Flashback Fridays: Army Basic Training, Part 11

1 November 2000

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday dear Anjali, happy birthday to me.  And many more.

It’s hot out here.  As I thought, I have very little time to write anymore.  It’s been a crazy week.  Monday morning was our 4-mile march, but I think it may have been 5 miles.  Who’s counting, though.  You just keep putting one foot down after the other.  It was freezing when we left (before the sun came up), and we were laden down like pack animals.  I still hurt, especially my feet.  Halfway there they made us put on our stupid gas masks.

We grouped our weapons all day Monday.  I was done in 3 rounds (the first 9 bullets I’ve ever shot!).  Some people took as few as 2 (actually, only 2 people in the entire company did it in 2), and some people took 10 or more rounds.  Guess what?!  I’m a good shot.  Shooter?  More on that later…

By the time we finished grouping (which means getting 5 out of 6 shots in a 4 cm circle on the target), it was dark already.  Luckily, N*** and I had already put up our tent.  Everyone was being really loud, so because of the “noise pollution” in our bivouac area, the entire company was smoked for a good half hour or possibly even longer.  We had to hold our weapons straight out in front of us, or over our heads, etc.  It truly sucked.  M16s get really heavy after a while.

Eventually, we got to go to bed.  Some people hadn’t gotten their tents up in the daytime, and it was a real struggle for them to get it done in the dark.  N*** and I got all crammed into our tent (they’re quite small), and zipped up in our sleeping bags.  I slept in my boots with my M16 in the sleeping bag with me, my gas mask right by my head.  What a romantic image, huh?

We had fireguard duty from 0300-0400 hrs, and it was so incredibly cold.  We also had to sleep in our Kevlar, but it was actually quite comfortable.  It provided a pillow of sorts.  Morning was awful.  We were rushing to dismantle our tent and get our gear stuffed in our rucks and duffel bag.  We were being yelled at, of course.  Cpt. R*** was really cool.  She helped us by jumping on our duffel to fit our gear in better.

In the morning our platoon did something wrong, not sure what, but no surprise, and we had to do rifle PT with our gas masks on.  It was horrible.  I can’t even write about it.  Even thinking about it makes the panicky feelings come back.

Yesterday we zeroed our weapons, which consists of getting 5 out of 6 rounds in center mass of the target.  I did very well.  It only took me 6 rounds to zero, and the sergeant who looked at my target said that my shooting was indicative of sniper quality.

I’m so tired today.  I’m stuck on detail with this girl I***.  After being with her all day yesterday, I’ve had enough.  She’s so abrasive and argumentative.

2115 hrs

Well, I’m done with the worst birthday of my life.  I’m hot and tired.  Yesterday and today I worked all day out on the range after I shot.  Today I shot 20 rounds from the foxhole and 20 rounds from the prone unsupported position.  The targets were 75, 175, and 300 meters away.  I hit 33 out of 40 total.  We’ll see how I do with pop-up timed targets tomorrow.

I’m fired, finally.  New leadership starts tomorrow.  My body aches.  I cried in front of DS L*** today.  He was very cool.  He took me aside and asked what was wrong.  Then he told me to quit with the crocodile tears and get back to work.  In the nicest way possible.  DS H*** told me that my shooting was excellent and that he’d take me in the Death Dealers anytime.

2 November 2000

I feel like utter crap today.  My body hurts in every corner.  Corner?  Joint, muscle, limb…  I feel like I felt when I had mono.  I can barely move.  I shot like crap today.  We had pop-up targets and I just couldn’t focus.  I shot 18 out of 36, and then we had multiple targets at one time, where I got 25 out of 44.  I can’t hit the 300 m targets at all today, and I was shooting them dead-on yesterday.  Oh well, I still shot better than most of the people here.

I couldn’t do push-ups at all this morning.  My wrists are killing me.  These earplugs really hurt my ears.  My tailbone hurts.  I have the chills.  I’m sorry I’m whining so much.

F*** is going to make an interesting PG.  He’s very gung-ho.  He has a football-coach approach to being PG.  We’ll see how it goes.  He also has a thing going with M***, I’m not sure if I mentioned it.

