This week began well with the troop looking forward to Gym Pass-Out and the up-and-coming exercise in Week 10. The troop were aiming to get a distinction in the gym but walked away with a high superior pass which we are still pleased with.
Also in the week we have been having lectures with the Troop Commander on navigation in preparation for Exercise HUNTER’S MOON. We put what we had learnt to the test on Saturday during a ‘Navex’ on Woodbury Common. It was a great insight and a good experience, building confidence in everyone’s individual map reading abilities.
On Wednesday the troop also successfully passed their first aid assessments and are now capable of administering basic first aid as well as battlefield first aid, dealing specifically with major trauma.
On the whole it has been a good week and morale is high for week 10. We are all now looking forward to a good exercise with the Training Team in Week 10.
Up bright and early as usual! The first detail of the day was our first CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) lecture and fitting, where we got issued our respirators, gloves and suits. We also got shown how to strip and assemble our equipment correctly.
After our lecture followed preparation for Exercise HUNTER’S MOON, which consisted of three days navigation and two days survival. On arrival to Dartmoor we got familiar with the surroundings with our first Navex taking us towards the old ‘Scout Hut’, where we would spend most of our stay.
Later that night came our first Night Navex, in Sections, obviously getting used to Night Nav in preparation for our individual Night Nav later in the week.
Once the Nav was done and all ranks got back safely it was time to get our heads down and rest for the next day.
Day two consisted of cracking our normal morning routine and preparing for our kit muster at 0730. Once the inspections were finished the troop had some early morning phys which involved a sprint to the top of Gutter Tor and back, which I can safely say nobody would enjoy doing twice. Following our kit musters we prepared for another Navex across Dartmoor. All recruits had to write their route cards with the grid references given by the Troop Commander. We started our Navex as sections (groups of eight to ten), each recruit has to lead a leg from one checkpoint to the next, also giving correct descriptions of the leg to the rest of the section.
Once our day nav was done we had a few hours to get some scran and write new route cards ahead of our Night Navex in pairs. All ranks reported back to the Scout Hut safely… in the end.
As with the previous day, all ranks conducted their morning routine and laid out kit musters ready for inspection. When the inspection was finished we moved to a separate location for a Static Map Stance, on completion of which it was back to the Scout Hut and into a Stalk. The stalk went well with a lot of ranks getting into the ‘Shot Box’ and getting shots off, partly thanks to the excellent terrain on Dartmoor which provided lots of good cover.
From there it was preparation for the first of many ‘Yomps’. 6km the troop travelled to Princetown, where a coach was waiting to our delight! Unfortunately, the delight was short-lived as 15-20 minutes down the road we were off the coach again at a drop-off-point in the middle of Dartmoor, with all ranks looking very curiously at each other. Then it was “Bergens on” and off to Gidleigh Wood where we would be spending the rest of the exercise.
12 km later we reached our destination and got ready for our first night of survival training. We got stripped of all our kit and had nothing but our survival tins and clasp knives. We moved down the track where the Training Team put us in to Bivvy Bags due to the torrential weather, and kept woke us up at regular intervals throughout the night.
Upon awakening by the Troop Commander, the first detail was to start building our shelters where we would be staying during the next night. From logs and branches, we constructed our shelters and collected fire wood and started our fires.
Around midday we had our lesson from the Mountain Leaders on preparing and cooking food. It started with gutting and cutting two fillets from a fish, and then gutting and cutting two breasts, two legs and a back from a chicken. It certainly didn’t look too appetising but once boiled with some vegetables it tasted really good. From there we continued to build our shelters and look after the fires, with fire sentries continuing throughout the night.
On the final day of Ex HUNTER’S MOON we were up early and got ready for the extraction yomp to finish the exercise. After about 3 km, we were told by the Troop Commander that we had another 7km to go, and that anyone who couldn’t continue would have to get in to the safety vehicle. Our faces were a picture when minibuses arrived to take us back to camp and the Troop Commander revealed that we had actually finished the exercise.