This was a particularly rough week for our Troop, we did enjoy it but it was quite tough. We left on Monday morning for Woodbury Common on Exercise Marshall Star – our longest exercise yet. On the first day we had some lectures that were quite interesting and expanded our knowledge of some of the basic fieldcraft skills we had previously learned. It was quite a cold night but it passed without any big problems. Several of the lads have started noticing that some things has already started getting easier to do that we struggled with on our previous exercise. It felt like we were getting a little bit better at some aspects of living in the field even if it is only by small margins. We conducted our first navigation exercise the following night that proved to be quite a challenge in the dark. Everyone experienced falling into holes, puddles of water and some of us even ended up lost in gorse bushes higher than our heads! This did not make the navigation exercises any more enjoyable but it did make it all the more satisfying at the finish point. On Thursday we did our march back to camp with the heaviest load we had carried so far, but we all made it back in good spirits excited to disservice our kit and get into an actual bed. Unfortunately, we did lose a couple of lads during this week through injury.
After a pretty abysmal week 7 regarding the troops overall performance, we tried our hardest to approach week 8 with a new breath of life. The Troop focused completely and unequivocally on doing everything as perfectly as possible throughout the week. We did our interval drill pass out on Wednesday with an above average pass which kept the troops motivation and focus high for a little bit longer. This ended up with the training team giving us official permission to start using the dryers full time for our washing which means we would now have a little more time to do other personal admin like ironing and cleaning the accommodation. We also had the OC’s inspection on Wednesday morning which pointed out some aspects of field kit de-servicing that we can improve on but we still passed the inspection regardless. We started doing weapons drill which was quite motivating as we have all seen the Kings Squad conducting the same drills we were learning. We therefore feel yet another step closer to the end. All in all it was a very hard working but rewarding week.
This week has been focused on perfecting our gym performance in preparation for the Gym pass Out on Friday, in which we ended up achieving a high pass. Unfortunately we messed up on a few areas that prevented us from getting a distinguished mark, which was disappointing as we have worked extremely hard over the past few weeks.
The Troop has also been conducting First Aid training, in both basic life support (which is about CPR and the recovery position) and battlefield first aid (which covers first response drills for loss of limbs and gunshot wounds). It has been a tough week as it has been assessment after assessment to ensure we are up to the required standard. These assessments have consisted of the battlefield fitness test (2 x 1.5 mile run), the Royal Marines Fitness Assessment, the Battle Swimming Test, gym pass out, first aid tests and a map reading test. However, we did finished the week off with a good bit of shooting on the simulator and a few games of water polo. Next week we acquaint ourselves with Dartmoor for Exercise Hunters Moon for some even more aggressive camping and survival training.