193 Troop Recruit Diary Week 3
Week 3 brought with it a very welcome move from the Foundation Block into our new permanent accommodation known as our “grots”. This will be where we spend the rest of our time at CTCRM. They are smaller rooms for 6 men only which does help people to get to know each other better and also fosters an atmosphere in which people are more inclined to help each other because those who are perhaps a bit slower or who are struggling in certain areas , are more noticeable than they were in Foundation.
The pace of training is still relentless, but we are now provided with a weekly schedule of our training which allows us to look ahead to what’s coming next in training and plan accordingly. This is in contrast to the more frantic nature of Foundation where other than our next detail, we had no idea what was coming next.
Spirits were high in the Troop as we moved accommodation, in order to move, we had to pass a final locker inspection, something which the whole Troop pulled together for and we performed to a very high standard which was recognised and bolstered our spirits.
Week 3’s main focus has been on weapon handling and swimming sessions, which prepare us for our Battle Swimming Test (BST), scheduled for next week. The BST consists of a jump into the pool from the 4 metre diving board, wearing combats, weighted webbing and a rifle followed by one lap of the pool. Once back in the deep end, we must then pass the weapon and webbing out of the pool to someone and then tread water for a further 3 minutes.
Highlights of the week have included our Royal Marines Close Combat (RMCC) lessons, taken by Gunnery Sergeant Wolf of the United States Marine Corps. RMCC is a fighting technique which has been specifically designed for use on the battlefield on occasions when your primary or secondary weapons are not available. These sessions are slightly more relaxed than our usual PT sessions and see recruits learning the moves being taught by grappling and wrestling with each other.
Week 3 also included our first lecture on Corps history and knowledge. This lecture covered the first 100 years of Corps history, which included such things as the siege of Gibraltar and the Battle of Belle Isle, both of which carry significance in terms of the Corps insignia. The laurel wreath on the insignia is believed to have been granted for gallantry at the Battle of Belle Isle in 1761 and the word “Gibraltar” on the insignia, commemorates the capture of the famous rock in 1704.
All recruits at Lympstone are affectionately known as “nods” because of our tendency to nod off at a moment’s notice, due to our 5 am starts, busy programme and late finishes. One of my highlights this week has been from the Centre’s education psychologist, know as “the Nod whisperer” who is part of a small team based on camp to help recruits who are struggling with some of the non-physical aspects of training such as personal administration. The focus of this particular lecture was memory retention and we were taught techniques to help us remember long lists of information, a skill which I’m sure will prove invaluable as training progresses. This lecture was a welcome change from some of the more stereotypical parts of training (weapon handling, phys, drill) and proves to me why Royal Marines are known as the thinking man’s soldier. Although being fit and strong is important, so is being mentally sharp and focussed.
Looking ahead to next week, our “lumi-Tabs” which essentially serve as “L Plates” come off our uniforms and we will be heading into the field on exercise “First Step” as the days get shorter and the temperature steadily drops