Monday, November 23, 2009

Back in Garrison

Oh its good to be back in garrison! We started off with PT this morning as usual but the remedial PTers are retaking the PT test tomorrow so they only stretched. The rest did platoon PT. We then had lectures for the rest of the day in the platoon classroom. Nothing overly interesting, mainly going over medical profiles, and PROFIS which is the army program that allows medical personell to augment units on their deployments.
However, I ended up going to sick call this morning. Let me say this, unless you are dying do NOT go to sick call and unless you are literally on deaths door never try to go on a Monday morning! I waited over 2 hours just to have my vitals taken and it was almost 3 hours before I was seen by a provider. I wasn't dying of illness so I was originally just going to make a normal appointment. However, my PSG said you couldn't do that and I had to go to sick call. Well, you can makes appointments and I highly recommend it!
It was nice to eat in the DFAC again, and to have the evening free to myself. Not much else went on today, the weather is still pretty nice it was sunny and in the 70s today. I can't wait for Thanksgiving!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Attention on the FOB, Attention on the FOB: The field is over!

First off, yes I did get weekends off these past 3 weeks but I was so glad to be out of the field and went on many adventures that I didn't get the opportunity to update. So this will be a mass overview of my time in the field.

We sleep in heated tents with cots. There was a huge fiasco the very first night over tent assignments that took over 3 hours to figure out but really they are pretty good.
We get hot chow twice a day breakfast and dinner which is amazing. MREs only for lunch and there is a Gut truck! mama snacks comes around almost everyday and you can buy junk food, soda, burgers, dogs, tacos etc. So most people hardly ever have to eat MREs. Personally I only bought mama snacks once.
The gas chamber sucks. I had only a slightly better experience with it than at camp but I still had the most dramatic escape.
We only had one "ruck" march and it was 3.5 miles with our assault packs. It was very slow and we only had to have a minimum of 5lbs in the assault was a joke! And people still fell out.
The first week was very tedious, lots of round robins on basic field stuff. We also went to the range and zeroed with the M16 we also went 2 days later to qualify but they ran out of ammo so we only got 30 rounds each which meant you couldn't qualify for real.
We did convoy Ops week 2 along with the gas chamber. Convoy Ops was decently interesting prolly because I hadn't done too much of it yet. We did a simulator where we could drive and had weapons with a gunner etc. and then the real lanes cadre drove the trucks.
Week 3 we did AMEDD stuff which was probably the most fun. We ran a Level 1 and Level 2 field hospitals and I carried innumerable litters. All I wanted was to die and get a litter ride but I never did! They of course killed off the biggest people :/ It was still fun though. We also tested out on all the things we learned. Taking apart and putting together the M16 and M9 timed, the radio, giving a 9 line. No one failed and they reviewed before each one. The last day we went to the M9 range but it was POURING rain. I also got stuck that afternoon on the gas mask cleaning detail so cleaned 500 gas masks.
Land Nav: Day land nav was the first week and we got partners and 4 hours to find 3 out of 4 points. The course is self correcting but the roads on the map aren't very accurate so you mostly have to dead reckon. Night Land Nav was the the third week which was annoying seperating them so much. It was supposed to be 3 points but the weather wasn't cooperating so we only had to get 2 points in 3 hours. Many people only came in with 1 point because it started lightening.
Combatives: This was a lot more fun than I anticipated. I really enjoyed learning all the techniques and the warm up exercises are really hard! However, once we started sparring I didn't enjoy it quite as much. I have many bruises as a result of this. We switched partners alot and when I got the huge guys it was a joke I couldn't move at all!
Overall I got plenty of sleep. We would be done for the day around 1900 and there was nothing to do so you just went to sleep. Wake up was usually 0445 but some people would wake up really early.
Overall after camp I found the whole field experience a bit of a joke but many people really struggled and complaining got pretty extreme by the end of each week. There are no showers but some girls washed their hair at the sink. My hair was fine though without washing. We had to have our M16s on us at all times and our gasmasks on our waists which was probably the most annoying. We were allowed to bring our cellphones and each night they would announce when we could dress down and use our cell phones. Unfortunately too many people got caught with their phones during the day so the last week we weren't allowed to use them at all but we could bring them for landnav. So most people just used them in their sleeping bags at night.

Sorry this is such an unorganized post. If I remember more I'll add it to future points.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Amazing Adventure

So I try to keep this strictly OBLC related however I had such a fantastic adventure today I must share it.

Let me preface this by saying almost everyone here spends every weekend drinking at the Riverwalk. Not that there is anything wrong with the riverwalk but its nothing spectacular either. So myself and a few others are determined to do as many fun things as possible in San Antonio and the surrounding area.

So today we wanted to go tubing. Most places close tubing on Oct 31st but it was a beautiful day and we found a place that was open year round. It was about an hour away outside of New Braunfels. We got there and decided to grab some lunch first. We found a fantastic place called flapjacks that had the craziest flapjacks that were like an inch thick! They had john wayne ones with grits in them, candy ones etc! And best of all they had real sweet tea. It wasn't the best I have ever had but the best I have had in texas so far.

We got to the tubing place and they told us it was a little too cold to tube so we actually ended up Kayaking down the river. The water was very low so it really wasn't even that cold. It was beautiful and quite relaxing. We saw turtles, and geese, and ducks. And they had a military discount so it was only about $20!! It took us about 2 hours and we had a great conversation with a very nice looking man when we got back. Definitely a morale booster :)

Plus on the way there we drove past a wildlife preserve and saw wildebeest, Zebra and some kind of antelope on the side of the road, it was crazy!! We stopped on the way home and got pictures of the zebra and antelope.
So all in all it was a very successful and wonderful day. Highly recommend it!!!!

I leave for the field tomorrow so I will not have internet access until Friday. I will try my best to take good notes each day so I can give an accurate and detailed update when I get back.

What-Training on Halloween!?!?

Unfortunatly my roomate and current squad leader got very ill Friday night and was unable to attend training on Saturday so as the A team leader I became the squad leader for the day. After a quick glance over of the Op Order I got outside in time for the PCC/PCI we held at 0745 for all of our field gear. Thankfully this went pretty smoothly and most of my squad had everything.

We then had time for some chow before the next hard time. We had to be at the auditorium for a lecture at 0945. It was a very boring lecture yet again that went from 10-12. It was the battlemind presentation and talked about the importance of keeping a good mind when deployed and seeing awful things. At the end of it the speaker told us for the 5th time what to expect out in the field.

Quick lunch before we had to go draw our MOPP gear for CBRNE (gas chamber) which we are doing the second week in the field. Rather tedious process but we got everyone straight. We were then supposed to have the integration of the reservists and the guard that are joining us for the 3 weeks in the field. Thankfully our company CO really wanted to get a football game so it lasted all of 2min. Apparently there was supposed to be some BOLC III students and even West Pointers but I don't think my platoon got any of them. From the brief time I saw them it didn't look like my platoon got any cool people.

I then went to the PX for some last minute things and went to mass at the main post chapel, which is rather nice actually. And then I had coerced into going out for Halloween. I didn't dress up but we went to a bar pretty far away and had an eventful night none the less.