Saturday, July 31, 2010

Finally Friday (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 44

A photo of PVT Celtic's tattoo. He now permanently has a
"party in his pants". The other day he was in the bathroom while
looking at himself in the mirror he said "I don't think I should have
gotten this tattoo". LOL!

Today was another squirt gun day, both PFC Metal and I brought our guns and randomly shot people from both sides. It was pretty funny. Class today was tough, the room was hot and everyone including me was having a hard time staying awake. Finally the teacher made everyone stand up. She'll do this from time to time, sometimes she'll ask random questions about our subject matter and if a standing person gets it right they get to sit down.

We had our usual Friday safety briefing after school. Sergeant Cujo started off stating that if we see him outside of the base on his off hours that we should not even look at him. Don't smile, do an about face and walk the other way. This guy is so into himself, like I would want to speak with him unless I have to. I guess his wife doesn't like privates or something and he gets chewed out if they approach him when she is around. Heard the normal items and then the sergeants were calling off some names to give them some weekend passes and they were not there. That set off a whole series of speeches about important it is not to miss formations. We all then had to sign on a paper for accountability, so the people that weren't there are going to get into some type of trouble. 

PFC Metal's wife came to visit and I hitched a ride back to RBK with them in a nice air conditioned car instead of marching back with the RBK formation. When we got back we waited for the formation to arrive and then enter the barracks. Once they arrived there was a lot of talking by the sergeant before he dismissed them. I was a little worried not being there hoping that he was not going to call my name out or anything. Once they finally entered we went to our room and checked with our roommates to see what went on. I guess there were a few people who didn't have their room squared away, including PVT Celtic. PVT Celtic didn't lock his locker, so the sergeant took everything out including some bottles he used to spit in while using dip. The sergeant poured out the gross spit all over. Yuck. He had to clean it all up and he now has a locker inspection tomorrow at 11:00. The SOP here at RBK is a lot stricter than Charlie, so you really want to keep your stuff in order. You really don't want any extra attention brought on yourself.

Later on in the night PFC Metal and his wife invited me to go bowling with them at Gordon Lanes. We had a pretty good time, but the line for the beer was extremely long so we only ended up getting one pitcher to drink for the whole night. It's always nice to get away from the barracks in civilian clothes for a while. I managed to bowl a 191 with a house ball which I thought was pretty good. You end up seeing a lot of people at the bowling alley and the attached restaurant because it's the only place on post that phase V & V+ are allowed to drink. So it is kind of the hang out spot on the weekends.

the wife

Um, yeah... big mistake with the tattoo. LOL - it's worse then I'd imagine.

Saturday, July 31, 2010 - 12:39 PM

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Victory Hill (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 43

A photo of Charlie Company barracks as I walked by heading to RBK. The
barracks are the building to the left. The tree in the foreground
is "the smoke pit", the only place smokers in the company can smoke.

PT this morning was another good one. We have much better workouts over here than back at Charlie. We did a run and found ourselves at what the sergeant called "Victory Hill", he said "me and this hill go way back". (They are also in the process of changing the name of our barracks from RBK to something else more motivating. I guess the Lt. Colonel likes "Victory Barracks" so we may be going with that) We had to run up this thing as fast as we could...that was a killer. We then ran back and the Sergeant was able to find a few other smaller hills for us to run. When we got back everyone looked like they had just taken a shower in their PT uniforms.

The sergeant that does our PT in the morning seems like a pretty cool guy. I'll call him Sergeant Kent. He is 37 (a year older than me) and is in great shape. He always pushes everyone when we're out there. He tries to get everyone motivated and if we aren't motivated we end up doing extra push-ups or something until we get motivated LOL.

Lots of rumors today about another "Phase Back Friday" coming….I guess we'll see, but it really doesn't affect me since I'm at RBK. I just feel bad for the guys that are still there (at the company) and have to go through all the BS.

Today as we were marching to study hall there was a pretty funny incident. A big guy wasn't watching where he was going and actually ran smack into a speed limit sign. It made a loud bang as he ran into it and everyone almost fell out because they were laughing so hard. It was pretty funny. I haven't laughed that hard for a while.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fire Guard (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 42

An "action shot" of me doing fire guard. I was actually studying for CCNA2. 
At least we have some comfy chairs to sit it

This morning at 1:30 AM PFC Metal and I had our first hall guard shift at RBK. What a night and day difference between hall guard shifts at Charlie and RBK. At Charlie the shifts last 2 hours vs 1 hour here. At Charlie there are no electronics at all allowed during your shift, here we can use anything we want once we finish our duties. At Charlie there is no sitting (even on the floor) during your shift, here we have two nice comfy chairs with a little night stand between them for the hall guard shift to use. At Charlie they have to wear the full ACU uniform no matter when the shift is, here we can wear our PT uniform (shorts and shirt…what we have to sleep in, so we roll out of bed and we're ready to go). An hour really goes by quick. Our duties were to clean up the laundry room which was no problem and only took about 15 minutes. I played around on my iPhone the rest of the time and PFC Metal played his new Starcraft game until we woke up the next shift.

We were allowed for some reason to sleep in an hour later which kind of made up for the fire guard duty that we had to do. It would have been nice to sleep through the entire night and get the extra hour, but I'm not complaining. Charlie company didn't do PT and slept in as well, but this was all planned so they could do extra barracks maintenance in the morning. Since we are technically still part of Charlie company just living at RBK we woke up late and didn't have to do PT either. We just straightened up our room and had quite a bit more time to get ready in the morning which was a nice change. When I had breakfast I poured myself some coffee and had a plate full of food as well as a bowl of Cocoa Puffs. I was looking forward to having a little bit of chocolate in the morning. I decided to grab one of the little pints of milk instead of using the big dispenser to save a trip. When I poured the milk into my bowl it came out in chunks! Gross!! I guess I will not be having Cocoa Puffs this morning.

