 hours of travelling we, in a rather jetlagged state, met with Chilean Officers and Officer Cadets from the Escular Militar (Military School). They welcomed us warmly and pointed out the major sights on our way to the academy. Once settled in we were issued with some local Chilean kit including uniform, and bergans. We spent three days acclimatising in Santiago, taking in some sightseeing including the stunning sunset views from the top of the tallest building in South America.

Once acclimatised, we had a long coach journey to the training area of Loquimay. Here we were in the Andes, close to the snowline so that daily commutes to our various activities were kept short. Once split into different platoons, consisting of 1 British Officer Cadet, 2 Westpoint cadets, Argentinian cadets and Chilean cadets, we were issued our skis, poles and boots.

The training phase included 5 days downhill ski training and two and a half days of cross country skiing which proved very challenging with backpacks and large snow covered hills draining the strength from our legs on a daily basis.

The third training package included two and a half days of winter survival training where we learned about various causes of and types of avalanches, avalanche rescue and snow cave building. These snow caves then became our homes for the nights. The winter survival training was by far the most enjoyable of the three activities as it was a new and exciting experience for all of us. The Chilean cadets found the history of Northern Ireland and the conflicts very interesting and many friends were made throughout the exercise.

This was truly a once in a lifetime experience where we got to sample the culture, food and the way various armies from around the world operate.