225 TROOP: RECRUIT TROOP DIARY WEEKS 1&2.
- Upon arrival at CTCRM most of the lads had what can only be described as a mixture of excitement and fear on their faces, along with a few incredibly bad haircuts! That said, following a quick trip to the barbers 225 Troop arrived back to foundation with a head only a mother could love. Initial ‘shock of capture’ most definitely starting to settle in. The early days revolved around mostly issue of military clothing and kit. When first issued the kit the lads were in high spirits, it wasn’t until 0500hrs the following morning when the lights were still on for sunrise, that the Troop realised how much admin had to be done and the standard it was expected to be done to! This was a common theme that followed us into the weekend. However, as the Corporals reminded us when morale was low it’s a hard lesson but with time you start becoming accustomed to the pace, efficiency and discipline expected of a Royal Marines Commando.
- The weekend gave most of the troop the opportunity to go and see what sights Exeter had on offer. Despite it being sold as a beautiful cathedral city, the only sight we found was the “kit shop”. Here, Recruits can buy everything they will ever need for the 32 weeks of training. The downside is that a head torch will probably require taking out a mortgage! Our time ashore and away from the gates of CTCRM gave individuals the opportunity to begin to come together as a team and a Troop. Moreover it was a good way to get to know individual personalities within the Troop and talk about our backgrounds.
- The second week of foundation saw the Troop embark on their first field exercise known as Ex EARLY NIGHT where we were shown how to conduct ‘wet and dry routine’ by the Troop Officer. In layman’s terms this essentially means conducting normal routine in our wet kit, changing into dry kit to sleep before waking up at an ungodly hour to don our cold and wet kit. His version came complete with chocolate profiteroles that were served to him by a Corporal, I do not think the members of 225 Tp will receive the same levels of luxury. We were then instructed on how to conduct ourselves when it came to rations and erecting a two man poncho, our bedroom whilst in the field. Once this was completed we marched over to the regain tank and went for a ‘refreshing’ dip. Once the Training Team were content that every man was sufficiently wet, we marched back to our position, where we proceeded to put or ponchos up and get out of our wet kit and into our dry kit. Then we did it again for good luck. The exercise then started and we managed to get into our pits for some shut eye whiles we alternated hourly patrols throughout the night.
- The week also saw the Troop get issued with our SA80 A2 rifles, of which we will use throughout our training at CTC and as individuals we will become very accustomed to using. This was a high point, whilst the ironing, washing and folding is of course what every potential Royal Marine dreams of, getting to learn how to handle maintain and fire a rifle seemed to be more appealing to a lot of the lads. Weapons handling lessons saw us slip the Troop into section (1,2,3) of which each section is led by a Corporal. The week consisted of two hands on lectures based around the rifle during which everyone seemed rearing to go. The other lectures throughout the week showed us why we are branded with the name Nods, we cannot seem to go more than a few minutes without nodding off!
225 TROOP: RECRUIT TROOP DIARY WEEK 3.
- Week 3 has seen the Recruits of 225 Troop continue to train in the art of ‘admin’ – globe and laureling (folding everything to A4 the same size as the corps magazine the ‘globe and laurel’) clothing ready for locker inspections, cleaning accommodation. Before we can be trusted with more complex responsibilities we must first master the basics and learning that all important ability to become a Royal Marines, how to shower correctly! The next evolution of training however, is going to get progressively harder, and the realisation that life as a Recruit is predominantly spent outdoors will begin to strike home.
- With the beginning of Week 3 saw us move out of the foundation block and into G Block where we will spend the rest of our time in Recruit Training. It was a pleasant change to move into the comparative luxury of a six man room compared to having the entire Troop in one room. It also gives everyone a chance to get to know one another better and to bond closer which will undoubtedly become more and more important as the weeks progress.
- There has been no let-up in the pace of life, if anything it seems to get busier and busier! The physical aspect of training is becoming more demanding and even the fittest members of the Troop are finding every session challenging, it is becoming more and more evident that to become a Royal Marines Commando requires us to reach a physical standard that many of us could not even comprehend prior to arriving at CTCRM. The personal administration standards are just as demanding and the Troop are constantly reminded that we must look the part at all times and carry ourselves in a manner that is befitting of a Royal Marine.
4. Whilst the learning curve is steep and we are all being pushed harder than we have ever been before, the Troop is beginning to bond and complete strangers are becoming friends. The Training Team are enforcing the standards in us at this early stage so we begin to understand what it takes to become a Royal Marine as well as the standards of behaviour expected of us. The Royal Marines have a rich and proud history that we are being taught to uphold at all times, even when in civilian clothing in our free time.
225 TROOP: RECRUIT TROOP DIARY WEEK 4.
- Week 4 for 225 troop began with an 08:00 room inspection to see how well the recruits have been applying the skills taught in foundation (weeks 1-3). Whilst the Troop is still not efficient at preparing for inspections there were clear improvements across the board.
- The week continued with the excitement of the Troop’s first night in the field away from camp. The exercise was an opportunity to learn basic field craft such as the preparation of our 24 hours rations (surprisingly they were a lot more pleasant than expected!), setting up a harbour location (where the Troop administrates itself in preparation for future taskings) and maintaining cleanliness and hygiene without basic amenities which included some interesting demonstrations! The exercise was informative but also allowed the Troop to put everything they’ve learnt into practice. Similarly to the previous exercise, Ex EARLY NIGHT, the Troop conducted night routine including setting up static sentries and stand-to, where the whole Troop is at complete readiness at sunrise and sunset in anticipation of enemy attack.
- After the exercise the recruits had to de-service all kit, a time consuming activity but necessary in order to protect kit from deteriorating. It is a very different approach and thinking process required from civvie street where once you have finished a day’s work you can rest and relax, here your weapon and kit comes first and only when all of that is to an acceptable standard can you think about a warm shower and sleep.
- The focus of the week soon turned to weapons handling. The recruits were taught firing positions, various safety drills and how to take apart and clean the SA80 rifle. The week ended in a pass or fail weapons handling test, success in the test meant being able to fire the rifle with both blank and live ammunition as we progress through training.
- Week 4 was more challenging for the Troop as it was the first week where they were expected to know and apply the basics learnt so far. We are starting to learn, slowly, that any mistakes or dropping of standards are viewed as completely unacceptable in the Royal Marines and it is this standard of professionalism that sets them apart.