Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mellow Yellow (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 75

On our way to the IET center...this kind of gives you an idea of what PT
looks like (although the pic is pretty far away - I didn't want to look
obvious that I was taking their picture). You can see the soldiers
in formation and the sergeant in front leading.

Yesterday (Sunday) was so mellow that I didn’t even put in an journal entry. There was nothing really of note except I was able to get some much needed rest. The only thing that was a little crazy was that a girl our roommate likes (I can’t quite call her his girlfriend yet), got into an argument with Sgt. Cujo and she ended up trying to commit suicide. She went to the hospital and our roommate left to go visit her. Last update we got this morning is that she is doing OK now.

Today was pretty mellow as well. We had 30/60 sprint/walk-jog for PT this morning. Then a leisurely breakfast and a nap at the IET center as usual. We then went to class and spent most of the time studying on our own for the test tomorrow.

Ate dinner and then formed up for the march to RBK. We have a lot of new people now at RBK, so it will be interesting to see if they step it up and keep the high standard that we have here. We did not get a replacement for the guy who left our room so as of now we only have three people in here.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

UFC 118 - No Hooters (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 73

Army landscaping...around the base you will see sandbags used
in all kinds of ways :)

Have I said I'm glad I'm not at Charlie lately? LOL. There are a number of soldiers there that were required to have some mandatory fun today. They have to go to some concert. I have no idea even what kind of music it was, but it was required. Hopefully its not too bad for all of them.

I left the barracks a little early this morning so I could swing by the bank on the way to the PX. I wanted to make sure I got to it before it closed since its a Saturday. My grandma sent me a cashiers check for my birthday and I wanted to cash it. So I went in the bank and asked if they could cash it. Turns out they only cash checks from their bank or for their members. So I said you’re a bank that doesn’t cash checks?. The teller explained they cant because what if it was a bad check?. I said are you kidding me? Its a cashiers check lady. Still no go, so I walked out pissed off. Not a great way to start the day.

We walked over to the PX and I asked if they could cash it...sure no problem. Strange...a bank that wont cash a check, but a store that will. Whatever I'm happy now, I have my cash. First thing to buy...a haircut! Next thing I bought was some more PT uniforms. With all these harder workouts here at RBK I’ve been going through all my PTs and I've either had to do a wash in the middle of the week, or use my "for display only" PTs. The young Hawaiian was with me and we had breakfast at a little restaurant called The Huddle House. Pretty good and inexpensive breakfasts.

I came back to the barracks and worked on my SkillPorts until I finished all of them. What a relief to get all of those out of the way. We have to have them all done by week 12 and it was starting to get a little too close for comfort. I didn’t want to be scrambling to finish them at the last minute.

I had plans to go to Hooters tonight and watch the UFC 118, but PFC Metal went to a concert and everyone else either can't go or has hall guard shifts. Right when I was wondering how I was going to watch the fights the young Hawaiian comes into my room and says he has it streaming on his laptop. In true 25 Bravo fashion he hooked his laptop up to the day room TV. So we have a big picture and sound, not too shabby. Pretty soon we had a small crowd gathered around watching the fights, including the sergeant on desk..LOL. It turned out to be pretty fun, not a big Hooters crowd and no beer...but it was still fun. 

Near the end of the fights after midnight all of a sudden I hear “At Ease”. I thought someone was joking, but everyone jumped up anyway. Turns out the Command Sergeant Major came in the room in civilian clothes. That guy has no life...no life at all!

Overheard Quote: “I’m feeling a little down...I just found out my hero Neil Patrick Harris is gay” (while eating pizza with Pvt Celtic and the ex-cop. The ex-cop said this, and he was quite serious too. It was pretty funny because you could actually tell he wasn’t joking. He was taking it pretty hard too. I started laughing so hard I almost spit out my pizza)

the Wife
The Ex-Cop comment had me laughing so hard I had tears! Where has he been and was he really serious?
Sunday, August 29, 2010 - 09:35 PM

Friday, August 27, 2010

Free Condoms Anyone? (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 72

One of the vending machines at the IET center. All it contains is different
types of energy drinks...LOL

Today for PT we did something new. We were released in random groups of 6 on a run. We were supposed to all stay together and run down the road to a certain point and run back. We had to keep doing this until told to form back up. Somehow I ended up with an entire group of Latinos. After a while they started doing cadence in Spanish. Uno....Dos...Tres...then they started saying a bunch of other stuff and it would start over at Uno. After a while of this I decided to chime in with my own (I can still remember a little German)....Eins...Zwei..Drei...Sie alle sind Schwanzkopf ja. Eins...Zwei...Drei...Du kannst mich blasen.

Speaking of Latinos...Its pretty amazing how many there are in the army. Well I should say at Fort Gordon. I'm not sure if its the same in the entire army, but there is a lot here. It seems everywhere I turn I hear people talking in Spanish. Makes me wish I took some Spanish back in the day, I have no clue what everyone is talking about.

In class today Pvt. Celtic had his phone taken away by an NCO (because were not allowed to have it in school). It was given to our instructor for safe keeping. At some point the instructor gave it to our class leader to give back to Pvt. Celtic after class finished. Well our class leader decided to turn on his phone and update Pvt. Celtics facebook status to "I'm feeling a little gay today". Needless to say Pvt. Celtic didn’t realize this until hours after class had finished. It was pretty funny.

After class we had to eat dinner pretty quick in order to make it to the safety formation at 18:00. The brief was pretty normal stuff (don't beat your wife or girlfriend, don't drive drunk, be careful). The captain also mentioned that in the 15th Signal Brigade there was a suicide this last week and to keep an eye out for our battle buddies. We were also informed that the 15th Brigade also has the highest STD percentage at Ft. Gordon. To help battle this they are providing free condoms, at least at Charlie company. There is now a box full of condoms next to the CQ desk!

