Saturday, October 31, 2009


Friday was a long day. We started with PT formation at 0515. Turns out that I did get to skip PT but I still had to be up and in formation at 0515 so its not like I got to sleep in :/
Our first class wasn't until 0900 so we had plenty of time to get ready and have some chow. We had a couple boring platoon lectures and some good student presentations in the morning (i still haven't gone and therefore won't go until we come back from the field).

After chow we had our midterm. It was 50 questions with multiple choice/matching/true false. You had to get 70% so you needed a 35/50. No one in the class failed. Basically if you looked at the study guide you were fine. I got a couple of the matching mixed up. We then had about a 2 hour break before the whole company had 2 briefs in the big auditorium. The first was pretty good but of course I was so tired I did dose off a little. It was about the difference between civilian trauma medicine and military trauma medicine. He talked a lot about the use of tourniquets and reliving tension pneumothoraxes in the field. The second brief was about the FTX. Basic hygiene, things we can't bring with us and the way the FOB is set up. The lectures finally ended at 1800.

Our platoon however had our platoon social last night. We just had a cookout at the hotel. It was pretty good we all pitched in and got hotdogs, hamburgers, beans, chips and soda. Many people brought their own beer. It was kina chilly but we had a good turnout and some people from other platoons mooched off of us. We also changed leadership (it changes every Friday) My roomie is our new squad leader and she made me A team leader so it looks like I will actually have to do something this upcoming week :)

What I learned:
-They take the Friday night saftey breifs really seriously, this week's lasted 30 minutes!
-They put things on the field packing list that they do not issue. Therefore its not actually required.
-If you have cat eyes from camp for your kevlar bring them, it is not issued

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Good News: We got to sleep in with our first class starting at 0830. Bad news some people got the wrong time, showed up late and now we get to have platoon formations before every hard-time.
The morning started off very slow with some very boring briefs. I can't even tell you what they were about. We had a couple student presentations, I still haven't gone. After lunch we had 2 more briefs including a 1.5hour one on hand receipts. We did get out early though at 1530. Our midterm is tomorrow and they gave us a review sheet that had exactly which slides to study. So hopefully it should go well. 70B are Medical Service Corps. They will most likely be PLs for a unit of medics.

Things I learned:
-There are no good thrift stores right outside of base. Or at least no organized ones, but it did have Polypro tops for $4
-All females have to have a well woman exam in medpros. I am not doing mine until we come back from the field since they might yell at me for ignoring the CT I had right before I came
-I gave blood yesterday and I was supposed to get out of PT tomorrow. Well somehow chain of command didn't understand that one and I still have to go.
-For the HW you can work in groups including the OP Order.

I really wish more people here understood the importance of Thursday evening viewing of Grey's Anatomy :/

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hump day

This morning started off with ability group PT. My group was led by a CPT cadre member that used to be a cross-fit trainer so of course we did a cross-fit workout. It was lots of lunges, push-ups and sit-ups. I am already starting to feel those lunges and I am hoping with enough stretching tonight it won't be too bad tomorrow.

My platoon then had Optometry at 0730. This went very smoothly actually. We divded into glasses and no glasses. If you were already in medpros you got to leave. Basically I gave them my prescription and then they did a quick snellen test with my glasses on to ensure the prescription was good. I then go to try on some BCGs to wear out in the field and I was out of there. I will also be getting a second set of inserts for my eyepro. I was out in under 10min.

I then had my second opportunity to donate blood. After eating bacon all week my iron was a go :) I did great, ate my cookies and as I was walking out started to not feel so hot. They got me before I passed out but I had to stay an extra hour, and eat tons more cookies. I made it to class around 1000 and they had been doing presentations for a while. We broke for chow around 12 and then had 2 lectures. I did not get to do my presentation so I guess I'll go tomorrow.

They told us we had to be at the O-club at 1645 for the CG (commanding general) reception. We get there and they do the whole receiving line and they told us we would get chow. Well it was finger foods and not enough of them. The dean of health sciences academy gave a brief speech and then I thought we were done. But nope. The Captain's career course had a bunch of trifolds set up for each of the duty stations and we got to go around and ask questions. The Walter Reed questions were mainly about where to live and parking (there is a 6 month waiting list to get a parking permit) so basically metro in. They also talked about the combining for Bethesda, belvoir and meade.

