214 Tp Recruit Diary
Weeks 1 &2
It was a mixed bag of nerves and excitement in the Foundation block on Day 1 of Royal Marines recruit training, 12th October 2015. The block is made up of large 60-man room where the 43 men of 214 Troop would spend the first two weeks of their lives in the Royal Marines.
The training started quickly and it was back to basics with demos on how to wash, shave and iron properly. Even at this stage the standards were high. The phys started off slowly with several tests such as the Royal Marines Fitness Assessment (RMFA). This consists on a bleep test, press ups, sit ups and pull ups all performed back-to-back with perfect form. We then took the Basic Fitness Test (BFT) which consists of a 3 mile run (1.5 miles ran as a squad and then the 1.5 miles back is individual best effort). This is a real lung-buster and the PT staff and training team make it abundantly clear they always expect 100% effort.
The week continued in the same vein – the most dangerous thing we got close to was a steam iron. Come the weekend, we got ‘shore leave’ on Saturday and Sunday for few hours. We went into Exeter to have some ‘scran’ (food) and a beer which was a nice feeling! Subconsciously, however, most of the time was spent making sure we were in step with one another and we didn’t have our hands in our pockets!
During Week 2 the phys started to ramp up. Long hours were spent swimming and in the gym conducting Initial Military Fitness (IMF) which consists of high intensity sprints, rope climbs, press ups, burpees, etc. Self-discipline, speed and attention to detail are enforced throughout. We have also completed numerous ‘camp circuits’ which consists of a 800m sprint around the camp’s ring road. This has to be completed in under 3 mins 20 secs.
Week 2 also saw us complete Exercise EARLY NIGHT. This involved us going down to the camp’s bottom field and setting up a ‘harbour’ (a tactical formation the Troop sets up when static in the field – a military version of camping). During the exercise we also did ‘wet and dry’. This involves changing from wet kit to dry when getting in your sleeping bag, and then back into wet kit when you get out to continue with work (which ensures you always have a dry set to sleep in). We were set up in pairs under a poncho during the night, frequently getting up for one-hour sentry duties and doing ‘wet and dry’. We got back from the field early morning and we had to ‘de-service’ our kit which involves a thorough clean to an impeccable standard.
The rest of the week followed with more phys sessions and lectures. With the long days and constant physical exertion, we were starting to understand why recruits are nicknamed ‘nods’ – it’s extremely difficult not to ‘nod’ off in lectures!
By the end of Week 2 spirits were high as the lads were starting to gel and on Sunday, we moved out of Foundation over to our block with six-man ‘grots’ (rooms) where we will hopefully see out the rest of training.
Only 30 weeks to go.