TWO-SIX Get in shape for 148 Meiktila
IN JULY we had an article about signing up for a role with 148 Meiktila Commando Forward Observation Battery. This month AB1(WS) ‘Tug’ Wilson tells us what it takes to make the grade:
The Royal Navy has so many different branches you can choose from, however – for me – I needed something more physically and mentally challenging than my current job in the RN (Warfare Specialist).
Therefore in order to achieve
my goal I undertook a lot of physical training, not just ‘flight deck circuits’ but training of my own as well.
Other RN personnel who
enjoyed fitness or were looking to apply for physical jobs such as PTI sometimes joined in with me which made it easier to train. Alongside training I applied for 148 Battery via telephone and email in order to load myself onto the 148 RN Aptitude Course. Following my
conversations with the CPO of 148 and help from my Divisional Officer I proceeded to RM Poole on September 26 2011 for a period of one week undertaking arduous physical training to test myself alongisde
attended for suitability to serve with Commando Forces. We started the course with
seven members. By day one only
l A member of 123 Troop on the bottom-field assault course as part of their Commando Test week – similar levels of fitness are expected in 148 Meiktila
Picture: PO(Phot) Emz Nolan swim or including
myself remained due to others not being physically ready, couldn’t
without correct paperwork. The week began with an RMBFT (Royal Marines Basic
Fitness Test), followed by the
RM Swim test, then a short history lesson on 148 and the opportunities that were open to successful personnel. This was then followed by more physical training. The rest of the week consisted of a 30km navigational exercise through the New Forest carrying 70lbs; at the finish point we set up a small harbour area where we slept and had an introduction to the dreaded Wet and Dry Routines! From that we conducted an eight mile CFT (Combat Fitness Test) carrying 55lbs and an SA80 rifle, hard swim circuits and an end-of-course interview to see how we got on and whether we were successful. Overall I personally thoroughly enjoyed the week, as
other successful candidates.
think the worst part of that week was the night before the first day as I am pretty sure nobody slept properly due to nerves! After my end-of-course
interview I returned to sea onboard HMS Montrose
await my assignment to 148 Commando Battery. On my successful posting to 148 Battery, I set off to Okehampton to start Commando Foundation Course which is seven weeks of ‘yomping’, speed marches, rope climbing (up to 30ft), navigation exercises and learning basic soldiering. The course is first run by
29 Commando Training Wing (Army Commandos); they teach from the beginning, going back to basics for those who have no experience of soldiering like
myself having come straight from sea.
I was nervous to begin with because I was not sure what to expect on the course. However after the first day I really felt I had settled in to the course and was ready for
challenges ahead. I originally thought I’d take a
few weeks to get used to the new environment but thankfully this was not the case. Following the Foundation
did the I
course was the PCC (Pre Commando Course) which was five weeks in total, four weeks in Okehampton and one week at Royal Marines Lympstone, which involved a confirmation exercise to test if personnel were ready to proceed onto the AACC (All Arms Commando Course). The
five weeks as a whole
included a week on exercise in the surrounding areas of Okehampton and a week on camp conducting arduous physical training. Personally I found most of PCC a refresher of the skills learnt on the foundation course and a lot more criteria tests. Unfortunately for my first
attempt to earn the coveted green beret I only reached to the end of the Pre Commando Course as I failed one of the assault course tests, which was to complete the assault course in under five minutes.
I found the assault course my
weakness as I’m not that quick on obstacles, however one of my strengths were ropes which I did enjoy and also learning new
soldiering skills. You find on this course
everybody has different strengths and weaknesses, however that’s when you find you all pull together as a course to attack the physical and mental challenges. Referring back to my
unfortunate first attempt, I have returned to 148 Battery in Poole to await my next Commando Course; personnel at 148 were pleased with my effort at giving it another go. My next course is October 14 2012; following successful completion (of which I am confident), I will then proceed onto the parachute course to earn my wings and begin to enjoy the benefits of this one-off opportunity. Anyone thinking of joining 148 Commando Forward Observation Battery but who is not sure about it should apply for the RN Aptitude Course run at Royal Marines Poole. This will give you a better understanding of
Commando’s roles and give you a heads-up on what you should expect on Commando Course. I think it’s the best job to do in the Royal Navy – completely different to anything else.
n If you are interested in finding out more about 148 (Meiktila) Commando Forward Operating Battery
RA, then contact
CPO(CIS) Gary Glenister on 93884 2276 (01202 202276) or dii email 3COX-29 CDO-148 BTY CPO CIS. The next aptitude test is at RM Poole on October 15 to 26.
Out and about with the NFF
IT HAS been a busy summer for the team; queries, concerns
continue to come into the office at a rapid rate, and we have been up and down the country meeting Naval Service families, writes Emma Prince of the Naval
Families Federation. We have attended HMS Collingwood’s Open Day (families only), HMS Atherstone’s day of deployment,
Pre-deployment Families Brief, and RM Poole’s Information Day. We undertook a visit to Hasler Company and BRNC Dartmouth, and attended Families Days for HMS Diamond, Sutherland,
HMS HMS Bangor,
HMS Illustrious, CTCRM
Lympstone, HMS Cattistock, Commando Helicopter Force – RNAS Yeovilton, HMS York, Hasler Company, HMS St Albans and HMS Northumberland. These events provided a great
opportunity to introduce the NFF to
families and to address any
concerns they may have. We were also invited to HMS
Bulwark’s Families Day, but were unable to attend, so Ang from the HIVE stepped into the breach and helped us out by representing us on the day. We were
also geared up to
attend 45 Commando’s Families Day up in Arbroath, but it was unfortunately cancelled due to Op Olympics.
