190 TROOP – Week 8 Diary
The week started off with a 4 mile run and an IMF session. After the whole troop completed the phys sessions to a good standard, including the new lad from Hunter Company, morale was on the up. Tuesday began with RMCC, most of us were feeling a little sore from Monday, but once we had warmed up it began to be an enjoyable session. A little competition 1&2 section vs. 3&4 made it interesting for us and the instructors! The remainder of the day entailed lectures, mainly first aid which slotted in nicely after the RMCC session. The week was progressively improving; both our morale and work ethic was high.
It was Tuesday evening and we knew what was expected for Wednesday’s – Company Commander’s rounds. We spent the whole night getting round our personal admin, then communal areas such as the ablutions. By early hours of the morning and after several checks we were certain that the accommodation was to a very good standard…we couldn’t have been more wrong! Wednesday morning started with an early inspection at 0700 from our training team to ensure it was fit for the OC; this did not go as expected. An unacceptable amount of dust was found in places which didn’t even cross our minds. Needless to say we had failed this (pre-) inspection. Luckily we were given a second chance, and after another hour of cleaning at 100 mph we were ready for the real inspection! The accommodation was silent as if it were empty, ready for rounds. After a long period in which the OC managed to inspect every individual of 190 Troop, our Troop Commander called ‘landing’. We were all nervous to hear how we had done in the most important inspection of our career so far. The report was not what was expected and we had let our training team down, our stomachs churned and we grit our teeth as the Troop Commander expressed his dismay.
Thursday on the other hand was a major pick up for the lads. On the coach to north of the common, we met the Mountain Leaders and began our day of Survive, Escape, Resist and Evade (SERE). After a small bit of phys for a couple of failed clasp knife inspections we were introduced to the different methods of navigating without a compass, fire making, trapping, water filtration and shelter making. All in all, a really good day in the field, a morale boost for the men and a chance to prepare for the upcoming exercise, Hunters Moon. Friday consisted of early IMF and Corps history, followed by an introduction to resections (fixing positions) on Woodbury Common. A good afternoon all in all and a chance to put into practice more lecture room theory.
We started our working weekend on Saturday morning with our first few sessions of arms drill. The morning went well with an inspection of our locket unions, scabbards and white belts as it was the first time we’d worn them. Therefore we were given some slack and the drill leader (DL) seemed fairly pleased with the turnout. The drill itself went well too, as was expected it took a while to get used to doing drill with the rifle but we managed the basics of it to a standard the DL was happy with. We finished work at about 2 pm Saturday and managed to get some shore leave in the afternoon. Sunday was good for the Troop as we took part in the RMA Parade. It was good to see all the ex-marines parading and the parade itself went well. However standing still for just over an hour doing minimal drill can get quite tedious. Again on Sunday we finished just after midday and were allowed to go ashore again.
190 TROOP – Week 9 Diary
As the start of week 9 and our Gym Pass Out came ever closer, I think it’s safe to say the Troop was a little apprehensive. We had all been ‘digging out’ in the last few weeks and wanted a level of pass in the gym that not only justified our efforts, but more importantly the hard work that our PTI had put into our training. Monday began with a Basic Fitness Test (BFT) which is run in trousers and boots. We had previously only done the 3 mile run in trainers. Much to our surprise the majority of us beat our original times in trainers. This gave us a huge confidence boost as I’m not sure we had realised quite how fit we had got. After several lectures we got our heads down surprisingly early. Tuesday started with a Royal Marine Fitness Assessment (RMFA), again everyone beating their previous scores and we felt motivated. The rest of the week flew by with more lectures, drill and bits of phys here and there. There was also our first aid and map reading exams, again with passes all-round. Thursday night came and with the knowledge that we had been put forward for a distinguished pass in the Gym, it was time for an early night. So this was the big day for our Gym Pass Out – 9 had been put forward as gym superiors and we were all ready to go. Thanks to some music to help pump us up we went down to the gym for what turned out to be one of the most intense physical sessions of training so far. The session included four corners, team games, liveners, a camp circuit, sit-ups, ropes, another camp circuit, beam sequence, sprints and more ropes and that was it – we had finished gym pass out! We waited anxiously for the news about our grade. We just missed out on the distinguished pass by a few marks. 5 lads had made superiors and even though we had missed the distinguished pass, as a troop we had achieved a high superior pass. The end of a hard week came with morale high and the day off on Saturday for a run ashore.
190 TROOP – Week 10 Diary
Week 10 is the dreaded exercise week of Hunters Moon on Dartmoor National Park. The exercise comprised of; an insertion march, 2 days of navigation exercises during the day and the night and a ‘yomp’ to a different area for a 2 day survival exercise.
The initial 7 km march with webbing rifle and a day sack quickly broke us in for carrying vast amounts of kit. It also gave us a small taste of navigation for the number of navigation exercises to come. The first navigation serial was a day time exercise in sections, with our Section Corporals there to aid us if we were severely off course. The second was a night navigation exercise of similar accord. The third was a day time teach again similar to the others but with more learning and guiding involved. The final navigation exercise was a little more exciting. Split into fireteams of 4, we were released onto Dartmoor to rendezvous with different Corporals at different check points around the park, generally around 2 km apart. This was all done in total darkness and thick fog again carrying lots of kit. Needless to say, a couple of groups got totally lost.
Following this came the extraction ‘yomp’. This was the first time we have carried a full bergen any substantial distance. 17 km and 7 1/2 hours later we arrived, exhausted at our destination. We were then stripped of all out kit apart from the cloths we were wearing and the contents of our pockets and told to build a shelter to live in for the next two nights. Following this we received lectures on how to survive in the wild with tuition on how to kill and prepare fish and chickens for consumption. Post lecture we were given fish and chicken, and a few vegetables to survive on for the rest of the day and night. All in all, a physically demanding but very enjoyable, week of pain and learning.