Sunday, October 3, 2010

Things to be wary of about BCT

Ok, all through Basic, people were trying to sell me crap. And it is crap. First, there's the graduation ring. I bought it. I figured it'd be a nice keep sake. I don't wear it, but I'm still glad I purchased it. That was around $150.

They tried to sell me plaques. I (thankfully!) didn't buy any. They're tacky, and cheaply made. You could get something much better for the same price somewhere else. Those that did buy them seemed to like them though...their thoughts on it may have changed now since it's been awhile since we graduated however!

T-Shirts. This is a big one. They offered these shirts for sale, which I know 90% of the people at BCT would not have bought in the civilian world. However, since we weren't allowed to ever shop or spend money on anything, people ate these things up. A few went so far as to buy the $500 dollars worth! I only bought the company T-shirt for $18 or $20...I can't remember.

PHOTOS AND YEARBOOK ----- This my friends, is the single, biggest ripoff in all of BCT. They actually photoshop hats onto the pictures. On top of that, the pictures are skewed and flattened to no end. There was no one...NO ONE who was happy with their photos. But, you're not allowed to see them before purchase, and there are no refunds.

My brother, who's a former Marine, had great photos taken when he was at Boot camp. They have a little velcro vest-type thing of the blue dress coat, then they put the hat on them and take the photo. It makes a great picture worthy of hanging in your home. The Army...ugh.

The yearbook is all stock photo's. All the things you do (save for the gas chamber pictures) are stock photo's that they reuse year after year. Then, they simply insert pages of everyone in your company and you're done. They do it so cheaply that you can clearly see where they inserted the pages when you look at the book when it's closed.

My blood is boiling just thinking about the crap they have you buy.

They also have someone come and try to get you to purchase shot glasses, decorative pens, etc. All a bunch of crap, really. But they do it because they know the money is burning a hole in peoples pockets.

It's ridiculous that they do this to people...and that the government allows it.

Long time no talk!

Hi all!

I can't believe I have posted an update on here between now and the last post! I did write a post at Victory forge which I will post here, now. I apologize for not writing this sooner!

This will be a long blog post, since it will encompass all of Victory Forge, so 5 days 4 nights. We'll be sleeping in big tents which are probably full of all sorts of things I hate, like wolf spiders, centipedes, etc.

We wake up at 0420 tomorrow (Saturday), and will be marching at 0520. The march is to be 3-3 and a half hours. We'll have all of our gear except our bulletproof vests on. Those, as well as our Molly's (ruck sacks) that we are finally using.

I'm excited to start this final challange. Naturally, if it were optional I would say, "Screw this!" but I'm very excited to get that sense of accomplishment that I know will come once I'm done. I also think that a lot of the activities will be fun. I enjoy the MOUT training, and Anzio range will be a blast.

Anzio range is, as far as I know, the last time we will fire live ammo in BCT. It is where you fire off of the back of the truck - - correction: It is now HMMWV's. We then jump out of the car and take cover behind wrecked cars and whatnot and shoot at targets.

Another thing we'll be doing is guarding the entrances. I have a feeling someone will try to run it! We pulled duty there two weeks ago to clean the area and there were a ton of spent blanks at the checkpoint. Aww yeah!

Like I said, it should be a lot of fun. The only things I'm really not looking forward to are the march out there, the creepy-crawlies that I just know I'm going to run into, and finally, the Port-a-Potties. I HATE Portajohns, and have so far managed to avoid using them for anything but peeing. 5 days...the moth isn't looking good!

Victory Forge Day 1 3/6/10

We made it to Victory Forge! It was a 9.6 mile march, and for some reason it was extremely easy! No one dropped out, either. On the way there, the people tha tbring food to us in the field were there about halfway through the march. They gave us a peanut butter granola bar and an apple as we walked past.
When we arrived, we had breakfast. I had a single French toast (they didn't provide syrup), half a scoop of eggs, unflavored oatmeal, peach slices (which I put in the oatmeal) and cereal. It was the first time I've gotten full from the food that they bring us. I was ecstatic!

