Flashback Fridays: Army Basic Training, Part 2

28 September 2000
1700 hrs

Each day here feels like a year, and I can’t remember anything from yesterday.  It’s an amazing feeling to be done with breakfast before the sun even considers coming up.  I look at my watch at 1000 hrs and am shocked that it’s not 1600 hrs.  We’re done with dinner at 1700 hrs.  There are girls practicing about face, left face, column right, etc. right now.  I should be too, but I’m feeling lazy.  Yesterday we stood a lot.  I was in misery.  I’ll be in constant pain for the next 2 ½ months, that’s a given.  It’s so hard for me to stand in line for hours.  Sometimes we’re waiting 2 to 3 hours for chow.  After breakfast chow yesterday, we got a TB test.

I can’t concentrate in here – I keep getting caught up in conversations and getting distracted.  I don’t feel like myself.  The only way I will survive this experience is to shut everything out.

What else did we do yesterday?  Hmmmm.  We did some marching; I was a mess.  About face and left & right face were tough since I’d never done them before.  I practiced them today and I feel like I have them down now.

I’m dying of laughter right now – J*** was issued 2 left boots and just discovered it.

My PT (Physical Training) test is tomorrow, and I’m so nervous I’m sick to my stomach.  I really hope I pass everything.  I don’t want to be held back.  This is just the preliminary test to make sure you’re in shape enough to get into basic training!

Yesterday we got to go to the PX.  We had to buy the running shoes they told us to, and I hate mine.  My toes are already going numb from the combat boots.  I’ll write about my platoon later, it’s almost lights out.

29 September 2000
0600 hrs

45 minutes until my PT test.  I’m so nervous.  It feels like noon, even though it’s still pitch-black outside.

0900 hrs

I PASSED!  Woohoo!  I felt like crap, but I ran my one mile in 9 minutes flat.  I had to take my glasses off for the push-ups and sit-ups, which was disorienting.

Did I write about yesterday yet?  These days are so long.  What the heck did we do yesterday?  We got our BDUs (Battle Dress Uniforms).  That was interesting.  The boots will take some getting used to, but they’re more comfortable than I expected.  I still don’t have any short-sleeved PT shirts because they don’t have my size…

I have to start writing more often, because I forget everything that happens.  There are starting to be some problems with the PG (platoon guide).  She was chosen solely on the basis of being first in line upon arrival at Reception.  She’s doing some very annoying things, like telling us to put on our sweats this morning, then telling us to take them off, then back on, and today she told us not to take our smart books down.  We went down without them and then were told we needed them.  We went back up, a little pissed off, and she lied and said she had told us to take the books in the first place.

Right now I’m sitting in PAB being processed.  We got our ID cards, and now we’re doing financial paperwork.  There are 27 females in my platoon.  Most of the other platoons have 50 or 60, and I’m glad I’m in a smaller one.  I already mentioned V***, our PG, whom I hopefully won’t have to deal with for more than a few days.  There’s J***, who sleeps above me.  She’s my closest friend in the platoon.  18, bouncy, and fun.  She did my hair the other night in these little ponytails and I looked about 16.  Not my look at all, but it made her happy.  I think I wrote about E*** before, the girl who traveled from Baltimore with me.  I wrote about K***, too.  She’s loud and she doesn’t take any shit from anyone.  We hang out a lot.  J*** is a dancer.  And a raver.  (What is that, exactly?  Am I showing my age?)  She was in junior ROTC, so she’s good with all the D & C (Drill and Ceremony).  She has lots of tattoos and piercings.

I want to cross my legs so badly.  It’s hard to remember not to.  I’m also worried I’ll forget to take off my hat indoors.

1500 hrs

I’m feeling a bit pissy right now because half the platoon is cleaning and half are lazing around.  I swept half the bay and behind the lockers, and I’m done.  More platoon members… there’s S***, whom we call G.I. S*** because she’s really into the Army life.  E*** drives me insane – she constantly whines and complains.  I’m tired of being cranky about people, though.  I’m going to try to think of something nice about a person when I have the urge to start bitching.

0300 hrs

I’m on fireguard duty until 0430 hrs.  It’s really stupid, because I have to wake up again at 0500 hrs.  I’m so tired.  There’s a lot I have to remember; I have to memorize the Soldier’s Code, the Soldier’s Creed, the 3 general orders, the Army core values.  I’m glad I already learned the rank insignia.

I have never felt so ugly in my life as I have here, but I don’t even care.  Just get me to graduation…  Each day is a million hours long, but then again, it’s hard to believe it’s Saturday already.

The PT test yesterday morning was at 0700 hrs, and since we ate at 0500 hrs, we had plenty of time to digest (and get nervous!).  First we did push-ups and sit-ups.  Luckily, I had a good partner for sit-ups who held my feet firmly.  On the run, we had to complete the mile within 10’30”.  Everyone in our platoon made the run, except this one girl, L***, who fell to the side of the road at the beginning shouting, “Help me god, I’m dying, I have asthma.”  Which she lied about to get into the Army in the first place, apparently.

They made us drink an entire canteen of water after the run in just a few minutes.  Then we went back to the barracks and got ready for lunch.  After lunch, we had about 10 minutes to get into our BDUs for the first time, which was insane.  I got my dog tags last night.  I feel like a real soldier now!  Right now as I’m writing you, C***, who is on fireguard with me, is talking about how she’s okay with getting undressed in front of us because she knows us, and we all have boyfriends and husbands so we’re not “that way.”  I’m not saying a word, just sitting quietly keeping my mouth shut.  I’d better get used to that kind of attitude, but it’s really annoying…  I really wanted to say, “Even if I were a lesbian, I wouldn’t be interested in checking you out.”

My shift is done, but we have to get up in 30 minutes anyway, so there’s no point in going back to sleep.  Really, it’s not so bad here.  Tempers are short, nerves are frayed, because we’re all tired of this limbo of Reception.

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