Finally they had all the AOCs break off and we got to ask questions of all the nursing captains. There was a bunch or OR nurses, 2 med/surg, a couple OB, and one ICU. They definitely gave me a lot to think about. The OR nurses were very passionate and talked a lot about the power they held in their OR rooms. I was told that yes I can do my preceptorship on a peds floor since it is med/surg however, they will quickly pull me off since I am deployable and peds is not a skill used in theater. So....I am back to the drawing board and really have no idea what I am going to focus on in the army. Also if you do a specialty course which you are guaranteed a spot for one in your contract you automatically owe the army another year. Even if you only take 1 one week of the course and decide you don't like it, it is another year of commitment. If you do complete the course you will be that specialty for the rest of your army career. ...lots to think about.

On another note, Combatives training is open to all those who passed their PT test however only 5 from each platoon are allowed to train for level 1 certification. Originally this was only allowed for 70B since it is 2 hours training during the day the last 2 weeks we are here when we are in our tracks. So the top 5 PT scorers that were interested and 70B got put on the list. However we had a couple nurses in our platoon go above heads to complain and they got permission to do it. Well they had higher PT scores so 2 70B got bumped. This is quite upsetting not only because they jumped chain of command but it is pointless for them to be certified. Unlike 70B they have no use for combatives! Plus the 70B that got bumped was very excited and passionate about this certification.

Well, I am EXHAUSTED from donating blood and just a long day in general. So glad I get to sleep in tomorrow until 0700 :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Poke me!!!

Yup Immunizations and blood draw day!
It started off with a chilly morning and we had formation outside the TMC (troop medical clinic) at 0545. Only to find out the clinic doesn't open until 0630. So after a chilly wait we all filed in to determine who needed what shots and blood draws. Even though I had brought my records and titers with me I still needed to get the Hep A vaccine (which Hurt!) plus Tetanus and Polio vaccine (who knew adults got polio???) and I had to have my blood drawn to verify my blood type. Some people had many more shots and blood draws and those lucky enough to be going to Korea had to get Anthrax. This whole process of course took a long time and I finally made it to class around 1000.
We spent the rest of the morning listening to briefs had some chow and then we were supposed to do our presentations. But instead we learned about Op Orders for 2 hours. Now, I spent an entire year learning how to write, give, and execute an Op Order. My direct commissionee classmates had to learn all of this in less than 2 hours. Let me tell you there was a lot of confused people. Plus our HW which is due Friday includes writing a complete Platoon level Op order from general information-not from a Company Op Order. Class finished at 1600 so I was able to go for a run before chow and now I have to do lots of HW, study for my Mid-term on Friday and finish preparing for my brief tomorrow. sigh.

Things I learned:
-They do not look at immunization records that took place before the age of 13
-You need a current PPD.
-The Hep A shot hurts and I apprently am one of the few gentically gifted people that can taste it. Yup it tasted like metal.
-It is very simple to get a mailbox here. Just go to the basement of the AMEDD building and they have a mailroom where you can sign up for a box. All you need is an ID and an address for them to forward mail to you when you leave.
-You get your letters and flat packages while you are in the field. Big packages you can pick up when you return Friday evenings.
-There are no running trails on post. Its either the track or the road.
-Rumor is that our tents out in the field are heated!

Monday, October 26, 2009

It ain't training if it ain't raining


This morning we had PT at 0530 and it was overcast and we knew it was supposed to thunderstorm today. Well we did ability group runs and about 1/2 mile into the run, the heavens opened and boy did it rain. It was ridiculous you could not see anything, it was coming in sideways and it felt like hail hitting you. And then the lightening came, but did we stop? Of course not! Another ability group claims to have been running past a light-post when lightening hit it, about 5 feet from them. They could smell the burning! When we finally finished our 3 miles we were soaked and freezing! After a warm shower and some hot coffee I was good to go. The rain however continued all day, it is only now starting to taper off!

