With Week 1 completed and the Troop beginning to get into the routine, Week 2 got off to a good start seeing the Troop issued with their weapons – another piece of kit to lose!
From the armoury it was down to the bottom field where we were put inot our sections and got our first hands-on training with the SA80.
Our Section Commanders taught us the basic stripping and assembling of the weapons as well as the basic drills – load, unload and make-safe. Naming of the parts and safety procedures were also covered. This period also gave the Troop the introduction to running around with more than just the normal pt shorts and t-shirts, having to get from place to another with the weapon and webbing as well now.
On Tuesday we got up and, as usual cleaned the accommodation knowing that we wouldn’t be sleeping there that night as we would be spending our first night out in the field on Ex Early Night.
We packed our bergans and made our way down to the bottom field once again where we were given lectures on the “Wet & Dry” Routine, erecting ponchos and the 12-Hour Patrol Ration Pack. We then had to get wet so into the tank we went! After a quick swim with all our clothes on we went back to our tents. We had to conduct hourly sentry duties throughout the night, putting our wet and dry routine into practice as we got in and out of our bivvy position. This all ensures you have dry clothes to put on throughout your stay in the field, no matter how long you may be out, a crucial skill to learn for us as amphibious soldiers.
When your turn came to be sentry you had to get out of your sleeping bag and clothes, into the wet rig and boots that had been worn in the tank and out to patrol our section location for an hour. There weren’t many who enjoyed that part of the training but understood the necessity of it all for the all future training exercises.
As Week 2 went on, each aspect of our training picked up the pace. We spent time on the Parade Ground, learning the basics of marching drill and reacting to commands. It was an eye-opener to the importance of reacting to the Drill Sergeant’s commands as a Troop. When the movements weren’t carried out as required he was quick to let us know the standards needed, something the Troop will no doubt hear more about as training progresses.
Along with Drill, the physical exercise sessions in the gym and pool were beginning to become more demanding. Standards of discipline in the gym were becoming even more rigid, you are either moving as quickly as possible during exercise or standing perfectly still with no fidgeting throughout. In the space of the past 2 weeks we have gone from swinging around on the ropes like something you may see at a zoo, to properly completing rope climbs to the top, albeit with imperfect technique as yet, but we’re getting there.
In the pool, the sessions were becoming more geared towards the impending Battle Swimming Test which consists of entering the pool with kit, webbing and a weapon, swimming 20 metres out and back, removing the weapon and webbing, then treading water. For the weak swimmers amongst us it was a lot harder than it may sound, but the improvements are evident with every session.
Coming to the end of of the week with everyone suitably worn out, it was on to preparing for Friday morning’s final inspection of the Foundation Accommodation block. After 2 weeks of folding, ironing and general cleaning under our belts, Thursday night was surprisingly stress-free.
First thing Friday morning we put the final touches in place and triple checked everything. We were immaculately turned out and quickly realised that the hard work had paid off as we were told it was the best inspection the Colour Sergeant had seen all year.
Our happiness was short lived as in the afternoon we struggled to carry out the most basic instructions in the gym, a reminder that the standards in the royal Marines continuously require effort and consistency across all disciplines, no matter how tired you may be feeling.
The week ended on a high as we were all able to move out of the Foundation Block knowing that we are all well on track at this stage.
We have now moved into our new accommodation which is to be our home until we pass out in May next year.
On to Week 3 and we’re all buzzing………..