Troop 180 Kings Squad Pass Out 3rd October 2014 Full of excitement and even a little nervousness, we arrived at CTCRM at 8:30. We were ‘signed in’ by Corporal Cai Britton of RMCS (Royal Marine Commando School) fame who asked which recruit we were here for. As soon as Hubby said Rct Hall he said “I should have known! He’s done really well Rct Hall!”. Hubby and son are remarkably alike. A Nice start to the day. We then made our way over to the base, got our visitor passes and were taken down the road to Falkland Hall. We had coffee while we waited for the proceedings to start. We found our lad’s best mate’s parents who had travelled from South Africa to be there. We hosted the lad for a weekend during training because he was obviously unable to go home. We were then called into the hall where we were greeted and given a couple of talks about what was going to happen during the day (which of course, being the font of all things worth knowing I already knew!). We were also shown a general ‘This is what is takes to become a Royal Marine” video which caused already evident pride to swell even further. The training team were introduced to us one by one. I really wanted to shout ‘Sit like a Human’ when Corporal Hill, of RMCS fame was introduced, but I contained myself. They then kept us occupied by sharing some information gathered from the lads, youngest visitor – 1 year old, oldest visitor – 88, furthest travelled – South Africans obviously, shortest travelled – 2 bus stops by some Exmouth residents. They then proceded to mention any guests who were either serving or ex military. There were quite a lot surprisingly (or maybe not!). We had one chap who retired the day before after 34.5 years service with the Royal Artillery. We had ex Royals and an ex Ghurka whose son had just become the first Nepalese Royal! We had guests from Army and RAF also present so all forces were represented. Proud to say though that hubby and I were the only ‘double’ of the day (both Mum and Dad being ex service). We were reminded of the ‘No touching Rule’ which caused much laughter. They then showed us a ‘troop made’ video of their training which was really good to see (tears welling already!). So far it was amazingly friendly, relaxed and funny. Then the bit we were all waiting for, the curtains were pulled back and there they were – Troop 180! Dressed in their Lovats with their black berets. What an amazing sight (getting tearful again just writing this!). One by one they were called out to receive their Green Berets with a little dit about each recruit in turn. My lad was introduced as the fastest in the troop – but only so he could get back to his mirror to feed his vanity. So funny and indeed true! I have no recollection of what they said about Bondy – will have to fill you in when I get the DVD! Most of the spiels were very funny, only a few seemed to have nothing ‘personal’ to be said so they just reeled off some of the commando qualities! One by one the sea of black turned to green – it was awesome. Then it was time for the presentation of the special awards. Marksman, PT Medalist (my lad – so chuffed for him!), academic award, Commando Badge award by the troop members, one for the recruit who’d shown the most Commando Spirit, the diamonds awards and of course the Kings Badgeman. They also gave a special award, the Commandant's Award, as the battle for Kings Badge was so close they felt both recruits deserved accolade! After that we were led to the parade ground for the more formal part of the occasion. The Band of the Royal Marines marched on followed by the troop. The band the rather annoyingly parked themselves right in front of where we were sat and we couldn’t see the troop for what seemed like an eternity! Thought they were never going to get out of the way! The troop was in the same formation as they had been in the hall so we knew where to find our lad (unlike families day when it took us, well my 16yo, about ten minutes to spot him!). They had inspection which seemed to go on forever, then we had announcements/talks from the v.i.p’s. The Mayor of Exmouth did a very inspirational and moving tribute. Then the troop performed their display, which was brilliant! They performed one bit to the Games of Thrones theme which was awesome! Being such a large troop it was particularly effective. Did feel awful for the poor lad who knocked his lid off during a shooting movement! It lay on the floor for ages and the whole crowd was agonizing over it every time the troop marched over/around it! Amazingly it only got kicked a small amount once or twice. Finally, when the troop was still, the Lt Col went and retrieved it and put it back on his head! We found out later that the one of the training team was supposed to go and pick it up but for some reason he didn’t! A slightly sad note here is that the Kings Badgeman was unable to take part in the marching as he injured himself on the Endurance course! He was given a few days rest and had to complete the rest of his commando tests at the end of the week – his mum says they really didn’t think he would make it! Kudos to him for making it! They then marched off the parade ground to the order (goosebumps !) “Royal Marines, to your Duties – Quick March” – hankies in abundance at that point! We all went and lined the main drag as the troop marched out of the base and back in, symbolizing their transition from recruit to trained ranks. It was all so emotional! We then went back to Falkland Hall for buffet lunch and refreshments. It’s at this point you collect (and pay for!) the photos your lad has ordered and order the Pass Out DVD which is sent afterwards in the post (cannot believe I have to wait up to 28 days to get this – arghhh! I want it NOW!) Eventually our amazing Royals joined us and the celebrations continued! One of the troop mentors made a point of finding hubby to tell him what a great lad our son was! Our son gave us a tour of the base showing us bottom field and the Tarzan course, which was lovely to see. We also saw 181 troop getting ready to practice for their commando tests and wished them good luck! It was during this walkabout that we came across Bondy and my lad had to sort his beret out for him! We had some incredibly nice comments from most of the training team and had a really long chat with the Troop Captain who said he would pick our lad to have in a section of his any day! The troop PTI was also full of praise for our lad but he was a bit drunk by this point! I never did find the other member here whose son was in the troop, which is a shame. I did have a chat with Magnus Frykman, he’s now with 182 troop and has just completed week 28 so nearly there! He also confirmed that Ashworth is now in week 12 which means he has been in Hunter for at least 6 months! After the consumption of much alcohol by hubby and son, we finally managed to get away at about 5:30 p.m. What was lovely was that as we drove out my lad asked the gate guard if he needed to show his pass or get a leave chit, the chap just said “No son, you can come and go as you please!” It was a fantastic day, one I’ll treasure for the rest of my life! Haven’t seen much of my son today. He went out with some mates last night and we found him asleep on the floor of our hall this morning! He went to bed for a few more hours, came down and had some food then fell asleep on the sofa this afternoon! He’s now in his room, probably asleep before going out to do it all again tonight! God Bless Son! Well done and Good Luck in your chosen career!