219 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 3
1. Monday. Morale is high in the troop today as we have just moved into our new grots from the Foundation Block we have just spent our last two weeks in. Everyone is happy with the modern luxuries over here such as a comfortable bed and wifi. We were in the pool today practicing for our BST (Basic Swim Test) which partly consists of taking a confident step off the 3m board into the water with webbing and a rifle. This was followed by pool circuits, an experience still new to the majority of the lads. These stations contained work with a jerry can keeping it from touching the water, basic hypoxic work, pushing bricks and teabags in and out of the water. We finished today on weapon lessons and basic maintenance of the rifle.
2. Tuesday. We have had a lot of lecture information to take in today. Corps history to start with followed by Armed Forces Discipline. We were again in the pool today doing a BST build up, pretty much the full test only regressed slightly. this was then followed by an incredibly hard pool team session. The aim was for the 6 man team to pick up a 20kg plate from the bottom of the deep end and carry it length ways to the shallow end of the pool. Sounds simple, although when the rest of the 30 members of the troop are making waves to force you back from the other end of the pool it makes it extremely difficult! Fair to say everyone was “hanging” at the end of it.
3. Wednesday. This morning we started off with a drill session. The troop is really starting to come together and fully appreciate these sessions now, plus everyone seems to like the sound of the drill boots echoing from inside the drill shed. We were in the gym in late morning practicing our IMF routine. This consists of 6 teams of 6 men standing parallel to each other exercising at a tempo set out by the PTI. This was followed by rope climbs. A lot of the troop is still finding the ropes hard but everyone is developing and becoming more confident at climbing. We also had our first ever close combat session today, this was a challenge even to the members of the troop who came from a martial arts background. Eventually, after a busy day we had an evening accommodation inspection to pass. Unfortunately, we failed and had the price of a long night ahead of us.
4. Thursday. This morning we had a lecture on Memory adaptation and how to train yourself to memorise more information accurately. A skill in great need for the job we are training for. We had another RMCC (close quarter combat) session in the gym today. This time we learned how to sweep opponents from the guard position to get back to feet to retrieve our primary weapon. These sessions are proving to be tough on the body as a lot of the troop are finding various aches and pains afterwards. We spent the remainder of our day practicing rifle drills and getting to know the weapon better. We are all looking forward to our first live firing experience.
5. Friday. First detail of the day was drill. We were absent of our normal drill instructor today as he was taking a drill session with a troop several weeks infant of our own. Fewer of the lads were put on the “flank” this time, the flank being a separate section to stand away from the main body of the troop who have all passed their individual inspection, the flank is not somewhere you want to be. Seems that every time we go to drill less of the troop are ending up on the flank which shows progress in everyone’s admin skills. After that we moved onto IMF in the gym again. Todays session was torture. All of our normal exercises with a few new ones we had to learn thrown in for good measure. This was then followed by hill sprints and a camp circuit – 800m round a road within the camp in under 3 minutes. Everyone managed to complete this although after a disappointing section on the beams we were made to do the whole thing again. At least we are getting better at running.
6. Saturday. Everyone’s favourite, last drill session of the week on a Saturday morning. Today we had our normal drill instructor back and he seemed to be impresses with what we picked up from the session previous with our stand in instructor. This made for a fun session. We then moved on to pool sessions and covered hypoxic training again. As a kid I used to enjoy swimming under the water. Now however, I am rethinking this after how fatigued everyone was prior to the session. Last detail of the week and we finished on IMF in the gym. This was mostly a teach for the troop to advance their rope climbing skills. Although it is a hard technique to grasp the majority of the troop are beginning to find it easier. Once done, time for a run ashore to watch the rugby.
7. Sunday. One of our most relaxed days in training so far. No training, no details to follow, just admin and catching up with lecture notes from the week. Also providing some well needed catch up sleep for the lads. We are all prepping our bergan (large military backpack) for our upcoming exercise on Tuesday night where we are out in the field for our second time. We are all looking forwards to cracking our wet and dry routines again.
