Rantambe Training ground for cadets | Sunday Observer

Rantambe Training ground for cadets

Rantambe is popular among the public for two reasons - the main reason is the reservoir built under the Mahaweli acceleration program, and the second is the existence of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) training centre.

Rantambe grabs the attention of people during the Hermon Loos Challenge. But it is a busy place all 365 days of the year. Even as you read this article, there is a training program going on at Rantambe. According to NCC headquarters, the year plan for Rantambe is published at the beginning of each year.

For a particular training program (which the NCC names as Army Assessment Camp No 1-2-3.., Navy Assessment Camp No 1-2-3…, and also the girls platoons) cadets from different parts of the country would participate. Normally two or three battalions would participate at a single training program. For instance, Army Assessment Camp No 1 this year consisted of platoons from Nuwara-Eliya, Matale and Mannar.

Rantambe has a maximum capacity for accommodating 2,000 cadets at a time and NCC selects the battalions for training, considering space availability. Therefore they allow only 25 students from a platoon to participate and a maximum of 25 platoons from a battalion. However, Some battalions, for example Mannar or Mullativu do not possess 25 platoons. So they would send their available platoons to the camp.

These camps are normally of eight days duration, while camps for junior cadets are organised for four days. Of the eight days training, the first two or three days are dedicated for class room activities such as lectures on basics. The balance five or six days are allocated for practical sessions. There the cadets can master their classroom training under the supervision of NCC instructors.

They are given some of the training which cannot be completed at school level, such as firing a weapon, training and parades. The day before the final day of training, there will be a Passing Out ceremony with a smashing parade. The value of participating at a cadet training camp is that each cadet who completes the training receives a certificate stating that he/she is a cadet.

NCC HQ also conducts an assessment of all platoons that participates at a camp. This marks based assessment determines the best platoons.

Hermon Loos Challenge

Considering the marks scored by platoons, NCC introduces a cut-off mark which will be the qualification to participate at the Hermon Loos Challenge organised in October every year. This all island camp of cadets will comprise of the best platoons at assessment camps. However, ensuring equality, NCC HQ allows each battalion to produce one platoon from each battalion for the Challenge. This facilitates cadets of some under-privileged areas like Mannar or Mullativu or even Moneragala to send a platoon to represent their battalion.

In the early days the training centre for Airforce cadets was in Diyathalawa while Navy cadets obtained their training at the Trinco-Navy camp. Police cadets have been switching between places and last year they received the training at Kalutara Police School. The Army, being the oldest wing of the NCC, used to train at Rantambe. However, with a well organised plan, NCC HQ plans to accommodate all cadets in Rantambe this year.