Flashback Fridays: Army Basic Training, Part 15

24 November 2000

Well, Thanksgiving wasn’t too bad.  The DFAC was completely decorated with big cutouts of turkeys, pilgrims, and the like.  We even had paper tablecloths and placemats!  We were allowed to drink soda and eat dessert, and the CPT, FSG, and LTC served us our food!  After lunch, we were marched to the large classroom.  The FSG put in a video on the soldier’s code of conduct.  Everyone started groaning, but it was just a joke.  He put in some Van Halen videos; probably 90% of the room had no clue who they were!  Then the FSG put in Courage Under Fire, which was really good.  After dinner (more of the same as lunch), we watched Big Momma’s House and Braveheart.  I can’t believe we watched so many movies!  We were up very late.  The classroom was freezing cold, but it was fun anyway.

Today has been boring; it’s another non-training day.  We’re waiting to get the buffer to strip our floor.  I’m definitely homesick today.  And nervous about the PT test tomorrow.

I’m probably going to use military phrases for the next few years until they get out of my system.  I can’t wait until December 14th!  But how many violists can fire an M16?  I don’t regret doing this at all, but I would never repeat it.  I’m not sure I would have come if I had known everything I’d have to do.  I probably would have thought I couldn’t make it.  If nothing else, I’m going to come out of this with a lot more self-confidence.

I had a run-in with G*** today about the fact that she never helps clean.  I will be so happy to never see her again.  She is the most aggravating person I have ever known.

1740 hrs

Bored, bored, bored.  Do I have 17 correct push-ups in these arms?  We’ll find out!  I wish I could make my own squad from the whole company.  That would be fun.

Well, it’s about midnight.  Midnight?  Where the heck did that come from?  It’s 2040 hrs, almost lights out.  It feels like midnight.

25 November 2000
0850 hrs

YAY!!!  I am the champion!  I passed everything at 60% or better, which is what I needed.  I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am.  Today is a disgusting day.  It’s cold and pouring rain.  They let us do our push-ups and sit-ups inside.  Push-ups are always first, and that’s what I was most nervous about.  When I got to the front of the line, DS F*** was my grader.  I just kept saying that magic number “17” to myself, and I got 18!  I am so high!  Sit-ups were next, and I only did 71, which disappointed me.  I did 70 last time, so I was hoping for at least 80.  I had a lot of phlegm in my lungs, though, which made it hard to breathe.

We had to run in the pouring rain, and that sucked.  It hurt a lot of people’s time, though I got my best yet.  My sweatshirt weighed several pounds by the time I finished because it was so soaked.  My feet were squishing with every step.  But I did it – 19’37”.  I was so glad to get into warm, dry clothes afterwards.  The rest of today will be pretty boring and rainy, I imagine.  But I am warmed from within by my victory.  Life is great.

1430 hrs

We’re supposed to go to the PX in half an hour.  Right now we’re being forced to sit in our classroom.  It’s so stuffy in here, and nobody will shut up.  The whole platoon is here, all 61 of us.  People are so loud!  You know the saying, “Familiarity breeds contempt”?  It’s true.

26 November 2000
0800 hrs

It’s Sunday.  I’m sleepy, but of course we’re never allowed to take naps.  It looks like a letter-writing day.  I wish I had some crossword puzzles.  The next 17 days will drag.  We only have 4 actual days of training left: tomorrow with the Confidence Course, and then the 3 days at Victory Forge.  I really have nothing interesting to say today, so I’ll sign off for now.

27 November 2000

I’m so high!  What a day!  We did the Confidence Course today.  I was so scared, and I ended up having a wonderful, fun time.  Now it’s just Victory Forge standing between graduation and me.  I think I have conquered my fear of heights.  I’m in the greatest mood.  We got to sleep in until 0600 hrs, so even though I had fireguard 2300-0100 hrs, I wasn’t too sleepy.  Fireguard was cool.  I was on with A***, and we talked about personal stuff the whole time.  I feel much closer to her now.

The people who failed their PT tests had to retake it again this morning and get up at 0415 hrs.  Poor things!  Out of all 7 females in our platoon who failed (and we only have 16!), only M***  passed today.  And she’s the one with the broken foot!  J*** failed his sit-ups (he had failed his run on Saturday).  He’d better make it; he has 2 more chances.

There were 26 obstacles on the Confidence Course, set up in 4 groups of 6, and then 2 extra ones in the middle.  I will lay them all out later.  We didn’t go by platoon; instead we were mixed up with other platoons in the company.  At first I was bummed, but it turned out to be really nice to get away from my platoon for a while.  I was the only Gunslinger female in my group.  I mostly hung out with J***, this freaky girl K*** from Red Devils, and R*** from Death Dealers.  I may have mentioned him before; we were in the same group for Anzio.  He really helped me get through everything; everyone was so supportive the whole way through.  R*** told me that the only way I’d fall in the joint-effort obstacles was if he were falling first.  I can’t tell you how much that relieved my worried mind…  More later.


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