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Week 03
"MRE's, Marches, and The Gas Chamber"


MSE was death this morning. Pyramid sets of pushups/situps all the way to 12. Very tough.

Today is the TDC. Teamwork Development Course. After breakfast we had to put on our LCE, rucksack and Kevlar. Our Road March was about 1000 feet though, so it seemed quite pointless. However, DS Carter's pace was just below running. I don't think he could walk faster, and for most of us, it was just a lot easier to run, even if we did have all of that equipment on.

So we hung out with 4th platoon "rough riders" for the morning. They got us smoked a lot and seem like a real immature platoon, so it seemed pretty unfortunate.

The course was in the woods, a lot like Treadwell Tower was. However, there isn't anything to be afraid of here. There are two sets of six obstacles, and we were broken up into teams to accomplish them. 2 teams of 10 from each platoon, the we sort of compete against each other. The first obstacle was this pseudo-broken bridge. Our task was to get across it with 5 boards, and we have to take a 120 lbs. body and stretcher. 4 people in our group died, before we even had the boards set up all the way. Finally, I just threw the body over my shoulders (fireman carry style) and I was going to do it that way, but time ran out. It was pretty fun though.

While we were doing this obstacle, another group was on one near us. I was watching this guy going across one rope upside down, when it seemed like he let go. He fell, hitting his head first on a plywood ramp, and was knocked out cold. It looked bad at first, then hardass DS Cook went over, picked up his arm, let it fall, then laughed his ass off. So then it was funny. The guy woke up about 5 minutes later and moved on.

That was our obstacle next. One wire over a "river" (sand) we had to get one of our teammates across, who was pretending to be unconscious, along with the rest of the team. We were horrible at this one. Got penalized for touching white parts, and only got two of us ten across, not even the victim.

Next one was easy. 3 poles, 2 boards, and a box of ammo. We did it very fast. Not a whole lot to it, but we beat 4th platoon's squad, so that was cool.

We moved onto the Double Culvert. No one got very far on this the whole morning. It was the same type thing, put boards up to crawl across, then take an ammo box with us. It really isn't that simple, but I can't describe it much better. Again, we didn't finish this, but we got farther than any other team all day. 20 minutes just doesn't seem like enough time for some of these obstacles.

DS Olsen ran our next task, there were six poles up from the ground, and we had to get a 55 gallon drum from one side to the other using three boards. This one would have been easy for us, but someone broke a plank earlier, so we had one plank that was way too short. I spent most of the time stuck on the third pole because we couldn't make it any further. I'm one of the biggest guys here, which also sort of meant I was the only one strong enough to handle the planks. So I always had to go out ahead placing the planks, completely stretching out, standing on a pole with my feet hanging over on all 4 sides. It was strenuous, but I didn't fall off. 4th Platoon completed this one, but we didn't do much other than pushups. I'm positive I've done more pushups today than any other day in my life. At least 250 (200+ alone during PT this am), and it's only 1515. We'll probably end up at 350 or so.

The whistle blew, time for lunch. My squad did not get to do the wall. That was too unfortunate, because I was looking forward to that one most.

After lunch we got our gear and came back to the barracks. So now we're supposed to be doing some "RTR" (studying), but I know most already.

Tomorrow we have to do the Pugil Sticks and the Rifle Bayonet Training, so another fun day. I guess it's about a 5K march out there too, so we'll be all tired before we beat each other up.

This morning was the most fun I've had here though, even if we have to just sit in the barracks all afternoon, waiting for the excitement that is...shining boots.


No one woke me up for fire guard last night. I was supposed to be on from 0115-0230, but it didn't happen. A different Pvt. was making the roster a few days ago, so I suggested that he "leave me off the list." I was completely kidding, but he didn't put me on. I'm going to take someone's shift tonight to make up for it.

This morning's PT was a run day, so I tried to choke down a canteen of water by 0500. No easy to do. Anyhow, the running seems to get progressively more difficult. Most days after I finish, I think, " this was the worst (hardest) run of my life." Today was no different. We ran 2.75 miles in 19 minutes. I know most of you scuff at that, but I'm not a fast runner. I could run 5-6 miles easy, but to run a competitive pace is hard. Also, we ran a fast 1/4 mile, then a slow one. Pretty hard. I barely made it to the end.

