Friday, April 30, 2010

Virtual Training (Basic Training) Day 23

These entries are from the letters that Brandon has mailed to me. His writing at times can be a bit difficult to determine his words... bare with me, I do my best, especially with army terms.
Oh the joys of CQ duty...our platoon has CQ duty anytime one of our DSs pulls duty for the night. This seems to happen about once a week or so. So me and PFC Metal will hang out for an hour from 1:00am to 2:00am sitting at a big desk located in the CTA outside. It's cold and I have no army issued jacket. The CTA (Company Training Area) is a big open area which includes the area under our bays where we line up for formation. We sit at a desk and a member of the fire guard from each platoon will bring us a head count of their personnel and a weapons count. We log this information and then sit and watch the empty CTA bay for the rest of the hour to make sure nothing out of the ordinary happens. PFC Metal received a crap load of mail last night, complete with pictures and even a chart showing how the contestants are doing in "The Ultimate Fighter" TV show (Yes, he is a big UFC fan too). 

We have a new addition to our platoon. Last night he moved in. He has already been farther in basic than any of us, but he was recycled because he got pneumonia and missed too many days during the last cycle. That would really suck!! Basic training sucks enough by itself, but it would be worse having to do it even longer.

From after breakfast until lunch time we practiced aiming our weapons, site alignment, and trigger squeeze. Some of the most boring stuff I've ever done. Very slow and monotonous. Lunch time was delayed because there were a number of Vietnam vets visiting and they were very slow getting through the line. It was strange hearing folks talk instead of the DSs yelling during lunch. Of course, nothing has changed with us. No talking, no looking up, heels together and if you're not using a hand it has to be on your lap flat with your fingers extended. Today, instead of yelling, the DSs would quietly come up to people that were screwing up and whisper not-so-sweet nothings into their ear. 

I swear, if our senior DS was a woman he would be PMSing right now. He is freaking out over every little thing, yelling and screaming and smoking us as well. Of course there are a couple of people in our platoon that just keep screwing up. Pvt. Douche is one of them and the other is one of the foreign guys. I'm guessing it gets lost in translation. Like today we were told to take a piece out of our gun and stick it in our pockets. The DS found one on the ground and asked who it was. Nobody would answer. Everyone got smoked and then he made everyone reach in their pockets and show their piece. The foreign guy, of course, didn't have his.

Pvt. Douche on the other hand, was suppose to check his stack of weapons to see if the sites were down and they were on safe.  As we were standing in formation the DS asked if the stack men checked these things, they all sounded off "yes drill sergeant." (including Pvt. Douche) The DS then asked just Pvt. Douche if he checked them (he could see of course he didn't). Pvt. Douche answered yes again. The DS started yelling at him and then had him watch while the rest of us did push-ups.

After lunch we got to fire "virtual" rifles. There is a huge screen showing targets and you lay down and fire at them. The rifle gives recoil and feels like the real thing when firing. You get instant feedback on your shots. Today the goal was to group 3 shots within 4 cm. I did it on my second try. So did PFC Metal. Pvt. Douche was finally able to do it, but not after several attempts. He was off the map completely for almost every round he did. After almost three hours he finally grouped his shots. This is significant because we were the only platoon to do so.

Later on the entire company got to together on a grass field and watched some DSs demonstrate modern army combat moves. Now, instead of the bayonet and older fighting styles for hand to hand combat, the army is now using more MMA type moves.  They went over some positions and chokes. We then lightly practiced each one on our partner.

During our uniform issue, we were issued knee pads that actually fit inside the normal ACU uniform. I stuck mine in today for the first time after seeing PFC Metal doing it. What a difference it makes! We are asked to take a knee a lot and that little pad makes it so much easier on my knees. I should've put them in a long time ago.  After dinner we went to a shooting range to do a test run of what we will be doing there soon. It was kind of silly, but I guess you can't be too safe with weapons. 

Mail call again tonight. Let me say that I have a very awesome wife!!! I got nine letters! The DS just started throwing them anywhere but towards me after about the third one. I'm so excited I'm going to end this now. :D

Random DS Quote: "Breath in now through the nose out through the mouth. EVERYONE DO IT NOW…AGAIN…DEEPER" (this was said after someone farted during mail call)

My bf is currently at ft benning he says its like hell, maybe even worse than jail lol atleast in jail u get to communicate and take visits daily from the outside world!!
Monday, August 16, 2010 - 10:48 AM

Yes...I often thought while I was in basic there are a lot of similarities between jail and basic training. In fact people in jail are probably better off as you mentioned in some ways. At least basic only lasts 9 weeks, you just have to push through it.
Monday, August 16, 2010 - 08:20 PM

Hey quick questions! Since my bf is currently in ft benning, last week he said he's still stuck in red phase since he got shipped out early august (a month in red phase) long does it take to move into white phase? I heard there's more contact and communication? I have got letters but no supposid "sunday" calls in weeks?
Friday, September 3, 2010 - 01:56 PM

It really all depends on the drill sergeants and the platoon. Phasing up is not a guarantee. I've heard of platoons even graduating in red phase because they kept getting in trouble. The normal phase up period if all goes well is usually 3 weeks in red phase, 3 weeks in white phase, then the rest in blue phase.

It is true that once a platoon phases up to white phase they get more privileges, but that too all depends on the drill sergeants. We usually were able to use our cell phones on Sundays after we hit white phase. Another platoon in our company only got a few calls the entire time we were in basic, while a different one seemed to get their phones all the time.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - 08:17 PM

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Real Obstacle Course (Basic Training) Day 22

Me climbing the rope - the 1st obstacle on the course

These entries are from the letters that Brandon has mailed to me. His writing at times can be a bit difficult to determine his words... bare with me, I do my best, especially with army terms.
This morning at formation DS Midget came up to me and asked if I shaved this morning. I said "Yes drill sergeant, I shave every morning". I think because he is so small he must be getting a different perspective than all the other DSs. He then started to march us and because his steps are so small, it was a little difficult to keep up with his quick left, left, left.

