218 Troop Diary
Monday came sooner than most would have wanted after a relaxing and merry Christmas and New Year. We were met off the train by our Troop DL (Drill Leader), the shock of capture had already begun! All of the Recruits were introduced and welcomed by the Colour Sergeant in charge of foundation training. The Troop then went on to attest which made the experience a bit more real. Following the Attestation, the Training Team introduced themselves. Everyone was quiet and nervous for the journey they were about to embark upon. This was the start of a undoubtedly challenging 32 weeks. The first lesson the Recruits had to learn was how to make a bed. Hospital corners and the ironing of bed sheets was totally alien to the majority of us, especially at 0500 in the morning! The lights came on a little too early for most of us on Tuesday morning. The day itself comprised of a Royal Marine Fitness Assessment, exactly the same test as we had to complete on our PRMC with a Bleep Test, Push Ups, Sit Ups and Pull Ups. Later, lectures and briefs were the order of the day as we sorted out all the administrative aspects of joining the Royal Marines. By now the lack of sleep and phys were beginning to take their toll. After a trip to stores, the Troop had most of their personal equipment. Nothing too interesting, just a few bags and some ‘rig’(uniform) . Later in the day, the DL taught us how to iron and clean each of the pieces as well as how to ‘globe and laurel’ them (The Globe and Laurel is the Royal Marines Bi-monthly magazine, A4 in size, it is used as a template for folding sizes!). Now the Troop were beginning to properly bond – over ironing boards and folding tables!
Wednesday saw the Troop in the gym being introduced to military fitness. The session went well and most lads really enjoyed it. We then went straight to the pool where we had our first swim session. Later on in the day, we ventured to the stores again and after several trips, we had our kit good to go. That evening was hectic as we prepared for another inspection. Most only got one or two hours sleep before rising early on Thursday.
By Thursday, more and more Recruits were having to stand up in lectures to stay awake. Lack of sleep was becoming very apparent. After a few short words from the troop corporal, we started to understand the importance of adhering to details promptly and to the letter. More importantly, we understood the importance of working as a team and really started to gel and get on as friends.
As we moved onto Friday, more phys seemed to be the order of the day. Firstly, we completed a 3 miler, running the first 1.5 miles as a squad before turning round and running the last 1.5 miles best effort. Returning to the gym, we undertook rope climbs and were taught the intricacies of climbing a rope. After watching the PTI demonstration we each had an attempt. Some grasped the technique quicker than others, but it was a good effort all round. After this, we went to the pool again and had a bit of a taster as to what a Battle Swim Test involved. A good day of phys all in all!
Saturday morning started with another locker inspection followed by our first exposure to drill. We had a Troop and individual photo and then drill began. There was no-one at this point that wasn’t suffering from fatigue after a long and strenuous week. Saturday afternoon saw the Recruits go ashore (Royal Marine slang for leaving camp) in Exeter. It was nice to get away from camp for a few hours. Once returned, the Recruits got on with their admin and then had a reasonably early night!
Sunday was another half day and the morning and early afternoon consisted of a brief on webbing. By the end of the session, we had all of our field kit prepped for the upcoming Exercise, Exercise EARLY NIGHT. Once again, we were granted shore leave in Exeter before returning and preparing for an inspection by the Training Team on the Monday morning.
In a nutshell, the first week went well for the majority of the members of 218 Troop. Challenging and requiring a lot of adaptation, we are starting to get to grips with little sleep and a busy work life!
Week two has started to get more busy than the last. Even with early mornings and late nights, there is still lots of details to be completed and lessons to cram in. Our first night in the field, Ex EARLY NIGHT, was our first chance to learn fieldcraft. On this Exercise, we were taught the importance of Wet and Dry routine as well as how to construct a poncho.
The PTI’s were pushing us to the limit in the gym. During the week, we conducted Camp Circuits (800m sprints around camp!), IMF (Initial Military Fitness Sessions) and Swimming. They also started teaching us the proper rope climbing technique to help us climb the 30 foot ropes in the gym.
Towards the end of the week, our Drill Leader, made sure that we had hit the correct standards in the accommodation. This ranged from hygiene to ironing in preparation for our final inspection. The final inspection of the accommodation is used to prove that we have hit the required standards to move into our own, proper accommodation where we will hopefully spend the next 30 weeks.
Looking forward to next week, we have our first week in the new accommodation as well as more weapons training- I cant wait!
Week 3 of Royal Marines Commando Training saw 218 Troop start off in a new accommodation block, a big relief to many of the lads who were desperate to get out of the foundation block! However, with a strict inspection on the Monday morning looming, there was no time to relax. However, the freedom of the weekend, combined with a tough second week in foundation, resulted in a failed inspection of the new grots which led to a re-inspection at 1930 the same evening. So after various lectures (where we DID NOT fall asleep!) and a tough PT session, we were given two and a half hours to get the accommodation sorted for the evenings evolution.
After firm instruction by the training team, Tuesday saw the Troop up bright and early, cleaning, ironing and doing other things which had been totally alien to us but a month before when we were full civilians. Lectures and one PT session were the hardships for the day. Unfortunately, some of the Recruit’s within the troop did not remember to lock away their personal possessions and so were made to carry their Bergan around camp for the remainder of the day so they could keep an eye on it personally.
Wednesday saw an incredibly busy day for 218 Troop, meaning lots of quick changes and a lot of thorough instruction from the training team. Unfortunately, two unsecure lockers meant we straight away received verbal wrath upon returning to the grots. Having let ourselves down here, the failings mounted as we went to the gym to conduct RM Close Combat training and a number of people had keys in their pockets, resulting in several camp circuits and a number of sprints! RMCC gave the opportunity to get to grips physically with each other and slowly but surely.
After an early, Friday morning drill period, CTCRM’s PTI’s gave 218 Tp their hardest fitness session to date, incorporating all that the Troop had learnt so far into one uber session! 218 Tp responded well, with 95% of the Troop achieving full rope climbs, a massive achievement when taking into account the fatigue from the last few weeks. It is clear that work is still required as many failed to make it round the Camp Circuit in under 3 minutes, however, it is beginning to become easier!
Overall, the week 3 has had its ups and down. 218 Troop keep on learning and keep getting better- soon nothing will stop us!