207 Troop Diary – Week 5
We started this week bright and early with our first booted run out of camp as a troop even though it was challenging at first after the first mile people started to get used to the pace and used to wearing the boots.
Finally after loading up the truck with all our bergans and equipment for the exercise we were on our way to the coach ready to begin exercise Quick Cover, all weekend people had been anticipating what would happen and were excited to go to Woodbury Common for a few days. As soon as people were sat on the coach final kit preps took place and everyone began to make sure that they were 100% ready.
After a short drive and a small march we had arrived at the exercise area and had to set up the equipment for the next few days, we were all excited now as it was the 1st time that we had been told that we would be using blank ammunition.
Over the first few days we learnt about field craft including why things are seen, camouflage and concealment and we got to practice both of these. To test our camouflage and concealment the Troop split into two sections and took it in turns to hide from each other then pick faults with each other’s camouflage e.g. too much cam cream, too much foliage on our helmets or even moving too much when in position. This was a good valuable lesson that everyone enjoyed because it was a bit of a competition between the lads to see who would remain unseen for the longest and because camouflage and concealment is one of the key skills a Royal Marine must be able to perform in any environment.
Later on we also started to learn some tactical movements e.g. leopard crawling (something every recruit will learn to love during training) & how to react to enemy fire during a patrol. This was the first time that we really got to fire some blank ammunition and everyone really enjoyed this lesson.
During the exercise we practiced wet & dry routine again and this time we were all quicker at getting ready and were starting to get used to wearing wet clothes during sentry. On the final morning of exercise we woke up bright and early ready for the final kit inspection of the exercise which everyone wanted to pass, even though we were all exhausted from the past few days we all got our kit musters ready and stood ready for the corporals to come and carry out the inspection, one by one we had been inspected and more of us had passed today which we were relieved and as we began to pack our kit away we started to talk about families day which as someone mentioned was only a couple of days away.
Once all of our kit was packed away and was back on the truck we all formed up on the road for the part people had been anticipating, the march back as a troop with our daysacks, helmets, webbing and rifles. This was an increased weight because last time we did not carry daysacks, but everyone felt confident that they could make it and as we set off everyone was beginning to think about being back at camp eating food from the galley and having a nice comfy bed to sleep in.
As Thursday arrived we were all exhausted but knew that we were only 1 day away from seeing our families, the day started with church and a chance for people to have a cup of tea and biscuits whilst reflecting on the past week and to discuss families day.
After church we began to practice for families day with everyone keen to impress their families at drill and if our drill kit was in good order it meant we would be able to wear our drill trousers and drill boots, that everyone had been polishing ready for the families. The inspection went well and so did the gym and finally after a long few days we were ready to go back to our rooms and carry out final preparations for families day, however an early night was not in order as the accommodation needed to be at the highest standard for our families and we all stayed up until the early hours of the following morning making sure everything was good.
Finally the time had come for us to see our families and people were having a joke over breakfast about who would mess up in front of their family. As soon as we had eaten it was straight back to our rooms to get changed into drill rig and this would be the first time in 5 weeks that we had seen our families and the first time that they had seen us in a military environment so everyone wanted to look perfect.
As we marched out our families all looked so proud of us and were all smiling and apart from the odd mistake it all went to plan. Straight after drill we were marched back to our accommodation to get ready for gym.
As we entered the gym everyone was raring to begin and everyone gave it 110% during the session and even though we were exhausted it was one of the best sessions we had done so far which shows how proud everyone is of what they are doing and how happy they are to be here.
After gym we all got to meet our families and there were mixed emotions from tears to laughter and there was a lot of hugs at this moment there was a great feeling of pride and anticipation to go home and tell all our friends about what we had achieved and were about to take part in.