215 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 14
The week began with a double bottom field session; this consisted of a full run through of bottom field pass out. As it was our last session with 15lbs we were assessed on our current fitness levels before we increased the weight and introduced a rifle.
In the afternoon we received several CBRN lectures that informed us of the potential threats we could be working in, we discussed the ways of dealing with the different Chemical agents and the selection of dress categories.
On completion of the lectures we returned to the accommodation where we began preparation for our Phase One test exercise, Ex BAPTIST RUN. This included changing kit and revising everything we had been taught so far.
The duration of Tuesday was spent in the classroom receiving lectures on signals and communications. The lectures went into detail about electronic warfare and voice procedure. We covered the standard operating procedures for when the radio isn’t functioning correctly and the importance of communications in general. Finally, we went through how to complete a contact report with the correct information.
When we had finished for the day we packed our Bergans and headed to the drill shed for our pre Baptist Run kit muster. This was to make sure we were fully prepared for the exercise.
With all preparation done we could do no more, Ex BAPTIST RUN had arrived. The morning began with a Four-mile speed march, which the whole Troop managed to complete. It was then a quick change before deploying to the field.
The exercise began with a static map stance; followed by a stalk, target indication, fire control orders, observation and then night navigation. The following morning consisted of a kit muster and a repeat of all of the stances carried out on day one. On completion of the exercise the Troop endured a combat fitness test, 8 miles with a Bergan on in less than 2 hours. We returned to camp knowing we had done everything we could; it was a nervous wait for Monday morning to see the results.
215 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 15
The week began down at the weapon stances where we were learning and practicing CBRN drills (procedures to follow in the event of a chemical attack). The various drills we learnt included the initial action drill (what to do when you first detect a chemical attack), the full decontamination drill (how to clean and decontaminate yourself and your kit once an attack has happened), and the drinking drill (how to safely drink out of your water bottle without removing your respirator). Later on that morning we went down the bottom field for a session of AMF where we went through the different stages of the bottom field pass out tests. This involved one full 30 ft rope climb with 15lbs in our webbing, then onto a full timed run through of the assault course followed by a 200m fireman’s carry, then finally a full rope regain above the tank. The results showed more work was needed on certain areas so we finished the session with a circuit of fireman’s carries and rope climbs. We lost a few Troop members this week when we received our results from Ex BAPTIST RUN, taking the Troop down to 20 members moving onto Phase Two. We had various lectures on more advanced Troop and Section tactics this week preparing us for exercises to come in Phase Two. These included signals training and an introduction to the Bowman radio system, the organisation and roles of a Rifle Troop, types and aims of a patrol (e.g. reconnaissance), and Section formations all of which will be put into practice on Exercise FIRST BASE next week. On top of all the tactics lectures the Company Commander took us for a lesson on the laws of armed conflict (LOAC), which included teaching us when lethal force can be used on operations and how prisoners of war must be treated. The rest of our time this week was taken up doing drill and having not done drill for a while a refresher was definitely in order to blow off the cobwebs. All the drill practice culminated with 215’s Arms Drill Pass-out on Friday morning which we all passed with no problems. We returned to our accommodation after Arms Drill Pass-out to find the training team in “phys rig” (physical training attire) and were given two minutes to change from our drill uniform into our own phys rig and were told that due to the troops accommodation cleaning still not being to the required standard we had one last ‘little’ surprise in store for us before we went home for the weekend. We formed up outside and were run down through the bottom gates of camp and across onto the drained estuary. A long muddy phys session followed, including crawls, sprints, squats with logs etc. This managed to persuade us to meet the exacting standards set out by the training team. Like most things in training, after the point has been made the team raise our spirits and it all seems like it is worthwhile and even dare I say it… fun! Afterwards we formed a hollow square on the beach still covered in mud where we were greeted by the Company Commander. After some wise words we had our Phase One pass out presentation. Marksman badges and IC tapes were awarded, as well as ‘Best Overall Recruit in Phase One’ and ‘Most Improved Recruit’. After a very comfortable hose down with “warm” water, we proceeded to pack our kit and head off on a very welcomed weekend at home!