Having enjoyed our weekend off with a Nandos and a few beers watching the Rugby, we returned to work ready to deploy on yet another field exercise, Ex MARHSALL STAR. This would be a confirmation of everything we had so far learned, as well as introducing us to the practical aspects of navigation.
After setting up the stores and checking the safety equipment, we began with our first lesson of estimating distance and how to use our pacing to measure out 100m. We then moved onto fixing our position at night using the stars, and getting acquainted with the night vision equipment that we will be issued once we progress a little further. The afternoon was spent navigating a circuit around the training area under the supervision of the instructors. This was great opportunity to put into practice the theory we had learnt over the previous week. The next day started (as usual) with a kit muster, followed by a flurry of lesson on all manner of subjects, from crossing obstacles to accurately describing a target and everything else in between. By the end of the day we felt like we couldn’t possibly fit any more information in, but we didn’t have time for that, as we again went navigating but this time at night. This brought it’s own challenges, namely seeing where we going and avoiding the many streams on Woodbury Common!
Thursday morning saw the completion of our longest exercise yet, and the march back to camp led by the Training Team. After cleaning our weapons (the most important piece of equipment we have), we pulled on clean rig and went to do our first BST (Battle Swimming Test) in the pool. This involves donning webbing with weight and a plastic rifle, beginning by jumping off the 5m diving board into the pool. We then swim to a 15m point, returning to the start and handing our equipment to an ‘oppo’ (fellow recruit) before treading water for 2 minutes. The majority of the Troop passed first time, whilst the few who didn’t quite make it will continue to try. Next week is a week on camp, finishing off our first aid training and a day with the Mountain Leaders learning survival training.