181 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 5
1. Week 5 serves as the first small landmark in training. This is because the Friday is Families Day – an opportunity for our loved ones to attend a day of training and seminars to begin integrating into the wider Corps family. It is also the first long weekend that is awarded, giving us all a consolidated rest after the challenging initial transition to military life.
2. However, before we could reach Friday, Ex QUICK COVER would have to be completed. This was our second field exercise and a progression from the last by extending to 2 nights. We continued to implement the field-craft lessons learned so far to become more efficient and tactical with our drills. The battle lessons during the daytime introduced the basic individual combat skills necessary to fight with our rifles. These included lessons on judging distance, observation techniques, methods of movement, firing positions and techniques and the use of cover. We also began to camouflage ourselves and our kit for the first time. We learned how different techniques and the use of foliage were effective in different environments.
3. The culmination of the exercise was a Close Quarters Battle lane. To achieve this, we were placed into pairs and negotiated a course with various targets for us to engage at close range. We employed all the skills we had developed across the 3 days, using cover and tactical movement to aggressively fight our way along the lane. As our very first taste of combat, it was immensely enjoyable.
4. The final serial of the exercise was the return to CTCRM. This was another 4 mile march, this time conducted with full field kit. As our first introduction to load carrying it was quite arduous and the pace made it quite a challenge for the smaller or less able members of the Troop. It served as a good insight into the tests we will eventually need to undergo – we were only carrying our dry basic kit, around 50 pounds, but we will be regularly be carrying loads that exceed 110 pounds by the end of training, and over much further distances.
5. Thursday consisted of some more Parade Drill and PT with several lectures prior to Friday’s events. The families all seemed to really appreciate the effort to integrate them and field any concerns they may be having. It was really beneficial for the families to be able to visualise the training we are undertaking, and thereby cater for the support we will inevitably require. Then, at last, our first weekend off – and well earned too. Only five weeks until Easter Leave now!