Right near the end of the safety formation it started to rain...pour down rain I guess is better wording. The rain drops were pretty huge and started falling like crazy. Everyone went into the day room or into the rest of the barracks to start cleaning. The people that live at the company will be moving back this weekend now that the renovation is complete. I'm glad I don’t live there...there is going to be a lot of cleaning all weekend long there. Free time will be pretty limited with all the moving and cleaning.

We had a nice surprise, the duty vans pulled up to the front door and picked us up to drive us over to RBK. Wow...I wasn’t expecting this. Like most good things that seem to happen here, it was followed by a bad thing. When we arrived at RBK we were told we could change and then to wait in the hall for room inspections. We waited....and waited...and waited. Are you kidding me? Its Friday night everyone is itching to get away from this place and we can only sit in the hall outside our rooms. 2.5 hours later (no joke) we were told that we were released. No inspection...nothing, just a sergeant with a power trip showing everyone who is boss. Things like this drive me nuts. I can't wait until I live off post and away from this kind of crap.
Our room did our own celebrating though. We have one of our guys moving out and back to Charlie tonight because he has finished. Once you finish school you have to move back to Charlie until you leave post for good. We all had some Crown and Cokes to celebrate. I was feeling pretty darn good by the end of the night. I can say that I slept well too.

Overheard Quote: “You better get your doggone doggone” (Sgt. Kent during PT, the sergeants aren’t supposed to cuss anymore. This makes doggone one of the preferred words to use. Sometimes it gets used a little too much...lol)

Sergeant Negative (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 71

Today some guys were late to the RBK formation, so the sergeant
put them in the front leaning rest position. I had to snap a 
quick picture...LOL

Here at RBK we have sergeants from various companies rotate through. Usually they are all pretty cool while they are here. There is one, I believe he’s from Delta company (I’ll call him Sgt Negative) who is just a total jerk all the time. He happens to be our sergeant on desk today. He is also our PT sergeant this morning. All he does is tell us all how crappy we are, how we are all shit bags, how he’s going to kick us all out of RBK and send us back to the company. This goes on and on all morning and he wonders why nobody is motivated. This dirtbag is just a jerk 100% of the time. I can honestly say I hate this guy. A crappy way to start the day. I think he gave me a headache and it lasted all freakin’ day!

Found out this morning that there was an issue with my leave request. I had to change some info on the address and I also attached the wrong LES form. (again why they need our pay info is pretty stupid). While at the IET center I was able to log in and print the correct one off really quick. I had it all ready and emailed it to myself before we left, so all I had to do was log on to my email and print it off. We have to pay by the minute when using these machines. We stopped by the company on the way to lunch and I was able to get it all to our platoon sergeant. Everything should be squared away now for the 4 day weekend coming up. I can’t wait!!!

In school today we started Solaris admin. It is pretty much a lot of the stuff we did in CLI, but using a GUI to do the same things. We also went over some of the other admin type stuff like setting up a user. I think admin will be much easier than CLI.

All week there have been rumors that we will be phasing up tomorrow. This is actually a week early than we are supposed to according to the policy letter, so I’m not getting my hopes up. It would be so nice though because there is a UFC fight on Saturday. We have to be back in our beds by 1:00AM on the weekends as phase Vs, but we don’t have to be back at all as phase V+. That would mean we wouldn’t have to miss the end of it.

Overheard Quote: “They called us turds” (Our MOS-T sergeant in class talking about what his drill sergeants called them in basic training)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

No Time! (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 70

Another photo of the Charlie company remodel. They are moving 
new beds up to the rooms.

Standing in morning formation before PT is somewhat torturous. While we are standing there going through roll call, we can smell the bacon cooking from the RFAC which is right around the corner. This is all happening while everyone is standing there with an empty stomach. LOL

PT this morning was another AGR run which I ran in C group again. This time the group was a little bigger and we ran at a faster pace. At the end we did some sprints, so by the time we were done I had a good sweat going. We ran around the smaller track around Barton field which I hear is about two miles.

We had the typical morning, leisurely breakfast and a nap at IET center. This time we were not interrupted which was nice. We have a test today for CLI, so having a nap before hand and going in well rested was important to me.

I went to class after lunch and we were able to do some last minute studying for an hour before we took the test. The test consisted of about 30 items that we had to do in the command line interface. All were Unix commands and were pretty straight forward. I ended up messing up one of the steps so I only got a 96.5% on it. There was only one person who got a 100%. I should have too, but I made a stupid mistake...oh well, next time.

After the test we had to go over to another part of the school and we ended up having to do detail until it was time to head back to class to be dismissed. If I would have known that I would have taken longer on the darn test.

On the march back to RBK the sergeant did something pretty funny. Out of the blue he tells the road guards to catch him a goose. There are a number of Canadian geese that like to hang out around Barton Field. So the two road guards to running around chasing after these geese. Picture two guys with bright orange vests on with their hands stretched out trying to catch geese. It was pretty funny. I wondered what the people driving by were thinking..LOL.

The laughing stopped when we arrived back to RBK. The sergeant told us that the brigade commander and a number of other brass are coming through to inspect our barracks tomorrow. So the sergeant said we had to clean the barracks until lights out. That means no personal time at all tonight. That pissed me off a bit, sucks not to be able to talk to my wife before I go to sleep.

Overheard Quote: "That middle toilet looks like someone poured caramel syrup in it" (PFC Metal after he was cleaning the toilets complaining about a poop stain that circled around the bowl of the toilet)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Extra Training (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 69

A photo of the Charlie barracks during the remodel. There are a number
of trucks as well as some lifts behind them. Looks like they are doing
quite the remodel.