219 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 4
1. On Monday, Troop 219 was up and ready for an inspection of our lockers and accommodation. Then we had our first lecture of the day; prevention of soft tissue injuries. Next was our rifle lesson and learning how to fire in different positions, from prone to standing. ‘How to cope with loss’ was next with the Padre in the Church, not necessarily loss of life, but loss of other things important to a recruit/Royal Marine. It was then time for Phys, which included learning the make fast position on the ropes followed by a circuit on the ropes. To finish the day’s work off, we had a Q and A lecture with King Squad Diamonds.
2. Recruits of 219 woke up ready for a kit muster to make sure our kit was serviceable for the field. Next was a lecture by an MA about health and hygiene, covering various aspects of the topic. It was then time to retrieve our weapons from the main armoury ready for our exercise ‘1st Step’. Once at Woodbury Common, 219 troop received a lecture from one of the common keepers, explaining the do’s and the don’ts whilst on the Common. Next was 3 lectures regarding how to administer yourself in the field, cook, clean and make your area ready to depart. Time to get some sleep before the kit muster the following morning.
3. 219 troop were up at 0500hrs ready for the kit muster at 0745hrs. 2.5hours to administer the morning routine of cooking, cleaning, shaving and preparing everything for the kit muster. Once the inspection was completed, the troop fell in 3 ranks, and were ready to be marched back to CTCRM by the training team.
4. 219 troop reveille at 0500hrs for the morning cleaning of the accommodation and personal rooms. Once fed it was time to march to the armoury to draw the weapons ready for the rifle lessons ahead. Rifle lessons focusing particularly on the general handling of the weapon; we were also shown how to thoroughly clean the weapon, free from dirt, carbon and rust. To break up the rifle lessons 219 troop had a hard phys session in the gym focusing on IMF, preparing for families day. Once over it was straight back to the rifles as we had a weapons handling test the following day.
5. On Friday and Saturday, the Troop spend time on the parade ground, perfecting drill movements in preparation for families day. The rest of the day was either spent on the gym floor or in weapons lessons.
5. A day off for 219 troop which meant the recruits were able to either go ashore into Exeter, to buy some equipment for their next exercise, or have lunch elsewhere. Some recruits decided to stay on camp, go to the church service at 1000hrs and then administer their admin ready for the week ahead.
219 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 6
1. The week started off steady as the men of 219 troop returned to camp from their family’s day weekend leave, excitement was visible around the troop as we were keen to commence our next week of Royal Marines recruit training, week 6, which includes introduction to map reading and navigation, first aid, and the one everyone was looking forward most, live firing. 2. With few PT session scheduled throughout the week, it was designed to be a recovery week from all the phys (physical training) we had been doing. Although it was a recovery week the few PT sessions we’d be doing were still going to be tough and performed to the required standard. Our first PT session was done outside in a field across the road from CTC (commando training centre) and was done in boots. It was our first time doing phys in boots. We did high intensity interval training with sprints and body weight exercises and was thoroughly enjoyable. 3. The troop was also assigned to be duty troop for the week, where a few men from the troop would be sent around camp to make sure that all the facilities were clean and of high standard. We were lucky to be duty troop as we were assigned to go and help at the Royal marine boxing tournament, serving drinks etc. We were all able to get a glimpse of some boxing when we could. 4. We were also introduced to first aid throughout the week, where we would be taught how to administer first aid the field and in the heat of battle, as well as various ways to stop bleeding and how to assess casualties and how to do to it under fire, such as how to apply a tourniquet, how to apply Celox (a bandage designed to speed up blood clotting) and where to apply it. 5. We were introduced to map reading and navigation, a skill that is essential to a Royal Marine Commandos. The vast majority of the troop were able to grasp it quickly and the new skills we were taught were put into practice in order to fine tune any misunderstandings. 6. The second PT session was a double session so everyone made sure they scranned (ate) to the max. It was an intense session but we worked hard and managed to achieve a high standard throughout the session. We then partook in a game of no rules water polo which was good fun and decent phys. 7. We then travelled to straight point shooting range on the Thursday with high levels of excitement. It was to be our first live firing where we would be put to the test of everything we had learnt. When we arrived we were told the rules of the range as well as a re teach of all the firing positions just to freshen our minds. We then partook in a practice computer simulated firing range where we would be shown the drill of how it works down at the range with live rounds. Firing live rounds was an incredible experience for everyone and as a troop we all learnt valuable lessons from it. The rest of the week was relaxed as we were allowed to go ashore (off camp) and get equipment for the next weeks exercise. A few of the lads had to stay on camp for duty troop but nothing major. It was overall a really good week and was a great recovery period for the men of 219 troop.