So the last time I wrote about the obstacle course I was mistaken. The course we did earlier is called “The Confidence Course”. Today we went to the “real” obstacle course. It’s setup with about 8 lanes for people to use. You start off crawling through sand, running a short distance, climbing a rope, going over monkey bars, balancing over a log, and then getting over some small walls. Then the fun began. We had to low crawl for about 30 meters, crab walk for about the same, then sprint to the finish line. Everyone had to go through the course once and then each platoon picked their best 8 people to go for time. I was able to complete each of the obstacles. I’ll tell you that my arms were burning! We have some pretty athletic people in our platoon. We even have a guy who had a scholarship for football at University of North Carolina. Our platoon ended up beating all the others. The closest to us was over a minute behind. This was a big event to win because it’s part of “The Raider-Challenge”. Whichever platoon scores the most points will get more time with their family on family day.

After we finished they took us all to a pipe that was 8 feet off the ground with water pouring out of it. We all got in line and rinsed off all the sand that was caked all over us. We came back and took quick showers and then ate lunch. Speaking of food, I’m a very luck guy. In formation the way we line up for chow, I am always in the front of the line. Since I’m first in line I get a little more time to eat. The food is good, we are just always rushed for time. Later on we had a class on team movement (squad formation and such) then we went out and practiced the movements and formations.

We came back up to find portions of the bay tossed. Our DS was showing the new DS (DS Midget) how and what to look for when tossing a bay. None of my stuff was tossed. I made sure to lock my locker and I take a long time to make my bed when we get new sheets. Once it’s made, I sleep on top of it in my winter PTs and a blanket that they issued us for camping. That way when I get up, I can put away the blanket and just straighten up the bed. Someone left their toothpaste in the latrine so the DSs squeezed out all of it over all the sinks.

We had to clean up our bay and later on clean up the company common area. This includes picking up leaves again one by one. I think we’re going to be leaf picker upper experts by the end of basic. LOL.

We have mail call again today. I think everyone in the platoon got letters except for me. I thought for sure I would have something by now. I was so looking forward to some contact from home. That may be the hardest thing about basic training - being totally cut off from the outside world. I was talking with a few people yesterday and everyone is suffering from the lack of contact with friends and family. Some have even thought about quitting. Having everything taken away from you really makes you appreciate all the little things you take for granted. (Giving someone a call or sending an email…deciding you want pizza and ice cream and wanting to take your time eating it. LOL) Seriously, I think only people who have been to basic or prison may truly understand the way this feels. 

I have stupid CQ duty tonight from 1 to 2 AM...totally sucks!!! I want to sleep through the night for once! Our platoon has fireguard, laundry guard and CQ duty tonight, so there will be 5 people up each hour and everyone in the platoon will be doing something tonight. Nobody is happy.

Random DS Quote: “Some people should not breed” ( a DS was observing Pvt. Home School on the obstacle course)

Overheard Quote: “It’s only gay if you’re touching” (said while we were getting rinsed off two at a time after the obstacle course. 

A photo showing the lanes at the beginning of the obstacle course

A clip from the basic training DVD I ordered. It shows most of the obstacles
on the course and it has people from our entire company going through the course.
Some are a little less coordinated than others.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

LandNav Execution (Basic Training) Day 21

These entries are from the letters that Brandon has mailed to me. His writing at times can be a bit difficult to determine his words... bare with me, I do my best, especially with army terms.
In formation today DS Midget was walking through checking everyone out. He stopped at me and ask if I shaved this morning. I said “Yes Drill Sergeant, I have aggressive facial hair.” Surprisingly that was the first time I’ve been asked.  Our normal DSs know that I’m older and I’m a hairy dude…they know I shave every morning. 

We then loaded buses that took our entire company to a wooded area. After we ate chow we were split into 4 man teams. Each team was given instructions and a compass. We had a starting point and had to go so many meters at a certain degree from the compass. Once we thought we were there we had to look for a number on a tree. It was actually pretty cool. No DSs around, we could talk and relax as we were walking through the woods. We managed to find 4 out of 5 correctly. That last one we ended up in between two of the signs and we picked the wrong one. We still passed though. We had MREs for lunch. Every time we have those you always here people asking if there is anything they don’t want. If someone doesn’t want something from their MRE there are usually 4 to 5 people who surround him like vultures for it.

After lunch there is still one squad still missing n the woods from another platoon. LOL. The DSs ended going out to find them. 

We ended up having some field classes such as how to make a hooch (tent) from our ponchos and battle buddy combat movements.

We waited until 21:00 to do the nightime LandNav. The cadre and DSs got everyone freaked out by telling them all about the wild animals that come out at night. Finding the signs at night were a bit harder, but we got 2 out of 2 for our group which is just awesome. A lot of groups didn’t find both. It’s going to be a late night tonight, but at least we don’t have to wake up until 6:30am. Two squads got lost during the night LandNav. One from our platoon and one from another platoon. This put us behind schedule. The DSs were eventually able to round them up. Two of those semi trucks with a people carriers in the back picked us all up. We made it back to the bay and showered by 23:00. Unfortunately I have CQ duty tonight... a wasted hour of no sleep.

Random Quote: “It’s called a ‘Capital Dump’ drill sergeant!” (Pvt. Lurch explaining what it’s called when you poop so much it fills up the toilet.)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Whole lot of smokin’ going on (Basic Training) Day 20

These entries are from the letters that Brandon has mailed to me. His writing at times can be a bit difficult to determine his words... bare with me, I do my best, especially with army terms.
We started of the day with an “ability group run”. Depending on the time we got on our one mile run we were split up into 4 groups. A group, is all the fast folks (7:15 and faster); B group, a little slower folks (8:15 or faster); C group, which I was in, (10:15 or faster); D group, are all the slow pokes that had any longer time than 10:15. Each group ran at different paces and ran for about 20 minutes. I was able to stay in my group for the entire run. There were a number of people who fell out. There was a van driving a ways behind D group that picked up all the people who couldn’t make it. We need to do a lot more running if I’m going to get a better score on my run time. 

After breakfast we were hanging in our bay and the DS came in and saw a lot of people sitting, he asked if we didn’t have anything to do? Then he started tossing beds that weren’t tight. Throwing boots off lockers that weren’t set-up correctly and also emptying out peoples lockers all over the floor if they weren’t locked. Luckily nothing happened to mine, but my battle buddy had his bed tossed. Then we had to move out and worry about cleaning it all up later. 