This morning I woke up a little confused for some reason. I didn’t understand why my alarm was going off so early, for some reason I thought it was the weekend. So I was a little disappointed when I started thinking clearly and saw “Tuesday” on my phone.

PT today was muscle failure day. We did a number of push-ups and sit-ups until we basically couldn’t do them anymore. My arms felt like wet noodles when we finished. It was a pretty good workout!

We did all our duties and ate another leisurely breakfast, then headed over to the IET center. I took a nice nap, but was prematurely awakened by a battle buddy warning me that a sergeant was in there and walking around waking people up. Grrrrr!! I woke up PFC Metal so we were both awake by the time he came around to our area. He asked why we were there and what company we were with etc. We told him we were in software and didn’t have school until noon. He then moved on to mess with other privates. He ended up making about 8 people leave. I’m not sure why, they must have been there when they were supposed to be somewhere else. One thing’s for sure, I’m getting tired of having my nap time getting interrupted LOL. 

School today we reviewed and prepared for the upcoming test tomorrow. The instructor also changed things up a bit and had each half of the class play against each other answering questions about CLI. Our team was up until the final question, where we bet everything and lost....so we had to clean up the room before we left.

After class we learned that we are supposed to have some extra training every Tuesday. So after dinner we had to gather as a company and the sergeants went over the 9 line medivac report as well as the basics on using some high speed walkie talkies. That lasted about 45 minutes, then we marched back to RBK.

Once back at RBK SGT Pineapple started giving us another speech. In a nutshell he told us that we need to get used to wearing our Camelbaks. If we don’t, then we’ll die down range.

Overheard Quote: “Is there a secret photographer out here?” (Sgt Kent during PT wondering why everyone was looking like they were posing during the cool down stretches)

Lisa Moore

My son is headed to Ft Gordon End of Sept and I know in a earlier Blog  you said talked about where to check in/report.  Can you send me that information.  We will be driving him from Benning to Gordon and I like to have an idea of where to go.  Thank you for time and the job you do. my email is moorl69@hotmail.com

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - 11:21 AM

PFC McGuire

Not sure if your son is a 25B or not. If he is in the 15th Signal Battalion he will check in at headquarters located on Barnes Ave right after 27th street. (See link below). When I was released from basic they surprisingly didn't give me any information on where to go. Luckily I knew someone who arrived before me and I was able to call them and ask directions on where to go.

Let me know if you have any more questions,

PFC McGuire

Google Map of Signal Battalion Headquarters

Friday, August 27, 2010 - 09:34 PM

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Command Overload (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 68

I had to get up at 1:30 AM for an hour long hall guard shift. While I’m thankful that it’s only an hour and we can use electronics, it’s still a bummer to have to get up in the middle of the night. I’m just glad I don’t have to do it that often. The guy I was with wanted to do all the cleaning in the bathrooms because he thought it would make the time go by fast. Who am I to argue with that? The only problem was that when I finished the shift I had a hard time getting back to sleep. I kept tossing and turning looking at my watch and seeing my time available to sleep keep shrinking. It seemed as though right when I fell asleep the alarm went off to wake up.

This morning’s PT was AGR (ability group runs). I of course got in the C group which is where I normally run. The sergeant told everyone that was 27 or younger to move up to B group..LOL. After all the younger guys moved we were left with only 12 people. We started off with a light trot and to my surprise we never sped up. Also to my surprise we had two people fall out. I was thinking to myself for the first time ever that perhaps I should have moved up to the next group! At our turn around point I hadn’t even broke a sweat. Then finally when we got to the top of a hill the sergeant told us to sprint down and back up the hill. I took off and came back up. We ended up doing that 3 times and after that I was sweating pretty good. We then started a jog back and about a quarter mile from our starting point the sergeant released us and told us to run at our own pace back to the start. So I ended up with a pretty good workout even after the slow start.

Yesterday all of Charlie moved over to Bravo barracks, so everyone from RBK was told we don’t have to come to the morning formation. They are remodeling Charlie barracks right now and will be for a week. This is great news because we can now go back to our schedule of a leisurely breakfast which was nice. We then walked over to the IET center where I promptly took a nap. I had no problems falling asleep this time!

I woke up about an hour later and startied checking out the news on my iPhone when a sergeant walks up out of nowhere and rudely awakens PFC Metal who was still napping next to me. She told him he couldn’t sleep here and to sit up straight. “If you want to sleep go back to your barracks”. I think it makes the sergeants feel better about themselves when they can give out a good yelling at a private. PFC Metal was a little disoriented at first because he was dead asleep when this sergeant started yelling at him and nudging him to wake up. It’s funny to look back on and laugh now, but what a crappy way to wake up. Normally the sergeants don’t go in the IET center, it’s for the soldiers who are attending AIT. So this was a rare occurrence.  

After lunch at the DFAC we headed over to our CLI class. This time it wasn’t all just a refresher for me. We went over a whole bunch of new Unix commands that I was not familiar with and some that I have messed with very little. We also went over the VI editor which I have experience with, but do not care for too much. Tomorrow we will be practicing all we have learned so far and reviewing for the test which will be the following day.

We then ate dinner and marched back to RBK where I took an extra long relaxing shower. Let me tell you those feel so awesome after a day out in the Georgia sun in full ACUs.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Weekend Wrap Up (AIT - Fort Gordon) Days 66 & 67

This water tower is a landmark we always use to find RBK. It's located
right behind our barracks and can be seen pretty much from
everywhere we walk on base.

I’m combining the weekend this time because not a lot really happened...