After that, we took the rucksack, LCE, Kevlar, and dummy rifle for a small 4-5K road march. It sucked because we sort of just kept doing circles. Just seemed like the DS's were killing time or something. Two people fell out, and I don't know how that happened. It wasn't that bad. We had to walk through a stream too. Only about knee deep, but we had wet feet the whole day. That, and shining boots sucked.

Anyway, by 0900 this morning, we ran almost 3 miles, and we road marched approx. 3 miles. Not to mention pushups/situps/jumping jacks/overhead arm claps etc.. You maybe might be thinking "Oh, you just walk 3 miles...easy." That's what I thought before I came. However, the rucksack, not only is it annoying and uncomfortable, we constantly add weight to it. Kills the shoulders after a while. The Kevlar (helmet) sucks too. It's quite comfortable, but you have to keep repositioning it so the weight isn't on just one part of the neck. My neck gets sore after wearing it for a while. The LCE/LBC (load bearing/carrying equip) really sucks. It's a pistol belt that goes around where the navel is, a little higher even, then you have suspenders. The belt holds two ammo packs, and two canteen holders. It's hard to position everything so it doesn't interfere with the rucksack. I can never seem to adjust everything just perfect either. Lastly, the pace that we walk sucks. To test, walk fast, fast enough so that it's just uncomfortable, and then add all the stuff plus an M16A2 that gets heavier every minute. I hate road marches. The farther you are to the rear, you might as well call it a road run (we have no control where we start). I've figured out we'll be 2nd platoon in line for the last 10 & 15K marches. Sweet.

Ok, so at 0900 we got to the RBT field. They had Ivans set up all over the place. Ivans are a rubber tire, with a wood center, rubber head, rubber groin, and a pole going towards you in the center. Also was a massive sand field, and 4 sand "rings."

We started the morning learning bayonet moves in the sand, while wearing our LCE & Kevlars. It was hot, and uncomfortable. Feet were still wet from the stream and we are laying in sand. We learned and practiced moves until 1145. Most of us didn't think this was very fun. Not to mention we got smoked twice for moving too slow after getting water. The moves are easy themselves, but when you put some together it feels like you'll trip because you don't know which foot goes first. After that we practiced on the Ivans, that was a little fun, but we only got like 10 minutes before chow.

We got MRE's today. Most of us, including myself, this was our first experience. I got the "grilled beef steak" but ended up trading for a "chicken and salsa." Good move on my part. My MRE had shortbread cookies and M&M's. First chocolate in a month, how sweet it was. I would honestly say the MRE was better than our regular meals. I liked the peanut butter best I think.

Next was the BAC, bayonet assault coarse. Not very long, around 1/4 mile long, and pretty straight the whole way. I won't go into detail about each obstacle, but it was pretty much a sprint, and we had to do a few moves on the Ivans.

The worst was the backcrawl at the end. Lay on your back under razor wire, and work your way through. I wanted to pass out after I was done. One person did actually. The third heat casualty of the day. I usually have 4 in my cord at this point, but today I drank 6 canteens already.

We marched back to the sand pits to start with the pugil sticks. It's like a padded PVC pipe, and it's outfitted so both hands stay attached to the pipe the whole time. We were supposed to do our new bayonet moves, but mostly it was just sloppy. I wouldn't say anyone was terrific, maybe because we were all tired, but there were a few that were just bad. Two people got seriously smoked, but other than that, it wasn't too exciting.

My match sucked. I went against Popolowski (he's from BAWston). We were running out of time so we got like 30 seconds in the ring. I tried to do some Donatello (TMNT purple) move on him, but he smacked me in the head pretty good. After that I went after him and got two real good shots in, but, like I said, we were pissed it was short. About 20 people after us didn't even get to go, so it could have been worse.

We prepared to march back, when another guy fell out (heat casualty). Some people will not drink enough water. I've found the more water I drink, the better I feel.

We weren't marching though, so our platoon waited under a tree for 1 1/2 hours to get a ride back. Then, they put 12 of us in the back of the deuce and a half for the 20 minute ride back. It was quite hot and uncomfortable, We got out just dripping wet.

Here's a tip if you ever go to basic. If you need to number 2, try not to have to go in the field. Go in the morning, or don't eat. Whatever you have to do to not go in the field. Reasons:

        1. Hopefully there is toilet paper, and hopefully it isn't waterlogged from rain...or whatever.
        2. The Latrines stink worse than you could ever imagine.
        3. Hopefully, it's a building and not a "porto-potty."
        4. The toilets have maybe 2 ft of space in between them, and no walls. My pal Koz had to #2 sitting right next to             someone, close enough they couldn't spread their legs.
        5. You DO NOT want to sit on the "toilets."

