A: It is up to you!
If you are contemplating the idea of joining the Royal Marines you have seen the film Full Metal Jacket right?
If not you have even been living in a cave or it is time to take the application process a bit more seriously, go and watch it and then continue to read this post…
Now that everyone is familiar with the Stanley Kubrick classic it is time for a brief plot synopsis of the first half of the film…
The first half of the film takes place in a USMC Bootcamp where the potential recruits are physically, racially and psychologically abused by their Gunnery Sergeant all the way to the end of training. Eventually the main victim of this abuse, Pvt. Pile ends up killing himself and the sociopath Gunnery Sergeant.
This Hollywood portrayal of Marine training, amongst other films, is guilty for misleading a lot of those joining the Royal Marines. I for one watched the film the weekend before I started training just to pump myself up for the barrage of emotional torment I was about to willfully embark upon. The reality of the situation, however, is that you are not going to be screamed at and abused throughout your time at Lympstone CTCRM, quite the opposite in fact.
Royal Marines training’s purpose is to teach you how to become a soldier of the highest quality and therefore you could compare it to some sort of sick boarding school where the teachers are allowed to punish you by making you exercise until you are physically exhausted or waste your precious free time by keeping you up at night cleaning and doing menial tasks (Our troop actually all got given lines once just to take away a couple of hours of our time “I must not point my weapon in jest”).
Sound tough? Well it is supposed to be. Just like any other school though the ‘teachers’ are there to produce an end product and to produce the end product they have to correct the ‘pupils’ when they behave badly. Unlike school though instead of giving out detentions at Lympstone you will be given extra exercise and you don’t have to be there if you do not want to be.
Ultimately school was just a game wasn’t it? You do what you are told and you don’t get punished – this is just like Royal Marines training (you will get punished anyway sometimes but this is merely to strengthen you psychologically). No one is going to abuse you racially, physically or psychologically, (okay, maybe sort of psychologically but it is for your own good) they are there to teach and you are there to learn.
Your biggest challenge during training is the one inside yourself that makes you doubt your abilities or looks for the easy way out – not some psychopathic drill instructor or people pinning you down or beating you with soap at night time. If you are prepared mentally, physically and determined to succeed in what is a challenge of a lifetime then you already have the tools to succeed.
The famous corps adage goes: “They cannot kill you and they will not make you pregnant.”