Sapper Ed Joseph is an Army Reserve soldier from 131 Independent Commando Squadron Royal Engineers (131 Indep Cdo Sqn RE), embarking on the Reserve Forces Commando Course (RFCC) at Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM), Lympstone. He has two weeks in which to complete the gruelling course that, if successfully completed, will culminate in him earning the coveted green beret.
Green lid in my grasp
I now dared to think that the green lid could be within my grasp. Sadly a dark cloud had cast its shadow, as I discovered fellow trainee Joe’s injury had got the better of him, and he was unable to attempt the endurance test. My heart went out to Joe, who I know was giving his all to win the green lid. Words offer little comfort at times like these but I tried to reassure him that he would recover enough to have a stab at it later.
Monday was the Nine Miler Pass Out. If I’m honest I was buzzing so much from passing the endurance, the nine-miler seemed like a breeze. The highlight for me was being drummed back into camp by the Royal Marines Band. You hear people talking about the hairs on their neck standing up, well this is truly one of those moments.
Tuesday was the Tarzan assault course, and immediately afterwards Joe would make his first pass out attempt of the endurance after his ankle injury. After making a valiant effort to get through the course, Joe’s run of bad luck continued as he failed the shoot due to stoppages.
I was informed that I’d achieved one of the fastest time on the Tarzan Assault course. Where normally I might feel a sense of jubilation, Joe’s failure had been a tough blow and I was in no mood to celebrate.
That evening we were transported to Okehampton in preparation for the 30 Miler across Dartmoor. This march over undulating terrain is the final test to become a commando and upon finishing the course you are awarded your green beret. But this was to be tomorrow, so the most important thing was to try and snatch some rest before the final hurdle.
To be continued…