I will #2 my pants before utilizing those latrines, and I definitely wouldn't call myself a clean freak, or anything similar.

So we got back, enjoyed some of the iced tea that people were brave enough to smuggle in from the MRE's. I tossed mine into the amnesty bad, but some went for it.

No mail tonight, that sucked. I'm exhausted though, sleep is so nice.


Our schedule was changed today. We were supposed to have classes on camouflage, but it's cancelled, so all we've done today is sit in the barracks, "studying."

It started raining a little after 0500 when we were in formation on the drill pad. We were covered, but it was nice to see rain. Actually, the first time it's rained since I've been here at least. So we did PT in the barracks. Damned MSE is so tough, and we have a PT test (diagnostic) on Saturday, so it's our last day of MSE 'till Monday. I'm still pretty sore from yesterday, but I did 53 pushups and 48 situps. A lot better than my first test, but I would like to get better. More situps for sure.

We got smoked for some people lying down (sleeping) while we were studying. We haven't been smoked by DS Cook in a while. He really likes to "bring the pain." We put our feet on the bunks and our hands on the ground for pushups. Owww... If there is a more difficult way to do a pushup, I don't want to know.

The excitement of the day today was getting the LES (our pay stub). Not even that great either, but the rest of the day was turbo boring.


Nothing like waking up at 0300 with the thought of road marching 8K in an hour. It actually wasn't too bad though, DS Cook let us go to bed a half hour early, which was very cool. It was still light out though, and it's difficult to sleep with the sun around. For me at least.

So at 0400 we took off for the 8K. It was cool leaving so early. I choked down a canteen of water before we took off, so I was feeling pretty good. The march was nice at first, stars still out, cool outside, feeling good. By the 1/2 mile point, people were starting to walk damned slow. Some guys passed them and ran up behind me, so we thought we'd pass all the real slow people right away. After about 1.5 miles, a few of us Maddawgs made it to about 10 from the front. That was pretty good since we started third platoon (70 people in front in each row). About 10 of us stayed there the entire march. Seriously, 4th platoon "Rough Riders" are in bad shape. There were more of us at the front by the end of the march, and they led the march.

I found that the 8K was actually easier than the 5K. Maybe because we didn't run 3 miles before it, or because I was hydrated, or because it was a better part of the day.

I really push myself on the marches too. I had put extra weight into my rucksack, but this time we didn't have room. It was packed full. The other platoons actually commented on how full our rucksacks looked, so it made us feel even better when a lot of us ended at the front. I don't really mind running it, but I would prefer to walk. I figure that if I try harder on the easier marches, when I do the two 10K's and the 15K, it'll be easier. I couldn't really imagine ever letting myself fall out of anything though, runs, marches, I'm never going to fall out.

The rest of the day we spent in classroom learning NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical). You know, since we have the gas chamber tomorrow, that's appropriate.


I'm still alive! It's only 1545 right now, but I'm excited to write because the gas chamber is behind me now.

We had the easiest PT ever this morning. Tomorrow is our 2nd diagnostic PT test, so all we did was stretch. At breakfast this am, we had like 5 minutes for two platoons to eat, so I got too slices of bread and 3 bananas and 2 glasses of milk, not nearly enough to eat, but I barely had time with that. Breakfast, by far the best meal, is the one we get screwed on the most.

The NBC course was out by the grenade range, so we had about a 4K road march out there, maybe a little longer. We arrived at 0800, and got a briefing. They are starting a whole new way of training NBC info, and we are the first battery to go through it. The split us into groups of 20, then sent us through the "lanes." For some reason, DS Olsen picked me to be one of the 4 squad leaders. Everyone gave me dirty looks, like I wanted that position. It was the first time anyone in our platoon was given leadership, so my plan was to screw up, or let my squad do whatever, so when the real ones are picked next week, it's not me.

However, squad leader turned out to be nothing, I think DS Olsen didn't really know what was happening.

First thing we did was react to a nuclear explosion. I lead my squad in the wedge formation, then they had some sort of explosion go off, and we did our thing. The position we get to is strangely similar to "duck and cover" so one has to question, but what else are you going to do during a nuclear blast.

