"White Phase Begins"
Woke up this morning to so much bitching by the
squad leaders & PG. It was 0405 (5 minutes after wakeup, lights
on at 0430) and 3/4 of the platoon was still asleep. 3 of these guys
(squad leaders) always slept 'till 0430, now they are yelling at
everyone else. I got up, did all my stuff by 0420, because I'm like
the fastest guy in my platoon. So I did two of our squad duties, and
the lights still weren't on. Actually though, I moved extra quick to
prove to my squad leader we don't need everyone awake right at 0400,
because then, for 40 minutes, all I, and most of my squad did, was
sit on the floor.
Anyhow, we were told it was a PT run day
last night, but according to our normal schedule it was an MSE day.
We were the only platoon with our flashlights (run day equip.), so a
DS told us to get the Mats (MSE equip.). By the time we got down,
they had us getting the flashlights. The run was easy this am. I
took over a road guard position because the other guy is hurting.
Road Guard is nice for the runs, you can sort of run at your own
pace. It is terrible for Road Marches though, because you sprint to
intersections to relieve other guards, then sprint back to
We road marched to a range after B-fast. Short
trip, but us 8 road guards get tired. Damned heavy equipment, but
we'll be strong.
Our APG and PG were both fired by 0830.
Pounders (APG), called a cadence, and during it called us 3rd
Platoon. He was canned. Our PG...can't call cadence, has no voice,
is rarely on step, and no one listens to him. New PG is Anderson (17
y.o. from Denver) and APG is Tex, from...South Texas. They both like
to bitch a lot, so hopefully they won't be around long...but still
better than me.
I don't know if I mentioned Blessel at all.
He's the guy who overextended his stay at FTB, so they shipped him
to basic, even though he couldn't pass a PT test. He did one pushup
the first test here, and 0 on Saturday. Plus, he's not very smart.
He was a squad leader for a solid 2 minutes. Pretty much a joke...
This morning we did the "weaponeer." Simulated M16 firing.
The M16 has actual kick, but you fire indoors with lasers that
register on a computer. It took almost 4 hours for 2 platoons to do
it. I spent maybe 5 minutes on it, so you can imagine how boring it
was. My score was 8/10. Well above average. Most people (at least
half) didn't qualify the first time (6/10 to qualify), but a lot of
people were like "I got 8, (or nine, or whatever)" but it took them
3-4 attempts. The DS commended me, and I would have done better if
the SDS didn't use me as an example; it made me all tense.
In the afternoon, we hung out outside. Really, really hot
day today. Man, it sucks - hot weather and BDV's. Anyway, we
practiced some aiming techniques. Quite boring, and hot. Then we did
"washer checks." Stick a rod into the barrel, with a washer on that.
We have to dry fire the rifle, keeping the washer still there too. I
was pretty good at this, 9/10 times (I think the wind blew one
Then, a grueling march back, heat, full gear + a
carried kevlar, and my feet were hurting from wearing boots all day.
Return the weapons to the armory, shine boots, and that's
it. I got a letter from my grandma and a friend tonight, "what do
you do when you aren't working," "do you watch a lot of TV?" "Can
you send pictures?" They don't really understand basic that well.
Good laughs for me though...
Almost out of paper and no trip to the PX till
Saturday, anyone who wants to send some...and stamps that would be
great, getting a package that is.
Anyhow, stupid wake up at
0400. The other platoons wake up at 0430, and get their cleaning
done. We get up at 0400, and don't get cleaning done.
PT, today was an MSE day, so we did pushup/situp sets, putting our
feet over the backs of a partner. 30, 20, 15 second sets. It was
death. Close arm pushups just kill me, and "Rocky" situps. Ugh, I'll
Same range today after breakfast, we didn't do
anything new, just killed time while the stragglers tried to qualify
on the weaponeer.
Road march to a completely different
battalion for lunch. Really nice place to eat, it's where the sick
call people go. Hopefully today is my only trip there...
Back to our battalion after. So hot outside, with all our
gear. Quite draining. All afternoon, we got in the "prone" position
with our rifle, hung our canteen at the end of the barrel, and tore
apart our elbows for 3 hours. Seriously, it sucked bad.