All the platoons did something different this morning but mine started the day off with EST (the electronic rifle range). I have done this before as well as the live range. In both instances I did miserably and was never even able to zero my weapon. Cadre in the past have simply told me that I am just really bad at it and not to worry since I am a nurse. Well this morning started off no different and I didn't even get the shots on the screen! After 18 rounds of hitting nothing the cadre stopped me and asked if I was even aiming! It was embarrassing. Anyway they said nobody could be that bad so they did an exercise to see what dominant eye I was. Well apparently I am right handed and left eye dominant. Ideally I should shoot with my left hand and close my right eye. Well shooting left handed was really awkward for me so they told me to just close my left eye. Well I can't wink so they made this "super cool" eye patch which was just paper wrapped around my eyepro on the left side. Well let me tell you, I saw a totally different picture-it was amazing! Who would have thought?! Well I didn't shoot expert but I was able to group, zero, and get 18 shots on the qualifying round. They told me to work on shooting with my left hand and if I make that comfortable then I should have no problem qualifying on the real range. We get the opportunity to qualify out in the field so I'll let you know how that goes. Still I am very excited to learn that I don't suck as much as everyone said I did!

We then had some chow and my squad leader told me to go to the ID office to get my CAC card. Well I went over there and they about bite my head off! They told me that they were not seeing ANY oblc students before Thursday. So my squad leader told me to go to Randolph Air Force Base. Four people in my squad went out there (which was also an adventure since we got lost on the way there) and what do you know 15 minutes later we all had CAC cards. When we got back our platoon was in the classroom. We missed about an hour but still had to listen to 2 hours of powerpoints on how to create a good PT program, and our "Current Operating Environment" or COE. very dull. The day ended at about 1715.

We all have to do a brief and so I am working on my powerpoint tonight. We start giving them tomorrow and they are doing volunteers first so I know I won't go but we all have to be ready anyway.

What I learned:
-They do not stop PT for lightening
-Careful when running in the rain, these roads are awful and more than one person fell.
-You can get a CAC card before you come if you are in the system.
-You need 2 forms of ID for a CAC card but only one of them has to be a picture ID
-Laundry machines are scare here and everyone always seems to be doing laundry. Its free if you can get a machine but if you don't want to wait there is a cheap coin laundry mat right outside the back gate.
-You get issued a Gortex jacket but you need to buy your own rank to slide onto it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Thur and Friday

It was an early morning for my platoon since we had dental. Basically if you did not have records you had to get a panaramic xray. If you were going over seas you got a full exam. Those that failed the PT test started remedial PT. It was pouring rain so I heard they did tons of stairs inside the AMEDD building.
Our day was once again spent full of briefings. We had a sexual assault briefing, a breifing on how to use AKO and one on EO. After some chow we classroom learning on the Army organization.

Another early morning this time so that all of us could get the Flu Mist. It was suprisingly well run and we gave ourselves the mist. After this we got our LBEs, and patrol caps to go out for BMI-Basic Markmenship Instruction. We learned how to dissassemble and reassemble the M16, how to lay in the prone supported/unsupported and kneeling. And practiced some zeroing techniques. We go to the EST next week. After some chow we met in our platoons and did Take Charge Breifings where on the spot we had to get up in front and give a 3-5 minute beif pretending we were meeting our platoon, or ward for the first time.
Our final briefing of the day included direction from HQ saying we all had to carry hand sanitizer and of course the safety briefing for the weekend. Apparently numerous people have already gotten speeding tickets here on post.

This morning I went out to this great little section of New Brunsfield called Guerene (pronounced green) it was this great old western place and had fantastic antique shops and unique jewelry. It was only about 30 minutes away!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

PT test!!!

So first....I PASSED!!!!!!!!!! wahoo, soo glad that it is behind me :)

Of course the morning started with alot of anxious people. The pushups and situps went pretty smoothly with two lanes of 8 graders each. To be honest my last PT test was at LDAC which was the strictest one I have ever taken and this one paled in comparison. I saw graders counting push-ups on people that weren't going down far enough and not extending enough. Personally I got complimented on my form and then when my back started to sag he wouldn't count them. It was the same grader that counted bad ones on the person before but all well. It was all done on the grass and with my situps I do the technique where I throw myself back and pop-up. Needless to say I have a couple very ugly bruises on the bottom of my shoulder blades but he counted all my situps so I'm not complaining. We did the run on a 1/2 mile track so it was four laps around. It was still pitch dark and we had over 100 people on the track. We also had people on permanent profile that did the walk. We did the staggered start and you yelled out a call sign to your grader each time you passed. Thankfully once you were all done you could leave.
Only half of our class went today but there was a large number of failures I don't think quite 50% but it was up there.