After breakfast we put our laser tag gear on our regular gear. We then had MRE's for lunch. After lunch we marched a mile or so in our gear (except for our assault packs) and trained doing patrols and coming under fire.

Since I'm a squad leader I was in chage or two 6-person fire teams. I thought we did well, only 2 of our team died, and that's because they didn't do what they were instructed. The drill sergeants said that we were tied with another team for being best. Go us!

Once we were done there, we marched back to the FOB (Forward Operating Base) for dinner. I was able to get seconds, so I am full again! I'm actually starting to like it when they bring out our food!

I had this pasta stuff that has ground meat, onions, green peppers and a brown sauce. Rice with gravy, corn, and salad with no dressing. Oh, and some blue koolaid that was actually sweet!

Now I'm in my sleeping bag, on my cot. I have the second fireguard shift, which is also good. Tomorrow we're doing more MOUT stuff. Yay!


Ugh! Busy! Since I didn't write for a couple days, I'll start with Sunday.

On Sunday, we did our MOUT exercise. It was awesome! I was in charge of two 4-man teams and we patrolled through a mock up of an Iraqi village. Some civilians came out talking to us saying all kinds of things and wouldn't stop when I yelled at them to do so. I raised my rifle and took a knee for a better stance and yelled for them to stop again, this time with an F-Bomb thrown in. That's when the ambush happened.

Windows on either side of the road opened up and the "terrorists" (played by squad mates) opened fire. I got my team behind cover along the side of a 2-story building they were firing from, called for smoke and then moved my team to the breach position by the door. We breached the bottom floor and as I was heading through the door, I got popped in the back by someone I popped in the head in the building across the street that decided that he didn't need to play by the rules.

Anyway, my teams successfully cleared that building with only 1 loss. They popped more smoke in the street and then crossed into a U-shaped 1-story building. There the SAW (M249) really shone, since the building was built like a long, U shaped hallway. All terrorists were destroyed save 1 who became our prisoner. We also lost another person. I'd call it a success!

Then yesterday (Mar. 8) we trained in FOB security, learning how to search people and deal with them if they have stuff on them, like bombs, guns, etc. We learned how to search vehicles as well.

We also started training for Anzio. The training only covered the dismounted portion, but was still very fun.

Once it got dark we road marched to the night land nav course and did night navigation until around 2300 hours. We then came back and went to bed.

Today isn't over yet (it's 15:13 as I write this), but it's been a pretty easy day. Since we went to bed late last night, the Drill Sergeants let us sleep until 6. We got up, ate breakfast (no seconds, sadly) and then put on all our gear (and I do mean ALL of our gear) for the mornings activities.

What we did was...drumroll please...FOB security! We went in 30 minute shifts, so my squad didn't get to go until 11:00 hours. In the meantime we pulled 360° security in the woods and fended off a few attacks from another platoon that had already done the security detail.

When we finally got our chance to pull security, absolutely nothing happened. I was pretty upset about it because some (not all) of the other teams got ambushed, had suicide bombers, car bombs, vehicles trying to run through the gate, etc. To have nothing but a range patrol truck leave...who wasn't even part of the exercise, kinda sucked. We got through it though. We then at lunch (MRE's...I had chicken with Feta cheese and Tomatoes, yum!) and are now playing the waiting game so familier.

Soon we going to be turning in our MILES gear (our laser tag gear) and then hop into the HMMWV's and do a dry run at Anzio. After that who knows...we'll probably eat dinner then get to bed. Altogether a pretty easy, unproductive day...on our final FTX which I'm kind of shocked about. I thought this was supposed to be hard, never ending, exhaustive work!

Finally got busy! We ended up marching back on these sandy trails where the sand is about 5-6 inches deep (maching in that crap sucks). Then we got into the order we would be in in the HMMWV's. After we got into the truck, we drove down the paths we just marched along and the turret gunner fired blanks at people in the woods. We then circled around, dismounted, and started our patrol. We encountered the enemy about 200 yards or so away, and I called everyone to the left berm to engage. Once done with that we picked up our casings, went back to the FOB, ate, and then went to bed.

