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Week 01
"Red Phase"


Woke up at 4:15 today. We had to bring our linens down to get washed. One of our DS's told us to be on the drill pad for formation 15 minutes early. However, this only meant that we stood at the position of attention for 45 minutes instead of the usual 30. This is not good for my feet. They were hurting before we started PT, but usually when I get my blood going they feel okay.

There is just way too much standing around, at position of "attention," where you have to remain absolutely motionless, or "parade rest," with the hands behind the back, legs spread. I bet we spend at least 3 hours of the day in those two positions. Motionless too. It's hard when you are sweaty, and want to wipe the face, but you have to have discipline.

Then, BDV's on, to breakfast, then to the artillery museum. We marched as a battery, for about 2 miles. A lot of it was uphill, but in march time it wasn't too bad.

I don't really know why the whole morning was set aside for the arty museum. It was cool though, old cannons, new cannons, stuff used in desert storm, all pretty fun.

The afternoon we had more classroom time. The first hour was spent in an STD class. Pretty disgusting, most of us didn't really have a desire to see some of the pictures. The "patriot" candidate in our platoon, Bailey, asked questions at the end. "Can you get bacteria diseases from using vegetables?" among about 10 other ones. How we didn't get smoked for that I'll never know.

The 2nd class was about self-care. Nothing exciting, just talk about a place to go if you just need over-the-counter drugs, DS Carter brought in a bunch of meds for us to use on his approval, so I'll probably never go there.

We got issued another piece of equipment too. The "gas mask." Yeah, we are going into the chamber next week monday. I didn't think that was a red phase thing, but it'll be nice to get it over with. Actually my biggest fear of basic. Everything after should be downhill.

I'm feeling better now. I have a slight cough now, which really sucks. Stifling both coughs and sneezes while at the position of attention is nearly impossible.

So hopefully I'll be better...After that, it was a typical night. Shine boots, do our "meeting." But then our DS decided to get pissed because some people didn't shave.

Actually, only two people didn't shave, and one was my battle buddy. I told him in the morning too, but he always moves so slow he never has time for anything. For 30 minutes, we were doing flutter kicks, bicycle situps, and holding our feet six inches off the ground. It was horrible. My abs were never so sore.

Finally at 10 pm we got to take showers. Originally, we were going to get 30 seconds each, but we forgot to say "at ease" when the DS left and came back in the bay, so we only got 20 seconds after getting smoked in our towels for 10 minutes. Now, if you have ever seen Army towels, you will know that they are very small, about 36 inches long at most, and they don't stay on very good. Basically, we were doing pushups naked, which was a very interesting feeling.

After our 20 second rinse (most of us had put on soap while we were waiting), we had to line up by our beds (toe to line) to get inspected. A few people didn't have their shirts on and my battle buddy was still in a towel. The DS started the countdown, and my battle buddy didn't finish in time. He was the only one, so we got some pushups, just enough to get us sweaty for sleep. Seriously my battle moves just way too slow. So he got us smoked twice in one day, so I had to have a little talk with him. I was cool though...


It was so hard to get up this morning. The intense smoking session, combined with our 1 hour less of sleep. We also had to get up at 4:15 instead of 4:30 because the DS's wanted to make sure the barracks were clean. Ugh, it took me like 10 minutes just to figure out where I was. Then, of course, a 45 minute wait on the drill pad. Seriously, feet killer.

Today was a run day. We were separated into 4 groups. I was in C group because I ran the PT test pretty slow. So we do stretching, pushups, situps, all that fun stuff. Then, the run.

So during this run, we are supposed to be in cadence and stay in formation. However, the dick DS (seriously, this DS sucks, I hate him...so goddamned full of himself), he didn't think we were sounding off loud enough on the march over, so no cadence. Cadence really helps me run better though. It's nice to shout out loud with everyone when you are hurting.

The run was death though. Hardest run I ever did in my life. I thought I was going to pass right out. Staying in formation is tough too, because some people towards the front get lazy, fall back, and run quick for 2 steps. By the time it gets back to me, I'm sprinting like 20-30 feet, that's what made it difficult. I made it though, about 15 people fell out of formation and got their dog tags taken. Not me though, but I felt pretty sick.

We get back to the PT field, and have to do 40 yard sprints. I ran the first one well, then my back spasmed hardcore. Almost pulled my body right over. I did all the sprints, and after we stretched I was fine. Then we got fucking smoked...the hell of it all.

The majority of teh day we spent in classrooms. This morning we learned about Equal Opportunity, sexual harassment, for four long, boring hours. After lunch we got 2 more hours of classtime on Military Law and sexual conduct. Boring.

We were supposed to get pictures of us taken at reception. They put some fake velcro Class A uniform, and they use it for graduation. However, none of us Alpha Charlies got them taken. We waited for over an hour for the bus to take us back. We also only had 5 minutes to eat, and then we were told we're doing it tomorrow...

