197 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY WEEK 14
1. The week started off with a bang with a double advanced military fitness (AMF) session on bottom field; this is the first phase of the bottom field package. The main aim of the session was geared towards fireman’s carries helping to burn the legs and lungs out well and truly. However despite the difficulty of the session the Troop is starting to make some real strides in the execution of the skills on bottom field. The afternoon saw the troop learning about CBRN states of readiness to work within certain threats. After that was completed the rest of the day was devoted to final prep ready for Ex BAPTIST RUN with final kit exchanges and admin.
2. Tuesday was a very lecture and classroom intensive based day, but for the good reason of learning the theory of signals and communications. Specifically we focused in on the different forms of electronic warfare as well as the correct voice procedure on the radio. Voice procedure is a set way of talking on the radio so as to aid understanding when signal is poor as well as prevent confusion and enable concise messages, so as to reduce the amount of time a signal, that could give away your location, is being transmitted. The day helped establish a solid foundation in the theory behind radios and signals. Within the corps, signals (sigs) play a huge part in everything, as without the ability to communicate effectively over small and large distances our effectiveness and efficiency is hugely reduced. As training progresses sigs will become a greater and greater part of the exercises and individuals will be relied upon to operate and understand the equipment.
3. The big day had arrived and the start of Ex BAPTIST RUN was here. The day started with the first of many criteria tests for the week in the form of the 4-mile speed march. Speed marching is a method of getting a body of men efficiently from point A to B with the kit they need to fight, but also arriving in a state where they are still able to fight. This is at an average speed of 6mph but needs to be maintained over all terrains, be that wet and muddy, sandy or very hilly. With the entirety of the troop passing the test it was straight onto the field phase. Having arrived and set up camp we conducted the first of two map reading stances putting our abilities learnt thus far to the test. After the map reading assessment it was time to get fully cammed (camouflaged) out with the local gauze bushes and other foliage to achieve the concealment required to close with our quarry (the training team armed with binoculars) on the stalk. As night descended we went into the first night navigation exercises, where we were very spoilt with a full moon and clear skies giving us amazing visibility.
4. The second day of the exercise saw us doing a second stalk and map reading assessment, but also completing fire control orders, target indication and observation stances. Still being spoilt by the weather the troop endeavoured to get stuck in and strive for some really good scores. Once night descended it was time to go through the second and final night navigation. Navigating some of the marshy areas around Woodbury is a challenge to say the least, but as amphibious troops we are no stranger to the oggin (water) and with the shortest route between two points being a straight line, naturally these marshy areas were the kind of terrain we happily navigate across (although for some it was more through than across).
5. The final day of Ex BAPTIST RUN had arrived and many were glad to get stuck into the final phase of the exercises. With our last stances on FCO, target indication and observations completed it was time for the final test of the exercise, the combat fitness test (CFT). This is an 8 mile yomp that every marine has to complete annually in under 2 hours with 55lb of kit. For many this was the first time running with 55lbs so understandably there were some nerves. In the end it was a challenge for some and a bit of a leg burner for others, however with a bit of grit and determination the troop finished together with not one quitting. To illustrate the need to be fit to fight even after a CFT we then practiced some fireman’s carries on the top field.
6. With the close of play on a hard week the morning was spent in the pool. We were given free run of a giant inflatable, which went down great with the lads as a bit of fun as a troop. Not only was it a chance to unwind but also to have a good time and relax into the weekend and bring a very busy and important week to a close before we began to cast our eyes forward to Phase Two!