Our last day at Victory Forge. It was spent at the Anzio range. Like every other time at the range (any range here on base), 90% of the day was spent playing the waiting game while 240-something other people went ahead and did what they were supposed to do.

When my squad finally did go (the first time...with blanks), I was in the front and had to work the radio for the mounted portion of the patrol.
We turned down the first road, where the turret gunner engages his targets. The road looped around, and the second time we take a turnoff to go through a little town on foot. The scenario we were given for this is that my squad (3 HMMWV's with 4 people in each) were on a normal patrol when we encounter sniper fire. So, the turret engages and then we do a foot patrol through the village to make sure we've eliminated the threat. However, I digress!

The dismounted portion was actually a lot cooler than the mounted. We parked and got out, leaving the driver and turret gunner in the vehicle to cover us. Then we got into formation and started walking threw the town with the vehicles close behind. After awhile, they set off this thing that I can only describe as maybe a half-stick of dynamite. We would then take up a defensive potion and engage targets downrange.

Once all of our ammo was expended the drill sergeants would say that one of my squad was hit in the arm, or leg, or where ever and would need to be treated, then loaded into the HMMWV. Then we moved out, and I had to get on the radio and give a 9-line medevac request.

While doing the 9-line, I had a brainfart and got it all mixed up. It wasn't that big a deal however, as I got the first 5 (the essential parts) out.

We did Anzio twice. The first time with blanks, and the second time was with the live ammo.

While waiting to fire my live rounds, I was at the front of my squad waiting. and my nose got an itch. So, I stuck the tip of my thumb up there and scratched a bit. DS Johnson saw me while I was doing it and called out to me saying that I was gross. Remembering how much he loves to say things like, " and your battle buddies spoon at night," and " then have your battle buddy lick it out," when I told him my ear was clogged once, I looked at him, looked at my thumb, then moved it to the guy standing next to me's face (without touching him, of course!). DS Johnson burst out laughing and turned around real fast. I love making DS's laugh!

Once we finished Anzio, we officially completed all of our training for BCT! We still have a lot to do, but our training is complete.

We went back to the FOB for dinner and to load up all our gear on the truck. We then marched to the middle of the FOB to meet up with the rest of the Battalion to go over what was going to happen at the Rights of Passage ceremony.

That took a surprisingly long time because we have to be in sync (there are 1400 of us) and we were having problems with it. Then we marched out of the FOB 4 abreast to the Rights of Passage.
It wasn't a very long march...maybe a mile tops, but it was all uphill and 90% of it was in that deep sand I love so much. We were all so pumped up though that it didn't present much of a challenge.

You could tell when we got there because you could hear yelling, and there were a TON of tiki torches lining the path. Then we arrived, and they were playing AC/DC out of these big speakers and had fire barrels going and all kinds of stuff. It was very cool. There was a whole ceremony that I won't get in to, but needless to say, we were all very pumped by the end.

That, was Victory Forge (for me).

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Only 18 more days and a wake up! We don't have much more to do. About the only training we have left is our final PT test (tomorrow, the 1st), Omaha Beach at some point this week. It's basically where you and a battle buddy run from cover to cover picking off enemies covering each other. Then on either Saturday or Sunday we will be going to Victory Forge. That is the last thing we do in basic. Everything after that is exchanging our issued stuff like clothing, turning in our gear, out processing, etc.

Before I carry on, I'd like to thank Sharon for her letter. If/when you read this be expecting a letter very soon, if you haven't gotten it yet.

Victory Forge is the event where everything you've learned in basic comes together. It's 4 nights and 5 days long and you get called out to do missions. Things like cleaning buildings, firing from moving vehicles, setting up checkpoints, rescuing pinned down squads, etc. Fun stuff, but we'll be tired.

It's also our last march (Yay!!), and we're going to be marching there. It's nice because we'll be fresh, but it sucks because it's mostly uphill. Personally, I'd rather march back. I think we would be a lot more motivated on the way back since we will have just completed the last event and Right of Passage, but hey; I'll do it either way.