I mentioned about our new civilian teacher earlier. She is also down to business. She doesn't take any crap and even made a girl cry in class today. She told her to stop talking and to stand outside the door of the classroom with her notepad and take notes from there. The girl was in shock and just sat there and started to cry. 

After class and study hall we had another long and pointless formation at Charlie before we could leave and head back to RBK. OMG I'm so glad to be living over there (I think I've said that a lot already). After the formation all the people living at Charlie had to do more barracks maintenance the rest of the night instead of having personal time. Instead of having to do any of that I was able to head back to RBK and call my family (my sister just had a baby today…woohoo!)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sauna (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 41

School has kept me pretty busy. We still go the same number of hours as before, but we have a new instructor for this CCNA 2 class. The instructor is a civilian and there is a huge difference between her and the sergeant we had for the last two classes. The sergeant actually knew his stuff and he was a pretty cool guy, but he just didn't teach very well. I knew he was trying, but there is a huge difference between a teacher and just a sergeant who has no instructional training. The civilian teacher tries to involve everyone in the subject and keeps us busy almost the entire time. We are busy during school times and we are kept busy with a lot of homework to do during study hall. 

We did homework and the Cisco assessments before, but this teacher goes over each of the questions the next day with the entire class. She will actually call people up who missed certain questions on the Cisco assessments and try and make sure they know why they missed the question. Before we did a lot of homework, but it was never checked and we didn't even know if the answers we did were correct or not. So the new class may be a bit tougher, but I think everyone will get a lot more out of it. 

It rained after classes today and let me tell you that after it rains in Georgia in the summer, it feels like a sauna. It was so hot and muggy while we stood in formation. I've never experienced anything like that before.

FS SPC Keith Miller

I can empathize with you. I have grown up in Florida. I will be dealing with that about the same time next year for 25S.

Saturday, January 1, 2011 - 08:44 AM

RBK Photos (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 40

A photo of one of the day rooms in RBK. A number of people hook
their laptops up to the flat screen and play movies

This morning we did running and it kicked my butt. After our normal warm up we jogged as a company for a while and then we arrived at a hill. We ran up and down a couple of times which was killer, and then jogged back. I was drenched in sweat and my legs felt like rubber for the rest of the day. A good workout!

The rest of the day was pretty normal so except for a funny incident in class. We had a guy actually fall asleep and hit his head on the desk. Everyone next to him couldn’t  stop laughing, it was pretty funny. 

For now I’ll post some of the pictures I got this last weekend of RBK that I haven’t posted yet:

Overheard Quote: “We are professionals. We are not Burger King, you can’t have it your way!” (A sergeant talking to people coming late into formation)

Our hallway used by Charlie Company

Our nice individual showers

Our cafeteria (the RFAC) all clean and with the flat screens on the wall...only if I had time
to sit back, enjoy a cup of coffee and watch the news.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lazy Sunday (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 39

A picture of the IET Center. This is a place where the soldiers can go and play
video games, pool, ping pong and more. We ended coming by here so
PFC Metal could use their computers to print some paperwork.

Today was a nice relaxing day. We went to formation at 8:30 and the sergeant said since we keep everything so clean we didn’t have to do anything except walk around the building once again to pick up any trash. The rest of the day was ours to do whatever until 18:00 recall formation. 

I did a little studying, watched a movie on the laptop, called my mom, dad, kids, and my wife. I took a nap while listening to some music on my iPhone. I ate my pop tarts for breakfast and a snack bar for lunch. Then before dinner I shaved again for recall formation and we walked over to the Charlie DFAC to eat dinner. We went to recall formation which was surprisingly quick...only 15 minutes. I think that is a record. I hung out with PFC Metal so he could get some paperwork printed. It’s strange, in order to sign out for a weekend you have to fill out some paperwork, print out a map of where you will be and also print out your LES statement (this is your leave and earnings statement...kind of like a pay stub). As students here we have very limited access to any printers. There is the library which is only open pretty much the whole time we are in school and study hall and closed on Sunday. There is also a "Cyberzone" place and the IET center both of which cost money to use. It’s quite a scam they have going on here. I’m planning in advance and I’m going to have my wife print it all out at home and mail it to me so I have it all ready in time for our planned Labor Day get-a-way.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ahhh...Saturday (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 38

A photo of Barton Field from the RBK side. We cross this field heading
to Charlie company or the DFAC. The field is huge! There is a dirt running
track around it that is 3.2 miles long.

Today started off great. I must say that I like staying at RBK. Our morning formation only took a few minutes and our duties were to do a quick police call around the outside of the barracks which took a whole 5 to 10 minutes, then the rest of the day was ours. I did a little homework and then went shopping for some supplies. Another nice thing about RBK is that we are much closer to the main PX, commissary, the clothing store, and the bowling alley. I was able to get all my laundry done and put away after shopping.

I walked to the Charlie Company DFAC for dinner (our RFAC is closed on the weekends unfortunately) with the young Hawaiian (a young private from Hawaii) and as we were eating, we talked to some of the people still back at the Charlie barracks. They said all the ones that were phased back have been doing duties all day long with a formation about every 2 hours. I’m so glad I’m outta there! They all have to be in ACUs too when doing duty. What a bummer for them.

Night time came and I went and had a couple of beers with PFC Metal and his wife who was down visiting. As phase V and being of drinking age, we are allowed to drink at only one place on base which happens to be the bar in the bowling alley. The bowling alley is conveniently located right across the street from the RBK barracks.

