Boatswains Mate excels on UK’s Royal Marine Commando Course

This article has photo gallery Published on Ms Natasha Pine (author and photographer)

Location(s): Commando Training Centre Royal Marines, UK

Topic(s): Training

ABBM Joshua Tibbles visited in training by CDF, General David Hurley, on 18 June 2013. (photo: Ms Natasha Pine)
ABBM Joshua Tibbles visited in training by CDF, General David Hurley, on 18 June 2013.

As part of the revised Exercise LONG LOOK program with the UK, one of the Royal Australian Navy's Boatswains Mates has just completed the demanding Royal Marines All Arms Commando Course (AACC) in the UK, and shining above the 89 course members by receiving one of the top awards.

ABBM Joshua Tibbles travelled to the UK in April 2013 to undergo preparatory training prior to commencing what is widely recognised as one of the most difficult military courses in the world. Graduating with distinction on 1 August 2013, AB Tibbles is believed to be the first member of the RAN to be awarded a Royal Marines’ Green Beret, and one of only a handful of ADF members to join this elite group since its inception in 1942.

The AACC looks to focus on Commando skills such as survival in all conditions, amphibious assault, cliff assault, helicopter, escape and evasion, urban assaults, drills and small-unit tactics. Over the eight weeks the members must pass a number of arduous field tests for them to progress to the final test week. In order to complete the course, four tests must be passed and they are conducted over four consecutive days:

  • Endurance Course - 2 miles (3.2 km) of cross country and water obstacles followed by a 4-mile (6.4 km) road run in 73 minutes carrying 21 lb (9.5 kg) fighting order and a personal weapon, followed immediately by a range shoot in a 25m range simulating 200m, in which 6/10 targets must be hit.
  • 9 Mile Speed March - as a formed body in 90 minutes carrying 21 lb (9.5 kg) fighting order and personal weapon
  • Tarzan Assault Course - in under 12 minutes carrying 21 lb (9.5 kg) fighting order and personal weapon
  • 30 Miler - 30-mile (48 km) cross-country march over Dartmoor in 8 hours carrying 40 lb (18 kg) fighting order and personal weapon

AB Tibbles completed a number of conditioning courses in the lead up to the ultimate challenge, the eight week AACC. The conditioning courses aim for a common standard of core military skills, including patrolling, navigation, weapons, defence and section and troop level attacks.

100 military members, made up of UK regular Armed Forces and overseas personnel like AB Tibbles and personnel from the famous Ghurkha Regiment, started the 01/13 AACC course. The Coues Commanding Officer, LTCOL Mike Geldard, RM, commented that standards have remained as high as they have ever been and he was extremely pleased with the high calibre of the course members and the high pass rate of 89.

While achieving this Royal Marines Green Beret is a remarkable achievement in itself, AB Tibbles was awarded the Commandant’s Award, given to the student who ‘displays enthusiasm and commitment to an outstanding standard, irrespective of rank’.

AB Tibbles after completing the course is looking forward to heading back to Australia for well deserved leave before joining HMAS Choules where he is eager to utilise and share what he has learnt from his time in the United Kingdom.