"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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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:
there is toilet paper, and hopefully it isn't waterlogged from
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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,
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
|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
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, think I will,
to the grocer, where all the people shop,
Pull out a machete, and you begin
Left, right, left,
right, left, right kill,
right, left, right, think I will,
Going to a playground, where all the kids play,
Pull out an UZI, and you begin to
Left, right, left,
right, left, right kill,
right, left, right, think I will,
Going to a church, where all the people pray,
Daisychain some claymores, and
blow them all away.
right, left, right, left, right kill,
Left, right, left, right, think I
Going to the North Pole,
where Santa makes his toys,
some napalm, and watch them Burn, Burn, Burn.
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
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.