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'The Grey Man' ??

General discussions on joining & training in the Royal Marines.
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jclark20000
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#16 Post by jclark20000 » Fri 30 Apr, 2004 12:44 pm

Being the grey man is a preference that each person will veiw diffrent.
I see it as away of trying to get the 32 weeks over with as easy as possible but to be fair no matter if youre the grey one or the extrovert its goning to be damn hard and you better be prepared for a rough time.
You may be disappointed if you fail,
but you are doomed if you don’t try.

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Jagger

#17 Post by Jagger » Fri 30 Apr, 2004 1:08 pm

Dolly and Artist, would I be correct in assuming you believe being a 'Grey Man' is wrong in training then? :D

I have to say I just really totally disagree. Being a Grey Man in a unit is one deal, but in training it's another.

A Grey Man will go through training giving 100% with not a word said. Others will go through training giving 100% and let EVERYONE know they are giving 100%.
The remainder will give less than 100% and be kicked from the course.

If you do everything to the best of your ability and you are confident in yourself that you don't have to let everyone know how good you think you are, you are a Grey Man .....and in my eyes that is not a bad thing.

I'll give you an example .....when I went back on xmas leave during training, myself and another guy, who was from NI were given a briefing that we were not to take any military items or ID back to Ireland with us and that we were NOT to go telling everyone we were in Royal. I can tell you for a fact, that if I had gone out on a night out and blurted it to everyone around that I was in Royal, I would have had the crap kicked out of quicker than I could have reeled off my service number. If I was the kind of guy who absolutely HAD to be noticed by anyone, I would have had the crap kicked out of me, but I'm not. In this case being a Grey Man "might" have saved me some skin. On the other extreme all of us were on the train from exeter up northwards on our weekend leave and two guys from our troop started chatting up these two lasses, fair enough, but they not only had to let them know that they were an RM recruit, what they had done during training, but they said it with such volume that for about 15-20minutes there was absolutely no one talking in the cabin accept for these two, with everyone else listening and taking notes.

In MY opinion a Grey Man will do EVERYTHING that is needed of him, to the same degree or better as everyone else, but he will not act like a pratt thinking that he knows everything and does not require himself to be noticed by others to feel content in himself. This DOESN'T mean that he won't show off, if need be, to get a promotion or what-not. He'll be noticed as much as is required to achieve a goal, nothing more, nothing less.
Last edited by Jagger on Fri 30 Apr, 2004 1:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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#18 Post by jclark20000 » Fri 30 Apr, 2004 1:11 pm

i agree with jagger being the grey man you can reap the benefits
You may be disappointed if you fail,
but you are doomed if you don’t try.

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#19 Post by Dolly Gray » Sun 02 May, 2004 7:57 pm

Jags

Taking into consdieration as to how you see yourself in this role of being a 'Grey man' I do not see it as wrong, because that was your choice and I only hope that this had nothing to do with your opting out?

Sadly nothing you say will convince me that this a stance that takes you through CTC without hastle, if fact speaking from experience I would be more interested (very) in you if you were avoiding me or coasting.

To try to single it out as being a training thing only does not work either , this due to our drafting system, asssume a title like this and you have got it for life. We move around slighly different to the army and you are always bumping into people who are only to happy to relate the dits about how big a w@#k you were in training.

I can think of no use for the title 'Grey man'in training, the title is ill placed and I find it hard to accept that there may be others like yourself irrespective of how you see it who are coasting or coasted through CTC, never having their cards read because nobody knows who they are .

As you did not finish training you won't be able to tell me when the big switch on takes place, if it works during training why should it not work in a unit!!

One of your supporters says he spent his whole time being a Grey man and you probably thought thats OK he's a fan, but as he was crabair I can assume he is talking about the colour of his uniform, because if you read his CV on his web site you discover that he used to take a screwdriver to rather large big bits of radar in the Outer Hebrides, bollocks that and a lot of people are noticing you.

