Navy Net - Royal Navy Community

This is a sample guest message. Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

My life with Commando Helicopter Force


Lantern Swinger
Book Reviewer
I have been clearing out my locker and found a copy of My Life with Commando Helicopter Force by Mechanic 1.
It is rather like something @Ravers would of written if ever he was one of Gods chosen ones.
I don't know who Mechanic 1 is so if any one has seen this before or knows who he might be can they get him to put it up here or I might have to do it anyway.
This one?

Chapter 1, The Black Summer

I will never forget the summer of 2001. Black summer as it became known. The season that changed my life. I was at the time a happy, slightly overweight, useless Pinger cunt (Anti Submarine Helicopters) based at Culdrose. I was happy to turn to and do fuck all, and I was happy to deploy to America once a year. My conscience allowed me to waste the tax payer’s money by being part of a circuit with no real fucking role or any input into the British Government’s part in the War on Terror.

Then one Monday morning everything changed. I will never forget the feeling of terror we all felt when the draft order alarm sounded. Installed 6 years earlier by the Commodore the alarm would only be sounded by the UPO if any draft order was received that meant one of us was leaving Culdrose. I had seen many a man collapse on hearing that alarm. We all knew what came next; the unfortunate recipient would be piped to report to the UPO, where the Commodore, the Chaplain and his DO would be waiting.

When my name was piped I fainted. I came round a couple of hours later in sickbay, expecting to find my friends gathered around me laughing that I had fallen for their joke. Instead the only people present were the Commodore, the Chaplain and my DO. I fainted again.

The following day my DO explained that the draft order stated 846 NAS (Commando Helicopters). This was worst case scenario for me, not only was I leaving Culdrose but I was joining a unit who could actually justify their existence. When he mentioned I may deploy to Iraq, I threw up. My DO explained that before any of that I would have to do SMAC. The realisation hit me like Tyson’s right hook. We had all heard rumours about SMAC, and although no one knew for sure it supposedly stood for Super Matelot Army Commando. It was basically an amalgamation of all the training methods used throughout the world by the likes of the SAS and Delta Force. The end result was helicopter mechanics that could kill efficiently.

As my DO talked about 1.5 mile runs and pull ups I drifted away in my mind to my happy place. When he mentioned that his best friend from Dartmouth had died on SMAC I began to sob. He held me and we sobbed together as my life crumbled around me.

The Commodore returned the next day to tell me he had done everything he could to help me, including resigning his commission, but to no avail. He was going to Tesco’s and I was going to Yeovil. He too cried and told me to be careful and keep my pointy head down.
Chapter 2, It Begins

I arrived at RNAS Yeovilton on a Monday morning and reported to the UPO to carry out a joining routine. I was informed that I wouldn’t be joining 846 straight away, but would instead join a training Squadron, 848, to learn the engineering skills required to operate deep behind enemy lines. Although I hid it well I think the Wren Writer could see I was crying.

When I eventually found 848 Squadron I was confronted with the busiest looking Squadron I had ever seen. Back at Culdrose with the Merlin aircraft we had once set a monthly record on my flight when we achieved 3 flying hours. The flight commander had been so proud that he had bought us all a commemorative mug and tie pin. It remained one of the happiest days of my life.

I soon realised that quite a lot of the engineers wore green berets instead of the usual blue ones. I asked if this was indicative of having completed SMAC, to which the Watch Chief simply said “Cock.”

The following day I reported to the Engineering Training section of the squadron to begin learning the Grubber, Greenie and Pinkie systems on the Sea King. I brought my trainers with me, as I always had on the Merlin to ensure no damage would occur to the aircraft floor by walking on it. I didn’t, however, bring my full body safety harness, which had been mandatory on the Merlin when working at any height above 3 feet. When I asked the instructor when we would be signing these out his hand became a blur of motion. I later found out that what he had thrown at me had been an IGV actuator. I had 16 stitches down the left side of my head and I was deeply unhappy.