A hot shower and a great breakfast later we started platoon classes for the day. We started with "Duties, Responsibilities, and Authority of Officers, NCOs, and Warrant Officers" Quite dull. Then Operational Terms and graphics. And at this point I was struggling so bad to stay awake I got some coffee on our next brake and the last lecture was Troop Leading Procedures. I am beginning to think they are squishing 4 years of ROTC in 7 weeks.

After a quick lunch the whole class met in the auditorium for a 4! hour communications class. At this point we were all in the auditorium so I gave up and have to admit dozed through some of it. It was all about how to give a good brief and use powerpoint etc. Again if you have ever given a military powerpoint it was very pointless. We were done for the day at 1700. and of course it was pouring rain when we finished. Due to the forecast of thunderstorms tomorrow the others are taking their PT test on Friday.

Things I learned:
-Tomorrow I get to go to Dental at 0530 since I don't have dental records. so bring your dental records with you.
-Officers records ONLY show pass/fail of PT test. So unless you are looking to go to a specialty training like airborne/air assault no one will know your score.
-I had dessert for the first time since being here and have to admit the mint chocolate chip soft serve ice cream is fantastic :)
-The roads are as bad here as Norfolk... they flood!!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dullest day yet

Yet another long day full of briefs. We started with a PT formation at 0515, but they just read the standards for tomorrow's PT test and we stretched.

Our first brief of the morning at 0800 was on Modern Army Combatives. If you pass your PT test you get to do combatives every Thursday and if you are really good you can sit for the level 1 certification test in December. Personally this combo of brazilian jhit-zhu/judo really has zero appeal to me.
Next was a long brief on all things you need to know about Tricare (DOD health insurance). This was very very dull for anyone that knows anything about Tricare. It was only really important for those with dependents and how to get them into DEERs and Tricare.
Next was the standard Army Suicide Prevention powerpoint. I am pretty sure I have seen it at least 3 times before.
We then broke into our Platoons and went into our classrooms. We had a lesson on the Military Decision Making Process. I think they stole the slides from ROTC, again very dull. They give you all the slides in your texts so you don't really even need to take notes.
After Chow we had another Platoon class this time on Convoy Operations. It was 98 slides long and very hard to stay awake in. It didn't help that our teacher had a monotonous voice.
Finally our last brief of the day was from a COL. Who once again told us his expectations of officers and told us again no fraternizations, DUIs etc. I think they have to remind us of this at least once a day.
Tomorrow is the PT test!!!!!!!!!! I am feeling anxious simply because of all the talk. Formation is at 0440. So I am stretching and trying to get some sleep.

Things I learned:
-I actually discovered this on Sunday but there are no Dunkin Donuts on or near Post :( I thought DD was a standard on all military instillations.
-You really need to drive to PT and classes since you don't have time to walk. However, it highly recommended to get a carpool going since parking is limited. Careful you pick people who are on time. People have been late to formation and have been blaming it on their ride. Also helps to keep your carpool to people in your Platoon since different platoons have different report times.
-I broke down at bought a Router at the PX. If you know you are going to have a roommate I suggest you bring one. It makes life a ton easier.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I'm not a fan of Mondays

It was a very long and busy Monday. Nothing terrible, just tedious.

We had first formation at 0700 so we got up early to eat chow and get in formation. Our TAC kept telling everyone to walk saying it was just a 10minute jaunt. I don't think he ever did it because it took 22 minutes and we were not strolling. It is partly because there is so much construction on this post.
Our first breif of the day was from the SARC, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. She emphaize once again all that the Army is doing to prevent these crimes and to help those who are victims.
We then broke down in our platoons to have our first real classroom learning. Each platoon gets a class Advisor who is a Captain and a professor in AMEDD. We learned all about FOBs. Their security, and media on the battlefield. If you went to camp in 2009 this was way too familiar. We found out that each of us will have to give a ten minute presentation on either a pre selected topic or one of your own. I chose "The history of the Army Dining In". Again a lot of grumbling on that point, I guess most people don't realize just how much the Army loves powerpoint and presentations. We also got our textbooks. Five soft cover books to include one HW book that has all the slides and assignments in it.
After a quick break for chow we had a briefing by the COL of AMEDD school. Yet again he emphasized the importance of no fraternization (they must have had some serious problems in the past) and how much he expected of us.
The last brief of the day was a lengthy explanation and demonstration of the PT test events. Of course it put everyone on edge and we all left very stressed. I am very curious how it will go and how hard the graders will be. The said that typically in the past 50% of the class fails!!! Direct commissionees have 180 days to pass but obviously the goal is to pass here. The re take date is Dec 2nd.

