Exercise Executive Stretch is a Defence run program aimed at employers, or potential employers, of Australian Defence Force Reserve members. The program involves participants taking part in a weekend of physical and intellectual challenges in a Defence environment.
Eighteen such candidates gained first hand experience of the Defence training philosophy and training methods by taking part in the program in Cairns from 23-25 May. And, their experience had a particularly 'Navy' flavour to it.
Thrusting the volunteers straight into the action, Friday night’s activities comprised of Survival at Sea training. After launching into the cool waters of the pool at the Great Barrier Reef International Maritime College (GBRIMC), the group were put through their paces, learning techniques to aid survival when separated from a ship at sea. Use of flares, keeping afloat, towing injured teammates and climbing into the life raft were just some of the challenges put to the team.
Just the tip of the iceberg on the weekend’s agenda, the corporate high fliers got their hands dirty at a 9mm live fire (weapons) shoot. Relishing the opportunity to get ‘hands on’ during an activity they had never experienced before, enthusiasm levels soared at the chance to tackle a new challenge. Shooting off the back of HMAS Tarakan while ‘at sea’, the group were then treated with a demonstration of a beach landing.
Fire-fighting training at the GBRIMC stretched physical and mental comfort levels as the civilians learned just how pivotal teamwork really is. Supporting each other as they simulated a major fire at sea, the group banded together and came out on top.
Next, Bridge Simulation Training simulated navigation of a ship through Sydney Harbour, demonstrating a whole new range of skills that Navy’s finest demonstrate on a regular basis.
Challenging Physical Training sessions and use of force training were intermingled with leadership briefs and team building exercises, exposing the participants to the fast-paced ‘chop-and-change’ nature of military life at sea.
The response to the program was strong, with many participants walking away impressed with the resilience and professionalism of the Defence team. Many thought the new management skills and principals they gained over the three days could be implemented into their own work places, and most gained a new appreciation for the value of having Defence Reservists in their workforces.
The most significant benefit of the weekend was the opportunity for the employers to observe the Navy personnel and their obvious commitment to, and passion for, the work that they do.
Furthermore, the group of participating civilians embraced the Navy’s values, standards and the importance of discipline and gained immeasurable insight into just what their employees get up to when away on reserve time.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20141486.