On my Merlin squadron we had once carried out a set of 25 hourly flex-ops, and it had proven to be at the very limit of our engineering prowess. The fact was that 25’s only came up yearly and by the time anything else was due the aircraft would be due SBM anyway. Any major component change such as an engine or gearbox was simply unthinkable without full MASU support and IPT permissions. It seemed, however, that this wasn’t the case in the Sea King world, and the average mechanic was expected to know quite a lot about the aircraft. In the Merlin world we learned the name of a component when it failed in flight and caused a crash, whereas in the Sea King world we were going to be expected to know the name of a component and its location on the aircraft even when it was working. Bizarre.

And so the next 22 weeks passed with endless hours spent in the classroom and on squadron aircraft learning component names and their purpose. From Fafnir shims to Dinofocal mountings my head was bursting with information. I could recall the number engines or gearboxes in a Sea King almost instantly, although occasionally I got those two mixed up.

Somehow I got through my Grubber QM and moved onto the Greenie section of the course. Where the Grubber section had been 22 weeks, the Greenie section was only 2 and was regarded as reasonably easy. The Greenie teacher turned out to be a bit strange to say the least. The first week was spent learning to count flares. This was pretty straightforward as it only involved basic addition and subtraction, but no matter how many examples the teacher did on the board he got every one of them wrong. Week 2 involved learning to load the flares onto the aircraft. Again this was quite easy as each magazine of 40 flares was only held on by 2 bolts. When the instructor gave us our first demonstration of flare loading he shook the aircraft tail on completion to simulate aircraft vibration in flight. Two magazines fell off. This happened to him a further 4 times during the remainder of the week.

I now only had one more trade to get through, but it was by far the most difficult. Pinkie school is 48 weeks long and equates to a degree with honours in the civilian world. It is said that Pinkies are so intelligent they can manipulate the earth’s magnetic fields using their minds allowing them to levitate. When three or more Pinkies congregate it is known as “The Collective” and they can then alter the reality around them. This means that it looks to the average Grubber or Greenie that the Pinkies are busy doing paperwork, but in reality they have fucked off to the crewroom to watch television. None of the other trades have as much knowledge of the aircraft as the Pinkies. This is demonstrated in the amount of Pinkies who carry out the duties of a flying maintainer just to annoy the Grubbers. It is a well known fact that pilots prefer to fly with a Pinkie flying maintainer as it gives them a system expert on every part of the aircraft. Trouble in the cockpit can be swiftly overcome by a Pinkie with his deft fingers nimbly moving around cockpit controls, compared to a Grubber trying to push small buttons with his big fat sausage fingers or, sometimes, even his elbows.

The content of the 48 week course is classified as “UK SECRET” and so I cannot enter into much detail for fear of Government reprisals. Suffice to say that I will never again have to pay to have anything electrical fixed and if I was stranded on a desert island with just a roll of tape and a tywrap I could radio for help and be sat watching Sky TV when the rescue boat arrived.
Chapter 3, SMAC

“Death is nature’s way of saying you failed SMAC” said the Royal Marine Colour Sergeant on the first morning of the 4 week course. I had been given the kit list for the course the previous week, but it hadn’t been made clear if we needed it all everyday or not. As a result I was stood in front of a very angry looking Marine wearing my sports kit and my respirator and carrying everything else in my bergan on my back.

“Are you taking the fucking piss out of me you Matelot cunt?” barked the angry Marine. Before I could answer he decided that I was and pulled my respirator out from my face until it was about four feet away and the straps were thinner than thread. When he let go and the mask hit me it was the most painful experience of my life. My nose broke instantly and I went down like a dropped sack of potatoes. He was on me instantly and he whispered in my ear, “I’m going to enjoy hurting you for the next month.”