So much going on now. Time is absolutely
cruising, mostly because we have to move so fast in the am.
PT Run day, easier run too. I love being road guard. Some
guys started falling out of the run, so I was trying to "push" them,
then came the excuses... "ooo...my knee," "I've got a sideache," and
whatever else. If you fall out of "C" group you won't pass the PT
test. Some people to step it up.
Road March to the M16 range
to "group" and "zero" our rifles. The pace of the Road March is
right before the point of unbearable. Road Guard Vests mean I run
more than everyone else.
The #1 thing that is the worst
about basic for me so far is the gas chamber, #2 is road marches.
I'd rather run 6 miles than road march 3. Seriously...
get to the range. 25 meter targets that simulate a 300m target. All
day I waited in line, but the people in front of me were terrible.
Seriously, the first person got kicked off the range to "re-train"
at 1430, 5.5 hours of straight shooting. Most people were the same
as him though. Next guy got qualified in a hour and a half. There
were only 3 cycles left when I got up there.
The range is
set up with 60 foxholes and 60 targets. One person fires, one
coaches. The coach gives the firer a 3 round clip, and watches the
firer while he fires. After all 60 are done (all monitored by a
person in a tower) they all go down and wait for a DS to come &
evaluate. 8 DS's were on the range. To fire 3 rounds, do the above
& get ready to fire again took 10-20 minutes every time. The day
So I got up to fire. First 3 weren't very good and
I knew it. Biggest reason was how far to pull the trigger. Seemed
like I was waiting forever for it to fire. Very mild weapon though.
Meaning as how it handles, no kick, the weapon doesn't "throw"
itself. My first 3 weren't in a 4cm group. Two were close, but one
I slowed everything down, and relaxed, my next
three were in a 1 cm group. I was impressed with myself. 3 more
shots in almost the exact same area, so I was period 4 "Go"
(grouping). The pressure was on too, because that was my last chance
for the day. Would have had to start all over. Period 5 (zeroing),
I'll have to do tomorrow.
Here's how it works. You have to
get 6/6 shots in a 4 cm square. If you shoot twice then 3 in a
different spot, "no go" or shoot 3 in spot 1, 3 in spot 2, then 3 in
spot 3, thats a no-go, because they have to be consecutive. You only
shoot three, evaluate, then shoot again. So you can see why so many
can't do it. Seriously, most people who had experience with rifles,
shotguns, etc., were the long ones, while lots with no experience
qualified right away. Maybe because they don't learn bad habits or
something. This isn't always the case, but for the most part.
We got "rodded" off the range (stick a rod down the M16)
then got ready for a shakedown. Empty all of our pockets, kevlar,
canteens. Then a DS grabs, fondles, and violates your body, looking
for brass (shell casings) or ammo. Probably even stuff we try to
smuggle from our MRE's. Oh yeah, we "shotgun" our M16 too, taking it
The cattle cars came to pick us up too.
Seriously, it was the hottest day here for us yet. Lot's of "heat
casualties" too. No place for shade really, but most of us were
stuck on the range waiting for the bad shots to get out of the way
anyhow. I drank 8 canteens by 1600, but still did not feel very
good. Almost the entire platoon has a red, sunburned face, except
where the kevlar and chin straps sit. Yeah, we're morons.
Shine boots, which is getting less and less relaxing because
we are road marching everywhere, then stuck in the boots all day. I
get them nice & shiny, because we have an hour, only to look
severely messed up by 0900 the next morning. We get two pairs of
boots, so I spend 30 minutes on each every night.
I'm a big
fan of MRE's too. Some of us hate them, because they got a bad one,
no cold drinks. It's just a big trade though. Usually you end up
eating something entirely different than what you started with.
Water...8 canteens everyday, right? 8 quarts? That's a lot
of water. We keep a shoestring tied to our BDV's at all times.
