138 Troop Diary – Week 26
During the weekend we were excited about this week. On the Monday we are to be presented with the cap comforter; the mark of a recruit in the commando phase. There is a task to be completed first – the six mile speed march.
We awoke Monday, ready to go. Orders detailed 06:45 at the pavillion on the top field in phys rig, 21lbs in webbing and rifle. We had a decent warm-up and went for it. Keeping in step is always a problem, especially when the guys who are hanging out go to the front, so keeping unity in step was hard, but eventually we got the swing of it and came into the finish line looking like a unified speed marching troop. Two lads failed, later to resit. We got presented our cap comforters by our Troop Sergeant which was an honour. Our PTI had a celebratory and farewell swig of port with us before he departs to SFSG. We put on our cap comforters and doubled through camp feeling proud. Now that we are in the commando phase, we will be expected to perform as the module title suggests.
Tuesday, a new day and with the new symbol on our heads, a fresh and vigorous mindset that reminds us of why we are here and why we chose the marines. Today was mountain leader day for Foggin Tor. We had a few lectures on cliff assault techniques and water obstacle crossings. After scran we proceeded down to the tank to practice water crossings withbergenand rifle. An easy day. Now the practical tomorrow.
Wednesday, Foggin Tor, possibly one of my favorite days in training so far. We got on the coach toDartmoorto greet the mountain leaders. We got off the coach with a sense of urgency, got our bergens on and formed up in three ranks with the formidable count down from a mountain leader. We were told we were going to go for a not very fast one kilometre run. We knew rightly this wasn’t true, next thing we know the mountain leader is running like a gazelle down the track to Foggin Tor, at one point I am sure he decided to have a two hundred metre sprint. Once the troop caught up with the mountain leader, we listened to a bit of screaming and shouting and then it was, ‘it pays to be a winner’ time. Sprinting up and down to a stone with bergens, target indicated by the mountain leader. Once this was over we ran down to Foggin Tor area. We fitted our harnesses and then practiced attaching our bergens to them, now the mountain leaders needed to make sure they were fitted properly so a nice little hundred metre sprint was enforced to make sure it was up to the required standard. Running like ducks out of hell, with bergens dangling from our butts we completed this task which I will definitely be doing next time I fit a bergen to my harness, just to make sure it is at the correct standard. After a chuck up for us all fitting our harnesses correctly ourselves we proceeded down to the tor. We started of with climbing a small cliff using a rope to help us up and then abseiling down. At the end we did a section race called the lung buster or something on those lines, which required a run around to a cliff, abseil down and then run over to the small cliff and climb up and abseil down. Then came the fun stuff. Next we went to the larger cliff to practice thebergenabseiling, roller haulage and ladders. This part was awesome. The roller haulage was particularly funny, I myself and a good few others stacked it at the top of the haulage, much to the mountain leaders and training teams amusement. The best part of the day was the confidence jump, we had to abseil down a bit, then let go of the breaking line and star jump of the cliff backwards whilst the ML1 broke our fall. After that we did a water crossing with our kit on a lake. The day ended with a night serial and then back to camp for half one in the morning. The first part of the day was intensive, but once the mountain leaders had seen the effort the rest of the day was smooth and relaxed.
Wednesday, a beautiful morning, the birds are singing and then there is us; shattered. Today is Tarzan acquaint. After the usual lectures we get down to the meat of the day. Tarzan time. We head down to the30 foot wall. You feel like a big kid traversing the rope obstacles, but nervously think of the time limit required to pass that and the rest of the assault course and30 foot wall. Overall an awesome day.
The day has finally come, Final Ex!! We blast up toPooleready to get some. But after several hours into a rough sea journey the troop had accumulated some black bin liners full of sick from various members of the troop, much to the amusement of the us all and the training team. Due to the weather we had to turn around from the planned attack and got tasked to a new objective, which was futher in land so the sea wasn’t rough. After our attack we started our first yomp which was twelve miles long. It went quite smoothly for us all, at one point there was a cow looking quite menacing as we came between her and her calf, but yeah things were decent. Next we travelled to our beloved training location,Dartmoor. We yomped another six miles to our harbour location and then set up our routine and completed the orders set out for each section that evening and night. The rest of this week was orders for different objectives aroundDartmoor, another yomp. This week we were blessed with great weather, a nice mist that seemed to haunt us, some rain, not forgetting the beautiful sights ofDartmoor, nice rocky tors to look at and some local wildlife… Personally I enjoyed the yomping, whilst I can’t speak for the rest of the troop.
Training is flying by and we are starting to look like the end package that our training team want.
We will persist until we succeed.