What followed can only be described as barbaric. The course began with a total of 45 people, but by lunchtime of Day 1 we were down to 38. Those of us that still survived had completed the USMC Fitness Test and we were broken. The test had consisted of a 1.5 mile run, which is officially regarded as ultra-distance running by the governing board of athletics. We lost 3 people on that, 1 of whom lost his life. The official verdict said accidental death, but those of us who seen it knew better. Totally exhausted and unable to take another step Knocker had flung himself under the wheels of a passing tractor. The other two had simply collapsed and despite the Colour Sergeant’s attempts at persuasion using his fists and feet they never got back up. With the run completed we were instantly expected to do as many sit ups as possible in 2 minutes. I managed 8 and I was happy with that. The guy next to me gave a sudden cry of pain and then died as his lower intestine ruptured. The Marine decided that one guy wasn’t trying hard enough and kicked him so hard in the side of the head that his neck broke. Press ups followed and I only managed 3. The Marine had laid a turd under my face as encouragement but my arms were so tired I couldn’t stay on them any longer and I ended up with a face full of human faecal matter. I suppose I was lucky because two of the other guys died when the Colour Sergeant jumped from the top of a locker onto the back of their heads.

The last exercise was pull ups and I managed to hang on the bar for about 3 seconds before I collapsed onto the floor crying and wanting death to come. I now know that it was wanting death so badly that kept me alive; the Marine wasn’t going to do any of us any favours.

The remainder of the first day was taken up drawing more kit from the storeman in preparation for the final week of the course. None of us 38 who remained expected to survive until the final week.

Day 2 began with us drawing our SA80’s from the armoury for weapon instruction. I actually felt confident about this because at Culdrose I had served as part of Alpha Platoon. Our job there had been a Quick Reaction Force ready to deal with any problem on the airstation. Consequently I knew the SA80 pretty well.

“Right you cunts, who has handled one of these before?” inquired the Marine. My first mistake was raising my hand. “Right then prick, get out the front and strip the weapon for daily cleaning.” Mistake number 2 was probably the point where I decided that he must be joking. “Strip the weapon” I thought to myself. Chief Kernow, our Alpha Platoon leader, never mentioned anything about stripping the weapon in the 4 years I served on the platoon. So I laughed and communicated to the Marine that his joke was funny and that he had in fact almost fooled me. Mistake 3 was definitely dodging to the left instead of the right. The rifle butt caught me squarely in the eye. And it fucking hurt.

The remainder of the first week was filled with endless rifle drills culminating with actually shooting real bullets out of it on the Friday. Again this was a first for me, and I found the noise a bit frightening. At 100m I did manage to hit a target once and I was pretty chuffed. When the Marine raised the targets at 300m I couldn’t actually see them. The guy next to me eventually pointed them out. I thought a joke was in order so I shouted “Excuse me Colour Sergeant, but if the enemy is still so far away shouldn’t we be using artillery?” If you have ever been on an electronic range you will have seen the large monitors that sit on each lane to show your fall of shot. It was one of those that he dropped on the back of my head 10 minutes later.

Week 2 taught us more advanced infantry skills such as patrolling and covert communications. As a course we were definitely beginning to gel. I had even made a friend. He had been drafted from the Harrier circuit and so, like me, he had never worked hard before. In fact he was even more parasitic than me because as part of the Harrier world he had been getting paid LSSB even when he wasn’t actually at sea.

We deployed to a top secret SMAC training area the following week to put some of our theory lessons into practice. The area is known only as Merryfield and its exact location cannot be disclosed in this book. The 30 minute drive from Yeovil, heading towards Taunton, passed without incident.

On arrival we split into groups and set up our bivvis. I had never slept outdoors before and I was, quite frankly, shitting my pants at the thought of what might happen during the night. I imagined everything from bugs to escaped psychos creeping up to me whilst I slept. Mercifully, we weren’t expected to do wee-wee’s or Mr Poo-poo’s outdoors and the Marines had provided a crude toilet type contraption for our use. This was situated near to the Marines caravan and as I sat on it later that evening I could hear the 2 Marines grunting and moaning inside their caravan. I presumed they were practicing some new unarmed combat moves. Now years later as I write this book with the benefit of hindsight I believe it was more likely that they were trunking the ass of off each other.

The night eventually passed after what felt like a lifetime. Crying myself to sleep was becoming normal in my life but when the tears freeze on your face it is truly fucking miserable.