Saturday - We woke up a little early for a Saturday because we were told our rooms would be inspected at 8AM. That ended up getting pushed back until 10AM, so we cleaned up anyway and then attended the 8:30 formation. This formation was one of my favorites since I’ve been here. The sergeant called roll and then just said “have a good day”. That was it, short and sweet. We then ended up having a room inspection a little earlier at about 9:45 which was fine. The sergeant came in and checked each of the “problems” that were on the list. Our room was good to go. Now it’s laundry time and study time.

A pretty boring day all in all. The only excitement was the little trip we made to the PX with a stop at a Chinese restaurant on the way for lunch. I didn’t even need to pick up anything, but PFC Metal needed some detergent, so I tagged along just to get out of the barracks for a bit. We ended up ordering pizza for dinner. With the RFAC being closed on the weekend we have to walk over to the Charlie DFAC if we want to eat for free. When it’s hot out or if we’re just feeling lazy, it’s so much easier to order delivery. Plus the delivery always tastes so much better than the cafeteria food. 

Sunday - I slept awesome last night. It seemed once I closed my eyes I was out and I slept like a rock. I went to bed around 22:00 and slept until almost 08:00. A long needed rest indeed. Formation was pretty normal, roll call and then we did a police call around the building. I then started doing some more of my SkillPort lessons. (These are online lessons that we have to have completed before week 12 in addition to our normal homework and such). Pop Tarts for breakfast and Chinese delivery for lunch. 

After lunch I laid down, put in my earphones and listened to some music...then proceeded to take a nap. I look forward to the weekends here so much because it gives everyone some time to unwind and relax a bit after going full speed all week.

The rest of the night consisted of shave number 2 for the day, dinner, and recall formation in the hot hot sun. Luckily the recall formation didn’t last too long and we headed back to RBK to chill for the rest of the night.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Wet Weather Gear (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 65

PT this morning was OK, for some reason my throat is starting to get sore. I thought I was over being sick, but it is trying to make a comeback. Grrrrr. We did 60/120’s today...sprint for 60 seconds then walk for 120 seconds. I just didn’t have it in me to give 100%, so I put in about 75%. I’m hoping resting up this weekend that I’ll feel better by Monday.

We went over to Charlie and did duties for about a half hour, then I was PFC Metal’s battle buddy for an appointment at the dental clinic. We took off and I waited in the waiting room watching the news. Strange how little I watch TV now. I used to watch it daily before joining. I can now probably count the number of hours I’ve watched TV on one hand. 

After the appointment we headed back just in time to head to class, guess we’ll eat a snack during the break for our lunch. We are in a new class room with a new teacher. CLI class today turned out to be basic Unix commands. I already knew everything the instructor went over because I’ve been used to working on Macs which are Unix based machines. I just went around the class helping out anyone who was stuck or needed help on the practical exercises we did.

After class and dinner we had our normal Friday safety briefing. The safety briefing was short, but then one of the NCOs got up and just started talking and talking to the formation. I swear they all love to hear the sound of their own voice. It started to rain, that had no affect on him...he just kept going and going. Finally it was time for RBK to form up and march over, so he had everyone fall out.

Everyone at RBK has been required to pack their wet weather gear, but so far we haven’t had to use it. I still can’t get over the weather here in Georgia. It will be hot as hell and sunny as can be, then before you know it rain clouds come in and it dumps rain like crazy. This doesn’t usually last too long, then it’s back to being sunny again. So far we’ve been pretty lucky, the rain has always come down while we’ve been in class or eating. Today we were not so lucky, but I was able to use my wet weather gear for the first time. 

We formed up for the RBK formation and what do you know...the NCO that is marching us over had to give us a little speech about something. He went on and on while the rain poured down and we just stood there. This was a sergeant from Delta company and he was complaining about the state of our rooms over at RBK. Strange because all we ever get is complements from upper command about how our barracks are so much cleaner and better than everyone else. I think this sergeant was just a little jealous, because he went through each of the rooms earlier in the day and made sure to find something wrong with all of them. I’m sure if you spend enough time you’ll find something wrong with even the most squared away soldier here. 

So when we got back to our barracks we had to wait outside our rooms until the sergeant came and told us our deficiencies. If we had a problem we were not allowed to leave anywhere tonight. My hospital corners were not 45 degrees. What’s funny is that since I don’t sleep in my bed it has been this way since I’ve moved in, but no other inspections have turned this up. I didn’t really care though because I wasn’t planning on going anywhere anyways. There will be a re-inspection tomorrow to make sure everyone has fixed their “problems”.

NCOs wonder why the moral is so low here and it’s because of stupid stuff like this. There was a guy who had family fly in from California and he wasn’t allowed to leave to visit with them. Oh well...tomorrow will bring me one day closer to the 4 day weekend and I’ll be off base hanging out with my wife!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Day of Reflection (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 64

Wow...today is day 64 of AIT. Day 64 of basic training was graduation day. It’s kind of hard to believe that I’ve now been in AIT as long as basic training. Time at AIT definitely seems to be moving faster than basic. There are definitely benefits of AIT over basic. It’s nice to be able to enjoy my food at a decent pace and talk to people at the table we’re eating at. It’s also very nice to be able to talk to people on the phone and have internet access. I don’t feel so cut off from the world like I did in basic. We don’t have the drill sergeants yelling at everyone all the time. 

AIT is still no picnic. AIT is still a training environment and as SGT Kent stated appropriately enough today “training is supposed to suck, that way when you get to your unit you’ll appreciate the liberties you get”. We have sergeants who like to yell at times, but more often just make up stupid rules. It seems that most of the sergeants here don’t give a damn about the soldiers. Don’t get me wrong there are a few who care for the soldiers, but most seem to just look for things to pick on the soldiers about. It can get pretty annoying at times. I still can’t believe I have to be escorted to the bathroom when in school. We also have to have an NCO anytime we have a formation crossing a road because they don’t trust us to cross by ourselves (I’ve made it 36 years so far without getting hit by a car). We can’t go anywhere without a battle buddy and we need a little permission slip anytime we go away from the barracks. It also sucks living in barracks because you are at the mercy of the sergeant’s whims. If they are having a bad day, they can make you come out for formations at anytime for any reason. Another reason I can’t wait to live with my wife in a house far away from barracks once I get a normal post.

