Week 9 – 147 Troop training Diary
Week 9 was a big week for 147 Troop’s which would culminate in gym pass out. The week involved other big areas such as a First Aid practical and written assessments, map reading practical’s, NVQ and keys skills introductions and also an introduction to the Light Support Weapon.
The week was crammed with a large amount of First Aid practical training involving battlefield First Aid, this involved simulating battlefield injuries by applying tourniquets, first field dressings and ball and seal dressings to various simulated injuries. It was funny watching a large amount of young men wince at the pain of the tourniquets being applied, this training is crucial as in a real life situation when the unwanted may happen and the adrenalin kicks in you need to know how to carry out appropriate First Aid to save your Oppo’s life. The previous couple of weeks First Aid ended with practical and written assessments with the whole troop achieving a high standard. The practical involved a simulated battlefield First Aid assessment with you and another oppo having to work together to solve the injuries, which included a simulated unresponsive casualty that was breathing and not breathing and also a heavy bleeding simulation. Even though these situations were not real life a small amount of nerves played a part as you rushed to apply the appropriate course of treatment. In the end the exercise was good fun and led to a positive outcome with much learnt, a large amount of this resulted from really good tuition from the medical training team.
The week’s big event was the gym pass out which was a final assessment to what we had been doing in the gym for the past 9 weeks. The lads were nervous as to the result as we had been working really hard to achieve a distinction result but unfortunately on the day we only received a ‘Pass.’ Although this was an initial disappointment as all the lads expected a higher standard from themselves it did lead to all of us passing which was majorly positive and we had 7 individual Superiors. A major chuck up to them for achieving such a high standard. All the lads managed to climb the ropes and apply the appropriate discipline to the IMF, beam and sit up / press up routines to reach what is expected at this stage. The success of the gym pass out was toasted with a tradition called ‘Splicing the Main Brace,’ which involves a shot of rum being issued in celebration of this event; this authority was issued by Her Majesty. We were issued our shot of rum by the Troop Commander who gave us acceleratory speech followed by talk about the challenges of bottom field; this was followed by himself and the training team jumping in the tank followed by us all getting very wet.
Towards the end of the week the Troop had survival training from the ML’s where we were taught survival techniques from some of the most highly trained men in their field. This involved how to make fires, shelter, collect water and hunt for food. It involved information on the basic essentials to have when you are out in the wilderness and how to apply these skills. It was a major insight, highly interesting and something I would need to put into action in next week’s survival phase of Hunter’s Moon…
We had an introduction to the Light Support Weapon its uses and functions and how to carry out weapons drills with it. The troop was also introduced to the NVQ and key skills courses that we would be taking part in over the coming weeks. Although these courses are not what a Royal Marine may initially sign up for they could play a vital part in a recruit’s future as they are a solid qualification and skills for an outside employer to look at.
The week was rounded off with weapons Drills from Corporal Stroud. These new drill routines were initially run through and would become an important part of our future we drill routine.
Week 10 – 147 Tp Ex Hunter Moon
Week 10 dawned with Hunter’s Moon having to be tackled. This would involve our map reading skills being put to the test with various Day and Night navigation exercises being conducted. It would be completed with a 2 day survival test.
Hunter’s Moon setting took place on Dartmoor a place that the Troop will become accustomed to over future weeks of training and a place with its own unique weather climate. It involved a large amount of self-navigated yomps where route cards had been previously formulated. Lessons were learnt about the importance of following compass bearing especially at night in thick fog where major features cannot be navigated off. This was done under careful analysis from the training team and soon will come the time when there will be no careful nudge of direction. Overall the troop performed well navigationally. It was also good to see Colin and Jumper (RMA) yomping around with us and good to see that age never stops some Royal Marines.
The troop learnt how to carry out stalks crawling through mud and river channels trying to be undetected. This involved camming up a large amount of stealth from 40 blokes encroaching on a bun line to fire off a hopeful shot.
There was the continuation of kit inspections with attention to detail at its normal premium. If a standard is not met then every recruit would face the remedial consequences. There is a standard and like anything learnt over the teaching phases it has to be honed and finely tuned to achieve the corrected standards required to be a Royal Marines.
Hunter’s Moon ended with a 15 km Extraction and Insertion yomp into a 2 day survival phase. This survival phase which involved building your own shelter’s where you would have to collect wood amongst other materials to build and insulate a shelter for your Fire Team to sleep in over the coming 2 days. This shelter then had to be kept warm with a fire which was supplied with a continual stream of fire wood from your section. We had little food for almost 20 hours, but when the time for resupplying our bodies came it was a time for another lesson from a mountain leader. Each fire team had to kill and prepare a chicken and several fish before they were able to eat; this was done humanely and to timed conditions. After a large amount of yomping and little food anything tasted good. Everything in the survival phase involved teamwork, it could not all be done by yourself resupplying your body with food, water, shelter and warmth had to be done as a team.
At the end of Hunter’s moon came a extraction yomp with bergan’s, this was all about a state of mind, can you keep going when your body is at its lowest ebb, fortunately all members of the Troop managed to keep going.
The exercise was hoofing but immensely tiring with many lessons learnt. As one man said you do not even know tiredness yet, there will be greater challenges ahead that the troop must face in the coming weeks. Hopefully we will all reach the standard…..