After returning fromFranceon a high after a good weekend (although we were pretty threaders after the lack of sleep!), the Troop started week 7 anxiously anticipating what was to come on the upcoming exercise, Exercise MARSHALL STAR.  It was going to be our first introduction to navigation in the field, so the Troop was a mixed bag of apprehension and excitement, mostly the former!  Monday morning started with a single session of IMF – unfortunately for us, the Troop’s effort and performance was lacking (most likely after the weekend we had had) and after having our PTI promise to come out into the field and pay us back, we didn’t have the best start to the week!  The usual preparation for deploying on exercise then began in earnest and we got on the coaches to take us to Woodbury for the start of Ex MARSHALL STAR.

Our Troop’s performance continued to stutter, we began the first of many lectures in field, covering range cards and sentry duties, fire control orders and map reading in preparation for our navigation exercise that evening.  For our first effort we would be setting off in groups of four while trying to find our way around a series of checkpoints in darkness.  The majority of the Troop found their way with no problems, although this did involve our group wading through a river!  After this we set up our harbour and got our heads down for some much needed sleep.  The next morning continued on the same level – after a shambolic kit muster from the whole Troop, as promised, our PTI arrived to take us for some ‘corrective PT’ involving hills, running, and rifles… We then spent the majority of the next day in our individual sections, practising navigation and learning how to take bearings, pace and time correctly and judge the ground, again in preparation for a further exercise that evening and the next, in which we would be on our own.  Mixed in with this we learnt how to move silently by day and night.  We also covered how to cross obstacles within our sections.  The navigation exercises went smoothly, with the Troop all managing to complete the exercises – we then prepared to set up for our last night, in which we constructed a ‘hasty harbour’ and prepared for a long night – the clouds opened up and we spent the night with thunderstorms!  After being ‘bumped’ a couple of times, we finally got some sleep.

The exercise drew to a close, we finished MARSHALL STAR with a 5 mile march carrying our daysacks, webbing and rifle back to CTC.  After returning and finishing the exercise, we were told to prepare for a full inspection the following morning – what ensued was a frantic struggle to de-service our kit, resulting in a very late night!  With the end of the week drawing tantalisingly closer, and the Troop exhausted from the last few nights, we spent Friday learning some CQC and first aid training.  After 4 hours of drill on Saturday morning, and all our free time spent cleaning in preparation for Company Commander’s rounds the following week, we were finally given the rest of the weekend off by Sgt Harrison!  

Rct Stubbings


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