Another of your supporter whos occupation is in bank says he also keeps a low profile and it has its perks, I don't think so, the manager probably knows what he had for breakfast and when he last changed his nicks . My mate who is a bank manger found it hard to accept how you could assume such a stance in the banking world, again, if you are keeping out of the way he wants to know where the tunnnel is being dug and you get your very own candid camera.

Everyone is noticed, as you were all the way through your 20 weeks before you oppted out, the example you give about about going across the water and keeping a low profile is not about being a 'Grey Man' its about using your common dog.

In fact I would rather tell people over there I was a the Pope before I used the term you have given yourself, you really should try to find out who goes under the title.

You contradict yourself by saying you gave your all and stayed low profile how could you have if you are passing tests and picking up the best improved nods prize! you might not have noticed that but someone was marking your cards, Can we assume that things went tits up from week 15, you were on your way out and its was from that stage that you went undercover.

As said I am up for change and prepared to learn but I think I would rather not see the title 'Grey Man turning up in Jackspeak in relation to its representaion here.

Your choice of employment is shown as a labourer (to me the most important job on a building site) how do you manage to keep low profile here? you cant exactly walk around telling people you are ex Corps! so you must still be in GM mode.

I don't think you should be addressing the fact you saw yourself as a Gray Man first time around, but more towards that if you do join agin that you don't end up in the same boat as you did this time.


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#20 Post by druadan » Sun 02 May, 2004 11:42 pm

'Grey man.' Now, I'm only taking this from a variety of books and films, but is the grey man not the guy who tries to appear nothing more nor less than average compared to everyone around him in order to blend in under cover??

Assuming that's correct, then I can see Jagger's point of view...if you are nothing more nor less than the average recruit, then presumably you'd get singled out less than others.

However, and this is pure guesswork as I'm not there yet, surely the training team at CTC will give each and every recruit very close examination to ensure standards are being met?? To be honest, I would rather get noticed (for the right reasons, preferably), get a few extra shit jobs, and pass out with a good note from the training team saying this lad's a good'un, he does what's asked without complaint, he can lead people, good promotion prospects, etc. You're joining one of (sorry, the) best regular corps in the world, and you want to stand back and not be noticed?? You're in the wrong job, surely?? You want to be the best, make sure you're noticed as being the best...if you haven't got the confidence to put yourself forward, you're just not that good.

No doubt I'll eat those words once I'm down there... :oops:

Jagger

#21 Post by Jagger » Mon 03 May, 2004 1:05 am

I just gotta say, that in hindsight, the paths and decisions someone makes are always clear.

Was opting out a bad decision? Yes.

Did it have anything to do with me loosing the cover of "Grey Man"? No.

Would I have gotten the title of "Grey Man" after training? No. I did everything that I thought was right. I didn't go boasting to the training team that I had done JNCO course for the reserves here in Ireland before I joined up and didn't boast anything else ....in your eyes if that makes me a bad recruit so be it.

Yes, I had some previous, although limited military experience, I chose not to go around advertising it, although I never denied it if it was brought up. If my oppos needed help or advice on something I would without a question, it's not as if I denied knowledge of my limited experience, most guys that go in have no military experience, so those of that did got around those who struggled and helped them along. Did the training team see this? No. The training team are only with the troop for percentage of their time, they don't see half of what goes on I think everyone will agree.

During the first 15 weeks almost everything is done as a troop, there's no individuals so to say. During that period I chose not to advertise myself, like some others do. Did this mean I didn't give 100% at everything I did? No.

At week 15 you have your first test ex. I did everything the same as I had done, during training, went for it 100%. The difference is that test ex is an individual test. Stalking, solo navexs, map reading, fire control orders etc. I gave 100% like usual and came out near top of my troop. I didn't regret it one bit and because I didn't choose to advertise myself during the first half of training it was maybe a surprise for the training team. They thought I had improved the most, but in reality I had done most of the test activities already before I joined....... I prefer to impress people by my actions, rather than gobbing off and saying how good I am then f**king up when it comes down to doing something.