Today, being Sunday, all we do is clean. Well, actually, we are on free time until noon, then clean until 15:00 - 16:00 or so. We then get our phones for 30 minutes (unless someone messes up) and we then go to dinner. Then we come back, the Drill Sergeant will talk to us for a bit, then we get another hour of free time. At 20:30 we have hydration formation, and then it's lights our at 21:00. Those are BCT Sundays, they are awesome.

Monday, February 15, 2010

February 7, 2010

This week was insanely busy. We went to the range almost very day. The exception was on... Thursday I believe it was. We went to the shooting simulator that day for out first experience at engaging multiple pop up targets. It was fun. That simulator impresses the hell out of me. It's amazing how far technology has brought us!

When we marched to the sim, we passed a bunch of people graduating. They were with their families and all that. It really made me miss my loved ones. But, there are only 5 or so weeks left that's only 5 more Sundays!

On Friday, we had a really crappy day. It was raining and it was cold. We had to shoot while lying down in that crap. I think a lot of people are now sick because of that.

Basic is still flying past. I'm surprised about that, to be honest. I'm surprised because I'm still with the same people. We are all bickering and testy with each other, but are able to pull together for the most part when we need to. As far as bickering though, the males can't hold a candle to the females! They are constantly at everyone's throat. They don't even need a reason to get nasty with everyone... they just are.

I have to believe that there is one in every platoon... or company at least, but there is a guy in my platoon that reminds me of Lawrence (aka Gomer Pyle) from Full Metal Jacket. He's a nice enough guy... sounds just like Bill Clinton when he talks, but he just can't do anything right. We all try to help hi,, but he doesn't take us seriously. Yesterday we all got haircuts and went to the crappiest PX ever. We all bought what we needed. (Some people bought like $200 worth of crap), and left. Well wouldn't you know it! Gomer Pyle left his rifle (a brand new M4) at the PX, which was now closed! To say the Drill Sergeant was upset is an understatement. She let him simmer for a while, then gave him his rifle (she picked it up when she saw it sitting there) along with Big Bertha. Big Bertha is a huge M-16 that weighs like 40 pounds. They give it to people that forget/lose their weapons.

That's pretty much all that is going on at basic right now! White phase is all about shooting weapons, and this part (getting ready to qualify) is pretty boring. We do the same thing day in day out.

Stay tuned for the next installment!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

January 22

Well god damn! Today was a hell of a day. We marched with most of our gear across Fort Jackson to the confidence course... Well, let me back up. Wake up was at 0445, so that we could march at 0600. We marched for about 2 hours with most of our gear to the confidence course.

What the Confidence (I swear the Army hurts spelling) course is, is basically an obstacle course. It's probably a quarter mile long, with walls you jump over, nets you climb, pipes you go through, logs you walk over, ditches you crawl through, etc. My platoon, the Great Danes, got the best time of our company. The exercise I liked most of all that... that's a tough one. Probably the easy ones where we had to jump through windows, haha.

After the obstacle course (I forgot to mention they fed us breakfast there), they marched us about a mile down some crappy trail to the NBC, most commonly known as the gas chamber! Once we got there, we had to change our shirts and socks, like always, and then they made us eat our MRE's. Personally, I was kinda butthurt that they made us eat right before getting gassed, but figured that if I was going to blow chunks, I was going to do it spectacularly with a full stomach since I was starving.

Once we finished eating, they sat us down for a class on how to clear our masks, etc. It was taught by this black lady that had the most massive boobs I've ever seen, and said as much to the guy sitting next to me. He replied with, "Yeah... I'd like to see her pass her PT test!" Hahaha!

Not long after the class had ended, they lined us up by platoon. Once lined up, we marched up the hill to the NBC chamber. They then arranged us so we were facing each other. When it was our turn to go in, the big breasted sergeant said, "Gas Gas Gas!" and we put on our masks. While waiting to go into the chamber (we were the second in line), three people popped out the back door (a big no-no), and threw their masks and collapsed retching, coughing, and screaming.