Since my battle buddy had the pink eye, he had to go to sick call first thing in the morning. Since he was gone (and you can’t take your rifle to sick call) I got stuck carrying it around all day long. I had two rifles slung on my back during chow trying not to hit stuff or people with them. A pain in he butt! Speaking of chow, there was a guy walking with his tray of food and drink and our DS started screaming at him for something. It made him jump and he spilled his drinks all over a guy in our platoon. It was pretty funny, but we weren’t allowed to laugh.

When we got back from lunch our bay was even more trashed. Cleaning supplies in the bathroom thrown all over, the trash knocked over, etc. Still had no time to clean because we were off for another field assessment. We went out in squads (7 or 8 people) and had to perform first aid, evaluate casualties, transport casualties and such. We were graded at each station. Carrying the people around was pretty tough. Since I was the heaviest, I was not carried. I was always the carrier. That’s a good workout carrying a dude around a track. Our squad did the second best in our platoon, so that was good.

There was a number of new DSs around today. I think they are new and getting the feel of how everything works. The one assigned to our platoon is a borderline midget. He’s so small it’s hard to take him seriously. It will be interesting to see how he works out. They are supposed to be here for just a couple of weeks.

Today it seemed we were smoked randomly here and there all day long. At the end of the day, while still in full ACU uniform our DS smoked us pretty bad. He said we seem to be going backwards as a platoon. Everyone keeps messing up all the time... I wonder if we will be able to pull it together. 

We got long showers again tonight which was awesome. After showers, Pvt. Spiderman ended up going to the hospital again. His bite seemed to getting worse. He grossed out a few people by showing them the bite (on his butt). I didn’t feel like taking a look at that, but I heard everyone getting grossed out by it. Tomorrow we will go out in the field and try to practice what we learned about LandNav in class today. It will be interesting to see how lost we get. LOL.

i hope DS Midget doesnt see your blog heheh
Sunday, May 2, 2010 - 12:18 AM

Monday, April 26, 2010

Clean, Clean, Clean (Basic Training) Day 19

These entries are from the letters that Brandon has mailed to me. His writing at times can be a bit difficult to determine his words... bare with me, I do my best, especially with army terms.
Last night I was on Fire Guard duty from 3am to 4am. Fire Guard is one of those things nobody likes to do, but everyone does it at least a few times a week. What makes it worse now is the DS changed some of the rules because there were some problems with people getting up on time and the previous uniform incident. Now fireguard has to be woken up 1/2 hour before their shift instead of 15 minutes and we have to be in full ACU uniform instead of our PT uniforms (shirt, shorts and sneakers)

As another punishment...we had to get up at 5am today instead of 6am like the rest of the company. I’m still pretty sore from all the smoking we got yesterday along with the PT test. I’m glad Sunday’s are a day a rest from training and PT. My big toes are numb on the outside of each. There are few others that are having the same issue. Something with these boots we wear is pinching a nerve or something. I’ll be in sneakers most of the day today except for church. We have to wear the full ACU uniform to church service.

Just like last Sunday, no training. That does not mean we will be doing nothing. We have to deep clean our bay. We’ll be moving all the beds and lockers so we can buff out the entire floor. We also had to deep clean the bathrooms and courtyard area.

Went to church, that was a nice little get-away from cleaning since 5am. The service definitely wasn’t long enough though. There were a lot of people there, we had to use the overflow seating.

It seems every muscle in my body is sore today. I think the worst was what the DS called “the Indy 500”. We had to take a step (with hands on our head the whole time) and squat to the ground, get back up and take another step alternating legs and squat again. We had to do 4 laps around our bay. When I walked down our stairs this morning my legs felt like jello. 

The pink eye has spread, There is one more confirmed case and another suspected case. The bad thing is that they are both right next to my bunk. I’ve been trying to wash my hands even more and use hand sanitizer any time I think of it. Hopefully I will not catch it!

During all the cleaning one guy went into the stall in our bathroom and actually fell asleep. LOL. He said he woke up with his head on the toilet paper. Sleep deprivation is affecting everyone. While in church, I looked down my row and beside me everyone was asleep except for two people. There are no DSs there to make you get out of your seat and do push-ups.

Everyone is talking about what they want to go eat once they get out of here. The food here isn’t too bad, but there is no time to eat and enjoy it. It is also a bit healthier for the most part - no fast food type items. All the talk about everyone’s favorite foods made me hungry. I could go for pizza and an oreo blizzard right now. mmmmmm. 

We were given this week’s schedule, Land Navigation another obstacle course and the dreaded gas chamber are all on the menu. 

Update on the guy who had to go to the hospital in my platoon. He got a bad spider bite on his butt and I guess it got infected too. He’s back with us, just on bed rest with medication. I guess I’ll call him “Pvt. Spiderman”. Other nicknames…”Vin Diesel” (a guy who’s voice sounds just like him); “Douche” ( a guy who’s real last name rhymes with douche...formally known as “Boston”. 

Shoot’em in the head…Shoot’em in the head…Kill ‘em…reload and shoot’em again.

Tonight was very laid back. For the first time since starting basic. After dinner we finished up the few things we had left to clean. Our DS left early because something came up. The other platoon’s DSs checked in on is from time to time. We double checked with one of them to make sure we could shower and he said yes…shower whenever you want, just make sure it’s done before 21:00 (it was only 19:00). So I quickly grabbed all my stuff and took a long hot shower. Very awesome!

During the time the DS was here he ran into someones fart. He asked who did it and when the guy raised his hand he said “drop” (aka push-ups). While the guy was doing push-ups he said “Don’t talk our of your ass you” LOL.

