Final day of Phase III, last week of BCT, 3 days until family day... time here draws
to a close.
This morning... PT MSE day. Pretty easy. Not even really worth doing. Then, the pressure
of having everything all squared away. It was such a rough morning. Everyone yelling,
freaking out... I had to pay a guy 15$ to clean my m16. I couldn't touch it once, and everyone
was just "too busy" to help me, so I got scammed. Whatever...
Some people didn't eat lunch, but I actually ate well, and took my time. I seriously had
to wind down a little. Immediately upon returning, we had to change into our Class A
uniforms for the actual inspection part.
So, we are all looking good, standing "toe to line", position of attention style of course. Then
in comes a 1st Sgt. He was inspecting wall lockers. This whole inspection was just bad. We stand,
not moving at all, while 1st sgts. Cmd. Sgt. Majors, Senior Drill Sergeants, Captains, Lt. Colonels
walking around us the whole time. They are just staring us down, and commenting on the work that was
mainly completed by Conlon, Vollrath, and myself.
I didn't get messed with at all though, except a 1st Sgt. asked where I was from. I must have looked
squared away or something (hopefully that's it). Conlon got checked out big time (his bunk was right
next to me), and he had a few things wrong. It was quite funny though, just proof that he spent
most of his time doing everyone else's stuff and not his own.
Boykin, a soldier in my squad, had the worst locker ever. He was one of the new church going folk, so
I did most of his stuff. I didn't check his locker until like 2 mins before inspection, and I noticed
he had half metal hangars, and half plastic. Not good at all. I commented to him on it, then Conlon
joined in, then DS Carter even added a few bits. Not 5 seconds later, the inspector walks in. He later
goes to Boykin. (the inspector's don't always check everyone, maybe just 5-10 soldiers). When the
SDS says his name, I started to panic a little. Conlon and I both sigh to each other, knowing this is
going to be bad. The SDS then says, "you know what Boykin, you have the shiniest brass [on your
class a's] of anyone in this platoon. I don't even need to inspect your locker, because just
from seeing your brass, I can tell you are squared away. Drill Sergeant, write down his name,
I would give hime a coin if I had one." Probably the next sound you heard is Conlon and my
jaws hitting the floor. Seriously, what was that, maybe just a good lesson in the army. Two
"U.S." emblems look good so he gets commendations? C'mon.
Our squads constantly denied they were told anything by us squad leaders. According to them, you
would have thought we disappeared for the four days. Seriously, we were just about coming out of our
skin. "No one told me to air out my canteens"... I don't know how many times I could have told them
exactly what to do with there wet equipment. Conlon and I were constantly telling them that once the
gear was on there bunks, it was there responsibility. If it was dirty, it was because they didn't
clean it well enough. Seriously...
After each inspector came in, they talked to DS Carter afterward. Only 5-6 of us were close enough to
hear the comments, but they were always positive. Once the inspector left, DS Carter just laid into
us. So I'm just standing there wondering why we are getting bitched at for a positive eval.
Anyway, afterward when the DS's and officers all left, Conlon and I couldn't help rip into everyone
for trying to make us look bad and blame everything on us. Seriously, we looked like idiots when
we were the only ones that did any real work the entire time.
The smoke clears, and I started thinking maybe DS was bitching at us just because we were very close
to being "up to standard". A few minutes later, DS Carter comes back in to announce the results of
the competition. 4th place is 4th platoon. That's pretty obvious though. 3rd place is 1st platoon.
Wow... DS Carter starts to smile as he says that we tied for 1st place. I was amazed. That award
should probably go to three people, and the five that cleaned the latrine so well. (My squad got
high marks on that one) No one else did anything but a half assed job on their rifles. Disgusting,
but Conlon and I felt pretty good about it all.
So now it's only graduation practices, and then we are done. How hard can that be? Granted, I said the
same thing about Period IV, but we really don't have to do anything at all. What a relief. I'm
not going to say that "basic is done" until I get on the plane to El Paso.
PT was a battery run this morning. We are duty platoon, so that means we are first. This was
pretty cool because Cpt. Greene led us, followed by the battery guidon, our phase banner, then
Conlon, Cha-Jua, and me. Us three squad leaders were put out front, which is always cool. We
ran really, really slow, yelling cadences to all the other battery's and battalions, so they
know we were done with basic now. It was quite emotional, but when Cpt Greene decided to sprint
for a while, all the fun quickly left. I came quite close to falling out, a dead spring for over
a mile, and there wasn't much left besides A and B group runners in our platoon. That wasn't
too long though, and it was a pretty fun, especially when all the other platoons fell so far behind
So, graduation practices. So boring, and long. It just seems like a waste of time really. It's
important to look good, but why not just cut basic a few days short? We have all these certian
movements we execute on cue, and we have problems getting it right. So the first 5-6 times
through, it's just a smoke session, just like stupid red phase classroom time. I hate graduation
practice. We go through the entire ceremony over and over again, and this includes calling off
every soldiers name and location.
We turned in all of our TA-50 gear too. This was seriously excellent. It felt like we were just at the
place picking everything up, now we are turning it back in. I'll be honest, I did not shed one tear
turning in my rucksack, and I won't miss it at all. It didn't bother me one bit to get rid of my
M40 protective mask, and giving up my kevlar forever was quite possibly one of the happiest days of my life.
Tomorrow is family day already. My kid sister and my mom are making the trip. We are all just way too
excited for tomorrow. We have music, and our personal bags...mmmm...family day.