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Week 00
"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.

Okay, seriously 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 extended stay.

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.

We are 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.

Tomorrow 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 stay uninjured.

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 information.

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