Flashback Fridays: Army Basic Training, Part 17

30 November 2000

Yesterday we had phase testing, which was a huge waste of time.  Mostly we sat around waiting for the next testing station.  We weren’t by platoon, and I ended up with a lot of people that I did the Confidence Course with, including, to my horror, K***.  That girl is a freak!  First of all, it’s annoying to be around her because she has a huge crush on J*** and can’t stop talking about him to me.  He finds her completely annoying also, but he’s incapable of being anything other than nice to anyone.  Second of all, she claims to have strong psychic powers (but doesn’t know we can’t stand her?) and says that she is the reincarnation of the goddess of mischief.  She started to tell me about all of her past lives the other night, but luckily it was lights out so I kicked her out of my room.  I’m so ready to go home!

We were tested on firing the AT-4, as well as the procedure if the AT-4 misfires.  We had to get our gas masks on and sealed in 9 seconds, which I couldn’t do because of my glasses.  We had to react to a nuclear attack, decontaminate our skin with an M291 kit, pretend to administer the antidote for nerve agent poisoning, sing the Army song, write down the definitions of the 7 Army core values, set up a dummy Claymore mine, sing the national anthem, recite the pledge of allegiance, recite the soldier’s code, check a hand grenade, and conduct a challenge/password.  Fun, huh?

Today I’m sitting in a Personal Affairs class.  We had a Personal Finance class earlier where the drill sergeant talked about budgeting and investments.  Ho hum.  I feel old.

1 December 2000

Yesterday we prepped for Victory Forge.  We rolled up our polypads, shelter halves, and tent stakes & poles into a tanker roll, which goes on top of the rucksack.  Then DS F*** helped us adjust our rucks.  I’m really glad he did, because mine was not sitting on my back at all comfortably, and now it feels much better.  Shouldn’t we have done this before our first march with rucks?  Typical Army.  Today is pretty boring.  People are doing things like replacing lost I.D.’s, exchanging clothes, and buying items they’ve lost.  Since I need to do none of those things, I’m sitting around in the classroom.  They put in Mission: Impossible for us to watch, but I wasn’t in the mood.  M*** and I sat outside and cleaned our gas masks, and hopefully lunch will be soon.  Victory Forge is going to be extremely cold.

I’m annoyed.  I’m standing in line right now to pick up my pictures, and J*** just told he “doesn’t like gays.”  I’m so sick of homophobia, bigotry, and racism!

3 December 2000

I hope I don’t get frostbite!  It’s so cold down here, and the Victory Forge site is supposedly about 10 degrees colder because it’s out in the woods.  I am dreading the next 72 hours with every ounce of my being.  It’s supposed to snow, but there doesn’t seem to be any chance of the FTX (Field Training Exercise) being cancelled.  I’ll probably never feel warm again.  DON’T MAKE ME GO!  I feel whiny.

I went back to sick call yesterday because I wanted something for my dizzy spells.  I was there a long time.  For once, a doctor actually took my dizziness seriously, and he did a bunch of tests – blood, urine, and EKG.  He wants me to come back after Victory Forge.  Apparently I’m dehydrated enough to deserve an IV, but luckily I convinced him not to give me one.  I’ve been drinking lots of water, I swear it!

After I got back from sick call, DS H*** told N*** and me that he had a special task for us because we’re so responsible.  Not the words you want to hear in the Army.  It was incredibly tedious paperwork that kept us up late.  And then we had fireguard on top of that!  We had to put everyone’s graduation certificate, PT card, 2 copies of their orders, and deferred issue receipts into pre-marked envelopes.  Some stacks of items were in alphabetical order, some were by platoon, some were backwards alphabetical, and the envelopes were by AIT location.  It took us 5 hours to do the whole company (@250 soldiers).

Today’s been a typical Sunday, except for a burst of Christmas spirit that hit our room.  We were singing carols, picking names for a PX secret Santa Christmas present (under $3), and cutting out decorations – snowflakes, stockings, and trees.  Then we got creative and rewrote the 12 Days of Christmas.  Here goes:

On the first day of training, Drill Sergeant gave to me:
A push-up in my PTs
2 combat boots
3 Fit-to-Wins
4 Front-back-go’s
5 M16s
6 minutes to shower
7 counseling statements
8 slide-and-eats
9 locker inspections
10 frostbit fingers
11 CS gas cans
12 MREs

I think I’ve explained all of those terms before.  The only one that might be confusing is “front-back-go.”  That’s one of those cruel and unusual forms of torture – I mean smoking.  “Front” means push-ups, “Back” means sit-ups, and “Go” means run in place.  The drill sergeant will switch between them quickly while you struggle to keep up.

It was a lot of fun writing the song, and we were all laughing hysterically.  We can use the good cheer before we set off for hell.  I mean Victory Forge.

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