"The Reception Battalion"
UmmÖits been an eyeopening experience, these
past three days. Monday, the Army put me up in one of the nicest
hotels Iíve ever stayed at. It was pretty incredible.
I had to wake up at 4 am of course, and, with
getting to sleep at about 1:30 am, it definitely proved for a very
long day, most of which was sitting, on my ass, waiting to ship out.
When I was still in the hotel, I repacked my bag. Well, I goddamned
left my paperwork there. I was pretty nervous, but then I found a
very Ďgreení recruiter, and he went and picked the stuff up. Cool
for me, but when I got to the airport, and wanted to read a mag, I
knew those were lost too. Also, which I found out about 5 minutes
ago when I wanted to write, my two notebooks are gone. Seriously,
that sucks, you donít even know.
Anyway, I was headed to Ft.
Sill with 3 other guys from AZ (Vail, Phoenix, & Grant?ÖI canít
find Joel to confirm.) They (army) put us on United, and made us
carry this huge govít package that no one can mess with. We were
also told not to mention that we were military, because that could
make us targets. Just the sendoff I like to make me feel
comfortable. The first flight was terrible. I really felt on the
verge to try and find the enemy fighter jets he was dodging.
However, I soon realized he was lost. Taking off in PhoenixÖWell,
one of the engines wouldnít start. Again, this makes me so
comfortable. It finally got rolling and we made it to OK City. Just
a busride to Lawton, and our fun beginsÖ.
Maybe one of the longest days of my life. We got
on this bus that was falling apart, it filled up with all of us
headed to Ft. Sill. Mostly 18 year olds tooÖAnyhow, it was horribly
long and boring, so I found myself making up stories that happened
to me to entertain the few around me. We finally get to Ft. Sill,
and this base is huge. Man, really big, I was really surprised. The
houses and most of the buildings for soldier use seem a bit on the
rundown-side, but I really donít think people enter the army to get
one of those nice "on base" houses.
We finally come to a
stop at almost exactly 12am, and we meet our first drill instructor.
Funny, we were all so intimidated and everything. He is a huge guy
though. And he was not in a good mood. We file out quickly and
listen to him bitch a bit. Somehow, in utter confusion, we fill out
a bunch of paperwork. Taking about 1 hour to do that, and get rid of
any "counterfeit" products we might have. Getting caught with a cigg
apparently runs as large as a $200 fine. Yeesh.
So now we
go, get some clothes, fill out more paperwork, and watch a movie.
This is all at 2am on the clock. We get this meal too. Oh man,
seriously, you would not believe how terrible it was. Worst thing I
ever ate, and I almost got the whole thing down. Ham Salad Sandwich,
which the two were separate (bread-meat). Joe says it tastes like
"nail polish remover," the bread that is. And the Ham Salad was cat
food. Seriously, think fancy feast. And, wash it all down with a
Kiwi Strawberry minute madeÖassÖ
That was our night then. We
got a quick tour of our temporary barracks, sort of like a gym, with
a bathroom in the middle, and then about 20 bunk "cots." Yes, the
most uncomfortable sleeping environment ever. I have the 40 year-old
guy under me. I think heís going to keep me awake crying all night
over the fact he misses his son. Seriously though, a lot of the guys
here hate it more than anything already. Except for Joe, Iím
obviously working hard on this letter, and he insists on keeping a
conversation with me. Today was bad for most of us that arrived
late. We got to bed at about 2:30 and then the wake up call
(yelling) came at 0400. So I slept 4 hours Sunday night, 3 hours
Monday night, and 1.5 hours last night. You wouldnít believe how
tired I am. Itís so hot and humid and all the stresses of "hurry up
and wait" which is really all that this zero week is going to be.
Anyway, immediately after waking up, we go to get shots. I
donít mind shots, you know whatever, I took 3 in the left arm.
Completely painless. Then a shot of Penicillin, in the ass.
OoohhÖthis was a very painful shot. Seriously, the needle is like 6
inches long. You arenít supposed to look, and itís set up so you
really canít, but I did anyhow, and immediately wished I didnít. So
huge, I almost ran right there. The pain was long too, it wasnít
just something gone right away, but itís like someone found a
charliespot in your ass, pushed it until you almost collapsed
because your leg wanted to give out. And this pain, itís lasted all
day, for all of us. We moan and groan when we go near stairs,
because thatís the worst. About 90% of us have a visible limp. Put
the fact that our PT test is at 0400 tomorrow, itíll be interesting
to see if the pain is gone. I have a lot more stories, but its
almost 2000, and I have Ďwatchí tonight at 2200, so maybe I can get
some sleep before, and write more then.
people, itís 2145 right now. We arenít supposed to be on fire duty
until 2200. So I wake up, Joe who just woke me up and he says, or
rather mumbles, "just wake the next bunk up 15 minutes early." Yeah,
Iím a bit perturbed.