All in all a very laid back and relaxing Saturday. A much needed change of pace after being busy all week long.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Phase Back Friday (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 37

This morning as promised, I had my EOC PT test. I woke up at 3:30 to shave and get ready for our special formation at 4:00 where the duty van picked us up and drove us to Charlie Company. We then formed up with the rest of Charlie who had to take the test. We marched over to the testing field and after stretching and getting the same set of instructions we get for every PT test we started. I did 57 push-ups, 47 sit-ups, & ran the 2-mile in 16:17. This gave me a total score of: 221. The 2-mile seemed so much harder than usual. I am really starting to think it may have to do with all the crappy food I’m eating here. In basic we were not allowed to eat anything except the healthy DFAC food. Here at AIT we have Krispy Kreme donuts every morning and my weakness...a soft serve ice cream machine that I abuse on a daily basis at lunch and dinner. I also found a new treat that it can be used for, I grab a cake and then put ice cream all over it. I think I’m going to stop the donuts all together and cut back on my ice cream intake. 

Our first day of CCNA2 started today. The first day didn’t start off too well. We went into our room and waited for our instructor. We ended up waiting for about two hours before they gave us a substitute. I guess our new instructor was already teaching a class and we would get her next week. So our substitute took over and we started our new class. The room was warm and everyone was having trouble staying awake. I stood myself up twice because I was close to falling asleep.

I heard that a number of Charlie Company people are getting phased back to IV today because their barracks were dirty and who knows what else. What a bummer for them. Others think it’s because they need more phase IV people to do the duties this weekend. Either way I’m glad I’m over at RBK now. Not only for this but because during our weekend safety briefing (don’t get in trouble or be stupid) they said everyone on the third floor of Charlie has to move down to the second floor for a couple of weeks. Bravo company is going to move into the third floor while their barracks are getting remodeled. Then they will move back into their barracks and Charlie will move into Bravo barracks while Charlie gets remodeled. The whole time I’ll be staying put in RBK! What a mess, the place will be crowded and half the stuff doesn’t work.

I decided to use Runkeeper on my iPhone to see how long the march is from Charlie company to RBK and it’s .93 miles. Not too bad to stay away from all the drama. (Check out the image below)

A view of the walk (via RunKeeper) that we have to take from the RBK barracks to Charlie Company

It’s Friday now and everyone’s been released. There will be a lot of drinking going on and a lot of “hotel parties” for all these young bucks. I think I’ll stay in and watch a movie on the laptop tonight since PFC Metal’s wife is in town he’s going to be MIA all weekend.

Overheard Quote: “Remember no means no and yes means wear a condom” (Our lead sergeant giving out advice during the safety briefing today)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Test Day (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 36

This morning our RBK PT sergeant decided to do some “old school” PT with us. There were a lot of push-ups and sit-ups involved. We had a sergeant in front of us and one behind us. The one in front would have us do a number of push-ups, then we would go back to the position of attention and do an about face so the other sergeant could tag team and have us do a number of sit-ups. This continued for a while...I can tell you that my arms felt like jello the rest of the day. A good workout indeed!

Today we had a two part final test for our CCNA class. The first part was a practical exam. We had to configure a router and a couple end devices.  We were given a network address and had to subnet it out in order to configure all the devices. The second part of the exam was the normal written exam given by Cisco. They word the questions extremely difficult so you have to take your time reading the question just to figure out what they are trying to ask.

I scored 100% on the practical exam and I missed one on the written exam to give me 98% on it for a total of 99% for the class, which was the best in the class! Woohoo! There are normally a number of people who fail each time and our class was no exception. We had 6 people fail and they were given a chance to retake the test tomorrow early in the morning.

I found out by chance while waiting for the RBK formation back to the barracks that I have to do my EOC tomorrow. This is the “End Of Cycle” PT test! I wouldn’t have even known if I didn’t decide to wait in the day room of our company where I passed by the white board and saw it. arms are freakin’ jello and I have to do my EOC tomorrow...I’m not too happy about that.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Suicide Prevention (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 35

This morning everyone in my class and others including MOS-Ts who started around the same time as me all had to attend a special suicide prevention class instead of PT. It turned out to be a little talking from the chaplain, then a “choose your own adventure” movie. We would watch a part of a movie where a soldier had some bad things happen to him (fiance’ left him for his best friend and took all is money, friend died in action and more). During the course of the movie it would stop and there would be a number of choices on the screen that we were supposed to choose depending on the situation. The chaplain chose all of them and we just watched as the soldier decided not to kill himself and get help instead. I think in that situation I wouldn’t worry about killing myself...that guy would have to worry about the time I get back to the states!

We then went to class and took a pre-test which I did fairly well on, so I’m not too worried about tomorrow’s final exam. The final exam is actually the entire grade for the course.

PFC Metal also gave me a cheap little squirt gun that he bought at the store last weekend. It has turned out to be a lot of fun. We’ll be walking around and I’ll shoot someone in the face. It’s quite a shock for them and I get a good laugh out of it LOL. What we do for fun around here :)

During mail formation after study hall Sergeant Cujo called about 15 names with mine and PFC Metal’s included in that list. We all had to meet in the day room after formation. Crap! Just what I wanted...waste more time at the company instead of heading over to RBK. So we all went in there only to hear Sergeant Cujo start talking about integrity and being a good soldier. I was wondering what the heck was going on when all of a sudden he said we’re all getting negative counseling statements for missing formations. What the Sam Hell??? I didn’t know what he was talking about. When he finally gave me the the statement it said that I missed all the formations for the last weekend. I raised my hand and said “um sergeant, PFC Metal and I both moved into RBK on Friday”. He told us we could go. What I don’t understand is why it wasn’t in their computer already and why nobody said anything when they called our names during formation. For being the center of the signal corps in the army, their communication is horrible here.

So we headed off to RBK and got back for another late night with almost no personal time....grrrr.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

CCNA (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 34

Today was another pretty normal day until our dinner formation. During this formation Sergeant Cujo asked who had study hall and everyone except one person did. He told that one person to round up some more people by the end of dinner and they were going to play dodge ball with the sergeants. I wish I could have played. I would have loved to nail Sergeant Cujo in the head...maybe a couple of the other time wasters too. Oh well.