If I were coming to basic again, I wouldn't sign up for the Army's laundry program. Seriously, what a goddamned hoax. It's like 70 bucks for the entire time at BCT. You sign up at reception, and they con you into it, they you go to basic, and you realize it sucks. We all fell for it, and we are all pissed. They pick up Thursday am, then you get it back late Saturday. We only got issued 3 summer PT uniforms and 2 summer BDV's. They issued us a lot more clothing, but that's really all we use besides, the brown undershirts and briefs (damned chaffing...) I actually wore the winter BDV's one day because everything else was just too sweaty, but that was a mistake. Basically, doing laundry sucks here, I need my grandma.

Tomorrow am after MSC PT, we are going to was some artillery being shot off. Seriously, sweet as hell. I'm looking forward to it.

I actually sort of enjoy basic now. Each day is better, and I'm starting to feel okay again. I really feel "in shape" and I bet I've lost a lot of weight already. If I switched to a more meat diet, I'd lose even more.

So tomorrow is friday, then saturday, we sleep in. How I look forward to that...


Time is starting to really move quickly now, it's pretty cool. I was talking to some of the other guys in my platoon that got "heldunder" at FTB. They all agreed with me.

MSE PT was tough this morning. We did pyramid pushups up to ten, then back down again. Then ten of each. The same with situps...I was dying.

They took us in the cattlecars over to see the ITT demo. We were too early, so they put all of us into this tiny shed. We had the Kevlars and LBE's on, over our BDV's of course. It seriously barely held the 260 of us. Then we screwed, and had to do some mule kicks. It got hot fast.

The demo was decent. We were shown everything we get to use. M-16A2, SAW, Claymore, grenade, AT-4. I would say my two favorite were the Claymore and the SAW. Super cool shit. Then came the big toys. 3 different sized howitzers, and two tanks. One was a Paladin. Seriously, bad ass. Those tanks were so damned cool, You could even see the arty round in the air. It was cool as hell.

When we got back we received a pretty heavy smoking. Apparently, we didn't do well enough, because we were pushing on the ground for a good hour.

They always say once you get out of Red Phase it gets easier. I think this is because in order for them to PT the hell out of you, it would take hours. Some of the PT we do causes me no pain or trouble whatsoever. I've at least doubled my pushup/situp counts. It's strange to feel so much stronger in only 2 weeks (one that counts) of acutal BCT.

The afternoon was a joke, just listening to Drill Sergeants tell us stuff we need to know for our first test. Mainly rank, courtesies, and first aid, which we all know most of it anyhow.

That's pretty much for friday...shine boots, shower, sleep. Seriously way too easy day.


Last day of week one already. Treadwell Tower feels like it was just yesterday. Time is absolutely flying, and every day that I'm here I like it more. That doesn't mean that I enjoy it, it just becomes tolerable and doesn't feel as much like a prison camp. I would actually compare to a football camp. Not really fun, but interesting because you learn so much.

Today had to be the easiest day since arriving at BCT. It's a run day today, but they changed where the run groups met, so I accidentally got in the slow ass group. I tried to get out but they had already counted me. So the run was easy, which pissed me off because I want to push myself really hard while I'm here. You have to run in formation, and stay in step. The group did cadence though, and that was awesome. We only ran 2.5 miles so I had plenty of breath to yell. The First Sergeant even ran with us, and his cadences were really motivating, so at least it was an enjoyable run.

All morning and afternoon we did RTR. Just studying what we learned yesterday. So easy and relaxing. We did do some drill and ceremony. It was quite hot on the pavement with the OK sun blasting down. Some people in our platoon can't even march in step yet, but we stil have learned most of the marching manuvers.

After dinner - shoe shine time. One guy in our platoon put his boot down after "at ease" was called, so we had to do some pushups. The entire battery that is. So whever the DS would say down, everyone except 2nd platoon said..."Thank you 2nd Platoon," and when the DS said "up," we all said, "you're welcome." It's all just funny to me. I mean, it's shitty we all do pushups, buts it's funny how the DS handles it all. Then some morons in 3rd and 4th platoons got in a fight, and both platoons were about to go at it, so the entire battery was doing pushups again. "If one goes/we all go" was our cry for those.

I forget. We had a class on "respect" today for an hour. It was so pointless. I think they just wanted to smoke us a few times. Dolliver (my battle buddy) fell asleep during the class (like so many). He was 5 or 6 chairs from me when the DS got him to go to the back to do some "wake up excercises," he also told him he needed to take someone next to him that let him sleep. He was thinking, and tried to go anyhow. Right before the DS was really going to lace into him, I got up and joined him, I actually kind of wanted to. The class sucked, and I want to be strong. It just sort of made me look like a jackass to the DS in back. I also could then make Dolliver feel more guilty than someone he doesn't know as well. The PT was tough though, However, I joined a different person a bit later.