What I learned:

-The black knit cap is no longer authorized. I had to run to clothing and sales this evening to get the green felt one. oh and clothing and sales closes at 1900.
-If you platoon has stragglers you will be required to have a formation before every meal and at the end of the day. Very annoying!
-It is almost impossible to survive with just one Ethernet cable in the room. I think I am breaking down and buying a modem tomorrow.
-Only water is authorized in the classrooms but there is a starbucks in the basement of the school building you can go to on breaks.
-As annoying as the false motivation was at camp I would take it compared to all of the complaining I hear here. We are not a motivated class and cadre don't seem to care about that.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sat: AMEDD musuem tour

unfortunately we did not get the entire weekend free. We all had to do a guided tour of the AMEDD museum today. Platoons 1 and 2 went at 1000, 3 and 4 at 1200 and 5 and 6 at 1400. The platoons are broken down alphabetically so I am in 2nd Platoon 1 st squad. AMEDD or Army Medical Department has its home here at Ft. Sam. The museum tour took 2 hours and was pretty interesting. It went through the entire history of military medicine from the civil war to present. Interesting facts include the nurse corps was founded in 1901 males were allowed to join our ranks in the 1950s. 16 Army nurses were POWs in the vietnam war and all 16 survived. The only medal of honor in the medical corps was given to a dentist during WWII. It is an interesting story if you want to read it.

And now we have the rest of the weekend off. oh and just to clarify I do not get a free flight for Thanksgiving I merely get the time off without having to take leave.

Friday: D&C, CIF, and more briefs...and HW!

Friday was another busy day. We formed up at 0515 somewhat successfully. We immediately started learning basic D&C such as the various forms of attention, right/left face and about face. Those that were prior service and active in the past 2 years were allowed to sleep in until 0730. We then had some chow and met up at CIF. We were suppossed to get all of TA 50 but we got lucky. No more rucks sucks!! Just assault packs like those we had at camp (if you went to camp in 2009). Plus all of our molle gear was brand new which was exciting. I'm not too sure why got it all issued now since we don't go to the field for another 2 weeks but thats ok. We then learned some more marching and how to give commands marching. Thankfully those in ROTC or prior service got to go first and then leave.

We were given 2 hours to get some chow and drop off all of our gear and be at the auditorium for a long afternoon of briefs. We had briefs on how to wear the ACU, proper regs for hair both male/female, the blood bank came to talk to us about giving blood next week after the PT test, housing talked about their services and then we had the saftey briefing for the weekend. Everyone got to leave excpet for the nurses.

We got to have our own hour and half brief that lasted until 1800 on Friday evening! It was pretty interesting though. We met Maj Connor who is the liason for OBLC and all the medical centers we will be going to. She spoke about the nurse residency program which is 25.5 weeks long and the opportunity to switch duty stations with someone who is equal to you in experience. She also strongly emphasized the fact that if you do not pass your PT test here you can not go overseas and will be reassigned. I wanted to ask if that meant you get get their spot but I thought it would be rude and I'm happy with Walter Reed. She gave us info cards to fill out that included a spot for our top 3 choices of med/surg wards at our hospital. I found this very exciting since peds counts as med/surg :) She explained that NO ONE will be deployed within the first year no matter how badly you want to go. Also we got HW. We have to write a letter to our chief nurse by next thursday and we will be taking the Trauma Nurse Core Course on the weekend of Dec 11-13. We were given the text to study and learn until then. It is a requirement to get this certification while here. I have only flipped through it but it appears to be a lot to learn.

What I learned:
-There are about 150 nurses in our class. 90% of whom are direct commission and over 50% are going to either Germany or Hawaii
-Its good to have a last name at the beginning of the alphabet. We did CIF alphabetically and those at the end didn't get their stuff for over 2 hours
-We actually finish OBLC on Dec 7th and the last 2 weeks we are just with the nurses and the very last day is our mass casualty exercise in the field
-People like to ask really dumb questions that were already answered in the brief
-Direct commissionees did not have to take and pass a PT test before coming. Their first one ever will be next week. Half the class goes on Wed (i do) and the other half goes on Thursday
-If you give blood you get out of PT

Thursday, October 15, 2009

LONG day of inprocessing

This morning started with formation at 0415. It was a massive gaggle of all 370 of us, not really a formation! We did height and weight first. which went relatively quickly and then all gathered in an auditorium where we had short briefings from our TAC, a 1LT, and the Company commander a CPT and small hello from the Brigade Commander. We also had a brief from the Chaplin telling us the service times and locations. The big focus on these briefings was the big "DO NOTs" in the Army... fraternization, drunk driving, sexual assault.