Since the CCNA class is about to end I’ll post our syllabus for anyone who is interested in what was covered during this class:

Day 1
N+ Overview with TCP/IP and Basic Router Commands

Day 2
Addressing the Network – IPv4

Day 3
Communicating Over the Network

Day 4
Application Layer Functionality and Protocol

Day 5
OSI Transport Layer

Day 6
OSI Network Layer
Data Link Layer 

Day 7
OSI Physical Layer

Day 8
Planning and Cabling Networks

Day 9
Configuring and Testing Your Network

Day 10
Written Test/ Practical Exam Test

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

1st Weekday @ RBK (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 33

Today was my first weekday at RBK. I’ve heard all kinds of stories about what it will be like living here during the week and most of them were all about how little time we will have.

I woke up at 4:30 AM to shave and brush my teeth and we had PT formation at 5:15. RBK used to march over and do their PT with Charlie company, but starting this week we will be doing our own PT. This is a good thing because it will save a lot of time. We did PT across the street in a baseball field, pretty much the normal PT sessions we’ve been doing at Charlie. I’ve heard that when we have Sergeant Clark do our PT sessions they will be altered a bit and will be more intense.

We had breakfast at the RBK DFAC a.k.a RFAC. This place is so much nicer than the Charlie’s incredible. There are also always open seats. The food is good. One of my favorites is the yogurt parfait and the pancake sandwiches. There are LCD TVs on the walls and even flowers on the table...even though they are fake it’s still a nice touch...LOL.

Hurried up and finished breakfast, then took a quick shower and cleaned our room. The rooms have to be spotless before we leave. Had to be out in formation for the 7:30 bus ride to Dixon Hall for classes. We arrive before everyone else so we get to sit down and take a quick 15 minute nap before the rest of the companies start arriving.

After lunch Sergeant Cujo found a couple of people with cell phones and took them away. He also spoke to everyone in formation and made some threats about taking more away if he found them and doing a shakedown right then and there. He pretty much left it at that and warned people about bringing phones to classes.

We then had class, a break for dinner, then study hall. After study hall we went to formation and marched to our company area. Had to wait there through mail call and some announcements. RBK people were then released to walk back in buddy teams to RBK. When we arrived we found out we had another formation. Holy cow...I’m hot and sweaty and just want to get in and take a shower. We had some more announcements and I heard this is somewhat unusual from others. I guess they usually don’t have nightly formations at RBK (good).

Finally got back to the room at 21:00, time enough to take a shower and make a quick call to my wife before lights out at 21:30. A busy day indeed. Not much personal time and always on the go doing something. The time crunch is better in the morning I hear, but with the study hall at night we sure don’t get much time at all.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lockdown (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 32

A photo of the outside of RBK. It looks pretty bland, but it is actually
very nice inside.

Today we had formation at 8:30 and as soon as accountability was taken we were released for the day. It seems strange not standing in a formation for at least a half hour to an hour doing nothing, I think I may like RBK.

Didn't do much in the morning. I studied a bit and cleaned the room. About lunch time me and PFC Metal walked over to the DFAC. During the weekends we do not have any DFAC open near us, so we have to walk about 15 to 20 minutes to our old DFAC if we want free food. When we got to Charlie company we heard that they were on lockdown. I guess some people came back drunk last night and one person came back without having a battle buddy (a big no no). I also heard the Command Sergeant Major came to the barracks and they were not very clean. Then this morning some of them thought they were released for breakfast and they went to Burger King. A sergeant walked in and took their phase badges, effectively phasing them down for 48 hours (unless the commander wants to do it longer). So there are a lot of them in ACUs on this hot day, and they have no privileges since they are on lockdown. I think I got out of there just in time!

The rest of the day was pretty laid back. I watched a movie on the laptop...The A-Team. I used to watch the television show as a kid and it was pretty good. A lot of unrealistic action adventure. Plus it had Rampage Jackson in it, who I like on The Ultimate Fighter.

Later on we walked on over to the Charlie Company DFAC again for dinner and headed to Charlie Company for the weekend recall formation. The sergeant did accountability and checked everyone's haircuts and shaves. (Luckily I shaved before heading over - for the second time today). Those of us in RBK then took off and headed back to our barracks.

We had a briefing at 2100 for all the new people at RBK from Charlie. The student leadership went over all the basics and what is expected here. They also answered any questions.

Overheard Quote: “Don’t take this the wrong way, but your wife has very large boobs!” (A private talking to PFC Metal while we were hanging out)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

RBK (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 31

A photo of our room in RBK. My bed is the first to the right. The rooms are nice
and clean, just like the rest of RBK. I wish I had a picture of our old rooms in
Charlie, then one can see why this is so much better!

Today we woke up and had formation at 8:30 AM. We did a little detail (cleaning) around the barracks and then we were done for the rest of the day. A nice thing about being phase V now is that we can show up on weekend formations in our PT uniforms (shorts and a shirt) and then when our duties are finished we can change into civilian clothes, which is much nicer than putting on our entire ACUs for the whole day. 
PFC Metal showed me his secret this morning to making a super tight bed. His method includes using bungee cords underneath the bed to pull the sheets tight. With PFC Metals help my bed is tight and will stay that way. (Let’s hope that I made it to their standards). This will be perfect because I plan on sleeping on top of everything like before.
PFC Metal and I then went to the PX (which is much closer now) and bought some needed items and had brunch (volcano tacos for me). We then came back to our barracks and washed clothes.
RBK barracks...let me tell you a little more about this place. The entire place is very clean and seems new. The bathrooms are huge and they seem to even sparkle, plus the toilets have automatic flushing, no worries about finding a surprise when you open the stall door. The day rooms (which they have multiple of) are spacious and have big LCD screens on the wall. They look like mini movie theatre rooms. The laundry rooms as you can see below actually have plenty of new (and working) washers and dryers. I can actually do laundry now...imagine that! The Showers are individual showers with curtains, so no more sausage fests will be going on. I hear that hall guard shifts on the weekdays are one hour long, but the weekends are 6 hours long. There are also no women allowed here, that will get rid of all the flirting, drama and everything else that seems to go on at Charlie company. I really think this place will turn out to be a much better place to live once we get the hang of how everything works.
A photo of our laundry room in RBK. One may not think much of this, but compared to
our old laundry room, this place is heaven!!!