Speaking of stupid formations...today everyone had to come out at 19:30 from the barracks for a formation. We had to listen to how 4 people got caught away from the company area without a pass. When an NCO starts talking it just goes on and on stating the same thing over and over. 

At times this place can get me down. I wouldn’t go so far as saying I get depressed, but without having anytime to go home and “recharge” with my wife and family can be draining. There is a lot of negativity here and it can wear on you. 

Today also happens to be my birthday. Usually a day of fun and happiness for me. I always look forward to hanging out with family and friends and at least going out for a drink or having a special dinner. Here it was just me and I felt pretty alone. I am 37 now and I’m usually the oldest in all the classes, sometimes older than the instructors. I can feel the aches and pains in my body from all the intense workouts that we have been doing. This is the first time in my life that I’ve felt old. Strange.

We tested out of Exchange Server 2007 today. I got a 95 on the test. It showed that I missed one part of the exam which I know I did. I had to show the instructor on the virtual machine that it was indeed done correctly, then he changed my score to a 100%. Next up is Sun Solaris CLI (Command Line Interface).


Sorry you had to be so far away on your birthday. We will have to celebrate even harder on you next one to make up for it. Happy Birthday, miss you, mom

Thursday, August 26, 2010 - 06:38 PM

Run Sucka Run (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 63

This morning we had a heck of a run. We actually ran around Barton Field. The track is a bit over 3 miles plus we ran to and from the field. It was a tough long run, but this has actually been something I’ve been wanting to do since I first saw the track around the field. It looked like a good challenge, I just never got around to doing it yet. This just made it happen a little earlier than I planned. We got back late and ended up needing to rush to get ready and eat.

We formed up at Charlie company once again to do duties around the area. I picked up trash around the area and then helped take stuff up stairs. Everyone from RBK ended up taking a break in the middle and going to the IET center to eat because there were a few of us that didn’t get a chance to eat this morning. I just grabbed a coffee, which hit the spot. I really do hate doing the duties at Charlie, we keep our barracks at RBK clean and we have to clean up all their crap as well. I just don’t have it in me to give 100% during these morning duties.

We had our last day of Exchange 2007 today, it seems like we are a bit behind schedule. The instructor is just having us do the exercises, but is not really explaining anything. I get it since I’ve actually used an earlier version of Exchange in one of my previous jobs. I’ve been trying to help out everyone who is having a tough time. We test out tomorrow!

When we got back to our barracks we got another speech from Sergeant Pineapple. He went on about how we have to be a team no matter race or beliefs, because if we don’t when we ship down range it will get us killed. Every time he sits us down for a talk it is always you better do this or else you will get killed down range. I swear he’s going to say if you don’t put hospital corners on your bed it will get you killed down range. It started raining on everyone during this little speech of his, so we all had to sit there and get wet....fun.

The rest of the night is going to involve relaxing and some video chatting with my family.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Surprise - Pee Day! (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 62

Today turned out to be a pretty crappy day. The first crappy day since I’ve moved to RBK I think. The day started out pretty normal just like any other day here. I got up shaved and prepared for PT. When we got down in formation they called off a number of names including mine and said to make another formation. Turns out we have to do a pee test instead of PT this morning. Great...what is the first thing you normally do in the morning...you go pee! So I quickly drank my bottle of water. I thought this pee test may be a good thing since the sergeants seem to be trying to kill us during the PT sessions.

I had to grab my ID card and then we rode in the duty van over to Charlie company where a whole number of other Charlie people in the day room drinking water. That was the situation for a while, drink water, drink water and drink more water. There were a few who tried to go and either got a little nervous or they could produce enough. The problem is that we don’t have to go and we drink and drink, then all of a sudden we all have to go...and it’s a bit of an emergency.

Once I felt the need to go I got in the line which seemed to take forever. Everyone around me was doing the pee pee dance. When I got to the front I had to hand my ID card and in return I got a little cup with a sticker on it that contained my info. Then I had to stand in another line that seemed to take forever. From this line a sergeant would take 3 or 4 people at a time into the bathroom and watch them pee in the cup. I think I had enough pee to fill about 20 of the cups by the time I got in there. After we were done we filed back into the day room and stood in a short line to return our cups and sign a paper. The sergeant then singed next to us verifying he witnessed us doing the deed.

When I got back into the room there was a guy mopping up the floor. I guess one of the soldiers stated “I think I drank too much” and then proceeded to throw up all over the floor. LOL

I headed back to RBK to quickly change and eat, then had to go back to Charlie company for a new formation they are going to have every morning for everyone in software classes. Oh goody, I get to do detail at Charlie company now even though I don’t even live there anymore. I do detail all the time at RBK, we keep our place looking good. We ended up doing all sorts of detail from 8:00 to 10:45. Lots of mowing lawns, changing lights, pressure washing floors, picking up trash...you name it we were doing it. What really sucked is that it was getting hot and everyone was sweating pretty bad. This is fine for the folks who live at Charlie and can change before school, but for those of us that live at RBK...we can’t change. I was a little pissed, nobody from Charlie company comes over and helps us clean up RBK.

So it is looking like my perfect mornings with the included nap time at the IET center may be coming to an end. I’m not too happy about that either.

School today was full of software taking forever and not working quite right. The class didn’t make it through too much. This current class (Exchange 2007) is only two days long I believe so that is not a good sign. Because of this the teacher offered us the chance to come in early tomorrow only to be shot down by the command sergeant major who said PT is too important to miss.