We then had chow at 0700 and when we returned we found out that we were kicked out the auditorium. Typical Army we found a new place but it was smaller so we had to sit on the floor. Still it had air conditioning so I thought it was good. There was more than a few grumbles though. We did our inprocessing paperwork which took a while since we had such a wide range of people (direct commission, ROTC, green to gold, prior service, permanent party which are those being stationed at Ft. Sam). We got a quick lunch and then once more off to more briefings and paperwork.

Unforutnatley this breifing did not go as well. We were doing our paperwork that allowed us to get paid, very important! It was chaos since instead of going line by line they just had us fill it out ourselves..bad idea. There were so many questions. It took 3 hours to fill out 4 sheets! It was at this point that alot of complaining started. Personally I dozed off for a while in my seat.
Once that chaos was settled we got an hour long brief on military customs and courtesies. Mainly when and how to salute. We also found out our platoons. Its done alphabetically so I'm 2nd PLT. The first round of leadership was given to those prior service so not me :) Finally we were done at 1730 and I got some chow, and went for a run. I don't know tomorrow's schedule yet besides first formation at 0515 and CIF ( gear pickup) in the morning. First formation could be interesting since I answered the question more than once of "Whats a platoon?"

What I learned:

-Direct commissionees really really don't know anything. Be patient! and try to be nice when helping them out. After being corrected ten times they get very frustrated. More than one officer tried to walk around outside in ACUs when they didn't own a beret!
-Have account information ready including routing number. Even though I had direct deposit set up for my stipend you have to redo it unless you are goldbar or guard.

Oh and the good news. We are getting 4 days off for thanksgiving and we can get passes to fly anywhere in the continental USA!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Checking in for real

Since today was the real first day of the course we went back to building 592 to check in. This is the same building you check in for lodging. We got there at about 0800 after eating chow in the dining hall. In the lobby was a desk with our TAC officer who is a 1LT. He had two computers that we had to put all of our basic information in, and he gave us a schedule for day #2 and a handbook for the course. Because I was added so late I did not receive the welcome letter telling me to register online. This wasn't a big deal but I had to do when I got there. It started to get pretty crowded and he told us that we are supposed to have 362 in the class. Everyone stays 9 weeks excpet for the Veterinarians who stay 14. Most of the PAs went to the school that is here on post so they have been here for months already. Everyone stays in the housing excpet for those that will be stationed at Ft. Sam they are allowed to get there own housing off post. We also got our meal tickets that allow up to eat 3 meals a day 5 days a week in the dining hall. Weekends we have to get our own food but we will be reimbursed when we get to our final duty station.

Things I learned:
-You can eat in the chow hall in civilians clothes but you will most likely be the only ones doing so.
-Report early! I went back at 1230 because my room key wasn't working and the line was 60+ deep and moving very slowly.
-Try to bring as much of the packing list as you can. Clothing and Sales is always busy and always out of things since so many courses are held here.

Tomorrow's schedule:
0415 formation in PTs
0700 chow
0800-1115 breifs
1115 chow
1230 more briefings
1630 chow

Lodging and Checking In

I drove onto Ft. Sam for the first time Tuesday morning and it happened to be pouring rain. It is not a large post but its hard to find anything in the rain and fog that I was in. My orders said to check in to building 592 for lodging and then building 902. I found 592 first and they gave me the key to my room. We were supposed to stay in the big, newer BOQ that has single rooms however the Captains Career Course is going on right now also and they had priority. So we got put in the old BOQ that usually houses those going through the NCO Academy. It is on the back end of post and not too bad. Its a double with the two twin beds, a small chest of drawers under the bed and a tall closet each. (I took pictures but am having trouble finding my camera cord so they will be up soon) Each room has a bathroom with a full tub and shower and a full length mirror on the door. We have a flat screen tv mounted on the wall and a small kitchenette with a sink, microwave, and a mini fridge/freezer. We each have a desk with lamp and there is AC that we can control. I think its great but those that were expecting single rooms were slightly disappointed. The only bad thing is there is only one ethernet cord and if you want 2 computers hooked up you have to bring your own splitter. However, there is a decent wireless signal from a random linskeys account that is unlocked that you can get onto. Houskeeping cleans the rooms twice a week and you get fresh towels everyday.

