Week 7 (Ex Marshall Star)
After flying through another week of commando training, exercise Marshall Star was upon us before the troop knew it. Although I was apprehensive going into the exercise I was keen to crack on as it was portrayed to the troop as our first ‘proper’ exercise. The troop deployed into the field (Woodbury Common) late Monday morning and even though the lads were cold and wet, spirits were high as usual within the troop, getting us off to a good start.
Throughout the exercise we focussed on map reading, target indication, stalking and methods of visualising using technology on night operations and one PT field session which is self explanatory i.e a total hang out! On the first night we got to toy about with some of the night vision tech the Royal Marines have to offer whilst on operations and to say the least it was all pretty Gucci stuff from never having a hands on experience before which was hoofing. Furthermore, map reading was the main focus of the exercise with the troop having a night navigation practical on the last night of the exercise. Although I’m not much of a visual learner I found it really interesting and once I picked up the basics I almost enjoyed it as much as a PT sessions – sad! When the navigation exercise took place I was put into a group of three with Recruits Moncur and Young, both within my section, we managed to pull it off successfully with some laughs and flashes along the way, which we’re still laughing about within the accommodation.
Being taught the procedures of target indication was also an eye opener during Marshall Star. Throughout the lectures I found myself visualizing a war zone scenario picking out likely reference points within the axis’ of our Arc of Fire. Stalking was another highlight on exercise. We learned about the basics and recited some essential mnemonics before carrying out our first stalk where we were trying to get within 250-150 metres of the target and fire off a shot without being spotted. Some of the lads did themselves justice with the likes of Recruit Hore firing off 3 shots and still unable to be detected by the training team.
The troop rounded off the exercise with a load carry back to camp in which I was hanging out! It was ‘about’ the 5 miles according to the training team but either way I was always going to finish. In conclusion I feel Week 7 was a good step forward for the troop, gearing us up for what’s ahead with some essential basic soldiering techniques nailed.