After class and dinner today we had to go to some mandatory training which was held in the church. The sergeant went over how to call in a medivac in case of an emergency, pretty much a refresher of some of the stuff we learned in basic. I think they have to do a certain amount of mandatory training for the company each month and this just seemed thrown together at the last minute so they could check a box marked that yes indeed...we did the training.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Another Test Day (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 61

This morning we did an ability group run for PT. This is the first time since basic that we’ve done this. It is nice because it lets the fast people go at their fast pace and the slow pokes like me still run and get a work out, but we don’t slow down the fast folks and we don’t fall out of the big group runs. I ran in C group (the slow pokes), but I’m definitely not the slowest...that is for sure. We even had some guys fall out of our group run. Our run had a little twist to it, about half way through the run we pulled over to a field and did 42 push-ups and 50 sit-ups. After that “break” from running we turned around and ran back. It was a pretty good workout for sure. I hear we are going to be in for a lot more tough workouts because PVT Celtic’s dad was visiting this last weekend. His dad is a Lt. Colonel and when he was talking to sergeant Kent he mentioned that his son said the PT here is a joke (which PVT Celtic denies saying). So I think we’re all going to be screwed!

After PT we got ready and had our nice slow breakfast. We were joined by a captain and her husband (a major). Usually I would feel a bit uncomfortable having officers sit next to us, but both of these officers were chaplains. Chaplains are always very nice and personable when talking to them.

We headed out from breakfast to the IET center and shortly after we arrived it started pouring down rain. Luckily there is a little covered area at the entrance where we could wait until they opened. Once they opened we all went in and assumed our nap positions. Gotta love nap time!

After lunch we headed to class. Today is test day for Windows Server 2008. Once we got to class we had an hour to prepare for the test...everyone just kind of sat around and chatted with each other. Once test time started we had two hours to finish. The test consisted of 5 multiple choice questions, then installing Windows 2008 Server and configuring some features on it as well as setting up some user accounts and groups. Pretty straight forward stuff. I finished first and headed over to the student break area where we had to wait until everyone was done and the instructor finished grading all the tests.

After about an hour and a half we were told to head back to class where we were shown our grade and signed the grade sheet. I scored 100%! Once everyone signed we got another 20 minute break so the instructor could take the grade sheets to the office. Once break was over we cleaned up around the building and in the classroom.

After dinner I went to Charlie company (which I usually avoid at all costs) so I could turn in my leave request. For some crazy reason we have to turn in our LES (Leave & Earnings Statement) and a Google Map showing where we will be staying. This is something that totally baffles me, but I had my wife mail me everything I needed since getting a printer here is a bit of a pain in the butt. So it’s all turned in and I’m ready to get outta this place and spend some quality time with my wife on Labor Day weekend. I can’t wait!!

Rest of the day consisted of marching back to RBK and taking a much needed shower. You can sweat here doing nothing but standing in formation.

Monday, August 16, 2010

All Good Things Must End (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 60

The weekends here especially at RBK are very nice. Everyone looks forward to them all week long. The only problem is that they don’t last long enough. This morning was normal enough, wake up and go to formation. I decided to chance it and not shave this morning...living on the edge. I knew I was going to have to shave before recall formation and our morning formation is pretty informal. We just did roll call and then we were set free until recall formation at 16:00

I didn’t do much today, ate my normal weekend breakfast of Pop Tarts, then later on went to the PX for some supplies and ate lunch there. By dinner time we went over to the charlie DFAC in a light sprinkle of rain. Everyone from RBK ended up having our recall formation in the Charlie day room because of the rain. The rest of Charlie had to form up in each of their rooms. All the sergeant did was call off everyone’s names and we had to show that we had our dog tags and ID card.

The day got a little more crappy when we arrived back at the RBK building. The sergeant wouldn’t let anyone back in the building. He wanted everyone to wait outside until all the companies arrived back. We made one big formation (which we never do on Sunday nights at RBK). The sergeant came out and started bitching and moaning about people up on the second floor having dirty rooms, eating in their rooms, leaving their lockers unlocked, and leaving valuables out. He went over how we will all get sick and spend half our military careers here at Fort Gordon trying to get well and pass our classes. He went on and on and on for 45 minutes. He went over how we will end up in jail if we let battle buddies borrow our cars. This is because they will crash the car and somehow because we own it, we will go to jail. I guess he was trying to relate this to letting buddies borrow your laptop. I think he was mainly just wasting time making us stand in formation. He also said that we are no longer allowed to eat anything in the barracks. If we order delivery we have to eat it outside “I don’t care if it’s raining or 130 degrees out” After formation he said we all have to clean and then report back for another formation at 21:00.

This put a damper on an otherwise nice relaxing Sunday. It’s crap like this that I hate about the army. Things that are either just a waste of time, or getting in trouble because some other ass is a slacker.

Next surprise is the student leader ship came through and did room inspections. They were told if our rooms are not squared away that they will lose their weekend privileges, so this has lit a fire under their butt. They are going through everyone’s rooms with a fine tooth comb.

12:00 formation was a pain in the butt. We did roll call, then the sergeant wanted to know who had his sharpie pen. The guy who borrowed it loaned to another who loaned it to another and so on. We all ended up in the “front leaning rest” until he got his pen back. I’m so looking forward to going to sleep and starting a new day tomorrow.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rise of the Phoenix (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 59

A photo of my new phoenix tattoo right after it was finished

Today is tattoo day. I made an appointment earlier in the week to get a tattoo for noon today. I’ve been planning on getting this particular tattoo for about a year now. It took me a while to find a design I liked, then I wanted to make sure I went to a good shop to get it done since I’ll be wearing this forever. There are a number of guys who get tattoos here in the army. After checking out a lot of their work I decided on a place called Ink Sanity which is pretty close to the base. I am getting a phoenix. I thought it would be cool because my son’s name is Phoenix. Also it may have another meaning in some sort of sub-conscious way, a phoenix rising out of the flames...a new start just like this new start in my life as a soldier.