Finish a canteen, tie a knot. 4 knots by 1200, 8 knots by 1800. Not
easy. Most days this results in latrine trips every half hour. The
water, we get it from a hose or any faucet available. Usually the
sinks in our latrine, or laundry room. Rarely do I drink cold water,
and now I don't even really like it.
It's odd the things
I've gotten used to. Hard to believe I've been here for a month, but
June 30th seems like a year ago. I can't wait to graduate.
PT MSE day. I ended up with "Chan" as my
pushup/situp partner. He's on a "pushup profile," which means he
can't do pushups. When his turn came, I just rested. Partner puts
legs on back of other person for pushups. Those were pretty tough,
you'll get muscle failure fast. DS Cook saw me on the 2nd set, "Hey
Dick! You don't want to do them, fine...the whole fucking platoon
will wait for your lazy ass." That's typical DS talk there. Usually
he's so excited to yell that he interrupts himself.
So I get
back up, DS Ashmore comes over..."What's wrong Malcore?" I'm in a PT
uniform, which doesn't have my name, so he knows me now. I told him
"I didn't think I had to do two sets for everyone else's one." This
in an accusing voice (just a tad), but he just walked away.
Road march to the same range. This time our pace quickened.
I had to run up a few hills to block traffic too. I didn't have much
energy, from yesterday, MSE today, and 120 flutter kicks (ooo..it
hurts!) So I tried to never run. I ended up in the back half of the
formation, but we were scattered at least a half mile. I was still
completely drained after this march. Tomorrow we go 1/2 mile further
up a hill. And I'm on CQ duty right now.
DS Carter yelled at
us pretty good last night for qualifying so few. If you don't
qualify today, you get recycled (wait for another battery to get to
BRM Phase 4 & 5 and graduate with them...2 week minimum). I felt
nervous now, even though I was good yesterday.
Phase 4 is
"grouping," Phase 5 is "zeroing." I had to zero, but I got to go
first. Some people didn't even shoot yet. Today is the last day too.
First three shots, no group again. Next three were nice,
adjusted the sites, then had to adjust once more. DS Cook, who was
evaluating me, said "I'll give you 6 rounds if you guarantee to hit
it at least 5." I said I would. Pressure was on. I fired, and felt
pretty good about it. While ducking in the foxhole, DS Cook asked
who would be done. I raised my hand, he asked if I was sure, I said
"Positive." That was pretty stupid. I got up, and I could see two
holes in almost the direct center, So I was worried.
up to the target, and only had two holes...for six rounds. It was
pretty cool to put them on top of each other like that, I was done
at about 0930 already. Nothing to do all day but wait. Such a long
I coached some people for a while, but it's hard to
coach "hardcores," I have no patience. Hardcore is someone who
doesn't qualify in less than 4 hours.
I got a good MRE
today. Meatloaf, definitely decent. Someone gave me peanut butter,
and I had jelly, mmm PB&J crackers. I ate for about an hour and
a half with Dolliver, just because I could.
There was a tent
set up for us that qualified to study in, but 80% of them were
asleep. I didn't hang around there too much. Just coached until we
only had 15 left in the battery. Blessel (the "hardcore" in our
platoon) had been in the foxhole all day yesterday, and all day
today. They gave him 9, 12, 20 round magazines, and he couldn't get
5 in there.
He wasn't the only one, there were 2 others from
other platoons worse than him. We stayed there until 1745, 3 hours
waiting for 5 or less people. 250 people, just waiting on those.
Cattle Cars home. Perfect, nothing feels so good as those
things driving up. Shine boots, get mail, now I'm on CQ. Worst shift
to get too. CQ duty, unlike fire guard, lasts 2 hours. McCracken
& I just sit here, answering the phone. Our time is 2200-2400.
Lights out at 2130, so really our shift is 2 1/2 hours long. It's
terribly boring, and stressful, because we are "guarding" the DS
office pretty much, and every 20 minutes or so DS Cook pops out.
I answered the phone once. First time on the phone in 5
weeks. I only called once in reception to get an address.
