181 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 8
1. As much as the Troop enjoyed Exercise MARSHAL STAR, it was pleasant all the same to be back on camp this week, in the hard cover of accommodation with hot showers and hot food. The focus of this week was to further develop our individual skills in the lead up to the forthcoming test exercises and the Week Nine gym pass out. An introduction to survival training, further first aid and navigation training therefore supplemented the normal routine of gym, drill and lectures.
2. The start of the week was dominated by a detailed inspection of our accommodation by the Company Commander. To ensure we passed, we had been busy for several days prior; looking into every corner, ledge and space to clean, polish and scrub. We kept cleaning until no evidence of dust could be found. This paid dividends during the inspection because we passed with only a few areas to improve.
3. The PT continued to focus on refining the gym routine for the Week Nine gym pass out. We also had a few four-mile runs in boots to begin developing our legs for the booted military training we will undergo for the remainder of training. During drill, we passed the interval drill test, allowing us to now progress to arms drill, using our weapons and bayonets.
4. Thursday was a day away with the Mountain Leaders – the Royal Marines Special Forces: the UK’s leading operators in cold weather warfare, vertical assault and advanced field-craft. Our first day with them was designed to introduce the principles behind survival, evasion, resistance to interrogation and extracting from hostile environments. The primary focus of the day however was survival. This was immensely enjoyable and exhilarating – learning to snare animals, find water, create fire using only natural sources and build protective shelters. We learned how to cook and develop our basic field-craft skills to survive in any environment.
5. Finally, on Friday we spent the day on Woodbury Common revising the map reading techniques we have been developing. We had a full day overlooking the land to help us relate the map detail to the features of the ground. We then practised using the complex techniques we have learned to measure bearings, distances and ultimately pinpoint the location of ourselves and other objects using compasses and protractors.