I moved a couple of my things in and then decided to locate building 902. There is alot of construction on post with random road closings so I decided to walk. I had my ACUs on since I thought I had to check in with them on. Well 3 hours later I had found building 902 and was told that was a typo and I didn't need to do anything until the following day. Very frustrating but I did explore alot. There are many E1s and E2s that are here for various schools and it was exciting the first couple times to be saluted but it got old pretty quick. It was also still very humid from the rain so I was glad to go back to my room, change and finish unpacking.

My roomie came in later that afternoon. She is a direct commissionee that is coming in as a Captain since she is a nurse practitioner in maternal/fetal medicine. Basically she deals with high risk pregnancies. She is prior air force and her husband is retiring form the air force in March. She has two children that are 21 and 23. The 23 year old graduated from the Air Force Acadmey. She is pretty nervous about the course but I'm sure she'll be fine. I was exhausted and slept great but she told me it was pretty loud at night.
I met two other ROTC guys that came early and we went into downtown last night for dinner. Of course we had to have Mex and we went to this pretty cool restaurant with singers and everything. The food was spicy but good. We also briefly walked around the riverwalk and I will be excited to go back when I have more time. It looks super nice with some really great shopping opportunities.

Things I learned:
DO NOT go to building 902 apparently this is on about half of everyone's orders every time.
If you arrive before the start date of class all you have to check in with is lodging.
Have your rank sewn onto your patrol cap before you come (for the field)
Have a good beret shaved and formed before you come. I have been helping my roomie with hers all afternoon.
Earplugs for light sleepers.
Careful where you park downtown. We parked in a university parking lot unknowingly and got a $100 ticket!!! We are going to appeal it though since the only sign they had posted had fallen to the ground.


Seeing as this course is 9 weeks long with most weekends off they highly encourage you to drive. So I set out Sunday morning with my little sister as a traveling companion to make the 24 hour drive from Camp Lejeune, NC to San Antonio, TX. I drove 13 hours the first day and stopped in Mobile, AL for the night. What I learned was that you crossed into Central Time as soon as you enter AL. We only hit one traffic snag but it was a big one. It was in AL and there was a bad car crash that resulted in both lanes being closed until they could clear it. I sat with my car off for over an hour. I walked around a little and there was a dirt bike park right on the other side of the highway that we watched.
On Monday we drove another 12 hours into San Antonio. Louisianna is deceptively very long while Mississipi was realtively short. We saw lots of signs for Casinos in Biloxi, MS. We drove around New Oreleans but it would have been fun to stop if we had the time. LA is alot of marsh lands which meant alot of bridges. The longest one was 22 miles! I was very glad to have reached San Antonio but of course we hit traffic in the downtown area right as I got in. Nothing too bad but I just wanted out of the car!

Things I learned:
cruise control is a must!
There are plenty of hotels along the way so I was glad I didn't plan where I was going to stop and instead simply picked one when I got really tired
Most of the roads were 2 lanes with a 70mph speed limit and we still counted over 20 cars stopped for speeding along the way.
Houston is a big city and has a crazy mixing bowl highway system that I drove straight through.
GPS is a must!
Save all gas and hotel receipts for reimbursement, it got expensive.

Already though I am glad to have my car, definitely worth the drive!


Due to the somewhat surprisingly high interest regarding the nine weeks I will be spending here at the Officer Basic Leader's Course in San Antonio, TX I have decided to blog about it. This appears to be a fairly simple method of documenting my time here and useful in sharing with others. This will be geared more towards the informative side for those that will be attending at a later date. Hopefully I will be able to update frequently the first few weeks and then when we go to the field I will update on the weekends.

I began this adventure 8 days ago when I got the phone call asking if I would like to attend with the catch being the class started in one week and was out in TX. I jumped at the chance especially when I found out I would be able to have Walter Reed as my follow on duty station. And so began the massive scramble to get everything ready. I am fairly certain that I made the right decision to come now. We shall see.