Nine members of Cirencester College Uniformed Public Services Course had the opportunity to take part in the Royal Marine Look at Life course based in the Royal Marine Commando Training Centre in Lympstone, Exmouth.
After arriving at lunchtime on Monday the students were greeted and shown into the accommodation before being issued with a plentiful supply of uniform to cater for the physical expenditure to come.
The first evening was a meet and greet with the staff from the course and full guided tour of the camp and its facilities, then before bed we had our first fourth meal of the day called “ninesis”, since for your 32 weeks of training as a Marine Recruit you have four meals a day!
Tuesday started at 0530 am with reveille and breakfast at 0630 am after a spot of block cleaning, then the second parade of the day was a block inspection and uniform check, this routine was to continue for the rest of the week.
The first task of the day was the “Marine Endurance course” (just an introduction) so off to the course it was and what a shock it was the students worked to their best ability but this glimpse into a Marines fitness was a shock to all of us and took more than they thought.
Then a leisurely afternoon of Marine weapon introduction consisting of the section weapons issued to the troops, consisting of a General Purpose Machine Gun, a Glock 17 pistol, L2 A1 SA80, under slung Grenade Launcher for the SA80 and finally a Sharpe Shooter Rifle, which of course all the students took to immediately with some of our Airsoft students knowing the specifications as well as the Marine instructor!
Wednesday had the same routine to begin with and then we moved into biggest day of the week! We started with a Gym session of the 20m Bleep test run followed by a press up and sit up bleep test. This was completed by all students to their best effort with one student Alex King missing passing the whole test by one repetition on the run but maxing the numbers on the sit up test. Straight after this it was to the pool for the swim test consisting of a 3m jump into a 4m pool, a swim followed by treading water for two minutes. All the students did well even the non-swimmer Phil Walsh, giving the jump in a go, who said “it was a massive boost to my confidence!”
Thursday was a quiet day in comparison to the previous with only one physical programmed in, or so they thought? The morning routine started the same as usual, after a quick march across the road it was time for the Basic Fitness Test a 3 mile run in training shoes and combat trousers. This is split into two one and half mile runs with a 1 minute rest. So out they went as a squad running and marching till they reached the turn round point then it was best individual effort back in jogging round in a circle at the end to warm down, everyone gave this their best effort and good times were recorded for everyone. With this completed there was no time to celebrate it was back to barracks boots on water bottle re-filled and back outside to get onto the bus for a trip up to the common, this time not for endurance but Basha building (beds under canvas). Camouflage and Concealment then onto Target indication and Fire Control Orders.
This all started with how to put up a basha which they guys picked up with ease, however after being told that their water bottles would be treated as weapons and were never to be left out of arms reach they soon learned the hard way not to forget them again after being sent to leopard crawl for them after they had been launched into the undergrowth! A harsh but effective way of ensuring it didn’t happen again.
After the gentle introduction to the Field it was onto Camouflage and Concealment. First the lads were shown how to ‘cam’ up their faces then helmets both of which was not that simple! Then it was onto the target indication with a quick break down of arcs it didn’t take long for the guys to pick up the sequence and method of giving full fire control orders at section level.
Then it was back to Barracks clean up and onto course closure and certificate issue after a very long day.
Friday consisted of a morning of cleaning the barracks and handing in kit then a fond farewell to the most exhausting week the students have ever had. With the most memorable quote these young men will ever hear, “It is not knowledge or fitness that matters its commitment of character and never giving in”
Then a quiet road trip back to Cirencester College while contemplating probably the best work experience any student wanting a life in any of the public services could ever wish for!