Week 6 allowed us a respite from the field, with the majority of the week revolving around First Aid, Navigation and Marksmanship. Don’t be fooled though, we still spent many periods on the Gym floor receiving IMF instruction from the Troop PTI!
Map reading started with a bang on Monday morning, as we were introduced to a map, how to fold it and how to care for it. Next came grid references, symbols, how to recognise buildings, roads, woods, lakes, river and much more. Taking a break from Navigation we were introduced to the rudiments of First Aid by a member of Staff from the Sickbay. This began with how to deliver CPR or deal with a workplace casualty, but quickly progressed to how to deal with a catastrophic bleed, locate a gunshot exit wound or deal with an amputated limb. Back in Map Reading we moved onto contours, and how they can be used to describe both the elevation and shape of the ground on a map.
Thursday was a day we have all been waiting for; an opportunity to shoot live rounds on the 25m range! After receiving an instructional period on the DCCT (essentially a big rifle shooting computer game) we were able to fire our rifles for the first time with live ammunition. We were all amazed with the noise it made, and the concentration required to produce a good group of shots close together. Soon we will have to pass our Annual Combat Marksmanship Test, a complex test requiring targets to be hit at different ranges from different positions, all against the clock.
Friday saw us return to camp, and an introduction to the compass, protractor, bearings, and Grid-Magnetic Angle (don’t ask!). We were lucky to observe the King’s Squad conduct their lap of camp after passing fit for duty as Marines. All the families and friends looked so proud, and it gave us a real sense of zeal and motivation to continue working hard and make it to the end. Next week sees us deploy on our longest ever field exercise, Ex MARSHALL STAR . .