222 Troop – Week 14
This week saw us deploy on the major test exercise of phase 1, Ex BAPTIST RUN which tests a variety of skills which we have learnt from in the earlier weeks such as; Target Indication, Fire Control Orders and Night Navigation. In order to move onto phase 2 of training we had to pass this exercise.
During pre-deployment for Ex BAPTIST RUN we perfromed a kit muster on camp which would be marked as all our tests would be. The kit muster took place in the drill shed, the kit muster was to prove that we could maintain our kit and prepare ourselves properly prior to an exercise. We stood in the drill shed waiting anxiously as we wanted to get our exercise off to the best possible start, the Corporals weren’t giving anything away when inspecting our equipment so we did not know how it went! On a rainy Wednesday morning we deployed on Ex BAPTIST RUN with a distinct air of nervousness lingering around the troop.
The first test of the day was a static map stance, this includes resections which you use when you don’t quite know exactly where you are and have to use prominent features in your surrounding area to aid you find your location. When we completed the map stance we moved on to the second test in the form of a stalk which involves you literally stuffing loads of vegetation in your webbing, helmet and any other place you deem necessary and also breaking up the colours on your face and hands with camouflage cream, thus becoming a chameleon! When your 15 minutes to camouflage yourself are up you line in your section and are marked by the Corporals. They then identify the Observation Post (OP), the aim is to get within 200 metres of this OP and take two blank shots without being seen.
After two further tests we moved into the first of our night navigation exercises, this involved us creating a route card with grid references given to us by the training team and then navigating around these grid references at night. We had roughly 2 hours 45 minutes to complete this, thankfully no one got completely lost!
The following day involved a repeat of each of the test we had already done which gave a valuable opportunity for us to correct any mistakes that we may have made the day before.
The final test of the exercise involved the most demanding of all in the form of an 8 mile Combat Fitness Test. This saw us carry 25kg in total for eight miles, we had two hours to complete this as a Troop under the direction of our Troop PTI. Some of the recruits didn’t make it first time unfortunately but smashed on the second attempt.
As we expected this has been a tiring week where we have been tested to our limits. Although difficult we would not have it any other way and we move into week 15 anxious to know if we have made the grade to progress into phase 2 of Royal Marines training.
222 Troop – Week 15
This week was an exciting and anxious week for myself and those of us waiting to know if we’d passed Ex BAPTIST RUN or not. We were soon put out of our misery though and thankfully everyone had passed! Some of us though still needed to pass our CFT re-run knowing if we failed the it for a second time we would only have one more chance to pass or we would get re-trooped.
The majority of this week was made up of lectures and a few singles lessons introducing us to the Personal Role Radio (PRR) and the 354 VHF radio systems. In preparation for phase 2 we also learnt about the organisation and roles of a Rifle Troop, Troop Harbour Drills, types and aims of patrols i.e. recce and fighting patrols, battle procedure and also section formations all of which will be introduced in our up and coming phase 2 exercise, Ex FIRST BASE. We also had a lecture with our Company Commander on the Laws of Armed Conflict (LOAC) and captured personnel so it was fair to say our note books took a beating!
Week 15 also saw us carry out further 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).
Then it came to Thursday, the day of the CFT re runs which was the most important day of the week for me since I knew I’d have to give it everything I had to pass so I wouldn’t lose my troop. We had such good encouragement from the Troop PTI and the Training Team including our Troop Commander who took time to be there with us to show his support, thankfully everyone who did the re-run passed.
Friday, the day of phase 1 pass out and the day of Arms Drill pass out. It started in the morning where we had our individual pictures taken then we went into the arms drill pass out which we passed as a troop. We then had a small break and came back in the afternoon where we had our troop picture with the training team and the award ceremony which the Adjutant of CTCRM amazingly came down for. He handed out certificates awarded to the recruits who made gym superior, marksmanship badges and the best recruit of phase one which was given to recruit Mathews.
Overall this was an pretty eventful week which had its ups and downs on an emotional level for a few of us but ended on a high especially with the long weekend which we felt was well needed.
222 Troop – Week 16
Week 16 started with everybody in the troop feeling refreshed and with high morale after our long weekend home. Phase 2 had officially started and everybody was excited at the prospect of what was to come. Even though we knew things would start to get even tougher, everybody was ready to give it everything.
Monday morning started with lots of learning and lectures and getting hands on with specialist signals equipment which we would be using throughout our careers and that week on Ex FIRST BASE. We also had our AMF pass out on bottom field, this was a tough but enjoyable session on bottom field where we had to demonstrate we could perform all the required exercises and obstacles confidently, ready to progress.
Tuesday morning everybody was excited and a little nervous about our first phase 2 exercise. The majority of the morning was spent doing lectures and collecting equipment and stores ready for our exercise. By early afternoon we were on our way and the following three days and nights were packed with learning and harnessing the key skills taught the previous week. Patrols, tactical harbours, observation posts and section attacks were just some of the skills taught and practised in detail during the week.
Friday morning came around quickly and started with a sombre and emotional 2 minute silence, this was in remembrance of the thousands of lives lost in the battle of the Somme 100 years ago. The troop stood proud and in admiration, reflecting on what it really meant to be standing where we were and what we were really aspiring to become. We then had a tough but enjoyable 5 mile speed March back to base. Morale was high and the rest of the day was spent de servicing Kit, looking forward to a well earned weekend.