Naturally, this didn't make me feel better about doing thing... Not long after they ran out, they called us in. Now, the room is just that. All that it is is an empty space with a table in the middle where they drop the CS things in. There are two doors on either side of the building; one for each wall, where the people line up.

So anyway, the first thing we had to do was pull our mask up about halfway off out face and recite our rank, last name, first name, and the last four digits of our socials. After we did that (which I did fine, btw) we had to turn to our left to face the front doors. They then told us to remove our masks and say the soldiers' creed. I got a fair distance into the creed, then I decided to open my eyes. Worst. Mistake, Ever. As soon as I did that I took a breath involuntarily.

My eyes started watering, my nose started running, I was coughing and then, oh god, I was going to throw up! I leaned to the side so that I wouldn't puke on the guy in front of me's back, and at the same time grabbed his shoulder because my eyes were squeezed shut. I did a good gag, with nothing coming up. Then I felt the guy I was holding onto shift forward, so I opened my eyes just a little and saw light towards where the door was.

As soon as I was outside, I shoved the person in front of me out of the way as I took off at a run. Little did I realize at the time, however, that the outside air actually makes it worse! As soon as the fresh air entered my lungs and hit my eyes it got about x50 worse. I kept hearing one of the female drill sergeants yell, "keep your eyes open!" but it was impossible. With all the tears and burning your eyes automatically close, and you don't want to touch them with your hands!

After running around coughing, flapping my arms like a bird, and weaving all over the place since I was blind, I felt like I had to puke again. So, I bent over, put my hands on my knees and braced for it. I let out the worst gag and burp simultaneously ever. I remember actually thinking, "Ohh, that's so fucking gross, that's going to make someone puke from the sound alone." After about 5 minutes though, I was back to normal... with clear sinuses.

Monday, January 25, 2010

January 21

This is the 3rd time I've written this letter. Every time I've started writing it, something comes up and I lose it. So, in order to avoid that, I'm writing it on this huge clipboard thing I bought at the PX.

I was really down yesterday. We did the pugil sticks on the 19th, and I sprained my wrist really, really badly. I mean it's so bad that I couldn't use the fucker. So, I decided that I should go get some X-rays to make sure that it wasn't broken.

When I got to sick call, I had to wait 4 freaking hours only for them to tell me that if I wanted X-rays, I would have to be put on a medical profile which would prevent me from graduating on time. So, I said screw that and am dealing with the pain. They did give me some Ibuprofen for the pain, but it doesn't help. Today it seems to be better, though.

On to happier subjects, tomorrow we go to th gas chamber. I'm starting to get a little more nervous, of course, it doesn't help that they have been playing videos of it all day. I think I'll be fine though. If thousands of people do it a year, then it's survivable.

We were supposed to go on our first field training exercise (FTX) today, but it's raining so they canceled it. Now we had basic rifle marksmanship (BRM) today, all day. It was interesting, but it was just what the name implies: basic. So tomorrow, before we go to the gas chamber, we are going to go on a 3-mile or so march. It'll suck, especially since we have to do another one so that we spend the night in the field. It'll only help us in the long run, though, so fuck it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

January 18th

It's Monday, Martin Luther King day. We had combatives again today, where they taught us some new moves. Towards the end, though we all fought each other. This is going to sound really, really bad, but I choked the shit out of a few of the girls I had to fight, hahaha. They choked me a few times too, though. Over all it was really fun. Once dude who doesn't try on anything (he really is a IRL Gomer Pyle) fought me, and wouldn't do anything. Since that defeats the purpose, I just started twisting his nipples until he fought back.

For the rest of the day... we didn't do much. We did "area beautification," and tightened up all the straps on my... or our, rather, assault vests and helmets.

Oh! We got smoked pretty good today! They fucking dudes in another platoon changed the tape that has your name on it on your bed... wait, sorry. Let me start over: On our lockers & beds, we have scotch tape with our names on it. Some one, or some people, went into someone's room and did something to someone's tapes to make it say "ass". We also got smoked first thing this morning because our failure of a platoon guide messed up the count. She really fucking sucks.