So after morning formation we ran some errands and ate brunch at a local restaurant. Then it was time to get a taxi. I thought this would be an easy thing to do since they are everywhere here on base. In the normal world you hail a cab, jump in and tell them where you want to go...then they take you there. Not so here on Fort Gordon. These guys want to squeeze every dime out of each ride they give. I got in a cab and the guy wasn’t too happy that it was just me going off post. (My battle buddy PFC Metal was meeting me there). So the cab driver started driving me around base until he found two others that were going off post. We picked them up and then he came across another taxi and asked if he could take us. OK fine, so we all jumped in his taxi. This new guy starts driving around looking for more. OK great. My appointment is at noon and the place is only a 5 minute drive. I’m now starting to wonder if I’ll be getting there on time.

We pick up another guy and finally the driver decides this will be worth it for him and he starts to take us off base. Right before the gate he says his wife is going to pick us up at the gate in her taxi and take us the rest of the way. Strange, but I don’t really care because it’s all the same flat fee no matter what. So we all get out again and hop in another taxi. As the wife starts to take us out the guards at the gate stop us. I guess the taxi wife isn’t allowed to pick up soldiers from base (didn’t have the permits or whatever). So we have to wait there while her husband comes back and we transfer back to his taxi. He drives us to the first exit where we all get out and transfer back to the taxi wife. WTF??? This makes 4 transfers just to get off post, what a pain in the butt.

I ended up getting to the tattoo shop about 15 minutes after noon. The guy started my tattoo and got all the outline done. He then had a couple of appointments he wanted to do and asked if I could come back at 5. I was in no hurry, so I said that was fine. We went and had a few beers, then went back and finished up at 4:45. The whole time we listened to Metallica which happens to be my favorite band, so I couldn’t have asked for a better tattoo experience. The tattoo looks pretty cool!

I decided to treat PFC Metal to a movie since I drug him along on this journey (we have to have a battle buddy at all times even off post). We went and saw The Expendables - turned out to be a great action flick with every action star that has been in the movies for the last 20 years. It was pretty cool seeing all those guys together in one movie.

We took a taxi back to base and this time we grabbed a taxi outside the movie theatre, but he could only drop us off at the gate where another driver picked us up. I guess one transfer is better than four.

Howie's cajun crust pizza is on the menu for dinner tonight as well as doing my laundry before bed.

Overheard Quote” “She said she can’t come into work today because her baby sitter went to jail” (My tattoo artist telling his boss the other tattoo artist would not be coming into work today)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Friday The 13th (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 58

This morning I think our PT sergeant was having a bad day. He is a delta company sergeant (we rotate out sergeants here at RBK) and he just seemed pissed from the start. He called out the exercises pretty fast, having us switch from one to another over and over. He wanted to go for a run, but the other sergeants I don’t think wanted to run because they went up to him and had a little conversation and ended up leaving. Without the extra sergeants he couldn't take us for a run, so he had us sprint back and forth on the field we were working out on. This is the first PT session where we had people actually fall out. We had three guys throwing up and one had to be helped back into the barracks. Pretty crazy start to the day.

The rest of the morning was perfect. PFC Metal, the young Hawaiian and I all did our duties in our room and then went to the RFAC pretty late. We took our time eating while the buses pulled away. After a while I looked up and noticed that there seemed to be only officers and NCOs around, so I suggested we make our way outta there. We walked to the IET center and took our morning naps. All three of us passed out. This is the perfect way to start the school day nice and refreshed.

Lunch...then school was next. This is our last day of Windows 2008 server. We will test out of it on Monday. There were a number of people that just couldn’t stay awake in class, I guess they didn’t get their morning nap..LOL

My wife had her last day at her job today. Seems strange being the sole provider now. She is going to get the house ready for renters since we were unable to sell in this crappy housing market. The last thing I wanted to be is a landlord. Uggggghh. We are going to have a local property management take over everything because we have no idea where we will be. That is one thing that has been on our minds for a while now. Where will I get stationed. I filled out the “dream sheet” or “wish list” as some call it. It is all done online now via your AKO account. I have no idea how much they even look at the places, but I hope I get someplace at least decent. I chose Ft. Lewis in Washington State because that would be the easiest transition for me and my family. The base is actually only about a half hour from most of my family and my wife’s family. I also chose a base in California and one in Texas. I figured if possible I’d like to be on the west coast. For my oversea assignments I chose Germany, Hawaii and then Korea. I really have no desire to go to Japan or Alaska. Korea just seemed better than either of those. My wife asks me every day if I have found out yet where we are going. I check every day and have to tell her “no baby...not yet”. From what I’ve heard from others I may find out in the next week or two...or three. I guess we’ll see.

For now we are putting everything we haven’t sold into storage. My wife is going to stay with family until we get shipped to wherever this adventure takes us.

Overheard Quote: “Get off your knees, this isn’t the navy” (The PT sergeant after a few people dropped to their knees doing push-ups during PT this morning)

People fall asleep in class all the time. Some teachers let it go and others make you do push-ups.
I say let 'em sleep and it's on them to pass the class. I've been there...sometimes you just cannot keep
your eyes open!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Change of Responsibility (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 57

This morning we again didn’t have PT because of the upcoming ceremony. Now let me stop here for a second and discuss the army’s priorities. Right before we took our final exam for CCNA2 (a pretty demanding class and test) the class asked the instructor if we could come in early the day of the test to do some extra studying. The instructor thought this was a great idea, but when she ran it by the 1st sergeant he said PT is very important and he wouldn’t want us to miss it. Now fast forward a few days... we have now missed 2 days of PT because of our 1st sergeant’s change of responsibility ceremony. No big deal.