The following day we were taught camouflage and concealment techniques. To be part of the Jungly circuit it would be vital to master these techniques. During the first Gulf War a team of engineers had successfully carried out a double engine change in the car park of a Lidl store in Baghdad under the very noses of the Republican Guard and not been spotted once. That day I learnt a valuable lesson; if you are well camouflaged and lying completely still the Marine probably can’t see you, so if he appears to be staring straight at you don’t fucking wave at him. I did, and 15 minutes later when he finally stopped jumping onto my hands from the bonnet of his landrover I promised him I would never wave again. And I never have.

We returned to Yeovilton totally exhausted, and after returning the various stores we were given the weekend off. When I awoke on Monday I couldn’t believe that I had slept for 62 hours and not woke up once. I was painfully hungry but I didn’t have time for breakfast so after a quick suicide attempt I returned to RMTU for more shit.
Chapter 4, Milex

The final week of SMAC is called Milex. No one knows why. It is a gruelling 5 day test carried out on the bleak wastes of Dartmoor, or Okehampton Camp if you are a Wren and you whinge about pissing in the field. Not only is this a test of military skills but potential Junglies are also tested on their engineering knowledge throughout the week. The engineering staff are legends in the Jungly world. These are the people who have “been Jungly” all of their careers and who know how to neatly roll the hood of their Arctic smocks. Although they were slightly reluctant to sleep in tents like the rest of us.

It is also a test week for the pilots who wish to fly the Mark 4 SeaKing into battle. Although throughout their training to date they will have always flown with an instructor next to them, they are expected to fly alone for this week. This means during flight they are constantly swapping seats to be able to reach all of the switches and buttons in the cockpit. The aircrewman in the back of the aircraft will by now be able to sleep for an entire mission, although if required he could wake up and point randomly at a map of the UK. The AA road atlas of the UK is the favoured navigation tool of most aircrewmen, especially as they can save a few quid by buying the out of date version at the local garage.

After being dropped off the aircraft departed for some secret mission leaving me and my “Eagle Base” members in the middle of Dartmoor with barely enough equipment to survive. Each Eagle Base is led by a Chief Tiff who has obviously been fully briefed by the training team to act as if he hasn’t got a fucking clue what to do. Within 3 hours we had put up a tent but had lost 2 rifles and had 16 negligent discharges. The sun was setting and darkness was coming and that meant so was the enemy.

We had 2 sentries placed during darkness and we would be doing sentry duties throughout the entire night. The pilot was exempt duties due to him having an A-level, and the aircrewman was still firmly wedged in the bubble window, so he was no use to us either. The tent Chief would simply wander off to a tent leaders brief if he was ever asked to do anything. That left 4 of us to provide sentries all night.

Needless to say that both sentries were fast asleep when the enemy arrived at 3am. The role of enemy force was carried out by Royal Marines from Lympstone. We were awakened by the screams of the young Royal as he stumbled across our sleeping sentry and gave himself a fright. The screams as he ran away and got hit in the back of the head by our sentry’s Shamuley probably woke up most of Okehampton.

The other Eagle bases had also been attacked during the night. One of them had been engaged by 4 blank rounds before the attacker had suffered a stoppage with his rifle and had been unable to clear it. Instead he had simply raised his left hand and awaited help from his Platoon Weapons Instructor. In the end the sentry of that base had walked up and lent the Marine PW a torch as he was also struggling to clear the stoppage.

The remainder of the week saw the relentless attacks continue. Sometimes during the day the enemy would dress as civilian hikers or, as on one occasion, cows and try to approach us. We would open fire with everything we had to counter them. We had by now surrounded our base with punji traps. These consisted of sharpened sticks at the bottom of a pit ready to impale the foot and lower leg of anyone stupid or unlucky enough to walk over them. The sticks themselves were smeared liberally with our own shit to promote infection of the wound. Our Chief Tiff had his only good idea of the entire week when he suggested that we should all shit in the middle of the tent so as to have a good supply for the sticks. On day 4 we caught an enemy soldier dressed as a middle aged man walking a dog, with a wife. It is said that a Royal Marine can hold his breath when submerged underwater for up to 5 minutes. This one couldn’t. He drowned after 2 minutes and his wife only lasted 1 and a half.

