Flashback Fridays: Army Basic Training, Part 4

5 October 2000
2120 hrs

Hopefully, if everything goes according to plan, I’ll be out of this hellhole in 10 weeks.  Forward Deployment isn’t too bad; it’s much busier than Reception, which is good.  Can’t think too much about anything.  I’m adjusting, but I’m sick of these immature 18-year-olds.

I didn’t sleep well last night, even though we had from 2100 to 0500 hrs to sleep.  These beds suck, plus we don’t have any blankets or pillows.  The fireguards were so loud, too.

We were downstairs at 0550 for our first PT session.  It really wasn’t bad.  We won’t run at all until we start basic.  We stretched, did push-ups and sit-ups, that sort of thing.  It hurts to get down on the ground for push-ups – the heels of my palms are tender right now.  I guess I’ll build up calluses.  70 days and counting!

After PT we were really rushed.  I took a shower, but I don’t think I will have time most mornings.  After chow, we went back to the barracks and got our duffel bags for shakedown.  Shakedown consisted of dumping all of our military-issued clothing on the sidewalk and holding out whatever the drill sergeant asked us to show.  It was an incredibly exciting experience.  Not.  I was called for CQ duty from 0930 to 1100 hrs.  That was pretty boring – we sat around and waited for the phone to ring.  I’m getting tired, I should go to sleep soon, but let me at least take this up through lunch.  After CQ, I went over to join the rest of the company at a CPR class.  I was glad to see V***, our ex-PG, getting smoked (punished) for talking – she was up in front by the drill sergeant doing push-ups.  And she was a wimp about them, too.  I worked very hard at staying awake; it was difficult.  It was hot as hell in the classroom.

After lunch, we had another class on the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice).  That was deadly boring.  I got up and stood at the back of the classroom for a while so that I wouldn’t fall asleep.  I’m glad they let us do that.  Next, we had a class on D & C (Drill & Ceremony).  We went outside after about half an hour and practiced about face, rear march, and counter column.  I think I’m comfortable with everything except counter column, which is too complicated to explain right now.  My dizziness is slightly better, though.

6 October 2000
0540 hrs

I don’t see how they expect us to get any sleep without blankets or pillows.  *grrrrrrr*  I was tossing and turning all night.  Plus I can’t breathe.  This damn cold is taking forever to go away.

After the D & C drill yesterday, we went to dinner.  People were being stupid and talking in line, so we had to hold our arms straight out to the side and clap them over our heads (the “Overhead Clapper”) 95 times.  Only it was really 190 times, the way the drill sergeant counts (“1, 2, 3, 1, 1, 2, 3, 2…”).  Try it, it’s not as easy as it sounds.  Then we had to keep holding our arms up and do circles frontward and backward forever.  It sucked.  Meals are pretty miserable here.  There’s no talking at all, and you have to eat really fast.

After dinner, we sat around and shined our boots, then got our first chance to use the phones in quite a while.

2110 hrs

Tonight’s going to suck.  I have fireguard at 0300 hrs and it’s already after 2100 hrs.  I’m so depressed and homesick right now.  I can’t stand it.  K*** is very sick and depressed.  I feel bad for her, but it’s starting to really drag me down, too.  She was in the hospital all day today.  She talked to a psychiatrist and will definitely be going home.  The problem is that S*** and I, as her roommates, have to be her buddies 24/7 until at least Tuesday.  And though I feel really bad for her, I don’t have enough energy to pull someone else along all the time.  I can help someone who’s down for the moment, but it drains me to be around someone who’s constantly depressed, negative, and complaining.  It’s starting to drive me crazy.  I just can’t do this.  I can only take care of me right now.  That means trying to get some sleep.

 7 October 2000
0320 hrs

I’m so tired.  I don’t know how I’m going to make it through the day today.  I went in a stall last night and cried for a while.  I know I can make it through, but sometimes it just really sucks and feels like I’ll be here forever.

Let’s see, what the heck did we do yesterday?  PT, of course.    PT is going to be rough today because my body is so sore, especially my abs.  We do some stretches first, then get into push-ups, sit-ups, wide-arm push-ups, twisted sit-ups, close-hand push-ups, dips, etc.  I can’t do any close-hand push-ups.  The drill sergeant pulls this crap on you: they say “halfway down” on a sit-up or push-up, when you go halfway and have to hold that position.  I do not enjoy that whatsoever in any way, shape, or form!  And it doesn’t count, either.  If you’re dropped for 10 push-ups, you can end up doing 1 full one, 6 half ones, and you still have to do 9 more.  I haven’t been dropped individually yet, only as part of the platoon, so hopefully I can continue to behave well and avoid being dropped.

We had a small march after breakfast, 1.2 miles, but we stopped halfway at an auditorium for a long class on the Army core values.  First we sang the Army song a few times through, and then they asked who had had the class on values yesterday.  They picked 7 people with their hands up and pulled them up front, then told them they were teaching the class.  Never volunteer for anything in the Army.

We spent the afternoon studying our smart books.  When it started to rain, we got moved inside.  The whole platoon got dropped because certain idiots were talking.  Then Sgt. Napoleon (actually Sgt. M***, we just call him that because he has a complex about being short) started asking people questions.  He asked who knew the Army song, and I raised my hand (what did I just tell myself about never volunteering?!).  I was the only one who knew it.  He had me get up and sing it for him.  My voice sounded like crap because of my cold, but I got through the whole thing with no mistakes.

K*** came back from the hospital before dinner.  She was a mess.  She’s supposed to never be left alone, even in the latrine!  I came back early from chow with K*** because she threw up again, and we sat around and watched while the rest of the platoon got smoked for something.

I met another 02S (Special Bandsperson) last night!  Her name’s N***, she’s a flute player and very nice.

2000 hrs

68 more days!  I found out that  N*** will be in the same company as me for basic, which is a relief.  I hope we’re in the same platoon.  Nobody else from my Reception platoon is in Charlie Company except E***, whom I don’t know very well.

I spent all morning today with K***, who I am 300% sick of at this point.  Oh my aching abs!  They hurt when I cough.  This afternoon we had a class on… hmmm… I can’t remember.  Oh, proper wear of the uniform.  It was funny; the drill sergeant had people come out in right and wrong examples of the uniform.  We were told which company we were in for basic, and then we were smoked.  For what, I don’t exactly know.  It was actually a fun smoking – we were lying on the ground on our stomachs, and we had to lift our arms and legs off the ground and pretend we were swimming.  I don’t mind stuff like that, I just mind the push-ups.

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