We started Monday knowing we had a good and interesting day, as we had CBRN training and our first bottom field session. Everyone was excited for the assault course. The session was more of a teach, than all out phys. Learning regains, rope climbs, the assault course and fireman’s carries. It was still a hard phys session. The troop then prepped and dressed in our CBRN suits and headed to the gas chamber. I’d heard already that it was pretty disgusting; however I was still looking forward to it. Our section was first into the CS gas filled chamber and one by one the respirators were removed. The sergeant made us inhale and report.
Tuesday we deployed into the field for exercise Baptist walk. Which is a 2 day exercise devised as a practice test for Baptist run (a pass or fail exercise). The exercise comprised of a stalk, target indication, fire control orders, observation, kit musters, map stances and night navigations. After we had finished in the early hours of the morning, the troop was submerged. The water was muddy and cold, done in order to prepare ourselves and admin for the winter months.
I lucked out being on sentry last, meaning I would already be up for reveille. The morning started with a kit muster, which only I and one other lad in my section passed. We packed up and headed back to camp with an extraction yomp. It was an 8 mile load carry and was probably the hardest I had ever been pushed both physically and mentally in my life. We then had lectures on grenade throwing for the next day and were left to our own to deservice kit.
The day started with a locker inspection, to ensure we had deserviced our kit correctly. However it did not go well, as a lot of dirty kit was found in lockers. The grenade ranges was on the coolest things we’ve done in training so far. We were shown drills in case anyone miss threw the grenade and landed too close. Then came the actual throwing of the grenades. The actually look fairly underwhelming, although you understand the danger attached to them. Once you receive the grenade you have to check it over for defects. Remove the safety pin and throw it at the target. It hit the ground and we dived down out of the way of the explosion the noise and rumble was immense and is something I will never forget.
The final day of a busy and fun week. We had our underwater helicopter escape drills. The coach picked us up early and we headed to RNAS Yeovilton. When we got there we changed into overalls and had a briefing of what we were about to do. We did it in groups of 6 and ended up being in the last group. Having witnessed one of the windows failing to open and people scrambling out the other exits. It was eventually my turn and I was slightly nervous. There are 4 ‘dunks’ in total. 1. You go down upright and escape. 2. Once it hits the water it turns upside down and you need to orientate once you’re under. 3. Is the same as 2, although it’s in twilight lighting. 4. Is done in complete darkness. The whole time you just have to stay calm and ensure you orientate and understand your positioning and where you are. That was it; we all passed and gained a certificate. The troop went over to the airfield and received introductions and briefings for the Merlin helicopter. Then headed back to camp after a good day.