Overheard Quote: “in Cadence…Push!!!” (in the latrine (bathroom) all the stalls were full and a guy was trying to get things moving)

I remember that quote that was to funny
Monday, March 7, 2011 - 04:50 AM

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lightning May Strike Once (Basic Training) Day 18

These entries are from the letters that Brandon has mailed to me. His writing at times can be a bit difficult to determine his words... bare with me, I do my best, especially with army terms.
This morning we woke up at 4:00am and had to be in formation by 4:30 for PT test. We all got in lines and took turns doing push-ups and sit-ups for 2 minutes each. A DS scores you, if you have bad form that repetition will not count. I did ok 47 push-ups and 41 sit-ups I think. (I have to wait for the official score to be posted.) Next up was the 2-mile run. It was pouring down rain along with thunder and lightning. Because of the lightning warning we were unable to do the 2-mile run. Instead we went and cleaned the barracks. We also ended up getting smoked as a platoon because the DS saw two Fire Guards with their PTs on underneath their ACU uniform. This is a big no no. There’s no mixing and matching uniforms. So the two that got caught had to stand and watch everyone else do push-ups, v-ups and a number of other exercises. 

After breakfast, we went to a total of four different classes by platoon switching every 50 minutes or so. All classes had to do with our weapons cleaning, loading, fixing jams, and firing positions. We then had lunch (MREs). The DS collected all the contraband (candy) as usual. We found out where it all goes… he takes it home to his kids. LOL!

We were in our bay cleaning and we’re told that we are going to do some combat movement training. We had to put on our vests and helmets and to report to formation. When we got there we marched to the PT Field (the big sandbox). The first combat movement we had to do was a low crawl. It’s basically just dragging yourself through the sand. You can’t lift your head off the ground or any part of your body. This wouldn’t be a huge deal, but we were in the sand and it had been pouring down rain all day. After that we all did the high crawl. This is very similar to the low crawl except we can use our elbows. Halfway through this crawl the event was cancelled due to lightning. Everyone was covered in sand from head to toe. When we got back we were given two hours to clean everything up. After getting smoked, because we took too long getting up to the bay with all our sandy equipment. We swept up the floor multiple times and each time we would get enough sand to create a small beach. Before we did all the cleaning, but after we took a shower, we were smoked again pretty bad. What sucked is that we were all nice and clean and we had to do all kinds of exercises on the dirty sandy floor. 

We have one cool DS. He is always helpful and tries to teach us stuff. He gives us a lot of practical examples and stories from when he was deployed. We also have one DS who is just basically an ass all the time. Our head DS can be cool sometimes, but most of the time he’s an ass too.

One more week of “Red Phase” the last day of red phase is the gas chamber! Not looking forward to that. I am looking forward to changing to White Phase. Each phase change is suppose to allow more privileges and in white phase we actually start shooting our weapons.

Random DS Quote: “I’ll give you midnight snack…open your mouth”.

its amazing thinking of you up at 4am on a regular basis lol, i remember you sleeping more than any person i ever knew when we were younger!!! i think getting up at 5:45ish this last year at work really helped you..anywayz....
Sunday, May 2, 2010 - 12:03 AM

Brandon's really funny now thinking that sleep until 6:00AM is "sleeping in". I've actually become used to it.
Sunday, June 20, 2010 - 06:34 AM

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Obstacle Course (Basic Training) Day 17

Me on the first stage of "The German Wall". This is the only one with a rope.

These entries are from the letters that Brandon has mailed to me. His writing at times can be a bit difficult to determine his words... bare with me, I do my best, especially with army terms.
Last night I had Staff duty at the battalion headquarters from 23:00-24:00. Staff duty is basically sitting in a chair with your battle buddy waiting for someone to call on the phone or radio. It was uneventful until the end of the shift. Someone actually called and my battle buddy (I’ll call him PFC Metal, cause he likes metal music) answered the phone. The paper with the script of what we are supposed to say got mixed up with the radio script and he said the wrong thing. The DS was there and got pissed off. The problem is that we weren’t shown anything except the radio script. Just an hour out of my sleep schedule, but wake up was at 6am - that is really sleeping in!

After breakfast we went to obstacle course as a company and broke into our platoons to do each of the obstacles, The first one we did had a long rope we had to climb up and then we had to cross a number of 4x4s that were spread about 2 feet or so across. After that we had to climb a ladder up even higher to get over a beam and then climb down. It was way up there, so it was a bit scary! I would say about 1/3 of our platoon were able to make it up the rope. (I was one of them). If you didn’t make it, then you would have to do 10 push-ups and climb a ladder shortcut to the top.

After all platoons finished the course, each platoon picked their best team of four people to compete against each other on “the German Wall”. This event has your team of four first climb a slanted wall with a rope. After that you have to get up and over 4 other walls that progressively get taller and there are no ropes, you can only use each other to get up and over. Our platoon’s team came in second, only 3 seconds behind 1st. It was a fun time, they had toned down the course a little, not letting us go to the top on some of the obstacles, but all in all I had a good time. 

The rest of the day consist of marching down to another training area where we had 4 outside classes. These classes ranged from handling captured enemy to escalation of force. It was hot so everyone had to hydrate as much as possible. Every break there would be a mad dash to the woods where everyone would go pee. That was a pretty crazy sight. I would be standing there peeing and  everywhere I looked there was a person peeing in the woods.

When we got back we showered. I got mine done fast, my reward was getting a “special” duty assignment. Me and PFC Metal had to assist a supply sergeant with returning all of Pvt. Jacket’s gear. We had to sit and wait and wait, then finally carry all the stuff to a big warehouse. They checked everything back in and then we were free to get back with our platoon. We are having the 2-2-2 PT test tomorrow morning. 

Random DS Quote: “Stop grabbing your nuts! Did you get poison ivy down there or something?” (this was said while we were “towing the line” – standing at attention at the end of our bunks while the DS is talking to us. My battle buddy for reasons unknown cannot keep his hands off his junk)

4th platoon managing one of the obstacles on the course
(Use 4 people and get up each stage only using each other)

4th platoon on "The German Wall" (Use 4 people
to get over each wall using only each other)

A clip from the DVD I purchased from basic training. It shows most
of the challenges we did through the course. There is a lot of 1st platoon
shown going over the German Wall portion, the rest is a mix of the entire company.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Things That Go Boom (Basic Training) Day 16

These entries are from the letters that Brandon has mailed to me. His writing at times can be a bit difficult to determine his words... bare with me, I do my best, especially with army terms.
After we wake-up in the morning we have formation. (Basically we all get in line in a certain order every time, during this period the DS make make some announcements, but the main purpose is basically to get everyone gathered and accounted for. Each DS let's the 1st Sergeant know the status of their platoon. After formation we do some PT (physical training). All exercises are new, even to the DSs. They are pretty easy to do but its freakin' cold in the morning and we have on shorts and a shirt. We also get to lay down in the wet grass for some of the exercises...brrr.