I never have problems falling asleep in that stuff. I'm pretty proud that when I need to stay awake I can do what I have to do. With all the classroom time we've had and will have, it's a good trait.

Tonight was our last night with DS Ashmore. It's too bad, because we all liked him. He's a reservist and he only puts in two weeks, now we have a new 3rd DS for two weeks. This guy is a lot different. I don't think Ashmore likes him too much. The new guy, DS Olsen, calls strange cadences...."Tiny bubbles...in my wine..." and this other one that sounds like a kindergarden riddle: "there's a knot in a log in a hole in hole in the bottom of the sea." It builds and builds like the old lady that swallowed the fly.

We gave Ashmore a good sendoff before lights out though. 4 of us in our platoon went to the PX. That was great. Everyone made a list in my squad, then I got all their stuff. It's nice to get out of the barracks area for a while. We sort of felt like civilians, until Ashmore would call us "stupid," or "dickhead," when other people were around. I gave them all looks like "yeah, we're in BCT..." Most people laughed, and we did too. I was smart enough to buy an electric razor for shaving our heads. The ones DS Carver has are death. Overheat right away, and are way too dull. We should be set.

Here's the people that I hang out with most:

          Dolliver - my battle buddy, from Connecticut. He's 18 and has a 15 year old girlfriend. He's convinced he's going           to marry her. He is relatively intelligent, and going to Ft. Bliss for 14J AIT.

          Nitz - the first guy I met that I thought was cool. He's from Michigan, just turned 19. You'd think he was 15 in a           conversation with him. He had sex with his soon to be step-sister. He likes to build catapults and remote control           lawnmowers, and he's quite good at both. Extremely tall, really skinny, and always finds ways to get into trouble,           but plays the "stupid" card, and nothing happens to him.

I got a letter tonight. I was surprised to hear my name classed because I'm planning on maybe 5 letters the whole cycle. I was breaking down the receipt from the PX though. All that the reply address said was "Rachel," postmarked in Nashville, Tennessee. I don't know any Rachels, so I expected Anthrax, but it was pretty cool. She told me she found the journal that I write, and a few comments. It was cool, I showed it to most people in my platoon. Everyone asked for the address they could send home, so I know I might have to censor this. Probably be best if I don't rip on the people that I want to. Serious morons in my platoon, some of them. We seem to be coming togther just a little bit.

One person is going home already. Actually, after the second day. A whole bunch of people seemed to want to go home right away. I would said there are 3 people that obviously don't want to be here. There are about 10 people that have no business in the Army, and I would feel uncomfortable even if their MOS was the Army band.

Oh well, there are some that are very cool though. Not many in my MOS though. We'll see, it is only the end of week 1.

There is a rumor that we are going to graduate after 7 weeks. They seem to be cramming a bunch of stuff in next week. Some people claim that DS Cook told them this. I can't believe how cool that would be. Some don't want it because they want to graduate on September 11th which is our date right now. The day can't come soon enough.


Finally finished with one week. We only have 8 more Sundays to go. It seems sort of short when you think of it that way.

Sundays are such relaxing days. It's 0900 right now, and everyone is just chilling out. Most people are waiting for phones, and I'm waiting for my clothes to get dry. BDV's do not dry quickly, that's for sure. Let me stress, do not sign up for the laundry service if you are leaving for basic. Your clothes come back slightly less stinky, and very damp. It's just as well you do it yourself. We get 3 hours a night, 3 nights of the week, then we share with 4th Platoon Sunday mornings for four hours.

I haven't called home since I got here. I have 3 hours to score a phone card, but I only want to call home to see if this is getting posted. From the letter I got, I already know that it is. So I probably wont call until week 5-6.

At breakfast, I was talking to a guy that just finished week 6. Yeah, I know, we can't talk at chow, but we whispered and looked at our trays so as not to be noticed.

Anyhow, he told me some good tips. When we get to BRM in week 4, we road march 7K there in the am, and 7K back at night. That'll be rough. He was excited to be finishing in less than 2 weeks, so our conversation was pretty motivating.

We have this new DS. Actually, every platoon has one that is only going to be around for the next two weeks.

He doesn't really know how to keep count when marching though. After a turn all of the sudden he'll be calling the left foot a little slow, not that I'm a perfect marcher or anything, but it is the general consensus of our platoon. He also smokes us way too much. However, instead of my platoon bitching at each other (which we do whenever the "half-right, face" command is given), we bitch about the DS. I think that our new DS is actually doing a good job making us agreee to hate him. Probably the first thing we agreed on as a platoon.

