Break into double time, double ……march!
The majority of Week 14 consisted of Exercise Baptist Run, on which our basic soldiering skills were put to the test. For most the stalking proved the most difficult discipline to master, with some of the initial camouflage attempts being better suited to Lady Gaga than potential Commandos. If the stalks didn’t provide enough Woodbury rash then the night navigation exercises certainly did.
Over two different night navigation exercises all aspects of our navigation were tested, with most recruits within the time limit. There were a few errors, with various lost recruits ending up on the main road with a light stick in their helmet awaiting recovery from the Training Team – the importance of following the lost procedure had been drilled into every recruit.
One of the main aspects tested was our field administration. A number of individuals were identified cutting corners by the team – which clearly caused some frustration and a sharp reminder of standards required within the Corps.
The exercise came to an end with an 8 mile load carry back to CTCRM and finally a post field kit inspection.
The end of Baptist Run will see a number of recruits who have not reached the required standard and will move on for further training or another attempt at the exercise; a reminder to the rest of the troop that the standards are there to be met as we progress through training.
The Half Way Point
With the progression into the tactical phase of training effective communication will be paramount. Luckily, 211 Troop had further signals lectures to revise and enhance their signals skills, and for one recruit to actually learn how to wear a headset properly.
The start of the week brought a new understanding of the world of pain with a Bottom Field session that tested all of us to our limits. It finished off with a maximum effort around the assault course. To quote one recruit, ‘My lungs are on fire……and I like it.’
Following this we continued our CBRN training in which we enjoyed another trip to the loathed gas chamber. I can report that this exposure was by no means as intense as the first, providing the drills were right.
The main event of the week was the progression to the half way point in training at the end of Phase One. From this point training becomes harder but more enjoyable (or so we have been told). Regardless of what the future holds for the remaining members of 211 Troop, with only 9 weeks remaining to the start of the Commando Phase we can do nothing more than ‘dig out blind’ and expect to ‘hang out’ at levels we cannot yet imagine.
With only Monday morning spent on the bottom field the troop saw very little if CTCRM this week as we tackled Ex FIRST BASE. The aim of this exercise was to be a introduction to operating at a tactical level. The highlights were the helo ride to Woodbury Common and doing the reconnaissance patrols onto various targets in the middle of the night – something which we all joined to do.
The exercise introduced us to Observational Posts (Ops) and with the last 24 hours spent building and living subsurface in a 2m hole whilst trying to log, report and remain unseen certainly gave the Troop a bit of a taster to the levels of discipline and hard work that will be expected during Phase Two of training. Despite the cramped hole, very little movement and no hot food the Troop seemed to enjoy the OP phase.
The exercise was finished with a 5 MSM with 21lbs and a rifle which was completed by all members. This experience drove home the importance of correctly hydrating and eating during an exercise.