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 had the midnight shift for Fire Guard last night with PFC Metal. Everything started off normal until I did the head count. Originally, I counted my battle buddy, he had laundry guard the hour before and I just thought he hadn’t made it back up yet. When I went to turn in the numbers the replacement laundry guard said there was a note from my battle buddy saying he couldn’t take it anymore, he was going AWOL. It was either that or kill himself. This was reported to the DS on duty and after about 30 minutes everyone in the company had to get up and get in formation.
The Company Commander came in and the 1st Sergeant came in. I had to tell them all I knew, which wasn’t much. I was as surprised as everyone else. Now they are on alert looking for him. He has a warrant out in all 50 states for his arrest. To top it off, I have to carry his rifle around, everywhere I go now. That is a pain in the butt. Oh...after the DS fired the cop he made me the new cop, oh yay! (Sarcasm)
We had a 5k ruck march. Our rucksacks are kind of like those huge backpacks that you see the serious hikers use. They can hold a vast amount of crap. Since we were going to do this march to do our camping trip, they decided to just do a 5k march in a big circle. It was pretty tough. Not just the march, but the strap on my rucksack broke about 2/3 of the way through. I had to hold my strap with one hand and my rifle with the other. The rest of the day my legs were like jello. It probably didn’t help that we had to do all those lunges the night before. One guy, from our platoon, fell out (PVT Spiderman), but he missed a lot of previous workouts to get him in shape because of the spider bite. We were told 6 people fell out all together from the company. The 1st Sergeant and Company Commander were a little pissed, because this is the first time that has happened since he has been here. I have some sores on my feet because of the boots. I’ll try band-aids tomorrow and moleskin later if needed.
We received an update on my battle buddy. Evidently he made it off base. He went to a Walmart and bought civilian clothes, then checked into a hotel room at 2:00am. The MPs or DSs or whoever were actually planning to pick him up there, but he woke up and left at 6:45am before they got there. They had his accounts frozen and let his relatives know he was AWOL and also they could into trouble if they help or harbor him. From what the DSs say the relatives were extremely helpful. They know he now only has $100 and no more access to his account.
We practiced some more team and buddy movements in the big sandbox. So everyone was pretty sandy by the end of the training. We always have so little time to do anything (we had to get everyone showered and changed into PT uniforms… the entire platoon had 15 minutes). The DSs then got pissed when there is sand everywhere. We just needed a few minutes to clean and it would be good.
We were also told that since some medication was found in someone’s locker that was left open the other day, that the entire company was going to get a shake down. I think they called it something like a health and welfare check. A number of DSs came in along with 1st Sergeant and Company Commander and had us all just line up an watch as they tossed “everything” out of our locker. It really sucked watching all your stuff get thrown all over the floor. All my letters and personal crap, it pissed me off. They didn’t find a whole lot, just some cracker wrappers from the cafeteria in a guy's boot (all food is strictly prohibited in the bay) and a blank bullet (no ammo of any type is allowed in the bay). So we’ll see what happens to those guys. The idiot with the cracker wrapper is a huge brown noser, so I thought it was ironic that he was caught. I think that will be my new name for him… PVT Brown Noser. We were told at this rate we’ll be in red phase until we graduate…please no!!! I guess the other platoons were a lot worse...so I guess that is a good thing.
At the end of the night, we heard that the my battle buddy called the DS and apologized. The DS said he’d be back tomorrow. Very interesting, I wonder if he got caught or if his parents convinced him to make the call...we’ll see.
Random DS Quote: “Can you see yourself doing that? Get naked and get in a sleeping bag with your battle buddy…just don’t get a hard-on, that would be wrong!” (A DS explaining a way to warm up someone with a cold injury – body temp drops too low)