Then we marched through a small path in the woods for 5 minutes, when some smoke came from the ground and DS Olsen yelled "Gas," so we had to put our masks on in 9 seconds, I don't think any of us did it in time, and if they did, they didn't clear & seal the mask. So we go through some steps, decontaminating our skin. We got these two packages, pretty much charcoal dust, then we covered our hands with, then we had to do our face, taking breaths and holding them while breaking the mask seal, then, we had to administer the nerve agent antidote shot. My syringe showed an expiration date of 1986, but they were fake anyhow. That was it for NBC lanes, nothing too exciting, especially when you see the gas chamber constantly in the background.

Ok, the real deal. Within about a 1/2 hour, all 4 platoons made their way to the waiting area. 3rd platoon went first, then 1st, us, and 4th. The building was pretty small. Six windows total, one door on each end.

I've seen my old roommate's (national guard) video on the gas chamber, but it was still exciting to see people coming out of the door. The first through was a Cadre member they pulled through. He seemed really pissed. A little while later the privates came flying out the door, flapping their arms to get the gas off their clothes. Most of them are half kneeled over, spitting, trying not to rub their eyes.

At 1146, I entered the gas chamber, I told the two guys behind me that I just wanted to put it behind me instead of in front of me, and the only hard part would be in between.

60 of us go into the first room, the cold room. Everyone lines up around the outside, and DS Cook is in there. He was all the high speed MOPP gear on, while we have the old, old masks. Some privates are complaining already that their masks weren't sealing. DS Cook just told them to seal it. The gas chamber turns the toughest guys into candyasses.

The purpose of the cold room is just to see how to clear & seal in an actual environment. The room was pretty dark and dank, plus its freaky because so many guys, wearing old masks, with a small amount of CS in there.

So DS Cook tells us to crack the mask, which we do for about 20 seconds. Most people took a breath, and there were coughs and sneezes, but nothing to freak out at all. I did notice the backs of my hands were burning. You know, the part of the fingers where it sweats and hair comes out. After a while, it was quite uncomfortable, of course, it only gets worse, and DS Cook (I have to write a bio on him soon) opened the door to the hot room, trying to get more gas in our room.

Anyhow, when we broke the seal of our masks in the cold room, I took a few breaths to get a test. Didn't seem too bad for me. A slight tickle in the throat, but I didn't cough, I sealed and cleared my mask well too.

Both the hot and cold rooms are nearly identical, except the hot room has a much, much higher percentage of gas. The hot room also has a flame in the middle that keeps the CS gas coming.

We had to walk the entire distance along the wall. When I was halfway around (20 seconds tops) my neck started burning big time. I have been told in the past that some people don't have any reaction to the gas. I actually talked to a guy at the mess hall (yeah, I know, no talking at the mess hall). He said himself & 4 others in his battery were immune, no effect besides mild skin irritation. I still had hope this was me.

So we get to our point, and the Cadre member points out me and 6 other people to step to the front. Almost all of our platoon was in there, and they all got to see us first. I pointed to Nitz so he knew who I was before I took the mask off (we all look similar in our masks). We made eye contact, then the Cadre started talking. He said when he says take off the masks, just rip it off, nothing fancy. At this point, I was more confident in myself doing this than ever, but not as though I had any other choice.

The Cadre told us yesterday about people's reactions in the chamber, some whine and jump around, some freak out and run all over the place, some will puke, but the best ones he said, "just tear up a bit and take it like a man."

So I take the mask off, along with six of my cronies. I stared blindly at nothing, for a second I thought I was ok. Then I remembered we are supposed to sound off with Name, Rank, SSN, platoon mascot. I'm trying to take little breaths, so I breath, get out PVT Malcore..., then it's a whole new story. I didn't have any urge to say one more word. I was the only one to sound off initially (that's what Dolliver & Nitz said), so I was the first to keel over as well. We weren't supposed to be let out until we say those 4 things. To be honest I didn't care what anyone else was saying or doing.

I have no idea how long we were in there. The max time allowed is 60 seconds, minimum is 30 seconds. Every single breath I took was absolute agony. I didn't want to breathe, but I couldn't get enough air to hold my breath. All it was was coughing, spitting, whatever just to get out of there, just to stop the pain of breathing. I was one of very few to keep my eyes open most of the time. I wanted to see when we started moving to get out of there. My eyes were so teary everything was a blur. My skin burned on my face, and I just wanted to get out of there.