Just wanted to share that I fully enjoyed reading ALL of your journal entries thus far and will continue to read them as they are posted. I'm 33 and a father of 2 who actually has lived here in Georgia my entire life. I know exactly what you mean by the heat and humidity. I go Tuesday the 20th the take the ASVAB and look to enlist soon after. I appreciate the unedited version of what the expect and tips on how to make the experience better. I wish you the best of luck in AIT and hope it is over soon. Once again, thank you for creating this site and keep up the great work.

Korey Mitchell

Sunday, July 18, 2010 - 10:11 AM


Thanks, this has been a pretty crazy experience. Good luck with the ASVAB and with any future military career afterwards. We were just told today by our platoon sergeant to remember that this is not the real army, we are only in a training environment. The real army is way different. I look forward to that. I also look forward to keeping up with the journal. It's been a great way to release and get everything off my chest. It will also be interesting to look back on later. I also read a number of other's journals when getting ready to join myself, so I want to be able to let others know what it's really far as my experience.

Sunday, July 18, 2010 - 08:45 PM

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Phase Up (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 30

Today we have a half day of school. I guess every first Friday of the month we have a half day of school and the other half is used for company training. I can only imagine what that will consist of…perhaps the best way to clean a toilet, or how to pick up trash in half the time, perhaps even how to landscape the perfect yard. We'll see….

School was short and I ended up skipping lunch with two other guys who took the test with me last night. We all headed over to the company area to ask if our tests have been graded yet. We found the sergeant and he said we had to wait until after training. Grrrr…I don't like waiting. So I headed over to the little PX to pick up something to eat for lunch real quick before training.

The company training consisted of breaking us all up into four groups and doing land navigation. One group would go over how to read a map, the next would go over the terrain features on a map, the next watched a power point presentation, and the last group did pace counts. I'm not sure about the others, but everyone from Ft. Benning went through pretty much all of this before. It was pretty boring to be honest. We actually did a lot more in basic training, we went over map reading and actually did land-nav through the woods.

After we did three of the stations, they called it quits and had mail call. I got the package I've been waiting for…my iPhone! Finally. I should be able to get up some more pics now. There is a lot of stuff I've been wanting to put up, but just never had the means. Now there is no excuses. We also had a safety briefing because it's Friday once again. The lead sergeant went through the normal stuff, then said he was leaving and turning over his responsibilities to another one of the sergeants. Everyone was a little surprised because the head sergeant is well liked. We then heard more safety briefing from the soon-to-be head sergeant. He got pretty emotional because he said one of his good buddies from high school just died in the war effort. You could tell the emotions he was showing was pretty raw, it choked me up a bit. His message was basically look out for your friends and battle buddies all the time and remember that no matter what, it could always be worse. The commander came up and gave her speech as well, then another platoon sergeant came up and asked for 25 volunteers to go to a briefing tonight and tomorrow…something to do with high speed soldiers and special ops, nothing that really interested me (at least now…I'm too old for that stuff, many years ago perhaps I would have checked it out). By this time I think we had been in formation for almost two hours. Holy Cow!! I want to find out if I passed my test and if I'll be getting phased up.

Finally they released us, myself and the other guys who took the test last night stood in line to talk with our platoon sergeant. After about 30 minutes of waiting we finally were called back and found out that we all passed. Woohoo. He said he didn't have our badges ready, but he would have them ready in an hour or two. He also gave us the talk about going off base and getting in trouble, but then asked how old I was and said he's not too worried about me…LOL

We went to dinner and then came back to check on our badges. When we were called back into the sergeants office again he said here are your badges, oh and by the way you're all moving to RBK…no ifs ands or buts. I was in a little shock as I stood there for a moment letting it all sink in. The three of us standing there along with a number of others had to move to the RBK housing tonight. Unfortunately PFC Metal was not on the list. We have heard good things about RBK, but it is a ways away and we've never actually seen it. PFC Metal then went down and asked if he could go to RBK as well (there was a lot of people that didn't want to go and he asked if he could switch with one of them). The sergeant said yes and PFC Metal actually went to the highest bidder and made some money off the deal. We then packed up all our crap and grabbed one of our bags and headed to the taxi stand before anyone else from Charlie company headed over to RBK. We arrived and we were able to get a room together. We then walked back (about a 15 minute walk) and waited for the duty van to arrive to take the rest of our stuff there with everyone else.

We arrived again and unloaded everything in our room. The place is very nice and new. The rooms are 4 person rooms in about the size of our old room that held up to 12…and there are no top bunks.

I'll have to give more details later, I'm going to bed now…it's been a long day.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bad Hygiene (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 29

This morning was a little odd. During the middle of our PT session on the pull-up bars the "I Hate You All" Sergeant ended up smoking us. He kept telling everyone to be quite, but nobody shut up. So instead of taking turns doing the pull-ups everyone had to get down and do push-ups, v-ups and some flutter kicks. Pretty crazy, I've never heard of getting smoked during PT before. 

When we arrived at school and were standing in formation waiting to go in, we all saw two sergeants in the distance in each others faces. I thought a fight was going to break out. We couldn't hear what it was about, but it took the Master Sergeant to run over there and separate them. 

During class Sergeant Cujo made a surprise visit. He came in and wanted to talk about hygiene. I guess there have been complaints about the smell of everyone. In fact he said it smells like "hot foot and ass". He said because it has been so hot and because of the air conditioning in the building not working that well, people have started to smell a bit. He asked everyone to make sure they are washing their clothes, taking showers and even suggested purchasing a little Febreez and spraying yourself down when returning to class. I was thinking to myself, maybe we should start wearing summer PTs to class instead of these hot ass ACUs everyday. I would even settle for a modified ACU with just the t-shirt underneath and not the top part of the ACU. It seems like those things just trap the heat. Sergeant Cujo also said we would be able to take the phase-up test tonight. I'm super excited about that. I want to phase up as soon as possible.

