Nevertheless, it's my first guard duty experience. I would say that it's very boring and tiring.
We assembled yesterday at 5pm after our drawing arms. We marched to the guard house and were briefed on the procedures of being a guard. There were 2 groups of guards, each group would have 2 prowlers and one sentry. So there's a total of 6 of us. My friend from my group volunteered to be the first group on duty. I don't know if that was a good idea.
So we went to our stations. I prowled with my friend G while the other guy, Y Y, went to do sentry. The first thing that we saw as prowlers was very disheartening...we saw our company mates booking out for the long weekend that they are going to have...how depressing. They can go out and play while we are guarding the camp...lol. We continued on our prowling route. Prowling is not that bad as at least you have a friend beside you whom you can talk to when you are bored. Time pass by very quickly as a prowler.
After completing one round, we swopped, I did sentry while G and Y Y did some prowling. Sentry is so much different from prowling. I stood there by myself, looking out for any suspicious characters. After awhile, my legs grew restless. But I was not given the privilege of moving about as there's a small red box painted on the floor which indicates the area where you are suppose to stand on while on duty. So you can just imagine, standing there on a square of around 60cm by 60cm for 40 minutes...lol...it's not an easy job.
When the sentry on duty is sleepy, strange things can happen. For example, he would start to see "things". I have this friend...who had a strange experience while on sentry.
My friend, after being tired out from the day's training, was unlucky enough to be choosen for sentry duty that night. So it was expected that he was sleepy on the job. This was what he told me:
"I was doing my sentry duty as per normal. It was dark at night, about 2am like that. I was very sleepy from my duties and all that so it was tempting to steal a nap. However, just as I was about to close my eyes, I saw a shadowy figure in front of me...about 20m away. I grew frightened. I heard from some other friends that they also saw "things" no duty not because they are tired, but because the camp is haunted. So I waited. But it came nearer and nearer to me. So base on the SOP (Standard Operational Procedure), I shouted "HALT!". The figure stopped moving and became aware of my presence. However, after about 5 seconds or so, it started moving again...this time it's moving towards me. So I shouted "HALT!" again. Yet the figure ignored my command. So I started to panic and comms back to the guardroom from the phone near my place. When I turned my head around...the figure was right in front of me.
The figure was actually the sergeant on duty."
Luckily, my friend was not punished or whatever because of this. However, from then on, he refused to do night duties anymore.
As the night grew darker, prowling was much more eeries as there are certain checkpoints which seemed creepy. There was this case where me and Y Y were prowling and we walked past the dog house. This was the conversation that we had.
Me: "Eh, just now while I was doing sentry, I could hear the dogs barking. From there I knew that you and G were already halfway through the route." (There's a dog house halfway through the route).
Y Y: "Yah...but you noticed something? That time, the dogs were barking very loudly. This means that...this means that...this means that they saw "something"."
At this point of time, we were already tired...and now this. For me, I am not scared of ghosts or whatever, but my friend seems to be affected by it. In the end he scared himself...lol.
Luckily, there are two groups of three. So we that we can rotate among ourselves, we would do 2 hours of duty before passing on to the other group which would do 2 hours of duty before passing on to us. While they were doing their duty, we were allowed to rest :)
This series of sentry...prowling...resting lasted from 7pm to 8am. that's like 13 hours. And I can tell you that it's really taxing on the body and mind. Interrupted from your sleep to prowl is not something fun. Resisting the temptation to sleep while on sentry is very hard. But nevertheless, everyone manage to do it in the end.
Hence I am now here writing this after coming back home and waking up from a long sleep in the afternoon.
Tags: National Service, Singapore