What people tell you is "don't drop your masks," you have to go in and get it then. This wasn't a problem though, so the 3 DS's in there were yanking them from us. I saw the guy ahead of me get his taken, so I jammed mine under my arm and bent over it. When I was out of there, I wasn't coming back.

I could swear we stayed in there for 2 plus minutes. Whatever time it was, it was the longest of my life. We were told to "lock on" (put left arm on shoulder of person in front of us) and move out. I don't remember hearing it, but I saw the two in front of me taking off, so I was gone. The DS tried to steal masks by the door, but I had a firm, firm grip.

Never was I happier to be outside. However, the effects didn't disappear for a while. 5 out of us 7 in the group had to go back in for the masks. Just me and one other person had to go back in for the masks. Just me and one other person held on. We flapped our arms, coughing, spitting, phlegm, blowing noses. I continued trying to puke, but I had nothing to vomit. When I was in the chamber I wanted to vomit so bad I almost stuck my finger down my throat, then I realized I would take a deep breath.

After being outside for a minute or so, the senior DS made us sound off with the battery motto (Bravo battery, standing tall...) The first time we could barely speak. I couldn't see anything my eyes were so teared over. The SDS made us do it again. We weren't much better, so he told us to go through again. A DS lead us to the front of the door AGAIN...and I was debating whether to attempt suicide or run into the woods, then I told my group we could do it, and seriously begged for another chance.

We did well now, our lungs were clearing, and we were sent on our way. Flapping our arms some more, waiving to the camera, all the while yelling, "The Gas Chamber is a beautiful place!"

In reality, the Gas Chamber was the worst experience of my life. Never has anything been as terrible in my time as that small building, I would do anything, ANYTHING, to not go through that again. If someone offered me money, they had best be willing to cough up at least 5K for my ass to volunteer for that.

Now, it wasn't that bad for everyone. Most people neve opened their eyes, many held their breath until they got punched, and some it didn't affect as bad as it did to me. No one puked, but we hadn't eaten for over 4 hours. My eyes were some of the reddest in the battery, and everyone commented on it. I just told them I wanted to know the instant we started moving and the door opened. This required my eyes being open. Plus, my eyes didn't concern me as much as just breathing did.

I've heard a lot of people say it was the most painful experience of their life. That didn't make sense to me, how it could hurt. It does now though, that gas hurt, it stung, made you not want to breathe...worst experience of my life.

We walked maybe 50 feet after, then our group lined up to get MRE's. I could barely see the labels, but I got a pretty good one. Strange, eating maybe 5 minutes after trying to throw up. I seriously like MRE's though, we all spend half the time trading items too.

Then the march back. Seriously way hot too, but we rolled up our BDV pants, so we were "ok." When we got near to the barracks DS Cook came to DS Olsen and mentioned DS Ashmore's (our previous temp DS) name. I was the only one to hear it, but DS Cook said Ashmore was coming back. I didn't really believe I heard right, but when I turned towards the drill pad, I saw him. Once again, I was the only one to see. So most didn't believe me when I spread the word, but DS Olsen confirmed it. Pretty cool, getting him back for another two weeks.

We had a class on "spiritual fitness" with the chaplain right when we got back. I didn't any attention, just kept thinking about how proud I was of myself.

Two guys were towel whipping each other, when the smoke alarm went off and wouldn't stop. Fire trucks came, and we evacuated the bay. The wind from a towel blew dust into the alarm, tripping it. We would have been able to sleep at 2100, but instead we formed up on the drill pad for 30 minutes. Sucked.

That was really it for the day. I'm so glad I'm past the gas chamber, if I knew it was so bad, I wouldn't have joined the army. But I'm real glad I did it.


Supposedly, the last day of red phase. I woke up really congested actually, but by the time I got to the drill pad, I was ok.

We had to get up about 15 minutes early, because we had to go to the drill pad at 0415 instead of the usual 0500. Of course, we just stood in formation until 0445, what a waste to go down so early.

At around 0500 we started our second diagnostic PT test. I did a lot better than my first time, but still not as good as I've done other days. I need to warm up my muscles or something. I was good enough to pass (43 PU, 51 SU) but I would like to have more of a cushion. For the run, it sort of sucked. I worked out my pace for the path we took last time, but we went on a 1 mile track instead. I'm never good at pacing myself, so when I was told I had 8 minutes on my first mile, it made me nervous. I hate physical assessments.

