Flashback Fridays: Army Basic Training, Part 14

19 November 2000
0800 hrs

It’s a rainy cold Sunday here.  DS L*** is on duty, so he’s going to give us a little class later on grenades.  I’m writing in the classroom right now.  It’s cold in here.  I saw a video yesterday on BCT, and it showed part of the Confidence Course.  I’m dreading it, but it’s one of the last roadblocks on the way to graduation.  26 more days.  Must make it.

Since I’m bored right now, I’ll tell you about the other drill sergeants.  The Red Devils (1st platoon) have DS Y*** and DS C***.  They also had DS S***, but he had to leave a few weeks ago to go get some special training.  DS Y*** is usually in charge of my run group.  He gives us a good workout.  He can be a bit of an ass at times, but he seems fairly human in general.  DS C*** is 1 of the 2 females.  She’s tiny and mean.  I haven’t had that much contact with her; she’s the one who made me sit with G*** at chow one day and force her to eat.  She told me that if G*** didn’t eat everything on her tray, I’d have to do push-ups.  Considering how well G*** and I *dont* get along, that didn’t go over well.

The Death Dealers (2nd platoon) have DS H***, DS T***, and DS B***.  DS H*** is hysterically funny.  I really like him.  He’s very sarcastic and is always making fun of everyone.  He loves to smoke people (especially entire platoons), but I never get the feeling that he does it out of malice.  He just enjoys his job.  He’s a lot older, but in terrific shape.  A little guy with huge ears.  DS T*** is a big black man with a gorgeous voice.  I love it when he marches us.  DS B*** is very young, probably around my age.  This is his first cycle as a drill sergeant.  He’s still learning, and since he’s dumb as a box of rocks, he doesn’t have a clue what to do most of the time.  He loves to smoke people for extremely long periods of time.  The man is an animal.  He is huge; his neck is probably as big around as my waist.  The Regulators (4th platoon) have DS A***, DS F***, and DS D***.  I don’t know DS A*** at all.  He’s a Ranger, and looks like the Marlboro man, and that’s about all I know.  He’s been to Malaysian man-tracking school, which sounds really cool.  DS F*** is a total dickhead.  I really can’t stand him.  DS D*** is the other female.  She’s the one who dropped me and then was pissed off because I could answer all of her questions.

21 November 2000
2045 hrs

It’s Tuesday night, and I have 2 more mandatory training requirements for graduation out of the way!  Yay!  22 days and a wake-up left.  It can’t come soon enough.  Today was kind of crappy, and I’m not in the greatest mood.  Although I really like some of the people in my platoon, overall I detest my platoon and can’t get away from them soon enough.  It’s our sixth week, and they act up more than ever, talking in formation, not sounding off… we look like crap, and I wish the drill sergeants would do something about it.  I’ve finally realized that that’s not going to happen, and I don’t understand why not.

Yesterday was a very long day.  Don’t I say that every day?  We were woken up at 0340 hrs and told to get down to our classrooms immediately.  Some idiot had taken a box of ammo from Anzio, and then gotten scared or remorseful or something and left it on a windowsill.  So we had a company-wide shakedown.  We were called up by room and our lockers were searched by several drill sergeants.  It took forever.  I’m so glad I made it a policy to never have contraband in my locker!  A lot of people got in trouble for candy, gum, tobacco, and notes from soldiers of the opposite sex.

I’m sick again – extremely congested and my throat hurts.

Anyway, because of the shakedown, we were really late for chow, we didn’t run at all, and we were late to Remagen range for grenades.  Speaking of grenades…

First we went in the practice bay.  We had to wear a flak jacket under our LCEs.  We were behind a wall with the range NCO, and first we squatted, then stood up, then had the (fake) grenade placed in our hand.  The NCO had already removed the thumb clip.  All I had to do was say, “Proper grip, twist-pull pin.”  The darn pin was hard to get out!  Then I had to throw it and crouch down quickly.  I can’t throw to save my life.  Or anyone else’s.  *sigh*  I don’t care, though.  J*** had tried to work with me Sunday night, but it didn’t really help, and actually made me more nervous.

I threw 2 fake grenades, and then I had to practice emergency procedures.  The NCO yelled, “Grenade!” and I had to throw myself over a small wall and cover my hands with my body.

Next we lined up alphabetically to go to the live grenade bay.  I’m glad I was one of the first to go, because I didn’t really have time to get nervous.  It was all over so fast.  I didn’t even see the targets!  I think I may have had my eyes closed when I threw the grenades…  We had to throw 2 live ones, and then it was all done.

Next, we had to complete a course with fake grenades.  There were all sorts of situations, such as throwing a grenade in a bunker.  We had to run from cover to cover and yell all of that stupid, “Buddy, cover me while I throw a grenade!” stuff.  I got no go’s at almost every station, but I didn’t care.  I just wanted to get back to the barracks.  We had to throw from the prone (very difficult), kneeling, and standing.  And the ground was incredibly cold and wet.  I got filthy.  At the last station, the FSG was in charge.  I asked him if I could skip it and he could just give me a no go, but he made me lie down in the big mud puddle that was there.  But he gave me a go even though I didn’t make it.

22 November 2000

I’m on KP.

23 November 2000

Never mind, now I’m off KP!  Short entry, there.  It’s Thanksgiving, so we have the day off.  On Tuesday, we went to Omaha range.  The drill sergeants had made a huge deal out of Omaha, saying how dangerous it was, we’d be running around with live ammo, etc., but it was not a big deal at all!  We did a practice run with blanks, and DS H*** yelled at us the whole way.  He’s always yelling and no one ever listens.  Then we put camouflage on, cleaned our weapons very thoroughly, and did the live fire exercise.  It was such a snap.  The drill sergeant practically held my hand the whole way.  They really babied us.  It was a very short course.  I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t that.  Something more…  We had 2 20-round clips to go through and a fake grenade to throw at the end.  The drill sergeant (I had DS C***) ran right along beside us the whole way.  It was easy, but fun anyway.

I was one of the first people done, so I served lunch chow for a while, cleaned my weapon, and then sat around freezing the rest of the day.

In the afternoon, DS L*** came up to N*** and me, and we ended up having a great conversation about music, shooting, marrying young, and all sorts of things that had nothing to do with BCT.  It was so nice to see his human side!  I really respect him.  He’s a great drill sergeant.

Yesterday KP was miserable.  The night before, I had had staff duty from 2200-2400 hrs, so I got very little sleep.  I was extremely cranky, and it didn’t help that I was on DRO (cleaning tables, encouraging people to eat fast).  Alpha Company soldiers were being such jerks!  At the end of the night, we had to do all sorts of prep work for Thanksgiving, so we didn’t get back until 2230 hrs.  Again, a night of little sleep.

I think I’m going to fail my PT test.  I don’t think I can do 17 correct push-ups.  I feel like crying right now.  I want to be home with people who know me and love me and who are capable of intelligent conversation.  I’m sick of “ain’t,”  double negatives, and the like.  I’m sick of the rampant homophobia.  I’m tired of following orders, asking permission to do anything, always having to be part of a group.  Do I sound like an elitist snob?  Probably.  I don’t care.  20 more days and a wake-up.  The confidence course is Monday.  I’m very nervous.

The push-ups and sit-ups on the test Saturday are inside, which is a relief.  That makes it easier.  G*** pulled some drama (what a surprise!) and got I*** kicked out of the room.  But now M*** is in our room, and she is even more annoying.

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