138 Troop Diary- Week 27
I had intended to write a day by day account of 138 troops experience of ‘Final Ex’. However my new ‘waterproof’ notepad didn’t live up to what it claimed on its packaging. This lead to the loss of what I had managed to account for up to the point it decided to give up on me. On exercise, the hours and days seem to all roll into one. Here is my account of the troops final time in the field together as ‘nods’.
This was a week of wet and painful feet after lots of yomping (walking carrying our kit, which is a lot harder than it sounds). It was also a week in which the weather seemed to be against us at some vital times. Leading to cancelled helicopters, boats and ambushes on the ‘enemy’. I’m sure this frustrated the training team as much as it did us recruits. However these things happen, plans change and you just have to push on and adapt to the situation.
Most lads usually fall over up and down the hillsides, however not Recruit Barrett, he thought he’d wait until he got on the flat road. For me this was a worrying moment as he is a big character and pivotal to the troop. In turn to this I’ve been trying to decide whether Recruit Logue decided that he was either not wet enough, wanted more swim practice or was so depressed at potentially losing his ‘bessie oppo’ Recruit Barrett that he had to throw himself in the swelling river….twice.
All things weren’t so negative. The amphibious cliff assault (scaling the Cliffside up from the beach) was enjoyed by all and also carried out successfully. We managed to surprise the enemy, communicate well and carry out the task with no real dramas.
My favourite part of the week was the final attack on an old fort. This required the troop working through the night in preparation to find a route to, and a way into the fort itself and also what to do once we were in place. Our day leading up to the attack was not what I have been used to as a recruit, it consisted of mainly rest. This is not the easiest thing to do as a recruit as these times come few and far between and if the opportunity arises to do so, you feel like you must have missed something out or will get in trouble for one thing or another. However wise words from the training team assured me that time sat on your pit could be time spent in it.
The final attack ran extremely well. From scaling down the forts outer wall, over the bog and into the lower floors of the fort itself, through the pitch dark tunnels and stairways up to the courtyard. We were now in place and ready to take it to the enemy for the final time. We did this again with great speed and communication, taking the fort itself within less than 30 minutes; showing that the past 27 weeks of training have not been put to waste.
The last day of week 27 consisted of a lot weary heads that needed more sleep, however we knew most of us were close to a much needed run ashore. The day consisted of heading to the 25 metre range in order to zero our rifles in preparation for our endurance course run through and the test itself; leaving us all aware that we are now edging extremely close to the finish line. We are not quite there and cannot relax yet, however it seems a lot more real and achievable than it did whilst sat there ironing away during the foundation days.