144 Troop Diary – Week 13
This week was a good week for the troop. It consisted of CBRN training (Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear), learning about Signals, grenade throwing, and escaping from inside a simulated helicopter while it is underwater.
CBRN: We all got into our CBRN equipment – jacket, outer and inner gloves, boots and respirators – and headed down to the gas chamber (a portacabin). We were split down into groups of eight and entered the smokey room with our masks on. Once inside we had to walk around in a circle to test the mask for any leaks. When the instructor was happy, one by one we had to take off our masks and report. “Corporal I am…” was what the majority of the troop managed to say before coughing uncontrollably, struggling to breathe. It was funny to watch at first but we all knew our turn would come, and when it did it was horrible.
Signals: This mainly took place in a lecture room where a Corporal taught us all about the different types of radios, how to use them, set them up, and maintain them. It was quite interesting for those who are thinking of specializing in Sigs. It will also be an important part of our training further on in Phase Two when we use this equipment properly.
Dunker Drills: This for me was the best part of the week. One, because we got out of CTC for a day, and two, watching people struggling to escape from a sinking helo… priceless. Firstly we got briefed up on all the health and safety procedures before we got changed onto the tightest overalls ever made. Then the exercise began, with teams of seven entering the simulated helicopter, which was then dunked underwater for 20 seconds in which time we had to escape the craft. There were four different variations: upright in daylight, upside down in daylight, then upside down in dusk then complete darkness. It was great fun to watch and take part in, and for all the lads who aren’t confident with swimming it was a great confidence boost. Every member of the troop passed.
That’s another week over, with the training team getting some quality footage of the gas chamber and dunker drills. Now the next challenge is Ex BAPTIST RUN, a test exercise which will test us all both mentally and physically, and will ultimately determine whether we pass Phase One and stay with the troop.