After breakfast we headed to a semi with a trailer that we all sat in, very similar to a bus…but a semi.  We took off to the explosive ordinance section. We learned all about grenades, RPGs, IEDs and much more. We got to watch (and feel the blast) of a real claymore. That was pretty impressive, it was quite aways away. During this time everyone was all dressed up like army men, complete with helmets, backpacks and vests. The vest holds a canteen and I forgot to put mine in. I was sweating bullets. My neighbor in the bunk next to me forgot his hat once and was given a "negative counseling statement". This is basically like getting written up at a normal job. It goes in your file and if you get too many you can get in some big trouble (article 15 was mentioned). The DS told him if he doesn't mess up again, he will shred it so there will be nothing on his record. So anyway I was pretty scared that one of the DSs would notice, but luckily none did.

After lunch we headed back and went to the "PT Pit" (Imagine a giant sandbox). There is a normal size running track and everything in the middle is just a big sandbox, so it's bigger than a football field. We learned all the different ways to carry a wounded buddy, by yourself, with help, and with a stretcher (up to 4 people). We then had to practice each move with a partner in the hot sun and sand. I ended up with a little 140 pound guy, it was easy for me, but he really had a tough time trying to drag me. LOL (We ended up switching after that LOL). One of the carries was a low carry that we did on all fours literally dragging the guy through sand. That was the toughest and when we were the one getting dragged, sand got everywhere.

One of the guys in our platoon fell out. I guess he wasn’t drinking enough water. They ended up taking him to the hospital. He isn’t back yet, so his condition is unknown. The DS said tonight that they are hoping to graduate 20 of us (our platoon started at 35). Stuff always happens along the way and people just don’t make it. 

Mail call again tonight, nothing for me. I’m guessing it may take a bit longer coming from across the country. Another nickname “Pink Eye or Pinky” a guy who got pink eye. The DS was pissed. Told us all to stop touching our eyes. We also had to bleach the entire bay. 

Today was actually a pretty cool day. I liked actually doing something. Tomorrow we have the obstacle course. That should make for a better day too. 

Random DS Quote: “Stop smiling… Stop talking…Shut your holes!!!!” (on the bus trip today.)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Private Jacket (Basic Training) Day 15

These entries are from the letters that Brandon has mailed to me. His writing at times can be a bit difficult to determine his words... bare with me, I do my best, especially with army terms.
I'm going to start talking a little about food. Every meal is extremely rushed. The food is pretty good, but we have no time to enjoy it. We are also not allowed to look anywhere except our trays while we are shoveling it in. Also there is absolutely no talking. Because of the danger for heat related injuries, we are all required to get three glasses of liquids with each meal. (2 powerade and 1 water). For breakfast before when were done the DS yelled out that we had to get an additional glass of OJ and a glass of milk when we finished out food. I almost threw up. 5 glasses of liquids in a short period of time is a little too much. Everyone wasn't feeling  to well after that.

We finished the rest of our 1-1 assessment test. One minute each for push-ups (1 did 37) and sit-ups (I did 27).  The real test has 2 minutes for each event. I just weighed myself and I am 190lbs. Thought I might have gained more since we didn't do anything in reception. 

Later on in the day we were given a briefing by the brigade sergeant major. We then had a briefing from the Army's version of NCIS, they are called CID. They are actually active duty army, but they don't have to wear the ACUs or even have their hair cut to the same regulations as the normal army. Their message was basically – don't do drugs. After that we had a few more classes,  those classes take all my concentration to stay awake in, people are constantly getting smoked left and right for falling asleep. 

Now I'm going to tell you a little about some of the folks I'm with here. I've talked before about PVT Home School. Unfortunately, He's in another platoon now. I know he would have provided a lot of writing material. LOL. I did talk to someone in his platoon though and I see him here and there. I think he got the best platoon for him. I guess they don't get smoked as much and their drill sergeants don't even yell that much.

There are finally some nicknames that the DSs have started using. "Lurch" - a really skinny guy,  so tall he changed the light bulbs in our bay while just just standing on the floor. "Golden Gloves" - a guy who won the golden  gloves boxing championship. (He's also the guy who jumped to the parade rest position when in the shower as the DS was talking to him.) "Boston" - a guy from Boston with an accent and all. Then there's this guy I'm going to call Pvt. Jacket. I've been going to write about him earlier, I've have actually written my wife about him. This guy messes up quite a bit and he's on the chubbier side. He reminds me a lot of the guy in "Full Metals Jacket" that kills his DS and then kills himself. All the DSs picked up on it right away and would attack anytime he messed up. We had, a few days ago, a class on heat injuries, because it get so hot here and we are doing a lot of physical activities. They went through all the symptoms and then later that day Pvt. Jacket started saying he was having these symptoms.  The DS took his temp (98.6). Then had him just sit and drink water wherever we went and  whatever we did all he would do is just sit and drink water. He went to sick call another day. Then we had a class on suicide and what to look to look for. Next thing I know Pvt. Jacket is now on suicide watch. His bed is in the middle of the bay and there has two guards besides the fireguard to watch only him. He can't even take a poop with the stall door closed. A few guys had to go through his locker and remove anything he could hurt himself with. He'll be shipped off somewhere else tomorrow. So that is one down in our platoon. I wonder if anyone else will fall out.

Speaking of guard duty, we also have a "laundry guard". Our platoon has all the washers in the barracks on Mondays & Wednesdays. There isn't really enough time or machines for everyone to do their own, so for the whole night each hour we rotate a person to do everyone's laundry. I was gong to do the first shift at 9pm tonight, but with the addition of a suicide guard everything got shuffled around. I now have fireguard from 22:00-23:00.

