193 Troop Diary – Week 31
The week began with an early start in the morning after having completed the Endurance Course, the first of the four Commando Tests, two days prior. After a quick breakfast the troop did the daily cleaning of the accommodation and made our way to Portsmouth Coy armory to draw weapons for the 9 Mile Speed March. Once we had drawn weapons we got on a coach to take us to the start location of the 9 Mile Speed March at Hawkerland.
Once Cpl Ebbage arrived we did a warm up and quick stretch off along with the compulsory nervous swamp that goes along with the Commando Tests. With our webbing and rifle on we started the 9 Mile Speed March at quite a quick pace down a long hill to make up for time on the up hill sections of the route. There was a very light rain making it perfect conditions for the test. The test itself was pretty physically demanding, after all it is one of the Commando Tests but after 30 weeks of training this was something the troop was used to and everyone passed. We finished the test at the car park opposite camp where we completed a cool down and stretch off of fairly tight legs. For our march of camp signifying successful completion of the 9 Mile Speed March, Rct Barrett accompanied the drummer with his bagpipes. Everyone agreed after that it was an awesome addition, with everyone feeling extremely proud on the march through camp in front of many of the top officers on camp. The rest of the day was relatively easy with a few lectures and a early finish for the day. The troop was given our green berets to shape for the presentation at the end of the 30 Miler, which caused a lot of excitement and emphasized to us just how close we were to finally earning the coveted green beret.
Tuesday entailed the Tarzan Assault Course and lectures in the afternoon with some pre 30 Miler admin. The day began a bit later which the troop was thankful for the extra head down. After collecting weapons the troop made its way down to the bottom field to begin the Tarzan Assault Course. We were set off on one minute intervals with everyone giving it one hundred percent effort throughout. This led to the term record being broken twice by the troop and the new being set, one by Rct Barrett who held it for the long duration of forty seconds before Rct Busby came in behind him and beat his time of 9 minutes 23 seconds with a rapid time of 9 minutes and 13 seconds. Worthy mention to Rct Butterfield who was definitely in the hurt locker by the end of the test, however he pushed through and passed. Again everyone in the troop passed. The afternoon consisted of lectures and ended with the troop loading baggage and stores for the 30 Miler. The troop then made its way via coach to Okehampton camp where we spent the night ready for the 30 Miler.
Everyone in the galley ate big, packing in the calories in preparation for the 30 Miler the next day. Everyone was up 0300 and back in the galley trying to cram in as many calories as possible before starting the final Commando Test and arguably the hardest. Understandably there was a lot of nervous chatter amongst the troop. The first syndicate set off at 0500 with 10 minute intervals between the syndicates. Along the way at the checkpoints we had to very quickly eat a banana and get liquids down us, with a delicious pasty at checkpoint two which very nearly came back up once we’d set off again. By checkpoint three, just over half way, everyone’s legs were feeling heavy and any blisters that had started off small and were just a nuisance had now become very uncomfortable, however with the end only a matter of hours away no one was about to stop.
At checkpoint five the CO, troop commander and the padre joined syndicate three for the last leg of the test. It was quite surreal knowing we only had an hour left until we’d be presented our green berets. The final minutes seemed to take far longer than the rest of the march. Each syndicate was clapped in over Shaugh Prior Bridge, which represented the end of the 30 Miler. The 30 Miler was definitely the most physically and mentally demanding Commando Test and required all to dig deep. After all the syndicates had finished the troop along with RMR lined out for the green beret presentation. The training team and the CO came past every man shaking to shake their hand and present them the coveted green beret. I think it is safe to say that this was without a doubt the proudest moment of every member of the troops life. After the presentation and soaking up the moment we got on a coach back to camp, were everyone proceeded to quickly get their head down on the way back. Once back at camp everyone was exhausted and wanted nothing more but to sleep however with everything in training there was bits of admin that had to be done for the next day of drill.
Thursday was heavily drill orientated in preparation for King’s Squad pass out parade. The troop began learning the routine that Cpl Lennard had created for the King’s Squad pass out parade. The troop picked it up well and what we had been taught started coming together once the troop had the hang of it. Friday was much the same, learning the next parts of the routine and getting to do a practice with the music that will be played on the day, which was very useful. The troop also received medical jabs so that everyone is operationally deployable after passing out.
Again Saturday was drill from the morning until the afternoon to ensure we learning everything we need to. However, the evening and night was the King’s Squad celebratory party, which the troop was eagerly looking forward to. The evening was kicked off with a few drinks and a viewing of the troop video that provided a lot of entertainment, as well as troop raffle and presents to each member of the training team. There was a meal before main entertainment of the night which was the hypnotist. Aside from the people under the hypnotist doing some fairly strange things, everyone else was fits of laughter at them, especially Cpl Bickerton. After not having consumed any alcohol over the Commando Phase of training, the past six weeks, and being physically taxed by the Commando Tests our ability to drink as much was definitely affected, resulting in a bit of blur for most of the troop by the end of the night. The nigh was well enjoyed by everyone and the troop enjoyed relaxing and having a good night together.
The next day however was slightly less enjoyed due to some pretty heavy hangovers and hours of doing drill.