Lately everyone is pissing me off.  M*** never stops whining, and all she can talk about is F*** (when she’s not complaining).  A*** is tense all of the time, and she’s starting to give me an ulcer, I’m sure of it.  I***, who I was stuck with all day yesterday, never stops talking, and she never has anything interesting to say.

I can’t tell you how sick I am of slide-and-eat.  It’s so bad for the digestive system to eat that way!  What is there to say?  We spend all day on the shooting range, sitting on the bleachers “studying” when we’re not shooting.  At least I’m not on range detail today, picking up ammo cases and handing out ammo and running back and forth in the hot sun.  I hate Kevlar.  It’s heavy.

Someday I must sleep.  Really.  It would be good.  I’ve been popping chewable Vitamin C like it’s going out of style.  I hope we get free time tonight.

4 November 2000

Once again, I’m at sick call.  I’m tired of waking up every hour for 3 nights in a row, drenched in sweat and burning up with fever.  My glands are enormous, and my throat is so sore and swollen that I can barely swallow.

I found out that I have fireguard tonight from 0300-0600 hrs.  How awful is that?  We get to go to some stupid concert tonight and consume pizza, candy bars, and Coke.  That should be fun.

Our platoon has KP today.  But I’m stuck here in the Purgatory that is sick call.  Eventually the sergeant will call me back in to swab my throat.  He thinks I might have strep.  Eventually means sometime in the next 2 years, I believe.

I shot badly yesterday.  This fever is really making it hard to concentrate.  Pop-up targets are a lot harder for me.  Both times I shot, I got 22 out of 40.  Qualification day is next Wednesday; we have to shoot 23 out of 40 to graduate.  On my 2nd time, I had a malfunctioning target.  It would come up, then pop right back down in 1 second.  That was frustrating.  I like shooting, though.  It doesn’t scare me at all.  I feel very comfortable with my weapon.

We throw grenades sometime in the next 2 weeks!  It’s nice to have new leadership now.  F*** is doing all right as PG, but he has no rhythm at all, which makes marching to his cadences pretty much impossible.  I have a feeling he and M*** are going to get themselves in trouble for fraternizing.  She showed me a note he wrote her yesterday – the grammar and spelling reinforced every “dumb jock” stereotype.  M*** is 4th squad leader, which was an insane choice, in my opinion.  She’s not very assertive.  A*** is APG (Assistant Platoon Guide) and is already driving me insane.  She’s so bossy, and she always has to be in the center of everything.

Well, I’m at TMC now.  Chances are I’ll be here for a while.  It’s 1045 hrs and I think my appointment is at 1330 hrs.  If I have strep, I’ll be quarantined in the hospital!  That would be awful.

The FSG was doing shakedown yesterday when we came off the range (we have to get checked every time to make sure we don’t have any brass or ammo on us).  He said,  “Anjali, you snore like a freight train.”  He comes on inspections in the middle of the night, and I can totally picture him standing in the middle of the room watching us sleep.  Is that really legal?  He’s a little weird.

Yay, I found out I don’t have strep!  I’m waiting for the bus back to the barracks now.

5 November 2000
0700 hrs

The concert last night was lame.  We stood in line forever and I bought a Twix bar.  I didn’t want anything else, but some people were buying 8 or 9 candy bars.  How gross!

I can’t tell if I’ve lost weight since I’ve been here.  I feel the same.  I had a fever again last night.  I woke up at 0230 and took a long hot shower.  Then I*** and N*** told me they were covering the first half hour of my fireguard shift so I only had to do 2-1/2 hours instead of 3.  It was very nice of them.  I slept until 0330 hrs, and then I had fireguard from then until 0600 wake-up.  I folded my laundry and organized my personal drawer during my shift.
The new leadership is starting to piss me off.  F*** must learn to march us!

We’re having another lazy Sunday…  I should fix my bed, but I’m feeling too lazy.  We have Fit to Win again next Thursday, blech.  I hate that obstacle course crap.  I have to do some push-ups today.  I’ve been such a slacker since I got sick.

0 Replies to “Flashback Fridays: Army Basic Training, Part 11”

    1. I’m glad you’re enjoying them! Rereading them, I find it hard to believe *I* survived it! It feels like it happened to someone else…

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