1. 181 began their 32 weeks of Royal Marines Commando training on 3 Feb 14. Many of us had already met whilst congregating at Exeter St David’s railway station, nervous and excited over what our initial experiences of CTCRM would be. It dawned on us that this group of strangers would become very accustomed to each other over the coming weeks and that this was the beginning of many close friendships.
2. The first week has been mainly focused on transition from civilian to military lifestyle. We have learned that attention to detail, early starts and teamwork are paramount to administrative success. Many of the basic husbandry tasks such as ironing, hygiene, washing equipment, folding etc may appear tedious but the importance of disciplined military regime has been explained to us in depth. Even by the end of the first week, our efficiency with personal administration had improved greatly and many of the younger recruits already seem to be transforming rapidly into adults.
3. The Troop has integrated with each other well – mainly through a sense of shared adversity. Morale has also been kept high by the military humour that the training team has introduced us to. Cheerfulness in the face of adversity is a key tenet to our new Troop ethos.
4. All of us arrived under the impression we were physically fit – an illusion which was soon shattered by our initial gym sessions. The intensity of these sessions will only build as we progress towards the Commando course and many of us are now fully aware of the devotion required to physically develop at the necessary rate. The many extra press-ups for mistakes in the gym routine are likely to help this progression and also build our strength of mind!
5. Following a tough start to recruit training, it was a pleasant respite to have a couple of hours on Saturday and Sunday that were free to head into Exeter. This new city will be our escape over the next nine months and it was good to get a chance to quickly recharge before Week Two. The coming week is still focused on husbandry and personal administration but we will also get a basic insight into field-craft – the art of administrating yourself and thriving in austere outdoors conditions.