This observational five-part documentary follows the lives of students during their training at Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra.
Purpose built in 1986, the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra was supposed to offer the finest training for cadet officers of the army, navy and air force. Instead it was dogged by allegations of bastardisation and sexual harassment, leading to a special investigation that revealed horrific stories of bullying and abuse. The Defence Department demanded immediate reform and ADFA promised it would revise its methods for the new cadets of 2000.
Episode 1 - Full Bottle Now
We meet Ilana Napier and some of the other first year cadets as they pledge their oath of allegiance before saying farewell to their families and getting on the bus to their new home for the next three years - ADFA. We also meet third year cadet Kizzy Hyde, who takes us on a tour of her barracks and shares some of the myths and realities of life at The Academy.
Episode 2 - The Killing Ground
Our first year cadets face the realities of the intense fitness training that is a prerequisite to their academic studies. Issues of gender equality arise in assessment of these high physical standards. We take a look at how young female cadets at ADFA attempt to adapt to the traditionally male-dominated institution. Third year cadet, Kizzy Hyde reveals some disheartening news which will greatly effect her future career at ADFA.
Episode 3 - Bedtime's Over
Things turn nasty when the second year cadets have a chance to test their leadership skills, undertaking a peacekeeping mission at the Puckapunyal training ground. Meanwhile, the first year navy cadets are on their first trip to sea on HMAS Tobruk. It's a chance for them to learn what life is really like on the ocean, and to encounter the sailors they hope one day to command. The trip is a big eye-opener to some, whose expectations of life as a seaman were slightly different...
Episode 4 - No Pain, No Mess
Six weeks in and the training has got tougher, with study also claiming its time requirements and officers disciplining cadets for any mistake. There is light at the end of the tunnel though, the first years are preparing for their first parade and a chance to catch up with their families for the first time since joining ADFA.
In the meantime, the third year cadets make the annual pilgrimage to the birthplace of Australian patriotism, Gallipoli.
Episode 5 - Passing Out
It's graduation week and the third year cadets only have one last bridge to cross - graduation parade. Parade day dawns bright and clear but the formality of the morning is soon forgotten as the third years prepare for the event they've really been looking forward to, the Graduation Ball.
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