197 Troop Week 4


1. The focal point of this week was Ex FIRST STEP – our first real exercise and introduction to Woodbury Common. There was a little trepidation and nerves, but we brushed it off with a little courage and cheerfulness in the face of adversity. The Exercise mainly focused around our personal administration and hygiene in the field, starting with being shown how to cook, wash, maintain our kit and protect ourselves from the elements with shelters. Mastering these skills is key as it means we are then able to maintain ourselves in the field for sustained periods of time. On completion of our lessons we were shown how we tactically occupy positions for the night in the form of a triangular Troop harbour (base). Using this method means a Troop can remain safely undetected in a tactical situation. To ensure the harbours safety at all times sentries are posted at each of the corners requiring a rota which proved more challenging than it sounds.

2. With some bleary eyes and a lot of frantic running around it proved challenging for many to be ready for our kit muster on time. This is an inspection of all our field kit by our Section Cpls to ensure that we have maintained ourselves and our kit to the required standard. Those that had failed to achieve this were placed on the flank, which it soon became very clear is not somewhere you want to be. With the inspection complete and all of our kit repacked we readied ourselves for 197 Troop’s first yomp (a tactical movement, sometimes with kit), with the Troop Commander leading us on a 4 mile route that allowed us to take in some of the sights of Woodbury Common on our way back to camp. For some this highlighted the importance of taping our feet to prevent hot spots and blisters. Having returned to camp we went straight into deservicing our kit ready for the next day.

3. Back on camp it was straight into lectures, training on our personal weapon the SA80 A2 and some “cheeky” PT (physical training), quite literally keeping us on our toes. However, there is definitely a marked improvement in the Troop’s physical abilities since the first weeks, which is a good boost to morale.

4. The main focus of Thursday was passing our weapon handling tests ready for our next exercise. This was an assessment on everything we learnt so far on the weapon system, everyone eventually passed, confirming that our individual skills and drills with the weapon system are improving.

5. With our sessions in the gym becoming more and more intense we have begun to realise the importance of working hard for our oppos (mates) as well as ourselves. This is especially important as our gym pass-out will be assessed as a Troop and not necessarily as individuals, significantly raising the bar as many have their sights set on achieving a distinction level pass for the Troop, which is the highest possible.


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