Our new PG is chilling out a little. Both him & the APG
misuse the power they have. The PG constantly yells at us. Top of
his lungs. He threatens people too, all "tough guy" like. He's 17
y.o. and didn't even finish his senior year of high school. He can't
control his temper a lot of times. It's annoying to me, but I'm not
adamantly against him like some people are (my battle buddy,
Dolliver). Dolliver and him almost went at it. Dolliver is maybe
half the size of the PG. It was interesting. I'll keep away from
that so I don't get kicked out though. Seriously, you'd be surprised
at the number of fights here. Seems like every day some different
people need to be separated.
I told PG to learn new cadences
too. I'm tired of singing/yelling about my feet, "Your left, Your
maddawg left," and other ones. He just needs to get some new ones.
Actually, I'd like to see him fired.
Pounders was made into
a squad leader now, his 2nd chance after being fired as APG. Sq.
Leader position is easy though, just makes sure all the sq. duties
I don't want too many firings, because then I
might be leadership. No thanks on that. As long as I tightly grip
the vest, I think I won't be picked.
So hard to get our this morning. 4 hours of
sleep instead of the usual six. It's hard to get up as is, being six
days of the week, we get six hours sleep, then sat. night we get 7.
It's been this way for 5 1/2 weeks now.
PT was fun this
morning. Friday's we just do sprints, karaoke's, wheelbarrows, and a
train race. DS Carter was telling us how much beer he drank last
night and all the ladies he met. He's cool with us more and more
now. He is obviously the best DS in our battery, just by watching
how the other DS's act around him.
Back up for road march
now. Today, 3rd Platoon decided to forget the road guard vests, and
no one else in first squad got one in our platoon, so I was
responsible for two platoons. That lasted two intersections, then I
told 3rd platoon to get hit by a car. Seriously, the first mile was
almost a constant sprint for me. By the halfway point, I had almost
no energy left. I started falling back a bit. First time I ended
further back from where I started.
DS Ashmore asked me why
my rucksack was so full after. He made me take everything out, then
said "Damn Private, your rucksack weighs more than anyone else's in
the battery." I told him I didn't know what we needed, so I put the
extra stuff in there. DS Ashmore said he didn't want me to be
stronger than everyone else, so he put us in pushup position. I got
down too, but he wouldn't let me. They only did ten pushups, it was
just a joke, but now PVT. Crow is trying to make a cadence.
So our range was massive. There were only 16 foxholes, but
the range was at least a quarter mile long. We had 3 targets to
shoot. A "head" at 100m, fargets at 200m and 300m. The first round
they pop up, one at a time, for 5-7 seconds. You have 18 targets to
practice on. 18 in the foxhole, 18 in the prone. I hit 16 in the
foxhole, and 14 in the prone. The the "real thing." I was doing well
in the prone, but my rifle jammed twice, so I had 8 extra rounds
when I finished (of 22 total). I put them in the other magazine so
if I missed I could still shoot again. More jams though, and I had
12 rounds left over. The magazines we use are old so they
malfunction. I didn't shoot well either though, and only ended up
with a 14/44. Pretty bad, but I have two days on the range yet to
Because of how they broke us into our platoons
during zero week, my last name puts me very near to the end
alphabetically, so I get stuck in one of the later firing orders. I
waited from 0900 to 1400 to fire. That's so boring, and it'll be
that way all next week. Depressing.
During our road march,
Pvt. Heath (in our platoon) was near to falling out, so a DS tried
to "push" him a bit. He responded like a moron though, as usual for
him. "Well, if I didn't have to wear a rucksack I could march faster
too..." That is not an appropriate comment to make directly
to a DS. The entire day he was randomly smoked. A DS comes out of
nowhere..."Where's Private Heath?" Seriously, never ever say
something that stupid. That's Article 15 material, but the DS's will
sometimes smoke it out of you. Might have been better off for Heath
to get the Article (extra duty, pay dock, etc.)
At the very
end of the day, we had to put all of our stuff on. Then a DS came
over, made us run about a quarter mile (all gear + heat category 5)
then pushups, flutter kicks, mule kicks, side straddle hop, then we
had to leave. Seriously, that was so horrible. Put everyone in a bad
mood, mad at everyone. We were yelling at each other in the cattle
car...it was just bad.