Random DS Quote: "Stop choking and start eating, hurry up" (heard during dinner at the DFAC)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Eagle Tower (Basic Training) Day 14

 A pic of a 2nd platoon soldier going down Eagle Tower

These entries are from the letters that Brandon has mailed to me. His writing at times can be a bit difficult to determine his words... bare with me, I do my best, especially with army terms.
Today we all got dressed up and slung on our backpacks and vest for the march to Eagle Tower. It’s not too far away, perhaps a couple of miles or so. When we got there we ate breakfast and then the company broke into the four platoons. Two of the other platoons started repelling down Eagle Tower. My platoon went to another station to keep us busy. We learned how to load a magazine of bullets in our rifles and how to check for problems when the gun doesn't fire. We were given a magazine of blanks and some that were designed to jam the rifle. It was interesting for the first few times, but after an hour it gets pretty boring. We then switched to practicing throwing a grenade. We used dummy grenades and threw them at a target (picture yourself standing in a line throwing something like a rock into the sand...over and over). After that we switched to get ready to repel. We all got harnessed up and then practiced on a mini version of eagle tower. (It was only 10' tall…a midget Eagle Tower if you will) When we finished, we headed over to Eagle Tower and waited in line. When I was about 10 people back all of sudden it started pouring down rain. They cancelled the rest of the event because of this. I didn't get to do it. We had to march back in the rain, then we all got to take showers that weren't timed (yahoo!) we just had enough time needed to be back in formation. 

The rest of the day was kind of strange, because the plan was for us to still be at Eagle Tower. The DSs gave us some informal classes on staff, we ate dinner outside in the courtyard because it was already set-up for us to eat at Eagle Tower.

The end of the night was our 3 DSs gathering everyone around and explaining why they joined the Army. Then they had each of us state why we joined. After that it was a Q & A session that lasted for a long time. It was interesting to hear their stories and have them act more like people instead of just yelling and swearing all the time.

Mail came tonight, everyone had to put on their protective eye gear and sit in a semi-circle around the DS. He would then read the name of who the letter was to. When the person would sound off, he would throw the letter in that general direction.  Envelopes were flying everywhere. A few "lucky" ones even got hit right in the forehead. It was pretty funny. No mail for me yet. The rule is 5 push-ups for each letter & 15 push-ups for every heart on the letters. LOL. Even though I didn't get any mail, I still ended up doing push-ups. When getting our protective eyewear I forgot to put my dog tags (they have my locker key on them) back down my shirt. 

Since I've been here the DSs have stated that basic training has changed a lot, and it is still changing every cycle. They said too many people were getting hurt because the generations coming into basic now are soft.… too many video games & sitting in front of the TV. The DSs also can't touch anyone unless they ask permission first. They can't even call anyone names. But they can get their point across.  Instead of saying "you're an idiot" it could be "you're acting like an idiot" with some more colorful language of course.

Random DS Quote: "How does 1st Platoon do everything?" response from the Platoon, "Sexy Drill Sergeant"

In formation for "Concurrent Training" (I'm the one in the front)

 A DS showing us how to conduct SPORTS to clear a malfunction. 
 A pic of our platoon "striking a pose". 
Some of my platoon throwing mock grenades.
A photo of our platoon in concurrent training 
with Eagle Tower in the background

 A DS explaining the steps involved to throw a grenade
Me in front "Striking a Pose"


talking about everyone with the ds and sitting in a circle reminded me of stripes with john candy lol!

Sunday, May 2, 2010 - 03:42 PM

FS SPC Miller

Haha yea, "I figured I would join before I got drafted"

Tuesday, December 28, 2010 - 12:20 PM

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Good Day (Basic Training) Day 13

These entries are from the letters that Brandon has mailed to me. His writing at times can be a bit difficult to determine his words... bare with me, I do my best, especially with army terms.
Today was an interesting day. We woke at 4:00am and got ready. After formation we went to do some of our daily morning exercises. We thought we were going to do the 1-1-1 test today but it turned out we only did the 1 mile run. The track we ran on is pretty crappy, there is  even a soft sand on part of it. I ended up running an 8:20. Not too bad, I didn't push myself that hard. I was in the very front at the start and I ended up slowing way down after the first lap to try and run an 8:00 minute… I guess I slowed down a little too much.

After the mile test we had to get dressed in our ACUs along with a little backpack and something I think the DS calls a Flick. It's basically a little vest that you can snap a bunch of stuff on, We then took a bus (well 4 buses because the entire company came). We went to a little training area and had breakfast. We had a couple of a couple of communications classes, but the thing that really stood out about this place was their bathrooms. We all had to go to this little building that was just plain disgusting. It reminded me of a restroom you may find at a remote park, except I don't think anyone ever cleans it. Some of the urinals were not draining well and you literally had to hold your breath while in there.  We capped off the training outside with another heat injury demo where another solider had to strip to his undies and get iced sheets put all over him. We ate MREs there for lunch. I had BBQ veggie burger, not too bad, and the best part...they actually gave us plenty of time to eat them. 

Got back to our bunks and found a big surprise. Some people didn't lock their lockers, so the DS pulled out all their crap and spread it all over the bay. They also took a guys sunscreen (or some sort of lotion) and used it to write on the floor "Good Job :)"

So we all had to hurry and clean all that up and then hurry down for some more classes that were hard to stay awake in. It really takes all my concentration to not fall far I haven't. There are a number of people that do end up falling asleep and getting smoked for it! All the stuff… the information that they are piling on us is crazy. I still am feeling a little overwhelmed. Lots of memorizing stuff and trying to remember what to say or do while in formation. I swear if the DS winks at us and farts we have to chant something. I have a hard time keeping everything straight.

Sounds like if it doesn't rain tomorrow, we will be doing a road march to "Eagle Tower" and then repelling down it. Sounds like that would be fun with a little scary thrown in it.

Random DS Quote: "Privates, you're as dirty as my wife's private and that some dirty shit" (a couple of privates laugh) then the DS gets up in their faces and starts screaming "What, you laughing at my wife's private!!!"

Good info, I know not to laugh at this joke!  LOL


Tuesday, August 3, 2010 - 10:59 PM

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day of Rest (Basic Training) Day 12

A close up of our "Kill Zone" All the painted area was off limits,
we had to walk around it.

