Flashback Fridays: Army Basic Training, Part 6

10 October 2000
1045 hrs

The days go marching on.  There was some massive fighting happening last night.  This girl J*** was at the heart of it all, screaming at the PG and refusing to listen to anyone.  Guess who’s in my company for basic?  J***.  She seems like a real troublemaker.

We’re supposed to be cleaning up and packing right now, but I’m just taking a little break.  This morning we had our little ceremony.  It was kind of fun, except it was freezing cold, and my toes were so cold that I had stabbing pains in my feet.  Plus the gloves we were issued are awful.  I hope a warm front comes through for the next 9 weeks.  Bivouac (FTX, Field Training Exercise, camping out 72 hours) in December is going to be miserable.  I got to carry the Maryland state flag today, how thrilling.

It all starts tomorrow.  I can’t believe it.  I hope I have halfway-decent drill sergeants who aren’t completely evil and unreasonable.  I want to just wake up tomorrow and have it be graduation day.  Wouldn’t that be great?  I feel slightly apprehensive right now.  Thinking about the next 9 weeks is scaring the hell out of me.  At least I’m finally starting now.

I just made a cootie catcher.  It has fortunes like, “You will get caught masturbating during BCT,” “You will trip and miss your PT run time by 2 seconds,” “You will throw up on a drill sergeant.”  I’m a little bored right now.

2100 hrs

Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow DAMN my feet hurt so badly!  These next 9 weeks are going to be miserable for my poor feet.  First, I completely froze this morning during that dumb ceremony.  Then we practiced D & C forever this afternoon.

After lunch today, some people were ordered to go clean and the rest of us sat on the bleachers reading our smart books.  Sgt. C*** made us have a male vs. female contest on who could sing the Army song louder.  We won.  Then individual males and females had to go up against each other, and the loser pushed.  The females won every time.  I’ve half lost my voice from shouting.  We’ve had to push a couple of times today for various reasons.  Sgt. C*** is a maniac.

Tomorrow’s the big day!  I’m definitely nervous.  I’ll be in the 2nd battalion, 39th Infantry division, Charlie Company.

I’m on fireguard right now until 2300 hrs.  Wakeup is at 0400 hrs, which sucks.  I’m taking my shoes off now to massage my poor feet.  Oh, ouch, ouch!

My cold is almost gone now.  I hope it doesn’t return, but I’m sure it will.  Even though it killed my feet and it was really hot out, I’m glad we practiced D & C today.  I feel much more comfortable with all the movements, and I learned left flank, right flank, and double rear march.  My feet really feel like every bone in them has been broken.  I wonder if they’ll ever recover from the next 2 months.

Everything changes tomorrow.  We’re all nervous.  K*** went back to 120th Reception.  She’s getting a Chapter 11, which is failure to adapt, rather than a Chapter 15 (homosexual), so that’s a good thing.

I can do this.  People far stupider and less athletic than I have made it through.  I should look at is as many chances to learn new skills, not many chances to fail and fear things.

Everyone here has gradually phased into using people’s last names.  It’s funny how that happens.  Well, my shift is about over.  I’m going to grab my 4-1/2 hours of sleep!

12 October 2000
1000 hrs

There’s so much to say, and no time to write.  It’s not good, but it could be so much worse.  I’m in Charlie Company, which for some reason appears to be the toughest of the 3 companies, but I really like our Drill Sergeant (hereafter abbreviated as DS), DS L***.  It’s not that he’s nice, none of them are, but he seems fair.  He hasn’t even smoked us yet, and every other platoon has been dropped several times.  Charlie has 4 platoons.  We’re third platoon, the Gunslingers.  I’m glad I’m not in the Death Dealers (2nd platoon), what an awful name!  I think there are around 16 females in my platoon and 62 people total.  Right now we’re in the classroom copying down the company motto:

Charlie Panthers, green and black,
Stompin’ boots and breakin’ backs.
Throwin’ people out of town,
Layin’ bodies on the ground.
We are the Panthers, shed no tears,
Killin’ people with no fears.
Who let those Panthers out, hooah!