Your Concerns Communication and housing issues remain the biggest causes of concern for families contacting the NFF.
The changeover from Housing
Information Centres (HICs) to the Housing Allocations Service Centre
to cause problems for those in Service Families Accommodation (SFA).
Although the new self- preference system for housing
30 SEPTEMBER 2012 :
applications has bedded in well since June, families are struggling to make contact with the HASC due to a significant reduction in staff and the slow clearance of new staff through security vetting. This has had a direct impact on the NFF office as housing enquiries have almost doubled in the last few months when compared to the previous year. As well as resolving entitlement
queries and guiding individuals through the allocation, maintenance, and move in/out of their SFA, the NFF is in regular communication with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation and Navy Command about the situation; highlighting problematic areas and working towards improvements.
NFF scores well The results of the 2012 Royal
Navy and Royal Marines Families Survey
(FAMCAS) have been
published. We are pleased to say that 81
per cent of families’ rated their experience with the NFF as very satisfying or fairly satisfying (we prefer very good or good but it’s not our survey); an increase on last year! Thank you for this feedback; we
work hard to offer a valued and efficient service. Visit our website for the full results. The FAMCAS result chimes with the responses from the NFF Feedback Survey we e-mail to families we have assisted. Between April to June this
year: 100 per cent were content with the speed of the response from the NFF, 88 per cent felt that we answered their question/ resolved
their the information required,
per cent did not think there was anything we could do to improve the service, and 94 per cent felt comfortable contacting the NFF again, and would recommend us to friends and family. Whilst we are talking statistics, we are happy to announce that
our website visits and media subscriptions continue to grow steadily.
The number of people visiting our website has increased by 26 per cent this April to June when compared to last year, standing at 48,150 visits. Subscriptions to our
e-update have gone up by 28 per cent to 1,020 recipients, and our social media presence is thriving. Facebook Likes have increased from 357 to 502 since last June (+41 per cent), and Twitter Followers have jumped up from 117 to 316 (+170 per cent) in the same period. We set up a LinkedIn page in
May this year, and it already had 49 members by June. Individual
our Homeport magazine have also increased: all good news.
Armed Forces Covenant Myth Buster
Not quite sure what the Armed
Forces Covenant is all about or how it is benefiting the Service community? Read on for a useful summary of the Covenant and the progress it is making. n It’s not just a piece of paper The Armed Forces Covenant
was published in May 2011 along with a document called ‘Today and Tomorrow’ that lists the nearly 100 real, tangible commitments the Government has made to the Armed Forces Community. n It is a Government priority A Cabinet committee has had four meetings to check Ministers are delivering what they said they would, and the Prime Minister has been to two of these meetings. n It is about fair treatment The Covenant exists to make sure Service people, veterans and their families are on an equal footing with
when it comes to accessing public and commercial services. For example, if you and your
the lives of the Armed Forces Community A huge number of
changes have been made since May 2011, but sometimes you might not recognise them as Covenant commitments. The
Covenant for a has twice
doubled council tax relief to nearly £600
are posted somewhere new, you shouldn’t have to go to the back of the queue for any healthcare treatment you might be waiting for.
The Covenant has made sure
that doesn’t happen by allowing you to keep your place on NHS waiting lists. n It’s not about extra-special treatment for all the Forces For most of the Armed Forces Community, the Covenant is about removing disadvantage so that you get the same outcome as the civilian community. It’s not about getting special
treatment that ordinary citizens wouldn’t
better result. n It
or getting a is about special
consideration in some cases For those who have given the
most, such as the injured and the bereaved, the Covenant does make an exception. For example, Service people with genital injuries are guaranteed three cycles of IVF on the NHS, and a scholarship fund for bereaved Service children has been established. n It’s not a legal document The Armed Forces Covenant itself is not a legal document, but it is referenced in the Armed Forces Act 2011 and the Secretary of State for Defence is legally required to report to Parliament on its progress once a year. n It is having an impact on
deployment, introduced BFPO postcodes to make it easier to access commercial products, and given priority access to social housing for
families and Service people who need adapted homes. n It is about local communities too
The Covenant is not just about the Government delivering commitments on a national level. More than 100 local communities have signed a Community Covenant. It is a voluntary statement of mutual support between civilians and the Armed Forces in their area to encourage mutual understanding and to bring the two communities together. Alongside
it runs the
Community Covenant Grant Scheme, set up to fund projects that support its aims. n It is an obligation on the whole of society The Covenant is an obligation on the whole of society.
includes voluntary and charitable bodies, private organisations and individuals, all of whom are asked to recognise our Armed Forces and offer respect, support and fair treatment.
For more information visit: www.mod.uk/covenant
What’s coming up? We have a formal evidence session with the Armed Forces Pay Review Body on October 10. Your views on the pay freeze, operational
allowances, and anything you feel
remember tempo strongly
about would be welcome. E-mail: kim.richardson@nff.
are always open to feedback on whatever topic is concerning you; you don’t need to wait for us to raise a subject to approach us with your views.
and Paralympic The NFF would like to say a
huge well done to the Olympians and Paralympians from the UK Armed Forces who
represented Team GB in the games – you did your country proud!
Thank you also to all the serving
personnel who made the security and ceremony of the games run smoothly, and to the families of personnel called in to support the Olympics – this will have been a long summer for some of you. Simply put, they couldn’t have done it without you.
Keep in touch There are numerous ways to
stay in touch with the NFF for breaking news and information of interest to you and your family. Why not visit our website:
– it is updated as and when announcements are made. You can find us on Facebook,
follow us on Twitter, or join us on LinkedIn. Alternatively
e-mail: editor@ to our
quarterly Homeport magazine, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
for our e-update (sent every other month).
Contact us www.navynews.co.uk
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