Sunday, which is our day of rest, we spent at least 3 hours of the day with corrective training (smoked). It was difficult. We finally pulled out our dummy M-16's, and we are trying hard to call them "rifles" instead of "guns." We utilized them during our smoking, lifting them over our heads in various exercises, in total lifting the rifle at least 300 times (It's not that heavy). I was actually the only person that did them all, but I was also probably also the only one that tried too though.


Boring, boring day. So long. It was a relatively easy MSE though. We tested push-ups & situps to see where we are at. I ended up with 52 pushups in two minutes and 48 situps in two minutes. I know I'm getting stronger.

The rest of the day was stupid classes. Start off with an "in ranks inspection." I couldn't tell you what that was about, but we stood in formation for about 45 minutes getting yelled at by 2 of our DS's. Pointless, of course, we got to do plenty of excercise for everything we had wrong.

2 hour class on "appropriate behavior." A lot of people fell asleep. I don't think anyone learned anything new. After lunch we did some Drill & Ceremony, and stood in formation. Our new DS seems to like to put us in formation, where we have to stand at the position of attention (no moving at all, no talking, etc). Then after an hour of standing around, he finds those that scratch their face, shuffle their weight, etc., and yells at them. Of course, any mistake that one person makes, the entire platoon gets punished for. We have put 80 minutes "in the bank," (as DS Olsen says it) so I dread when that gets "cashed out."

Late in the afternoon we learned how to set up a biovac. Basically, an army campsite. We learned what our FTX experience will be like...its a 10K road march there, then do the camping thing for 3 days, getting 12-15 hours sleep total, marching 15 back, and stopping at another obstacle course that I don't remember the name of.

Mail call is pretty crazy. Everyone goes crazy and I think its the best time of the day for most people. However, about 10% of the people get 95% of the mail. More people have not received a letter than those that have. More importantly, I am the only one that hasn't called home yet in my entire platoon. I'm quite proud of that...Um...I probably have some of the least baggage to let behind. So many are married, and a lot have girlfriends. There are a lot of 18, 19, and 20 year olds that are married and have kids. Even one 17 year old.

So far only one person in our platoon has gone home. There are two others in the battery though. One kid actually tried to kill himself. He's still around for now, but I don't know what happens with him. They put this bright orange road guard vest on him, took away his razor, and shoe/bootlaces. He had to walk around like that for the whole day today...moron...its not that tough.


CCC today! Combat Conditioning Course, I was quite excited for this, but we started off the morning with a 3 mile run. That wasn't very easy. Then, we only had like 5 minutes to eat breakfast (greatest meal ever) so I was pissed.

Once getting back to our drill pad, we put on our LCE, rucksack and Kevlar, we grabbed our dummy M16's and left for our first real march...a 5K. We seriously didn't even march 500 ft. when Pvt. Blessel had a 50 ft. gab between him and the next guy. We road march as a battery, so there is just two long lines of soldiers, walking at a pretty fast pace actually. However, if you are the last platoon (it was our week to be last), then it's basically a jog/walk. When people in front fall behind, then run to catch up, this effect is carried down through the line, then multiplied. By the time we were half way through, I was dead tired. We backtracked, so us "Maddawgs" got an opportunity to bitch at and give nasty looks to the platoon in front of us, and some of the other one. I was fully exhausted from the jog with all the gear I had on, but I bet it'll help me on the longer marches we have coming.

It was about 0900 when we got to CCC. Pretty cool looking, we first watched our DS do a demo of all the obstacles for us. Then, us and two other platoons stood around yelling cadences at each other until it was our turn.

I'm not going to go into detail about every obstacle, at least 20 I'd say. Nothing was very hard or frightening, but at points on the course and when I finished, I was dead assed tired. Seriously, I would have never thought it would drain me like it did.

We picked our ten fastest guys, and the ones that claimed to have the most energy. One guy got in there that shouldn't have, but he was still ok. Each platoon was timed separately, and the one that got a "CCC" banner to carry around on their platoons flag. We wanted it bad, and DS Carter really motivated us all. Our time was 5:39, best of the four, meaning that we won. However, Cpt. Greene, the battery commander, punished us for 10 secs, just because DS Carter ran on the course with us at the end. DS Carter said it was unfortunate, but I guess we'll get a banner anyhow.

The march back was shorter, but probably worse because I was so sore and tired of being in my boots. It was so nice to put on soft shoes and sit in a class after lunch, even if it was a boring topic like Guard Duty (we've heard this stuff over & over). It was very difficult to stay awake, but I made it.

We got our BDV's back too. They were starched and pressed for our unit photo. We sat waiting for our picture for 1 hour 15 minutes. Complete silence and motionless, my feet were about to fall off. That was horrible.

I ordered two pics of my platoon, one yearbook, and a video. Probably about 70 bucks, but it'll be cool. I'm already excited to see what the video cam got of us so far.

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