209 TROOP DIARY WEEK 4
To start the week off our safety net of having ‘lumi tabs’ were no longer part of our everyday uniform. These are orange tabs which we wear on our uniform that signify that a troop is in foundation. Without them goes the understanding that we have only recently joined the Royal Marines.
Week 4 was crammed with lots of weapons training, a weapon handling test to prove our competence, plenty of IMF, field craft lectures and Exercise FIRST STEP, our second night under ponchos. The exercise concentrated on teaching us how to administrate ourselves in the field and cooking rations and we spent the night outside of camp for the first time. We also had another practise at the ‘wet and dry’ routine with a pleasant dip in Peter’s Pool, a delightful feature of the Endurance Course.
The morning of the exercise we had our first attempt at a kit muster and had to conduct our ‘morning routine’. This is knows as the process from waking up to washing and eating in preparation for a morning inspection. We do it so that we learn to keep ourselves clean and hygienic whilst deployed on operations. I think everyone was put on the famous ‘flank’ after our abysmal efforts! This didn’t dampen our morale and we were soon ready for a 4 mile march back with our Troop Commander. We were carrying 17lbs of weight, the beginning of load carrying…
Wednesday and Thursday was a combination of being in the gym and an introduction to the weapon system we will use throughout our training and time in the Royal Marines. Despite feeling stiff following our first exercise we spent plenty of time practising our gym routine ahead of Families’ Day, particularly revising the technique of being able to climb the ropes (this did appear like rather than practise for Families’ Day, just good ‘phys’). Being able to understand how the SA80 rifle works and how to use it is just as important as being fit. Therefore the time spent learning how to operate it has been intense with the overall aim of us being able to pass our weapons handling test, allowing us to use the weapon on exercise and on the ranges. It is also the first assessment we face at this stage of training.
The prospect of one more week before we are allowed to go home for ‘long weekenders’ is the light at the end of the tunnel, and the thought of impressing our families gives that bit more motivation during the later nights and earlier starts.