When we finished dinner, we were hanging around waiting for formation to head back to study hall when we heard a person say they were doing the phase-up tests right now. Crap! PFC Metal and I headed over to the company area to find a number of people in the middle of taking the test…unfortunately there were a few people waiting in line for others to finish, so they could take the test. I was getting pissed, because when Sergeant Cujo was in the classroom he made it sound like we could take it later in the night after our study hall, but he decided he didn't want to stay up that late. As we were in line he also said that study hall was a priority and phasing up was a privilege, so all of us in line had to take off to study hall. PFC Metal actually was able to grab a test and started taking it, but I was one of the unlucky ones who had to head back. So the whole time at study hall I was just pissed off. There were a few people who came late to study hall and started bragging about how they passed the test and phased up. They were even issued their new badges. All that did was piss me off more. I couldn't even study.

After study hall, me and a few others who were unable to take the test checked in with the sergeant on duty to see if we could take it. She let us all take the test on the floor, I didn't care where I took it as long as I could take it. I have been studying all the material, so it only took me 5 or so minutes to finish. I knew I passed, but the sergeant didn't want to grade them…she said the morning sergeant would do it. Grrrr what a pain.

Now let's talk about the Charlie company barracks for a bit. I was just thinking today how old this place is and how run down it is. Since I arrived, there has been three stalls closed waiting for maintenance in the closest bathroom to my room (I'm sure there are similar issues with all the other bathrooms). The laundry room on our floor has one washer that makes everything smell like piss when you use it and the other three are broken. It seems there must be no money in the budget for repairs. I am planning on going to the laundry mat this weekend just to wash my clothes, we do have some washers on the main floor but they are always busy and I've heard too many stories of people's stuff getting stolen from down there.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bad Singers (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 28

This morning we had formation at 4:45, but we had to be in ACUs and have our IDs with us. We were not told why, but there was no PT. We then got in alphabetical order and marched to a building about 50 meters away. When we got there we filed in and went to a table where we verified our name and social security number on a sheet of paper, then initialed it. When we were done we went back to our barracks. Not sure what it was for or anything...and of course we were not told.

We were in the room for about 15 minutes and then everyone was called out to yet another formation. I guess the sergeants didn't like us doing nothing in our rooms. So instead we stood in formation for a half hour until we were finally released for breakfast. Sergeant Cujo had to give some threats and crap about us marching and sounding off. (yesterday he didn't like the way we were sounding off, so he said we were not allowed to sound off at all yesterday….oh darn)

Since mandatory study hall started, our personal time has been cut very short. With the other duties and cleaning that we have to do, we hardly have any time left in the day. I spend a lot less time chatting with my wife and kids. I also have no time for homework, so I have to make sure to get it all completed during the study hall. I have to admit though that going to the study hall sure helps with all the interruptions and duties that we end up doing while in barracks. It does what it is meant to do and gives us time to get our homework done.

There has been a lot of new restrictions placed and enforced. Almost daily we'll here of new things that we have to do, or of some policies that were not enforced before that will be enforced now. It seems like there is so many things to remember. Last night PFC Metal went down to get his laundry downstairs (because all of the washers on our floor are broken) after 2100 and a sergeant saw him and made him clean the laundry room because he was downstairs after 2100. We've never heard of such a thing, but they mentioned it today as an existing policy that is now being enforced. The other new one mentioned today is that we also have to make sure to turn in weekend pass requests a week early. I guess people have been turning them in a day before and such.

Class was interesting today, we were singing the Signal Corps March again and sounding horrible as usual. A sergeant was walking by and came in pissed off because we sounded so bad. He made everyone get down in the "front leaning rest" (the push-up position) and start doing push-ups. This included the MOS-T sergeants that are in our class. Needless to say we have had to practice a number of times throughout the day. LOL

Overheard Quote: "Someone has colon cancer!" (a random sergeant after coming out of the bathroom at school complaining about how bad it smelled in there)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Falling Out (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 27

If it's not one thing it's another. We didn't have to get in line with our ID cards for bed check roll call, but the female sergeant had the hall guards come into each room at about 1AM or so for the last two nights and turn on the lights. They make sure everyone is dressed and then she comes in to make sure we're all here. Just another interruption of sleep that I can add to all the other things that seem to happen here. It's just plain rude.

Today we had PT as usual in the morning, then all of a sudden a guy passed out. An ambulance came and everything. I heard he was allergic to the fertilizer on the field and had a reaction to it. Certainly made the PT a little more interesting than it usually is.

Pretty much a normal day after that. In class we were entertained for a while watching a guy who didn't get much sleep because of hall guard duties almost get whiplash because he kept nodding off and would wake up as his head was falling. It was quite funny.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Wrong Hand (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 26

Today we had a pretty good work out. We ran for a while, then when we arrived at a big hill we ended up running up and down it about four times and then ran back. Class went all day long and then we had mandatory study hall right after dinner, so we ended up being at school from 8:00 to 20:00. (Different classes require the mandatory 2 hour study hall. CCNA 1 & 2 both require it, so I'll be at the school for quite a while every day) When we got back to the company area we heard that the new colonel is going to be checking out our barracks. We all had to clean when we got back from school. It's been a long busy day. I did get a few minutes to video chat with my wife. She mailed me my new iPhone today. I'm so looking forward to getting it. I'll be able to take pictures and video and add it to the website. I'll also have music to listen to and I'll be able to instant message friends and family, which is a nice way to keep in touch since I don't have much time lately on the computer.