So we got our haircuts today too. I
wasnít thinking too much about it. I was just wondering what types
of cuts everyone is getting. We have to wear caps every time we are
outdoors right now, so I couldnít tell how much hair people were
leaving. Once I got inside, I saw we didnít have a choice. Plus it
costs $4.50 each cut. If your hair is already short short, like,
just shaved before you left, you saved yourself $4.50. Seriously, I
look almost exactly the same as I did in 8th grade. Itís strange to
put my hand on my head.
Absolutely amazing what we
accomplished today. Very efficient manner in which the army would
process us. For instance, there is about 70 soldiers in my reception
platoon, and we all got about 50 separate pieces of our uniforms in
like 2 hours. Hard to explain, but we were getting items really
fast. We got smoked too. This on DS really is not very friendly. He
puts these impossible time limits to do everything, then explains
himself in a thick, Hispanic accent. Itís rough, and a few of us
ended up with a few pushups. Iíve got myself a headache, probably
from trying to operate under no sleep the past 5 nights. Wish me
luck at the PT test at 0400.
Seriously, I donít really like this reception
stuff at all. We were supposed to do our PT test this morning. We
were supposed to do our PT test this morning. This was postponedÖas
we walked towards the track. This also means that we have no chance
of shipping to BCT until Tuesday. Seriously, this reception has to
be the most boring place on the planet. Iím not kidding when I tell
you it feels like Iíve been here for a week.
We can only
talk in the barracks. Not information for sure, or waiting to do
paperwork, or some mental or physical test. No talking even when we
eat. Eating is just purely a race to get done as fast as possible.
Iím a slow eater, so I have to try and get myself in the first half
our platoon. Iíve been lucky so far. I still donít eat much.
Actually, they have cakes and sodas to eat, but I donít touch that
stuff. I met some of the guys from ĎFat Campí today. I would not
want to do that. Itís PT, 3 times a day. The DS actually watches
what they get on their plate. A guy begged me for some fries when
the coast was clear. So I shared.
The rest of the day was
shit. Opened up a bank account at the Ft. Sill National Bank, yeah,
Iím real excited.
This weekend will be ass. No processing
will be done the next 3 days, so it will probably be more boring
than it already is. More on that tomorrow.
To understand this entry, weíll talk about the
type of person that I am. I never get homesick. Never. Iíve came and
gone so many places. Left older homes for new ones. All that Jazz.
In that time, I never remember thinking, "oh, I so want to be home
now." That is, of course, any of the places that Iíve had an
However, yesterday and today, every other
place in my life seems like a better place to be. Seriously, it
sucks so bad here I can barely stand it. I have never been this
bored for 3 straight days in my life. I donít really want to quit
the Army (as if I have a choice), but I just want to get out of
reception. I wanted to write a letter today, just to break up some
of the boredom, but I donít have much to write about except how
bored I am.
We got to wake up at 5am today. That was pretty
sweet. Itís very strange to wake up when itís dark out, and go to
sleep when itís light out. Itís 2115 right now, and the only reason
Iím still awake is because me and Cohen have guard duty for this
hour. Itís total boredom, and the only suspense is wondering if the
specialist is going to come and check to make sure we are awake.
He just smoked us too. Some moron was outside after 2000
hours, so both 2nd and 4th Platoon (215 people) got smoked. Taken
out on the grassÖwhere on our down movement of the pushup, we had to
say, "Attention to detail," and on the up, "Teamwork is key." Yeah,
how motivating. At least it pretty much secured my chance at staying
awake all through Fire Duty.
A lot of the recruits here seem
to have real problems staying awake. Itís like, if we havenít moved
for the past 10 minutes, you can bet someone is asleep. Fortunately,
I donít have a problem with this. I get tired and all that, but I
generally donít have to worry about staying awake. This guy in my
platoonÖweíll call him "Drill Private" (because heís a simple
private just like all of us, but he thinks heís a Drill
Sergeant)ÖAnyhow, we are waiting for some test, and the people are
just falling asleep all over the place. So he takes the liberty of
waking everyone up. Of course, this is fine, much better than
getting bitched at. However, when he is not yelling across the room
just because someone looks like heís asleep, heís talking to the guy
next to him. Now, the specialist in charge of us here at Reception
told us, "we talk, we are pushing." He didnít say anything about
sleeping. So, this Drill Private, who is starting to annoy me,
because, according to him, he knows everything about the Army. So,
finally, after he yelled at the 5th guy that wasnít asleep, I turned
to him and told him that it would be better if he concentrated on
doing what the Specialist actually told us to do, instead of
actually trying to be the Specialist. Everyone laughed at him then,
and since he hasnít really said anything.