219 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 7
1. Monday: included the troop preparing for exercise Marshals Star. We spend the morning packing our rations into our bergans and a navigation lecture on setting bearings. That afternoon we learnt how to set up sentry post and had a lecture on night sights and how to observe an area.
2. Tuesday: morning consisted of a kit master inspection. We then had a PT session which included hill sprints and drag races. That afternoon we learnt basic navigational skills and split off into our section to navigate a route. That night we were taken through what to do when you get bumped in the harbour position. 3. Wednesday: after being taught the routine for being contacted by the enemy in the harbour position early that morning we bumped (contacted, fired at with blank rounds to simulate being attacked by the enemy) by the Corporals and had to put what we had been taught into practise. That morning we had another kit master inspection. That day was spent learning how to cross tracks and roads using tactical methods. We then went into stalking we had a lesson on the basics of stalking and then had to start a 100 metre stalk to a firing position without being spotted. We then went into a night navigational lecture and follow by a night navigational route in out sections concentrating on walking on a bearing. 4. Thursday: consisted of a kit muster inspection in the morning packing all of the field equipment away followed by a 4 mile yomp back to camp. After unloading stores we had a IMF gym session and double swimming where we completed our BST tests. The night was spent deserving kit. 5. Friday: we had a locker inspection and a field kit master on our beds. We then had first aid lectures on how to treat a casualty in a fire fight. We then had a swimming session followed by double IMF gym session which was a gym pass out run through.
219 TROOP: RECRUIT DIARY – WEEK 8
1. Monday: Week 8 start off with 219 troop practising drill for the their interval drill test, consisting of everything demonstrated on families day. Later that morning we had a 4 mile run on local roads, in boot for the first time. In the afternoon we had map reading revision on fixing positions. Which was followed by IMF (gym) it was a hard session none stop for 45 minutes preparing us for gym pass out.
2. Tuesday: Tuesday started with RMCC (Royal Marines close-quarter combat) learning chokes and holds and also how to get out of chokes. Later we had a lecture on drink and drug abuse and the military’s rules regarding the substances. Finishing the day with first aid lectures covering circulation, breaks, burns and dislocations.
3. Wednesday: after a late night working hard cleaning the morning started with the company commander’s inspection of our accommodation, luckily we past and preventing incurring the training team’s wrath and another busy night. After our inspection we headed off camp to top field to do a circuit, working in threes doing sprints, holds and other exercises such as sit ups squats with our partners on our back and more. Finishing the day with three hours of drill, again practising for our interval drill test.
4. Thursday: the day started with a SERE (survival, evasion, resistance, escape) lecture preparing us for the later lecture in the day with mountain leaders (ML’s) on the Common. The ML’s showed us how to start fires, make shelters, navigate, find and make water safe to drink and finally what we should have in our survival tins for hunters moon our next exercise after Easter leave. All in all it was a very interesting day.
5. Friday: Friday started with a history lesson on the Royal Marines from 1900-1939 learning about the boxer rebellion, the Boer war and WW1. After our history lesson we headed off to Woodbury common to do orienteering and line resections; which is finding out your location on a map using 3 points of reference. For our orienteering we had to locate 6 checkpoints in a 5km radius and retrieve a stamp to show we had found the location. After everyone had finished we had a 4 mile walk back to camp. Finishing at the day with another history lesson covering 1939-1945.
6. Saturday: the morning consisted of drill with rifles for the first time, learning the correct positions to hold and move the rifle into the shoulder. After this we had a gym session with a RMFA test which is a bleed test, push ups, press ups and pull ups. The same test all recruits have to take during their PRMC and at the start of training. Following this we had a relatively easy swim session helping us improve our hypoxic abilities. Finally finishing the day learning about the LSW (light support weapon); this is a longer version of the SA80 the rifle all recruits are issued.
7. Sunday: Again the day started with drill with our rifles this time learning how to change shoulders with which the rifle would rest and also going over what was learned on Saturday. Later we had a small test to see how much of training each recruit had picked up and remembered and also to see if people have been paying attention. Finally finishing the weekend with a first aid test on basic life support which everyone past.