Funny event happened today. PFC Metal and I were walking back from the chow hall and I saw a captain coming towards us. I thought to myself oh crap…I have to salute this guy. The entire time I've been in the army so far I have never had to salute an officer. So when he was about 6 paces away I said good afternoon sir and then saluted him. PFC Metal saluted him too, but he did it with the wrong hand. The captain stopped and with a confused look on his face he said "one of you just saluted me with the wrong hand. PFC Metal said that he was the one, a mistake because he's just out of basic. The captain then told me to square away my battle buddy and then carried on. LOL

Overheard Quote: "Chuck Norris doesn't mow his lawn, he dares it to grow" (I'm not sure if this is the same private all the time or if there are a lot of fans of these Chuck Norris sayings, but I hear them all the time while in formation…hey we have to find something to do while we stand for a half hour to an hour each time)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Volcano Tacos (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 25

Today was pretty uneventful. I did get to sleep in until about 7:45 this morning which was great! We had breakfast, then went down to formation and did our landscaping for a couple hours as usual. It was already hot at 9AM so I knew it was going to be a hot day. I then video chatted with my wife and kids, did homework and then took off to the PX with PFC Metal. I got my head totally shaved (the no maintenance hair cut) and also bought some extra socks and underwear (I seem to go through those quickly). We ate at Taco Bell and I had Volcano Tacos. I love those things, I haven’t had them since before basic.

I had hall guard duty when we got back for a 4 hour shift. What a boring shift. The sergeants have also said that nobody can use electronic devices during guard duty...bummer. I shaved right before formation. Recall formation included a close inspection of everyone’s haircuts and shaves, so I’m glad I did both (even though the shave was the second one today just for this formation).

I tried to video chat with my wife again, but the internet is so bad here it just kept dropping the connection....very frustrating!

Overheard Quote: “You look like you just came out of American History X” (One of my roommates when I came in after my haircut.)

the wife
I do like Edward Norton, you know. (wink wink)
Monday, July 12, 2010 - 01:47 AM

Sunday, July 11, 2010

GreenJackets (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 24

The internet has finally come back up, it's been down for two days. There are rumors that some people here tried to change some settings on the router to give themselves more priority. Don't know if they're true or not, but ever since it came back up it's been slower than ever. I can't wait until I get my new iPhone, I'll use it to tether and it will be cheaper and it will not be bogged down with all the people here playing online games.

I was surprised to be woken up at 4AM to find out that I had a 4 hour hall guard shift to do. The schedule has not been up on the wall on our floor, so I haven't been paying attention. They also changed the hours to 4 at a time for the weekend because there are less people here. So I got up, got dressed and guarded the hall. I didn't have to do it for the entire shift though because all the new people had to get in formation at 7:00 for a financial briefing that was scheduled for most of the day. 

A little before 7:30 I ran in and quickly shaved and went down stairs. Once at the bottom of the stairs they posted the results of the knowledge test we took last night in order to phase up. I checked and found that I scored a 33 out of 50. 35 is passing, so I failed. What a bummer! I really felt confident when I took the test. After speaking with the guy who graded them, I found out that they were really strict with a number of the answers. So if they asked a name of the a person in the chain of command and I only put the name without the rank in front of it, then it was wrong. I had a number of little things like that. I guess I'll get a chance to to retake the test next Friday. Turns out that all 4 of the people in our room who took the test scored a 33, so nobody will be phasing up in our room. We will next time though for sure, I'm going to try and get everyone together to study before we take the test again.

We headed off to the financial brief. Once there the instructor introduced himself. He sounded like a guy trying to impersonate Tom Hanks in Forest Gump. The class went from 8:00 until about 16:00. A long day of everything from how to maintain good credit to saving for your future and retirement. I think it's a great idea for the young bucks, but I've already been around the block a few times and everything he went over I already either knew or experienced already.

We then had to go to a baseball game. Yes we had to go, it was an order from our company commander. Mandatory fun. I thought this was a little strange that they can force us go to a baseball game. I really didn't want to go, I have a lot of homework and I'm not the biggest baseball fan in the world. We left at 17:00 in about 10 or so buses packed with soldiers from Ft. Gordon.

We watched the Augusta GreenJackets beat the Kannapolis Intimidators 3-2 at Lake Olmstead Stadium. It turned out to be a little better than I thought it would be. It was military appreciation night there and it was cool to be one of the people that were being appreciated for serving my country. It made me proud to be a soldier. Sometimes that can be overlooked when I'm dealing with a bunch of crap all the time. It was also nice to get off base and see actual civilians. We had the illusion of being free….LOL. 

The ride home was long and I was in a bus full of young guys all jacked up on Mountain Dew and sugar. By the time we got back to the company area it was 23:30. I jumped in the shower and crashed.

Overheard Quote: "I don't remember being this stupid when I was younger" (One of the older guys talking to me on the way back to the company before getting on the bus. A number of soldiers were arguing over the stupidest things)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sgt. Cujo (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 23

PFC Metal showing off his bottom drawer. He had everything tight and actually
taped to the bottom of the drawer so it would stay perfect for inspection.

I’ve heard from a lot of people who have been here a while, that there was a time with Charlie company when it wasn’t too bad. That all changed when Sgt. Cujo came into the picture. He started at Charlie about the same time as I did...lucky me. Sgt. Cujo used to be a drill sergeant and he still has the drill sergeant mentality of doing things. So we seem to have Sgt Cujo who likes to make everyone’s lives hell and the rest of the sergeants who just don’t seem to give a damn about anything.

This morning we woke up and again were told to wear ACUs, no PT this morning. After formation we were told to do a little picking up trash around the company area and then head to the DFAC for breakfast when it opened in about 20 minutes.