After breakfast, we got smoked terribly, over & over again, with every excuse imaginable. Someone gave a list of people to the DS's that had everything we do wrong, and the names of the people who do it. That was part of it, but there was something else we did I couldn't put my finger on. Sometimes everything pisses off a DS, and they are unrecognizable, yelling, smoking, no regard for our well-being, and other days they seem pretty human (except Drill Sergeant Cook).

The day was budgeted for our Phase 1 test. There were at least 20 DS's on the pad, running some sort of station. We were given a sheet of paper that had the lists of what we had to do (i.e. treat/prevent shock, evaluate a casualty, first aid for heat injuries, react to officers, apply dressing to open chest, abdomen, head wounds, etc...) Next to each task was a "1st Go," "2nd Go," "No Go," and "remarks." Not much to it. We got in each line, waited up to an hour with our backs turned away, then were yelled at when ready. The most difficult part of the day was standing the whole time. I got "1st Go's" on everything, but even though the army is geared towards the 8th grade intelligence level, there were A LOT of people that got at least one "2nd Go," and a few that had to "study and come back." Everyone "passed" though, even with the DS's constant threats the past two weeks that no one will pass. I don't think that they wanted, or expected anyone to fail.

Next step was to change from "red phase" to "white phase." However, after lunch DS Cook wrapped up our phase banner, meaning we would be treated like we did during zero week. It was horrible, but I think most of us were worried we wouldn't get the coveted white banner.

So we get down there, on time for once, and perfectly dressed right. We had our BDV hats perfect, black boots, buttons buttoned, just trying not to give the DS's any reason to smoke us.

They found one though..."talking during the PT test." Smoked the entire battery. Bad too, long time doing stupid mule kicks. I'll tell you what though, us Mad Dawgs own the "overhead arm clap." Seriously, we've gone days where we did 200, 300 as much as 500 claps. So while the other platoons are crying after 40, we're just getting warmed up. 100 cadences is the easiest thing now, and when we get the infamous "half-right...face" command, I'm just hoping for "The overhead arm clap kills...DS."

After an hour of that crap, we started the phase change ceremony. All four phase banners were wrapped up at this point, so I figured we were all stuck in red phase. We got it though, the white banner. We got our CCC and EGAS banners too. I'll tell you what, I was pretty proud when we got it. Like we accomplished something, moved to a new point or something. I don't know, it was cool though.

We got our Platoon Guide (PG) then our Assistant Platoon Guide (APG) & Squad leaders. Our PG is the oldest guy in our platoon at 34 years. He's going to be a mortician since he did it on the outside world. He is also, by far, the shortest guy. He's cool. He'll go for a week probably. APG is Pounders, from Mississippi. The biggest guy in our platoon, he's super nice though, and absolutely hilarious. Total accent, all that. He doesn't really understand much D & C, formation stuff, and that's all that APG really does beside mild leadership. It's cool that he's APG.

Our squad leaders act like they have too much power. Constantly stepping on each other & the PG's feet. They want to call the cadences, tell the PG what to say...etc. I hope they get smoked pretty good soon, but I know they'll find a reason to blame us.

So we marched to chow without a DS for the first time. PG has some work to do, both him & the APG have difficulty being in step, but that's sort of understandable.

A few people got "counseled" for failing the PT test. They said it was nothing, but I wouldn't like to have that form in my records.

08032003 - WHITE PHASE!

Our first full day of white phase. It would make more sense starting Monday, since that's when week 4 starts.

Nice, relaxing day today, Granted, it's not even 0800 now, but it's a relief to think about white phase. I don't know too many of the actual differences, but I do know the DS's won't smoke us as a platoon anymore, just as one soldier and their battle buddy. Unfortunately, my battle buddy falls asleep all the time & doesn't shave. We'll see.

So I'm sitting in the laundry room now. We washed all of our gassy BDV's together, and I'm waiting for them to dry so I can do some PT uni's and socks. I figure now is a good time to write about stupid stuff.

We still talk about our experiences in the gas chamber a lot. Pounders said the three things he trust in life are himself, his family, and his gas mask. Funny, all the people that bitch because they got their masks stolen, and just the pure pain of it all. Now, someone told me that CS only affects your respiratory system, and the stuff that burnt our skin, throat and eyes was tobasco sauce they added. I don't know if that's true, obviously I can't research it, so I have to treat it as hearsay.

