193 Troop Diary – Week 4
1. The week started with an inspection in our new accommodation and although the DL pointed out a few areas where we could improve, he was satisfied with our effort and we were allowed to remove our lumi-tabs, which we’d been wearing since day 1.
2. In the evenings we had the opportunity to speak to a group of lads from the King’s Squad, the most senior troop; and ask many questions about training before we went back to packing our bergans ready for exercise First Step. Speaking to them was well worthwhile.
3. On Tuesday, the exercise began with a 4-mile march to the exercise area on Woodbury Common. We then spent the day learning about fieldcraft, demonstrations included how to clean yourself in the filed, the different types of sentry and the ration pack. We were given an insight into the rations that officers are issued which included such things as salmon, pate, olives and a baguette. It became clear after a bottle of wine and a hot-dog appeared, that it was only a joke!
4. In the morning, we had our first kit muster where we had to lay out all our kit and show that it’s all been well maintained as a troop. We didn’t get this done on time or to a high enough standard, something we will all have to improve upon next time.
We marched back to camp, the same route we used on the way out, on the way we were passed by some very wet and exhausted lads who were doing their Endurance Course runs, it was great to see guys on their Commando Tests up close.
When we returned to camp, we spent the day de-servicing all the kit we’d used for our night in the field.
5. Thursday meant back to the gym where we all produced the goods for the PTI which was obviously good for us; because they were satisfied with our performance, they didn’t make it any harder than it needed to be, luckily. For doing well on Thursday, our gym session on Friday was relatively relaxed and consisted of us learning the “make-fast” on the ropes, this is where you climb half-way up the rope, secure the rope with your legs and then take your arms away, hopefully remaining halfway up the rope without falling. This was the first session where we’d really done a lot of rope climbing and a lot of us came away with very sore forearms and biceps as a result.
6. In the evening we were marched to the parade ground where we had the privilege of watching the King’s Squad pass-out parade. We sat as a troop at the side of all the families and other guests, as we sat and watched their immaculate drill display. It was obvious how much more we have to do as a troop to be that good, as we still have trouble keeping in step as a troop for any length of time.
It was a special event to witness and very inspirational.
7. We are all now looking forward to going back to Woodbury Common on our next fieldcraft exercise – Ex Quick Cover, when we will be out for 2 nights – and the weather’s not looking good!