After breakfast everyone headed upstairs. Most people rested and some studied. Sgt. Cujo did not like this one bit, he had everyone get out of the barracks and stand in formation for 30 minutes just so we wouldn’t be inside the barracks. Then he let us go in the day room only, but we only had about 10 minutes until the school formation where we got to stand around again. Sgt. Cujo ended up marching with us over to school for the first time and when we got there he yelled at Delta company for using a bad word in a cadence when they were marching over. Someone may get offended. (The cadences here generally suck compared to basic because of this)

It just seems like he is always doing something to make the lives of everyone in Charlie company as miserable as possible.

Normal day after that for a while, school, lunch, school, then dinner. We had our normal Friday safety briefing (don’t beat your wife or your dog, don’t do drugs, don’t drink and drive). We then found out at our nightly formation that all Phase IV soldiers would be given a chance to phase up. It would be Sgt Cujo doing it tonight at 20:00. My excitement was dampened a bit, but I figured it’s worth a try no matter what. I turned in my policy letters that I had copied. A number of us arrived in the day room at 20:00 only to wait...and wait...and wait. We waited for about 2 hours until Sgt. Cujo decided to bless us with his presence. He then did locker inspections, but said they had to be up to standard and proceeded to hand us the new standards. So everyone ran up and had about 15 minutes to try and rearrange their lockers to the new standard. I did as best I could, my locker wasn’t too bad, so I was able to get it done. Sgt. Cujo then came through and did all the inspections. All the lockers in our room passed, but he did tell everyone he wants them to make them a little better and in a week or two he’s going to inspect them again.

We then took a written test on general knowledge including our policy letters, the chain of command, The Signal Song, The Soldier’s Creed, and the general orders. We had to score at least a 70% on it and I think I did, but I’ll have to wait and see. The whole process took 3 1/2 hours so it was pushing midnight before I had a chance to go to bed. At least I get to sleep in tomorrow.

Overheard Quote: “You always go into battle with a helmet right? Make sure to do the same if you’re having sex this weekend” (A captain giving us all advice during the safety briefing)

Friday, July 9, 2010

100% (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 21

Woke up this morning expecting a normal day ready for my A+ test. After I was ready for PT and about to head downstairs for formation we found out that we were not having PT and we needed to be dressed in ACUs. I changed clothes and headed downstairs wondering what the heck we were going to do this morning. This of course made me and about half the company at least one minute late for formation and one of our sergeants was at the bottom of the stairs making everyone who was late write their name on the white board. Great...I wonder what that will bring. I got out to formation and they did roll call. Then the sergeant started calling off a bunch of names including mine. We all had to form up in another formation.

After standing and wondering what this was all about, we found out that we were picked at random for a pee test (to test for drugs). We all had to gather in the day room and wait. We were given water “to help facilitate the process” which was good because most of us already went pee first thing in the morning when we were getting ready. They had one sergeant doing all the paperwork and collecting/distributing of the little bottles, so the process was painfully slow. It actually took almost 3 hours for the entire process. By the time I went I had downed 3 big glasses of water and was doing everything I could to hold it in. Finally I went with 6 other guys into the bathroom where we filled our little bottles under the watchful eye of another sergeant. What a relief! We then brought the bottles back to the day room all the while keeping them held over our right shoulders...and turned them in. I’m not worried about them finding any drugs in my system, but if they check for chocolate milk they may think I’m overdosing. Because of the length of this whole process a lot of us missed breakfast....grrrrrrr. We had to head straight to class formation and head to class.

Good news is I took the A+ test and scored 100%. Now we’re on to CCNA 1. We started the class, but because of internet troubles we didn’t get a whole lot done. We did get our books and some homework.

Internet has been down all day today in the barracks. That sucks, especially for how much we have to pay for it.

More good news, the supreme floor commander came in and said to go ahead and move to the lower bunk. Great! I moved all my crap and bedding. I can now say I’m in a much better area of the room (away from the door) and I’m on the bottom bunk which is awesome.

Overheard Quote: “Chuck Norris went through puberty in the second trimester” (A private in formation giving out random Chuck Norris facts)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A+ Last Day (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 20

Today was another typical day at AIT. PT, breakfast, class, lunch, class, and then dinner. I had a CQ shift at 18:00 - 20:00 which turned out to be a great shift. I sat by the front doors and watched them. There are usually two girls and two guys on a given CQ shift I guess. The girls sat at the desk where they answer the phone. Me and another guy sat at the doors and watched them. We are supposed to check IDs if we don’t recognize the person and also check any contraband. There was the normal formation at 16:00 that I didn’t have to go to, then for whatever reason they had another at 19:00 which I didn’t have to go to. I was able to sit in the air conditioning while everyone else stood for a half hour for each formation in the hot sun. I also heard almost every single soldier that came in and out of the doors exclaim how much they hate this place.

Our night sergeant is very lazy. He has now started taking night attendance by making everyone line up with their ID card at 21:00. Not a huge deal, but it actually takes a long time to complete and eats up into my personal time, time I use to video chat with my wife and kids. So it’s just another one of those things that piss me off here.

Enough about all the negative was the last day of my A+ class. We take our final test tomorrow and then start CCNA 1. For anyone who is interested in what our A+ class consisted of here is what we went over:

•    Understanding A+ Standards
•    Introducing Hardware
•    Form Factors and Power Supplies
•    Identifying Motherboards
•    Upgrading Memory
•    Maintaining Hard Drives
•    Supporting I/O Devices
•    Understanding Multimedia Devices & Mass Storage
•    Introducing Operating Systems
•    Introducing PC Repair Fundamentals
•    Maintaining Notebooks, Tablet PCs and PDAs
•    Supporting Printers & Scanners
•    Maintaining PCs On a Network
•    Securing Your PC and LAN
•    Identifying The Professional PC Technician
•    Maintaining The Windows 2000/XP

For the most part this class was entirely review, so I decided not to study for the test since I didn’t have much free time anyway tonight. Hopefully the test will go OK tomorrow.

Overheard Quote: “Hey is it ‘Man Love Thursday’ tomorrow?” (called out by a guy in formation. I didn’t ask and I don’t want to know about that)