These entries are from the letters that Brandon has mailed to me. His writing at times can be a bit difficult to determine his words... bare with me, I do my best, especially with army terms.
Today is Sunday, the only day we don’t have training – not even a workout (unless we piss of a DS and get smoked). We got to sleep in until 5am, but I had and hour of fireguard shift from 2-3am. The fireguard shift is basically a cleaning detail in the middle of the night with different tasked for each hour. (pretty much the same as in reception, but the DSs check a lot more on the work you’ve done) My job was to finish mopping the floors. Once back in bed I was out very quickly.

Breakfast was a rushed ordeal. I have had biscuits & gravy everyday since I’ve been here! I think I’m going to have to mix it up a little. I went to church today. It was really nice to get away from everything and do something different. I haven’t been to church since my ex-wife left me years ago. The start of the first song, I had a flood of emotion was over me. A few tears even rolled down my cheek. I think instead of making me a stone cold killer, the Army is turning me into a soft mushy emotional guy. Since I’m pretty much completely cut off from the rest of the world all I do is think about family and of course try to memorize everything else they are throwing at me. The service was good and it was nice to see some of the other guys I met in reception there. We even had a few minutes to socialize before the service, which doesn’t happen any other time. 

When we got back we were all rushed through lunch. The last guy in line said he only got two bites and a drink before we were forced out. It’s funny because there are all these nutritional posters and stuff, but we are always forced to eat so fast it can’t be healthy. 

Right now I’m on laundry duty. Our platoon decided to have two people do laundry for an hour and keep switching off. We just do whatever bag is next in line and go. So far I’ve only watched machines run and write this letter. We have the 1-1-1 test tomorrow which is an evaluation of our fitness test. I wonder how out of shape I’m in after doing no running since before reception. 

When I mentioned that we didn’t do any training, that didn’t mean we were not busy. The DS had us cleaning all kinds of stuff. The craziest thing was picking up all these tiny leaves from the ground by hand. There were no rakes available and it was in a courtyard with rock and pebble areas where we couldn’t use a broom. So the whole platoon had to puck up all these tiny leaves one by one. The barracks also got cleaned from head to toe. It's all just busy work to keep everyone doing something.

Me and a couple of guys who were unable to connect on the phone with people were allowed to try again. This time my wife answered, but about half way through she couldn’t hear me anymore. I had to go to another pay phone and try again for my last few minutes. It was awesome to hear her voice, but when I got off the phone tears just started streaming down my face. What the hell! I had to go back up and get in formation at my bunk. I couldn’t pull it together quick enough and a few tears still made their way down my cheeks. Everyone seemed to understand, surprisingly, even the DS. Tonight we got 1 minute showers and we all thought that was awesome. LOL . Crazy how your perspective can change here.

Random DS Quote: “When I talk to you in the shower, don’t turn around and go to the parade rest position and have your dick pointing right at me.” (Every time the DS or any other NCO talks to us, or we talk to them, we have to stand in parade rest position. In parade rest, you stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands behind your back. The DS came in and was telling the last guy how much time he had. The guy quickly jumped and turned toward the DS and snapped to parade rest position. Everyone couldn’t help laughing when the DS told us this.)

I am ready to find out what has gone on over the last week...I need my fix.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - 04:13 PM

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Volunteers (Basic Training) Day 11

A picture of our bay from near my bunk. The "Kill Zone"
in the middle was off limits to all except the DSs

These entries are from the letters that Brandon has mailed to me. His writing at times can be a bit difficult to determine his words... bare with me, I do my best, especially with army terms.
Today was a pretty crappy day for me all around. It started off bad and just stayed that way the whole day. Somehow I put my shorts on backwards and almost made it out the door before someone noticed. That would of sucked!! I quickly was able to swap them around before heading out to PT. In the chow hall, I forgot to take off my hat and got chewed out for it. We had a whole bunch of classes that were boring and very hard to stay awake in. People were getting smoked left and right. One DS even jumped up on a desk and onto another desk and started screaming at a kid. I try and take notes and that seems to keep me from sleeping, but even that is not fool proof. I caught myself almost going a few times.

Outside they had the whole company get together for a demonstration – they asked for a volunteer and a guy jumped up and ran out there. He found out soon that they were demoing the procedure for when a person over heats. It gets hot here at Ft. Benning and they say people have died here before in basic training. So the first thing they do is strip the guy down to his underwear and then lay him on a blanket that has been soaking in a chest full of ice.They continue to add more blankets around his “hot spots” (groin, head, underarms) and then place one on top of him. The whole time they are wringing out ice water on him. To top it off it was still too early for it to even warm up.

Later on I was in class and the DS had a volunteer come up and take off his shirt. He then proceeded to show how to use plastic from an MRE and duct tape to seal a chest wound. Of course when he was done he had to rip that tape off his harry chest. 

I’m having a little information overload right now there is so much crap that we are supposed to know. When we are marching we have to say stuff, but nobody can ever remember so we just sound like crap. I need to memorize something called “the Low”, the chain of command, & the army song. I’m glad tomorrow is Sunday.

We were able to go to the PX today. I didn’t need much, but it was nice to see a change of scenery. I picked up some laundry soap & a small notepad. We were also given a chance to use the phones. I tried calling my wife, we only had 10 minutes inside this room with a bunch of phones that cost $1.00 (no phone cards allowed). My wife didn’t answer so that really bummed me out. To tell you the truth, I almost cried there on the spot. I ended up just leaving her a 10 minute message on her voicemail.

We learned today how we should be organizing our lockers. I’ll need to take a little more time tomorrow, but it will be nice knowing where everything is. Because 1st Platoon (us) pissed off our DSs by having people fall asleep during class, we were only given 20 seconds for showers, 20 seconds for brushing teeth. That was stupid, not a lot you can do in 20 seconds. Our platoons this cycle are smaller than normal I guess. Our barracks can fit 60 or so, but we only have 35. There are 3 DSs per platoon, so it seems they are everywhere and always yelling. What’s funny is that 2 of our DSs and a number of others have lost their voices already!