And then it was over. I had made it through the hardest training course in the British military. I was a Jungly and now I got to do what every other Jungly does; I put my fucking notice in.

The End


Lantern Swinger
Book Reviewer
That's the one.
It deserves to see the light of day on a wider forum than just left loafing in the crew room.
Last edited:
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
Y Commando Life... The Corps 12
mikey_boi Life in a Commando Unit? The Corps 44
MoD_RSS Dominic Raab urges world not to “turn away from Rohingya’s suffering” as the UK pledges life-saving support MoD News 1
soleil The Times: "Life On The Ocean Wave: The Royal Navy Photographic Awards" The Fleet 1
J Couple Of Questions About Life in RFA RFA 2
MoD_RSS Committee on Standards in Public Life announces landscape review of public standards MoD News 0
MoD_RSS New £3.3 million fund to give babies from deprived areas or BAME backgrounds the best start in life MoD News 0
Dredd Light of life Blue Jokes 0
MoD_RSS UK scientists help NASA answers the questions, 'was there life on Mars?' MoD News 1
MoD_RSS Do you need to leave your home area to achieve a better life? MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Government backed projects to speed up life-saving cancer diagnoses MoD News 0
G Life on aircraft carriers and suitability assessment Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 3
C Life on a submarine? Joining the Royal Navy 18
MoD_RSS Life cover for frontline health workers MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Committee on Standards in Public Life announces review of electoral regulation MoD News 0
MoD_RSS £22 million awarded to life-saving health charities during virus outbreak MoD News 0
MoD_RSS DFID support for partners to deliver life-saving programmes MoD News 0
O Buying Life Insurance before joining... Finance & Pensions 17
MoD_RSS MHRA approves new life-saving breathing aid to help keep coronavirus (COVID-19) patients out of intensive care MoD News 0
C Life at worthy down as a RFA chef apprentice RFA 12
MoD_RSS Life on marsh in A585 bypass exhibition MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Adding years to life and life to years: our plan to increase healthy longevity MoD News 0
R Pilot shore life, sea life and family life Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 7
MoD_RSS Intimidation in Public Life: letters from Twitter MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Intimidation in Public Life: letters from Facebook MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Intimidation in Public Life: letters from Google MoD News 0
MoD_RSS New funding scheme supports purchase of life-saving safety equipment for fishermen MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Driving complacency: 74% of drivers would risk life in flood water MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Kingdom Life Ministries inquiry: Charity trustees disqualified after unauthorised payments of over £450k and cash withdrawals of over £700k MoD News 0
soleil Mail: "Real-Life 'Rocket Man' Wearing A Jet Pack Launches From ... HMS Queen Elizabeth" The Fleet 8
MoD_RSS Intimidation in Public Life: Letter to political parties on election pledge MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Update on tackling intimidation in public life MoD News 0
MoD_RSS The Principles of Public Life: 25 years MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Letter from the Committee on Standards in Public Life to public office holders MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Correspondence between the Prime Minister and the Committee on Standards in Public Life MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Life Sciences and UK's future role: Sir John Bell delivers MHRA annual lecture MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Open letter from the Committee on Standards in Public Life to all public office holders MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Supporting healthy and active later life: apply for funding MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Celebrating life at BPDTS MoD News 0
Bad CO Real Life Getting In the Way Site Issues 82
MoD_RSS Britannia Protects the Waves: £7m extra funding to protect UK marine life MoD News 0
MoD_RSS UK aid to provide life-saving support for up to one million people crippled by drought in Somalia MoD News 0
MoD_RSS UK to innovate new life-saving treatment and diagnosis technology MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Life in the UK test contract awarded MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Life-saving fund opens for bids MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Physical activity helps children to deal with life’s challenges MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Specialist life vests to improve fishing safety MoD News 0
B Navy life Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 6
MoD_RSS Press release: Over five million Afghans to receive emergency life-saving UK aid MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Press release: England's Marine Life Protected With Blue Belt Expansion MoD News 0
Similar threads

Latest Threads