Finally! What we've all been waiting for! Please let me present A Training Story, as told to Kath by her rugged and manly boyfriend Royal, a Royal Marine Commando.
Royal Marine Commando Training
Start of Week 21 (out of 32 total weeks)
So far we had completed a 15 mile yomp, all our weapons handling tests, and were nearing the end of bottom field pass-out (assault course, 30 foot rope climb with 22 pounds of kit and your rifle (34 pounds total) and regains (crawl across rope then hang off, then pull yourself back up on top and continue across).
The main objective for that Monday was for everyone to complete their LAW (rocket launcher anti-tank weapon) weapons handling test. The Corporals were being assessed by civilian educators on their teaching abilities, so the five best recruits at weapons handling were picked to make the Corporals look good. I was one of these five, and the last to go through. The LAW is a bastard and you have to wear your rezzy (respirator, gas mask) because the back draft kicks up so much crap and sucks all the air from around you.
While I was finishing, the rest of the troop (about 30 left at this point, out of 54 who began the training) was in the grots. When I returned, everyone was frantically packing their field kit and told me I needed to do the same. I thought it was a joke, and even went so far as to check two other rooms, where I found 12 more blokes panic-packin'. So I legged it back to my bed space and panic-packed like I'd never panic-packed before, as I only had 10 minutes to be fully packed and outside in three ranks. We ended up standing out there for half an hour waiting for our training team.
One of the Corporals came out, followed by another, and then the rest of the training team, which is unusual and not a good thing. They told us to open order march (which is front rank, two paces forward, rear rank, two paces back), and strip our weapons down. Then they managed to pick-up everyone for something they were doing wrong. With our bergans (rucksack, 80 pounds) on they had us get into the press-up position, which was just to make us hang out. Immediately after that wonderful experience, we put our weapons back together and fell in by the tank (water tank) that we do our regains over.
We all thought we were going to have to get in the water with our kit on, which we'd had to do before in week 16. Not nice. The Troop Boss, a Captain, started bollocking us for "gettin' slack," and told us to fall in as if we were going ashore. On the run down to the rear gate, about 70 yards away, one of the lads fell and broke his ankle. He screamed like a banshee. The training team told him to stop loafin' and get up, so he did, and continued. They then opened the rear gate and ordered us to get on the mud flats in three ranks. Whilst sinking up to our knees, the training team were told that we couldn't do the "mud run" in our bergan because it was too dangerous.
We had to take off our bergans and lay them down in the mud, and balance our rifles on top so they would stay clean. The PTI (physical training instructor) ran us ragged for about 30 minutes in the knee deep mud. We did sprints, tuck jumps, (which looked hilarious because you were being sucked into the ground and couldn't jump) and drags (when your partner lies on his back and you grab him by his ankles and drag him. This causes you to get mud... everywhere). As we were doing that, the training team were playing mud darts with our rifles, so we would have to seriously gut them later.
We were made to run and crawl - which I particularly hate, and suck at - for the next hour and a half. It was the worst two hours of my life. It took me all night to get myself clean, three hours to get my rifle clean, not too mention we had to move rooms that night as well. And had a full kit muster at 0600 the next morning, Tuesday.
It was the hardest two days of my training. I would rather do the 30 mile (last commando test, week 30) twice than go through that again.
Even with that week, I'd still go through training again, happily, to get to where I am now. More on that later, and thanks for reading.
Royal Marine Commando for two years and counting