1. We had a hard and fast start to the week with a ‘bottom field’ session, gearing us up for the ‘Bottom Field Pass Out’ in week 20. This time we carried 18 pounds and a rifle, slung like a rucksack, steadily building up the weight to 21 pounds. Most of the first session was focused on fireman’s carries helping us improve on what is probably our weakest aspect.
2. On completion of ‘Bottom Field’ we deployed to Bovington where the Royal Marines keep their Viking armoured fighting vehicle. This was the first time we had been to another military camp so we made an extra effort to look smart and take pride in our appearance, trying to look better than the other regiments.
3. The first day of Viking training was an introduction to the vehicle and safety briefs. We then progressed onto the infamous ‘dunker drills’ where a life-sized model of a Viking is submerged in a pool and everyone inside needs to get out through the escape hatch. This is accompanied with rebreather training which is basically a bag you breathe underwater with. This was highly amusing to watch, not so much when actually doing it.
4. Following our day conducting ‘dunker drills’ we then went swimming in the Vikings (as they float) and practised getting out whilst on the water. After cleaning the Vikings we were back in the pool to conduct our helicopter ‘dunker drills’. This was very similar to what we did in the Viking module but rather than just using the escape hatch we could get out through windows. Once the whole troop had completed this we had a look around a Seaking helicopter and conducted ‘dry drills’ of how to get on and off it. The anticipation grew that we would be able to go up in one, however it was not to be. Instead we got back on our coach for the ride back to camp