146 TROOP DIARY – WEEK 20
At the end of week 19 the whole Troop was buzzing with anticipation about what was to come in week 20 – Exercise URBAN WARRIOR. Everyone had heard good things about this exercise from other recruits and our Troop Sergeant gave us all a quick run down of what we could expect. This would include a couple of early morning phys sessions and progressive Operations in Built Up Areas (OBUA) training. The training would culminate in a deliberate attack on the mock ‘Afghan’ village training facility at 40 Commando Royal Marines in Taunton. The week started with lessons from a JNCO Assault Engineer on Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and how to minimise the threat. We also had a practical lesson on how to breach rooms through doors that might be difficult to enter. This was hoofin’ as we got to use the ‘Enforcer’ a massive battering ram used for knocking down doors! What a way to start the week. We had our early morning phys sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday however, they were not run at the normal intensity, more like technique periods to help us prepare for our bottom field pass out that is going to occur the following Monday. These sessions were very useful and after we had finished on Wednesday there was a noticeable air of confidence surrounding the Troop.
On Tuesday evening after being at the Modernised Urban Combat (MUC) compound all day the Troop had a remedial admin evolution to undertake. This involved spending the night out on the bottom field, which was not very pleasant. We stayed out until 0545 the following morning conducting both ‘wet and dry’ and a sentry roster all night as part of our harbour routine. By the time we returned to our accommodation the following morning the Troop was exhausted. We returned to the MUC compound later on Wednesday morning to continue our training. From the start of the week we were conducting aggressive room entries and clearance drills. The training was progressive, running through in slow time, then with blank rounds before conducting drills using simulated ammunition. The week progressed quickly and before we knew it we had progressed to using Night Vision Goggles (NVGs). The night shoots were outstanding, working in 8 man sections clearing rooms, this is what I joined the Royal Marines for. I think the Troop on the whole would say that using simulated ammunition has been one of the biggest highlights in recruit training so far.
On Friday we travelled to Norton Manor Camp (NMC) in Taunton, the home of 40 Commando Royal Marines. It was quite a shock coming from CTCRM which is quite hectic to arrive at such a quiet base. I was expecting it to be a lot bigger with more going on, however as we were briefed the unit is currently deployed to Afghanistan. We initially received a brief from a Sergeant, Corporal and two Marines who were all due to deploy to Afghanistan in a just over a week. They showed us some equipment they have but as recruits we do not get to use. They were all very knowledgeable and easy going, taking any questions we had and letting us all get our hands on their personal equipment (which we all really appreciated). After that we got to see the junior ranks accommodation, needless to say this was much better than ours and I am sure made us all very jealous. Then we got to see the Sarawak Gymnasium which is a brilliant facility. As recruits we all love phys so our eyes lit up when we saw the kind of facilities a Unit could offer a young Marine. The culmination at NMC was a deliberate attack on the Afghan village training facility. The attack was energy filled with a lot of ammunition and smoke. The Troop displayed heaps of aggression and we took out the entire enemy in the compounds. This was the end of another exciting week. We now look forward to a weekend of rest before the bottom field pass out on Monday.