Royal Marines from across the country pitted themselves against each other and the unforgiving terrain of Dartmoor in the Brigade Regimental Sergeant Major Challenge.
The Brigade Regimental Sergeant Major – WO1 RSM Stephan Moran set the inaugural tough physical and mental competition involving all 3 Commando Brigade units entering teams of 12 marines undertaking a 45k patrol competition. Teams were tested on combat fitness, navigation, military skills live firing and vertical assault techniques. The aim of the event was to strengthen and reinforce the Commando ethos whilst applying the commando mindset and commando spirit – Courage, Determination, Unselfishness, Cheerfulness in adversity.
Those taking part from the South West included: 29 Commando from Plymouth Citadel, 30 Commando from Royal Marines Stonehouse, 40 Commando from Taunton, 42 from Bickleigh at Plymouth, and Commando Logistics Regiment (CLR) from Chivenor, Barnstaple; and Royal Marines Reserve and 45 and 43 Commando from elsewhere.
The winning unit was Commando Logistic Regiment. Royal Marines Lieutenant Paul Rowden accepted the winners’ trophy from Brigade Commander, Brigadier Stuart Birrell.
Lt Towden said: “The Brigade RSM’s Challenge was a demanding but thoroughly rewarding competition which I and the team of Commando Logistic Regiment RM were glad to be involved in. “To finish the course was an achievement in itself, so to win the inaugural competition was a fantastic feeling and one that everyone at CLR Royal Marines can be justifiably proud of. Our build-up incorporated revision of many fundamental military skills which are at times neglected due to CLR RM’s prioritisation of day-to-day Regimental tasks. The competition put all competitors through their paces and was a real test of stamina, determination and character. “The RSM Challenge has the scope to become a key event in the 3 Commando Brigade RM calendar and is an ‘’excellent way of ‘’strengthening the Commando ethos and fostering positive rivalry between units.”
The teams set off from the start at 15-minute intervals on a warm sunny morning to begin the challenge. Points were awarded for the quickest time to complete the route and all tactical stances. They were also scored on their military tactics, situational awareness and command and leadership.
Sgt Geoff Howie, 28, of the Surveillance and Reconnaissance Regiment (30 Cdo) said: “This has been a great challenge, hard on the feet but this is exactly what we do as Marines.”
The 14-hour challenge started at 7am and ended at 9pm when a medals presentation was staged at Okehampton Camp in Devon.
Final positions:1st place Commando Logistics Regiment, 2nd 40 Cdo and 3rd 45 Cdo of Arbroath, Scotland. Each unit was praised for their hard work, determination and Commando Spirit. The Brigade RSM Challenge will be run every two years.