Let me tell you a bit about our drill sergeants. DS Carter - he appears to be the head drill sergeant of our platoon. He is a SFC while DS Cook is a SSG, so he outranks him too.

DS Carter is cool. Very easygoing. I think he hates being a DS though. Everything he does, it seems like it's only done because he has to. He doesn't seem to have any desire to be a DS, except for the competitions. This includes smoking us, he only does it if we really screw up.

DS Cook is very different. He looks like the type of guy that my mom would have dated 10 years ago. He's short, real clean cut, and major hardass. He constantly tells us how we take time away from his beer drinking or gambling. He rides a loud motorcycle, and talks about that all the time. (Remember when I had to "ride the Harley?")

I think the only thing DS looks forward to is that a private might attack him. Some people he just provokes, and provokes. He seems to be hoping the private will take a swing so he can beat the crap out of them. He is the hardest on privates of any DS in our battery. If you screw up, you best hope DS Cook didn't see you. He doesn't smoke you as bad as a few others, but he will make you feel absolutely worthless.

He is funny at times though, in his own hardass way. DS Cook has the most messed up cadence for doubletime (running) ever. Here's a bit...

      Left, right, left, right, left, right kill,
      Left, right, left, right, think I will,
      Going to the grocer, where all the people shop,
      Pull out a machete, and you begin to chop.

      Left, right, left, right, left, right kill,
      Left, right, left, right, think I will,
      Going to a playground, where all the kids play,
      Pull out an UZI, and you begin to spray.

      Left, right, left, right, left, right kill,
      Left, right, left, right, think I will,
      Going to a church, where all the people pray,
      Daisychain some claymores, and blow them all away.

      Left, right, left, right, left, right kill,
      Left, right, left, right, think I will,
      Going to the North Pole, where Santa makes his toys,
      Drop some napalm, and watch them Burn, Burn, Burn.

Messed up, huh? I seriously can't stop laughing when he says that stuff.

It's now 2000, today really doesn't feel like a Sunday anymore, maybe because today was such a big change from the last 4 weeks. Our OG seems to be getting worse at cadence, if that's possible. For chow today, all he said was "left, right, left," and we repeated that the entire march there. Seriously, he needs to be fired pronto. He sometimes doesn't even march in step, and he's calling the step! C'mon people.

We got our M16's issued from the armory, we don't keep them though, every morning we check them out, that'll suck I'm sure.

We learned a few drill movements with the rifle, most of them I know already, but inspection arms is pretty fun. Then we dismantled the weapon to the "field" level. It really got me to know and understand it better. Really simple to do for the most part. I could do it again no problem by myself.

We also spent some time learning about the fundamentals of shooting. Good stuff to know, but sort of boring to me. Everyone here is positive they will shoot 40/40, just because they shot a deer or something. It's so annoying and immature how some of these kids are about the weapons.

I've shot enough weapons to know something about them. I could hit almost 25/25 clay pigeons everytime, I can shot some rifles & pistols very accurately. So I know that each weapon is different. Because I'm good with a 12 gauge doesn't mean I'll go "expert." I'm just interested to see how I'll fire and if I'm not good, it's just something to work on, but I really think I'll be well above average.

We'll be doing a lot of road marching this week. Apparently we spend almost everyday at a different range. That should make the week go fast. I've finally found out how to get my boots really shiny too. I've asked others how they've done it, but nothing they did ever worked for me. Pretty much the last three weeks I've been trying different things. Since we have at least an hour every night so far, I've gotten plenty of practice.

What I do is get the boot wet, the part that I'm about to shine, like the toe, or one side of the heel (all small sections like that). After the water beads (doesn't take much) I put a bit of kiwi on my towel. Then I just rub it in. I continue to rub for minutes, until it starts to polish out. Sometimes I put they tiniest amount of water on my towel, but usually the streaks will polish right out. Then they look like glass, at least they do right now. Two guys in my platoon asked me how I did it, so I should be good.

Now, your boots don't need to be nearly this shiny for basic training. In fact, most of the time it seems hardly worth the effort. My boots will be dirty tomorrow, and look nothing like they do right now. However, we have to stay on the Drill Pad the whole time, and shining is better than just sitting around, standing "at ease" every 5 minutes for the DS's that come out.

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