Random DS Quote: “Hey you…with the glasses…the face…and the ears”  (way to be descriptive there DS!)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I am Gladiator! (Basic Training) Day 10

My new home for the next 9 weeks or so...I had the top bunk

These entries are from the letters that Brandon has mailed to me. His writing at times can be a bit difficult to determine his words... bare with me, I do my best, especially with army terms.
Yesterday was pretty crazy once we arrived, non-stop activities until late in the night. Today was just the same. I am in 1st Platoon Bravo Company and we are “The Gladiators”. There are four platoons that make up all the people that shipped at the same time as us from reception. The other platoons are “The Outlaws”, “The Terminators”, & “The Warriors”. There is a ton of yelling and screaming going on it seems at all times. Everything we do something as easy as preparing to take off our hat, the DS will call out the instructions and we sound off with the Army values. Lunch time is the craziest (and the noisiest). We stand in formation and the DS will have all us yell a bunch of stuff. When it’s time to enter he’ll say next 10 and we count off the next ten and we run to the doors screaming a battle cry, LOL. It gets pretty noisy there! Speaking of food, something a little strange happened at dinner. A dude was sitting and eating and I guess he looked at the DS wrong. Before he knew it there were four DS around him screaming at him. He just stood there and didn’t say anything. Finally they got tired of yelling and told him to sit down and finish his food. (There was also a dude on the first day who almost got into a fight with the DS. Not sure what happened, but he stood up and actually pushed the DS and said “come on”. A bunch of DSs ran over and the senior DS took him away from everyone and they had a talk. I guess his grandmother passed and his temper got the best of him. I thought for sure he would be gone, but they just gave him a warning). We had two guys in my old bay that didn’t make it here. One is getting out because of high blood pressure, the other had his appendix removed while at reception - he’ll be out for a while, then be able to start back up.

Back to today – This place is really like a prison. Everything you do is planned and monitored. I haven’t even gotten to know anyone yet because we’ve been so busy. No time to even talk to each other. We had to get up at 4:45am and then we went out for morning PT (exercise)...that was pretty easy. We had MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) for lunch. They are pretty good! I had chicken and dumplings. They come with a little bag that you put a little water in and through some sort of chemical reaction it starts heating your bag of food. The damn thing got so hot, I burned my fingers on it when I was throwing it away. We had to turn in any “contraband” (aka candy) that came with them. We then got issued a whole butt load of more gear. Then we had to carry all that crap on our own backs and fronts on a hot Georgia day. I was sweating like a pig. We also got issued our rifles, an M16A4. Pretty cool, except now we have to carry the damn thing everywhere (lunch, the classroom). I got smoked later on with three other guys because I couldn’t get all my crap fast enough. We haven’t even had any time to organize our lockers, so I have crap everywhere. After lights out tonight I took some time (with the help of my flashlight) and organized it a bit. Tonight because everyone was too slow we got a 45 second shower & a 45 second time to brush our teeth. Crazy!

One way..haha
It still pumps me up when i say " I am a Gladiator"..miss it man !!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 10:45 AM


LOL...those were some crazy days indeed!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 09:30 PM

Friday, April 16, 2010

Down Range (Basic Training) Day 9

These entries are from the letters that Brandon has mailed to me. His writing at times can be a bit difficult to determine his words... bare with me, I do my best, especially with army terms. 
So far today as we have been preparing to ship, two people have been caught using the cadre’s latrine. They both had to stand at attention and “guard” the cadres latrine. I was one of the lucky 15 on the end of a row to go clean two bays of barracks. I guess it wasn’t too bad because everyone is just sitting and sitting and waiting and waiting. Finally, we took off for lunch, while in line the DS saw a guy who didn’t even shave. He made the kid run back to the classroom where his stuff was, grab only a razor and come back to the formation. Then the kid had to dry shave in front of everyone. After that he  had to hold the lunchroom door open for everyone. He was the last one to eat. Now we are sitting & waiting again. They moved our time from 15:30 to 13:00. Everyone is excited and nervous for the looming “shark attack”. Most, like me are just glad to get this started. It seems Ft. Benning has tried its best to try and stop germs. They have anti-bacterial dispensers everywhere you look. It seems though that almost everyone has a cough, stuffed nose, or sore throat. My nose is stuffed at the moment. One guy in the front even had to get in the famous “front leaning rest” position after coughing while at attention.

Finally the buses came and hauled us all off. Unfortunately none of the people I know very well are in my platoon. The shark attack was exactly like I expected. Drill Sergeants everywhere you looked, all screaming and yelling as we got off the bus. It was pretty crazy because we all had to run carrying everything we have. Everything we do here has to be at a fast pace. They did a shakedown to see if we had any contraband. The only problem is that we had to do it in the dirt. Dump everything out in the dirt for them to pick through. To make matters worse the bottle top of the foot powder I just bought came off, so there was white powder over everything. Going to bed now at 21:30 and I have CQ duty with my new battle buddy – a young kid who I don’t even know his name yet. I don’t even know exactly what "CQ" entails...we’ll see. We ate dinner outside and once everyone had their food, we all started eating. We were given 3 minutes and then everyone had to stop and throw the rest away, We had to be in class a few times and all the DS were looking for anyone about to fall  asleep. At night we went in groups of 8 to shower and brush our teeth. We had 1 1/2 minutes for each. This place is so different than reception. Everything is under total control. There is the DS office right in our barracks. The DSs here are much much worse than in reception. I’m on CQ duty right now. This is a one hour shift in the middle of  the night (just like fireguard). 2 of us will answer any calls and also log any events. We also log the fireguard bed counts that they bring down to us. The desk is outside and we are not allowed to sit down. 

Overheard Quote: PVT Home School “I wish I would keep my frog voice, it sounds more manly than my kid voice.” 

damn brandon, this is awesome stuff...

Sunday, May 2, 2010 - 02:26 AM


Wow, I'm going there in Jan and this blog is really making me nervous.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010 - 10:39 PM

pfc halgat

Just grad at alpha 3/47 my parents have been reading this and they said it's very simulator to my experence, im going to read over it and see how alike our experences are

Friday, September 10, 2010 - 11:39 AM