1. We started Week 5 with a weapon handling test for the SA80 assault rifle (our personal weapon). The whole troop passed the assessment which has been good for confidence and confirms the progress that we are making as a collective. The main focus of this week has been Exercise QUICK COVER, a 2 day exercise on Woodbury Common where we began to learn basic skills that we will use as trained Royal Marines when deployed in the field. These included observation, reacting to enemy fire and fire and movement whilst in contact with the enemy. It was hard work but I enjoyed the adrenaline of moving quickly over the rough ground, firing blank rounds with my oppo [friend] alongside me.

2. Of everything we have learned so far, fire and manoeuvre has been my favourite. As quickly as you have got up and are moving to your next position, you must get down and adopt a fire position so your oppo can move up alongside. It surprised me at how quickly we ran out of rounds and needed to change magazine which we learned to do whilst on the move.

3. Each night it was back to ‘wet and dry’ for the sentry routine. I mentioned in an earlier blog that I would explain what ‘wet and dry’ is. It is a system we use to make sure we always have a dry set of clothes when operating in field conditions and is particularly important when the weather is cold. To ensure we keep a set dry, whenever we are out of our sleeping bag to conduct a sentry or duty, we put our wet rig back on; that way, we always have a dry set to sleep in. I don’t think anyone enjoys doing this but it is a sign of professionalism and may save our lives one day.

4. The following morning we ‘yomped’ back to CTCRM. For many of the Troop who had not carried weight before, it was a baptism of fire but it was highly rewarding to see the distance we had covered and the mental resilience we had shown. I know that this is only the start and we will be carrying heavier weight over a greater distance during later exercises but it gave us all a real confidence boost to push through the mental barriers we have encountered. As they say ‘It’s a state of mind’.


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I am the official editor of the CTCRM training Diaries
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