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Gruelling, but that's the army for you

Date

Phillip Thomson

Duntroon RMC Staff Cadet, Alex Reichstein, at the obstacle course at Duntroon.

Duntroon RMC Staff Cadet, Alex Reichstein, at the obstacle course at Duntroon. Photo: Rohan Thomson

DUNTROON Staff Cadet Alex Reichstein started with about 150 classmates, and now only around a third of them are left.

Injuries such as broken arms and busted knees took many out of his class.

Others probably did not like the routine, which included at least one 110-kilometre trek over five days.

And a few were held back from graduating because they were not quite ready. ''It's pretty rough for them,'' Staff Cadet Reichstein said. ''It's hard enough going through this place once.''

On Tuesday, Staff Cadet Reichstein will become Lieutenant Reichstein because he has survived often gruelling challenges during 18 months of officer training at the Royal Military College, Duntroon.

The 24-year-old had never fired a weapon before his military training. Now he has fired not only rifles but a grenade launcher as well, and is getting ready for a career in the army's signals corps. Colour-blindness stopped him from becoming an avionics technician.

While his classmates come from around Australia as well as Singapore, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and East Timor, Staff Cadet Reichstein is a former public servant from Kambah.

He said it helped having a support network closer to home. His family is expected to watch the graduation.

Governor-General Quentin Bryce is expected to attend.

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