Week 14 marked an important and typically challenging milestone for 186 Troop. This would involve the Phase 1 test exercise and effectively make the recruits trained infantry soldiers. Exercise Baptist Walk, from the previous week, provided the troop with some strong results making expectations for Baptist Run high and spirits even higher deploying into the field.
Once deployed in the field the exercise would challenge us on everything we had been taught so far – this included static map reading, navigation, stalking (which included camouflage), observation, fire control orders, target indication and maintaining the serviceability of our kit.
On the final day of Baptist Run the Troop would attempt to pass the physical module which was an 8 mile load carry with a total of 55lb of kit, plus rifle. The majority of the troop finished strongly and the recruits that struggled would later rectify this when finishing their re-run attempt. Rct Russell deserves to be mentioned as he managed to pull through against the odds completing the CFT and the AMF pass out on the same day. On Completion of Baptist Run the troop would later find out, to all the recruits relief that everyone had passed. A special mention must go to Rct Wigginton and Rct Duckham for achieving exceptional results.
Progressing onto Phase 2 of training will present 186 Troop with new and exciting challenges and open a new chapter in our journeys to earn our coveted green berets.
186 Tp Week 15 – Phase One Pass Out
We started Monday morning with a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (or CBRN) lecture, which consisted of learning the drills for a chemical (or CS gas for us) attack. We practised drills such as decontaminating yourself from the gas, to changing the respirators filters. After a few hours of practising the drills, a session of bottom field approached. This session was our AMF pass out which was a run through of bottom field pass out, with just 10lb. 186 troop were then tested on the drills learnt we had been taught earlier in the day. Everyone passed, with no major problems.
On Tuesday 9th September, the Troop’s first detail in the morning was a check up in the dentist which took roughly about an hour. The next thing on the agenda was lectures from the troop commander about tactical harbours, rifle troops and patrolling. This is the first insight to tactical phase; everyone was buzzing. The next day we spent the majority of time with the Officer Commanding Chatham Company, Maj Duckitt RM. He delivered lectures on the Laws of Armed Conflict and captured personnel.
The next morning was 3 hours of drill, which prepared us for an arms drill test which we had later on that day. This consisted of rifles movements which the troop picked up, slowly. But never the less 186 troop managed to pass arms drill with flying colours. We stayed on the drill square, but moved on to week 15 pass-out, to be done in front of the OC and Company Sergeant Major, the CSM. Awards were given to members of the troop such as section commander’s commendation, marksman, most improved recruit and best recruit. After the pass out, we were lucky enough to see two recruits earn the green berets after an endurance course rerun. This was a big inspiration to the troop.
Week 16 – First Base
The week started with an inspection of the accommodation. Then this was followed with a signals lecture where was learnt how to set up and speak on the Bowman radios. After this, we received a gruelling bottom field session. The next morning was the day we set off for exercise, it all started with preparing all equipment the sergeant needs for the week, such as training teams tent to the water needed for the week. Normally we would get a coach the Woodbury common, but we were privileged to get a lift from a Chinook. This got everyone in the troop excited. When we got dropped off, we started the tactical side of training. The first detail given was a recce patrol. We spilt up in our sections and began the patrol. We put everything learnt in lectures to the situation. This started to feel like what we signed up to do.
The next morning, we started the day with fire team movement. We learnt different tactics and movements which were difficult to pick up at the start. But after a few run troughs’, it started to become more fluent. The rest of the day consisted off model making and lectures about more recce patrols and OPs. Later on that night, we were again privileged, this time to get on a Merlin helicopter which was another memorable experience. The Merlin then dropped us off in a different location, then as a fire team, we had to orientate ourselves to the ground and navigate our way back.
The last day started with an inspection of our rifles. We then started the day with lectures of how to build Observation Positions (OPs), which we were going to use later on that day. After we learnt everything needed, the Troop commander gave us a detailed set of orders which we were going to need to know for the tasking. We then set off in sections to the set up our OP. We yomped with full kit to the position. Once reached, the section put out sentries then started the work routine, which was in the middle of the biggest gorse bush you could imagine. Once set up, we had different roles within the OP, with hourly rotations of positions. After 12 hours inside the position, we got crashed moved, and had to evacuate the OP.
Friday morning came around, and it was time to go back to base. But in order to do this, the troop had to do a 5 mile speed march back to camp. We had 21lb with a rifle. This had to be the hardest 5 miles I’ve done, but once completed, there was a sense of achievement and another tick in the box.