Typical end of the day after that.
Boots, no mail, classroom, shower, bed...
Exciting day...Rodeo tonight!
wake up again. I was turbo sore this morning, most likely from the
combination death march/smoking at the end of the day. I was hurting
though, it was hard to do anything. Last night was supposed to be
"night fire," but that's next week Wed.
PT MSE day. We got
down to the drill pad, and by the eim we made it to the PT field, it
was pouring rain. So up to our barracks we go. DS Cook led us. We
only had to do 50 pushups total, but this was the most difficult PT
yet. Normal MSE situps, then it was almost as though we got smoked.
140 flutter kicks...ugh. DS Cook does it all with us too. You have
to respect that. End it off with 1 lap around the bunks, walking,
but touching each knee to the ground. Seriously painful. Most of us
could barely make it halfway w/out "cheating."
When we got
back after chow, we drew our M16's out for maintenance. I love
cleaning rifles, but all the cleaning kits were broken & we had
no cleaning solution, so it was pretty much scrubbing our weapons
with a toothbrush for 2.5 hours. There were worse things we could
have been doing so I don't mind.
Rumor was we were going to
the PX for the ATM and stuff we needed. This didn't happen.
DS Cook had to teach us a class on "integrity." He didn't
follow the "book" though, because he thought it was crap and way too
long. So he asked us to define it, talked for maybe 10 minutes (time
budgeted was 2 hours), so after that we just talked about stupid
stuff. DS Cook likes to make fun of us a lot, laugh at us when we
fail or have difficult things to do. We talked about CS gas we'll
have at FTX, and he just gets this grin on his face that's pure
evil. Absolutely hilarious. I think we are the only platoon that
laughs with our Drill Sergeants. Our DS's love to talk crap with us,
make fun of people, whatever.
Last Tuesday when we were at
practice range, my chinstrap for my kevlar broke. I was trying to
fix it, #1 you can't have your kevlar off, #2 DS's don't like to see
broken stuff, #3 You always, always have to be in proper uniform. If
one forgot their BDV hat, then we all don't wear it type stuff.
Anyhow, DS Carter came up to me with the rod, and hit me on
the kevlar right after I got it on. DS Thompson commented on the
size of my head (I have a large head) and I told him I wear a 7 3/4
sized cap. He told me that qualifies me for "BHOP" (bee-hop),
"Biggest Head on Post." So we all had a good laugh.
mentioned he saw a "UMOP," "Ugliest Motherf**ker On Post." A guy in
our platoon, who seriously, no joke, looks like quasi-moto (sp?)
from Hunchback of Notre Dame. I'm not kidding either. He's a nice
guy though, and he laughs about it.
Fortunately, UMOP is
funnier than BHOP, so that name is remembered by more DS's, but most
of the platoon calls me BHOP now. However, Malcore is a very cool
name on my BDV's and in the Army. Most of my platoon agrees it is
cool as hell, so I'm sure BHOP won't follow me around much longer.
So, after a lot of pointless talks with DS Ashmore &
Cook, we got ready for the Lawton Rodeo. We got to take showers,
which was a surprise. Then we ate chow here at 1630, and got on the
buses for our first time off post in almost 6 weeks. Half our
platoon are FTP "Holdunders," and they've been here at least 2
months. Glad that didn't happen to me.
The drive there was
pretty exciting, seeing gas stations, fast food places, all that
jazz we haven't seen in so long. It had rained all morning, but a
guy told us the Rodeo was inside. Not true. Just bleachers outside.
There were probably 50 buses there, packed with BCT (white &
blue phase only) and AIT soldiers.
When we got in they gave
us 2 hotdogs, potato chips, a "payday" bar, and a bottle of soda. I
didn't care that we just ate. So good to eat junk food again. I ate
someone else's hot dog, got a pizza later with KOZ, and a funnel
cake. They gave us free bottles of soda, some people had six or
more. That was awesome.
We talked to some ladies too. A lot
of the guys there just talked about themselves & their BCT
experience. So I interrupted them, and had some good conversations.