There are all
types of people here at BCT, except for people like me. There are so
many kids out of high school, that get so nervous they wonít be able
to call home at night (seriously). Then there are people my age,
only with kids and married. Also, these people tend not to be very
educated, but feel it incumbent upon themselves to give advice on
how to live life to the 18-19 year olds. And there are two people,
that, before they got their heads shaved, I would have told you they
were the ugliest folk Iíve ever seen. However, once their hair was
gone, they looked much worse. Seriously, a mighty fall from the ugly
tree, hitting every branch on the way downÖ.
Anyway, I donít
think it could get any hotter on our side of the barracks. See, itís
shaped like an H, with the latrine in the middle--showers, washing
machine. There are two floors to our 2nd Platoon building. Each
floor has two sides, with 40 beds (bunked) on each side. In our
building (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th platoon buildings are identical)
the AC doesnít work for only one section. Yes, thatís ours.
Seriously, once you cross the latrine there is at least a 20 degree
temp difference. It sucks so bad.
Let me tell you, Oklahoma
is hot. When I got off the plane at 10pm Tuesday, I could feel the
humidity then. Seriously, I really forgot how hot and humid feels.
Also, there are way too may mosquitoes. Mornings are death, because
we are in information (we canít move) and we can just feel the
mosquitoes sucking the life out of us. I canít even begin to tell
you how many bites we all have.
Tonight, we were discussing
how different we all talk, Iíve met a guy from Conn. (ĎWhitey,í I
call him), and Michigan (thatís Joe, I swear heís only 14), from
Miss. (serious redneck) and probably about 20 other states.
Actually, I donít meet many from the same state. No one from WI yet,
which is funny to me, WI has to be like the worst military state.
Anyhow, watch is over, and Iím tired.
We are all starting to get along really well.
Barracks at night is actually getting really fun. Lots of wresting,
boxing, karate, arm wrestling...all those big "guy things." It's
funny though. Joe and I are usually the promoters of such events.
Traveling to the other parts of our barracks to find a suitable
opponent for our boxing champ, Mississippi.
We Usually call
everyone by their state of origin. It's just easier that way.
Miss...(short for Mississippi) is cool as hell. He has this total
unique accent, I mean, you could pick out his voice from anywhere,
even with all the southern accents, (seem to outnumber the rest of
us). I'm afraid I'll get out of here talking like them. Well, Miss.,
Joe, Connecticut and I are going to eat some grits at chow tommorow
a.m., However, we aren't allowed to talk at all, while eating, or
even when in formation waiting as long as one hour to eat.
Eating is so strange. I now eat in probably one/tenth the
time I used to. What took me 10 minutes before now takes me 1. I've
probably never once sat down with food over 5 minutes, I also eat
way too many bananas. I don't know if this is bad for me or not, so
if it is, can someone please write me and tell me.
also becoming quite concerned with what is called "SalPeter." I'm
not sure if that's correctly spelled. We asked a DS about it today
and he said it was bullshit. However, some people who have been
through basic already claim that it is put in our beverages, or the
salt. Anyhow what my understanding of Salpeter to be is basically
something that kills your sex drive, and does not let you have
erections. Like, the opposite of Viagra, if you will. My thoughts
would be that they do use this stuff, and it is working. Most in my
Barracks would agree with me. However, part of me is still very
skeptical, so if you know more about this than I just wrote, please
send the info to my platoon & myself.
Joe from Michigan
has been an absolute riot lately. He just seems to have a knack for
getting picked out of a group of 200+. This morning, a DS comes up
to him, "Why are you eyeballing me Private, I'm not your fucking
prom date." Ha! Goddamned Hilarious. In that same formation, he got
bitched at again. We all have to have strings around our canteens,
so the we tie a knot for each canteen we drink throughout the day.
(It's a lot of water.) Anyhow, Joe was missing his string, so when
he walked past a different DS, he asked him where the string went.
Joe replied that it was "stolen." Ha, I'm laughing just thinking
about that. The DS was taken aback, he said "there are a lot of
things another private might steal, but a string is not one of
them." Of course, in his typical DS way of talking.
we get up at 0400 to do our PT test. I'll have to get 17 situps (no
prob) 13 push ups (no prob) and a mile in 8:30, so it should be
easy, I'm still a bit nervous, because there seems to be a lot of
people at Fat Camp, but I know I can do it. After such a relatively
relaxing weekend, for this place, it's hard to imagine why we are
here. A DS today had a long talk and then a Q&A afterwards.
There is a lot of stuff that I had forgot to be afraid of. I guess
really the first 3 weeks are the only tough parts. Hopefully I'll
I think of about 50 interesting topics while
waiting for chow, then I always forget. Fire Guard is almost up, so
I want to make sure that everyone will write me, and when you do,
tell me everything. Seriously, we are all starving for outside