Now, I first replied to this thread to give my opinion and have ended up trying to justify myself, my motives for leaving, during training etc. I wouldn't honestly give you guys this advice if I didn't think it was right. I would do exactly the same if I did training again.

It might SEEM that I was giving an extreme view about being a "Grey Man" in my previous posts, I don't know why. I NEVER said you should try and coast through training ....fact is you would never make it through training if you did so, the training team would kick you in first couple of weeks. What I AM saying is keep your head down and do everything that is asked of you, don't gob off, don't f**k up and training will be alot easier. That my good sirs is my OPINION.

There are alot of proponants of this "Grey Man" method. Alot of SF people have given their opinions on this in books etc and support it, and I'm sure some don't. But at that level I wouldn't accuse any of them as not having determination or being underhanded.

Arameis, the training team aren't there for alot of the time at CTC. Training is a 24/7 job when you're down there and the training team are there maybe 8-9 hours each day. Unless they install cameras in the grotts they can never get an in depth examination of every recruit. Hence, alot of stuff happens that the training teams never sees or knows about.

Dolly Gray:
Your choice of employment is shown as a labourer (to me the most important job on a building site) how do you manage to keep low profile here? you cant exactly walk around telling people you are ex Corps! so you must still be in GM mode.
I lift bricks and shift dirt. I don't go around telling people that i'm an ex-nod. If someone asks me my life story I will tell them, if they speak with a deep NI accent and are drinking guinness in a local dundalk pub I probably wouldn't. :wink:

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#22 Post by Dolly Gray » Mon 03 May, 2004 12:46 pm

Jags
You never have to justify yourself here, you took the choices and role you did on your own and being from the fold and bold school I tried to find creddance in something I found very strange to accept and how it fitted into the Corps.

By all accounts it has worked for you, but it could not have worked all that well if you are in the situation of thinking of going for a repeat run.

One thing I do know is the minute you enter CTC it is not a case of that that training team is not with you - think Stars Wars - even when you can't see them 'they are the force' and 'they are always with you'.

I hope you keep in touch and go for it again and if you have the talent use, dont sit back! But if your going Grey again I would like to know if it works for you second time around.



Dolly

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#23 Post by druadan » Mon 03 May, 2004 4:20 pm

I can see where you're coming from, and as said before I think it does depend on how you interpret 'grey man.' I wouldn't go around boasting about past experience or how good I am at something or whatever either...however I'd always try to be at the front of the pack rather than in the middle.

Jagger

#24 Post by Jagger » Mon 03 May, 2004 6:30 pm

You hit the nail on the head arameis. You have to try to be the best at everything because you'll be kicked from the course if you don't. 'Grey Man is of course a very relative term to what the circumstances are.

I agree with what you are saying Dolly, I think we both got confused as to what our interpretations of what a 'Grey Man' is, when infact we are trying to convince eachother of the same things.

I think we've weeded this debate for all it is worth anyway and i'm isck of seeing the words 'Grey Man' lol.

I don't think I'll be rejoining RM. I've had a year out and i've experienced both, I understand that life after training is alot different and I've accounted for that I think. I do know that I thrive on the organisation and discipline of the military, so that's definitely where i'm headed, but maybe in a more technical area as im a pretty brainy guy who likes the good aul' brain teasers every now and then. All the romantic views about RM and military life has faded alot, I think alot of recrits have them set ideas when they go in. I've spent a few years figuring out what I really want to do, experiencing all that civvie and military has to offer and i'm now in a position to know what I "really" want. To be "Elite" is not the only thing that drives me now. :wink: Will keep you guys updated anyway, maybe i'll take your advice Dolly and try and step into the spotlight with whatever training I do next.

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Re: 'The Grey Man' ??

#25 Post by Highlander » Thu 22 Feb, 2018 9:41 pm

Grey man means 'shady one'.
They cannot train up a grey one. They can teach the white, or the black, but it is difficult to teach an oversmart one. You pretended to be an over smart one in front of assessing officer.
Bad Luck !

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