Flashback Fridays: Army Basic Training, Part 9

18 October 2000

I can’t begin to tell you how infuriating it is to be pushed beyond your physical limits.  Most people think they’re giving an exercise their all, but they’re really at a 7 or 8 level.  I’m talking about being pushed so far that you can’t help crying.  It feels horrible.  A drill sergeant from another platoon just smoked us, and it was agonizing.  It’s so frustrating when they yell at you to get off the ground and your body just refuses to respond.

Today has been a total waste of tine.  We had MS (Muscular Strength) this morning.  We were last out as usual.  I had fireguard last night from 2300-0100 hrs, so I’m pretty tired.

After breakfast chow, we were loaded on a bus and taken out to the map-reading classrooms.  DS H*** was trying to teach us how to read a topographical map.  The class was a complete farce.  DS H*** gets flustered easily, and he didn’t know what the hell he was talking about.  He got spurs and draws mixed up and tried to correct himself, and now I’m really confused.

20 October 2000
2115 hrs

My flashlight died, so I haven’t been able to write for a while.  I’m writing right now in the latrine.  So what have I been doing…  hmmm…  making friends, which is cool.  After the stupid map reading session, I sat with J*** on the bus ride home and heard his whole life saga.  He’s a sweet 18-year-old hick from Tennessee who met a girl at MEPS before leaving for BCT, and they are now engaged.  She’s 17, and she proposed to him in the chow line at reception.  I think I may need to have a little talk with him…  After the maps, we had some more stupid classes on sexual harassment.  I didn’t write during class because I was sitting right in front with the captain staring at me the whole time.

Yesterday, we had KP all day long.  It actually wasn’t too bad.  I got to be a salad line server.

Today was a long day.  We had MS in the morning, then we marched somewhere for 4 classes on first aid.  DS H*** from 2nd platoon taught our classes; he’s got a wicked sense of humor.  He’s mean but funny.  We learned how to do mouth-to-mouth on a dummy, and how to evaluate a casualty.

After class, I got drafted to help clean up, which sucked.  Our platoon is in disgrace because 2 guys got in a fight today.  Our phase banner is rolled up tight until we shape up, and we’re not allowed to sound off or sing cadences until the drill sergeant unrolls our banner.  It’s rather silly, but also kind of humiliating.

After first aid, we got our M16s and had some bayonet lessons.  We have to shout, “Kill, kill, kill with no mercy,” and “Blood, blood, blood makes the grass grow green.”  Very silly.

21 October 2000
0850 hrs

I had my first CR (Cardio-Respiratory) run this morning.  I’m in Delta group, the slowest, and they checked our 2-mile times today.  I made mine in 19’47”!  I’m so proud of myself.  That’s a passing time for me.

We were totally forgotten about after chow today.  We were rushed through breakfast, and then we stood outside in formation for 15-20 minutes before the drill sergeant bothered to show up.  Highly irritating.  Finally, we were marched back to the company and given 5 minutes to change.

I’m in a health and hygiene class.  Wake up, wake up.  I’m so sleepy.  Last night a fireguard shook me awake and said, “Get under the covers!” – I had one leg out.  That pissed me off; I never wake people up for that even though lots of people sleep on top of their blanket.  It’s such a stupid rule – we sleep fully clothed, anyway.

While shining my boots last night, I chatted with D***.  He’s 30, so he’s a little more of a grown-up than a lot of the platoon.

I’m cold right now.  It’s either too hot or too cold in this classroom.  My head hurts.

1840 hrs

The 2nd class today was just for females, all 66 of us.  It was on female hygiene.  Fun.  Then we got our M16s and went to lunch.  This afternoon was exhausting.  We had rifle periods all afternoon.  First we learned right shoulder and left shoulder arms.  That M16 gets heavy after a while.  We learned inspection arms, also, and I’m really having trouble with it.  I can’t lock the charging handle to the rear without bracing the weapon against my hip.  My left thumb is all bruised from holding down the thingamajig (sorry, I can’t remember any names of parts right now).  And somehow I got a blood blister on the tip of my right index finger.  It hurts.

I was a smart-ass tonight in the chow line and I got smoked for it.  Yes, my first individual smoking.  A female DS was asking people in our platoon chain-of-command questions.  She flustered S***, and turned halfway around and said, “All I need is a yes or NO, is that so hard?”  I said, “Drill Sergeant, yes GEN A*** is the TRADOC commander, Drill Sergeant.”  She told me to drop for getting up in her business.  I did some push-ups, then she came back and got right up in my face and started firing questions at me.  I pissed her off because I answered them all correctly.  My platoon was proud of me.

22 October 2000
1000 hrs

I’m getting sick again.  I have a cough and I’m stuffed up.  Someone just mopped their room and used way too much bleach.  It’s giving me a headache.  I am not sick.  I am not sick.  I am not sick.  I just got back from church.  I saw J***, and she said she misses me so much.  Her platoon sucks and she hasn’t made any friends.  I feel really bad for her.

2000 hrs

Yay!  We went to the PX today.  The day was very uneventful.  P*** is starting to drive me crazy.  “And one time, at band camp…”  That’s P***, sad but true.  She has a boring story for everything, and she always has to be right.  It was funny when she started bragging about her ASVAB score being the highest ever in the state of Nebraska, when mine was 5 points higher.

24 October 2000
2100 hrs

It’s lights out, I absolutely must sleep.  I feel like crap, my body is so exhausted, and tomorrow we’re up at 0345 hrs again.  Yesterday was the Teamwork Development Course (TDC), and today we had a long march, the pugil bout, and the bayonet assault course.  Tomorrow we go to the gas chamber!  Yikes!  I’ll write more about everything later…

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