We all yelled & hollered when ladies walked past. The Army was
about 40% of the people there, so I don't think the ratios were that
good. I, however, was the only person to get a mailing address in
our whole platoon. So even though I looks so stupid with a shaved
head, I still could be pretty smooth. Actually though, we were just
talking about writing, and I said I like to write, and tell stories,
so she said to write her a few letters. Whatever, just something to
brag to the platoon about.
The Rodeo was fun to watch. They
really catered to us Army guys too, so that made it even more fun.
We had to leave at 2200 though. Way early for the rodeo, but it was
funny to hear about the guys who got tobacco products, talked to
ladies, and of course, got yelled at by DS's.
- Everywhere I go, there's a Drill
Sergeant there." (part of a cadence we sing....so true...)
Nice relaxing day again. I'm writing in the
laundry room again, as Koz tells me his mom took $400 out of his
bank account to go on vacation. Poor Koz, he got a 92 on his ASVAB,
but from seeing him & talking to him, you'd wonder how he passed
it. He's cool though, we "hang out" a lot...HA!
The guys who
are on medical profile (can't run, march, do pushups...etc.) weren't
allowed to go. Same with guys who had extra duty because of an
Article 15. Don't get that. Anyhow, one of the profiles was going to
do laundry for 3 bucks, so I just packed my bag as full as I could,
and told him in he made sure it was dry, I'd give him $2 extra. They
were damp though, so I am drying them now, and I only gave him $1
instead. Sounds fair.
I spent almost my entire personal time
this morning getting my wall locker squared away. Yeah, there were
better things to do. Someone bought a mini deck of cards and I was
going to play Euchre, but I really found my wall locker to be
relaxing. It has to stay set up a certain way or we get smoked
during the random inspections, but that only happened once.
After lunch chow we went straight to the PX. Most of our
platoon went to the ATM first. This was our first chance to "see"
our first paycheck. I had a lot of money loaned out, because I was
smart and bought Traveler's Cheques.
However, I got some
cash for the pictures, video, picture book, I guess we have to pay
for those soon. After that, went to the PX. Seriously, I waited 45
minutes for the ATM, then an hour and a half to get into the PX.
Picked up some stamps, notebook, paper and pens. Then, I waited
almost two hours to get checked out. That was death. I should have
bought a bunch of stuff so I never have to go in again.
to dinner, cleaned the bay, now I'm just waiting to get my head
Ok then, that's done. This evening has just
been plagued by interruptions. DS Cook had to give us an intro to
Phase II class that we were supposed to have last week, He's the
best for classes, never covering everything.
We get to go to
bed early tonight...2115. Yeah, only 15 minutes, but we are all
excited about it. We seem to overreact to the slightest good news.
For the forthcoming week...We are duty platoon, so we have
to set everything up, reload magazines, and other crap. It's so my
work too, but my squad isn't the duty squad till Thursday, and we
qualify BRM Wednesday, so that's excellent. After Wednesday, the
week should be cake. Some more practice ranges the next two days,
then qualify. Hopefully we won't have to spend so much time waiting
Friday we have to go donate blood. I
haven't done that since I was 17. I donated plasma all through
college, but something about my first blood donation made me steer
clear. I don't care now though, the Army already stuck me with so
many needles and taken so many fluids that donating blood is easy.
Plus, it makes for a long, lazy, relaxing day. That's always cool.
I talked to a lot of guys at the PX today. Most were still
in Red Phase, but they all said it was really easy. The smokings
were easy, DS's weren't jerks, whatever. I don't understand that.
Even though Red Phase was easier than expected, we all still felt it
was difficult. Now, I'd say this past week was the hardest
physically. I guess it all depends on your DS's, and you can't do
much to control that, especially with Reservists and Guard pulling 2
week shifts. 32 more days to go...
Okay, before I forget, if
anyone has any questions about my basic training experience, or
something about Ft. Sill, feel free to ask me. I'm growing quite
fond of writing lately, and although my middle finger becomes so
sore it can't hold a pen anymore, I'll keep driving on for the sake
of this journal.