We were introduced to that lovely motto this morning in our session with the company commander, Cpt. R***.  We’re in the red phase of our training right now, which lasts until October 28.  I think it’s called red phase because our faces our constantly red.  Right now I’m standing here trying to write.  My face is red from being sunburned yesterday; we stood outside forever.  South Carolina has 2 temperatures: freezing f*cking cold and burning f*cking hot!  The mornings bite ass they’re so cold, but then it heats up and we’re in misery.

Oh, did I mention that my platoon only has 2 drill sergeants, and all the others have 3?  I lucked out.  All DS L*** said he cares about is BRM (Basic Rifle Marksmanship).  So let’s hope I’m good with an M16!  I must start practicing for my PT test.  I’m tired, even though I actually got 7 whole hours of sleep last night.

Yesterday we got up at 0400 hrs and had to get all of our bags downstairs by 0430 hrs.  I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye to most of my friends, which was a bummer.  It was freezing, and they made us take off our field jackets and gloves and stuff them into our (already over-full) duffel bags.  Did I mention that it was pitch black outside, and I had to try to use the indiglo light on my watch to undo the lock on my bag?  I can’t even remember the whole day.  I think we were taken over to Charlie Company next with all of our bags.  The females sat on the bleachers for a while huddled together to try to stay warm, then we went inside and sat in a long hallway for a while.

I can’t keep my MOS (Military Occupational Specialty – my job) a secret, even though everyone told me not to tell.  I was asked about it several times by drill sergeants and the company first sergeant (FSG).  FSG R*** is a bad ass.  He looks like the bad guy in Terminator 2.  He is extremely tall and lanky and always has on mirrored sunglasses.  Anyway, we turned in our medical records and went to breakfast.  I’m so glad N*** is in my platoon!  She’s really nice, and someone I can relate to on a musical level.

I can’t remember what else we did yesterday.  Lots of waiting around.  Standing.  My feet were killing me, of course.  I still don’t have a canteen, so I feel very dehydrated.  Must have water…  I felt like I would do just about anything for a drink of cool water yesterday afternoon.

We have lots of little things we have to say in certain situations.  For chow, the DS says, “Chow formation,” and then we sound off with “chow formation” afterwards.  He next says, “Move!” and we say in cadence, “Damn!  I’m hungry!” as we form 2 lines out of 4.  Stupid, huh?  When we cover, we say “Stone”, and when we recover we say “Cold.”  That is because we are the gunslingers – stone cold killers.  Hooah.  This is all mental.  I can do this.  I do like the organization and routines, that’s not a problem for me.

I shouldn’t be writing letters in class.  I could get busted and be smoked in front of everyone.  But there’s no other time to write!  We cleaned all of yesterday morning, I just remembered.  N*** and I performed a perfectly choreographed (and unplanned) shuffle to end up in line next to each other when we were assigned rooms, and we ended up sharing a bunk bed!  Perfect!  That means that we’re battle buddies.  Couldn’t have planned it better.  We’re in a room with 8 females total.  There’s A***, who was our PG in Forward Deployment, G***, P***, M***, H***, and R***.

Did I mention how often the drill sergeants say “daggon”?  And everything is always “crap.”  Get that crap out of here!  Put your crap there.  After dinner last night, we went and got our blankets (yay!), pillow, sleeping bag, and tent.  Everything out of our mouths has to start and end with “Drill Sergeant.”  “Drill Sergeant, yes, Drill Sergeant.”  Rather irritating.

I feel really good about this DS.  I must remember to remind myself of this when I start writing about how much I hate him.  Because I’m sure I’ll feel that way at times.

Monday is Victory Tower.  Yikes!  I never used to have a fear of heights, but over the last few years, one has been developing.  We’ll rappel, climb rope bridges, and climb down a 50-foot cargo net.  Saturday is our first PT test.  Running 2 miles is going to kill me when I haven’t run in so long.

Last night we had half an hour to shower, make our beds, and unpack our duffels.  It was hectic.  Don’t know if I’ll have much time for writing in red phase.

I’m glad I memorized almost everything beforehand; it’s making me feel ahead of the game.  I must never fall asleep in class.  It’s so hard not to!  I’m so sleepy!

1330 hrs

Well, it could be worse.  I am not PG, thank god, but I am 4th squad leader.  Blech.  I’m in charge of the 15 people in my squad.  I just made a roster after lunch.  I have to learn to march better.

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