We marched over to Centurion Field and then were released for breakfast. When we formed back up we practiced singing two of the songs that we will be singing (The Army Song and The Signal Corps March). I guess we weren’t sounding too well in rehearsal the day before. We stood around and waited...and waited. At least this was first thing in the morning (8:30), so it wasn’t getting too hot yet. The ceremony was for our 1st sergeant who is leaving and another is taking over as 1st sergeant. We did a lot of standing at parade rest and attention (keep in mind that when at either of these positions you cannot move at all - the guy in front of me actually got stung by a bee and was able to keep still during the sting!), listened to speeches, sang our songs, and then marched off while doing some loud cadence. I think we all looked pretty good and we sure as hell sounded good when we were marching off. Even our platoon sergeants said it was the best they have ever witnessed. 

After the ceremony PFC Metal and I took off and headed straight to the IET center for our morning nap. Our main goal was to get away from Charlie company asap. You never know what will happen to you if you hang around there too long, most likely they will have you cleaning toilets or some other crappy job. It was awesome and amazing all in one. I really look forward to those naps each morning LOL. After resting up we headed over to eat lunch and then school.

We heard today that someone in Charlie actually went AWOL. I didn’t actually know the guy because he came after I moved over to RBK. Pretty crazy, I thought all that would be done once basic is finished. This place can be pretty crappy too though, just in a different way.

Overheard Quote: “Only 38 more hours until I can have a beer” (A private in formation before the ceremony started)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rehearsal Day (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 56

Had to wake up at 4:15 this morning even though we were not going to be doing PT. We had to be in formation in our ACUs and we had to get all our cleaning duties done before the formation. Once we were all accounted for we marched over to Centurion Field which is right next to the Charlie barracks. After arrival there, we stood for an hour doing nothing...absolutely nothing.

We finally started the rehearsal and ran through it twice before we were released to go eat breakfast. After breakfast PFC Metal and I walked over to the IET center and waited for it to open. Once it opened we assumed our positions and took a nice nap until lunch time. I’m starting to really like this IET center. 

We ate lunch and went to class. Today starts Windows Server 2008. We went through some slides and a practical exercise of installing and some configuring of some basic services.

Ate dinner and then marched back to RBK. Took a long shower and kicked back and relaxed the rest of the night. Today was a pretty good day.

Overheard Quote: “False motivation is better than no motivation” (Our command sergeant major during the rehearsal telling everyone we need to sound off better.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Test Day (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 55

This morning sergeant Kent decided since we didn’t run yesterday that we should run today...and run we did. In sergeant Kent fashion we found hills and run up them. At least I’m feeling better now. Even though the run was pretty tough, I wasn’t coughing and hacking all over the place.

We got on the bus to head to class and when we got there we just headed over to the IET center since our class doesn’t start until noon (making sure we didn’t go by Charlie company - you never want to be seen without something to do or else they will find something for you to do) I could get used to this schedule! Once we got in the IET center me and a number of us just sat down and took naps. 

We woke from our naps and went to lunch at 11:00, then class at noon. Today is test day, our Windows Vista class will soon be over. The test was completely hands on. It included installing Vista and setting up some users and groups as well as some other minor stuff. I’m a Mac guy and I think I could have done this test in my sleep. I scored 100% along with about two thirds of the class. The entire class passed though which is the important part.

After class we were informed that everyone in Charlie company and in software classes will have to attend a “changing of responsibility” ceremony. That is just great. So after dinner we had to go rehearse for the upcoming ceremony. So instead of heading back to RBK we had to stand in the sun in formation. We listened to what was going to happen and went back and forth from attention to parade rest multiple times. An hour and 15 minutes later we were able to head off to RBK.

We found out that we also have another rehearsal tomorrow morning instead of PT, that might not be too bad... I need to give my legs some rest as I hear we are having another run day tomorrow at RBK with sergeant Kent.

Overheard Quote: “I can’t believe how much this place sucks” (I heard this from an MOS-T talking about Fort Gordon at lunch as he was getting up to leave)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Voluntold (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 54

Three of the lucky guys at RBK who were "voluntold" to do some duties

We had no PT this morning, but we did have to dress in our PTs and report to formation at the normal time (5:15AM). It is the first day of civilian school here in Georgia and I guess they let the NCOs have the morning off to get their kids to school their first day and make sure everything goes smooth for them. I was thinking this was pretty awesome so far, but it got even better after roll call. The sergeant said words that I’ve never heard come out of any sergeants mouth...”you guys can do whatever you want, you can even go back to sleep” We just had to make sure we were back for a 7:30 formation. This was great. I am finally getting over my cold, so one more day without PT is perfect.

I had a great breakfast. I ate slow and even had coffee. There is always FOX News going on in the RFAC where we eat. It’s pretty conservative and I think it's always a hit with the soldiers. There are always a few around making comments with every story that comes on.

At the 7:30 formation I was in for a little surprise. While everyone else was told they can hang out and do whatever they want until the 10:40 formation, me and 7 others were “voluntold” that we had to do detail. The guy picked us at random and said “don’t worry, you guys will be done by 9”. Right then I thought BS! It’s never that easy. We had to pick up trash, sweep, spray down the stairs, and weed eat. I guess the command sergeant major is coming by later on, so everything has to look nice. We finished everything at 10:15, so I got a little break before the formation.

We formed up and went to lunch, then to class. The class is still Windows Vista. I’m not going to lie...I fell asleep. It didn’t happen just once either. In fact I think about 3/4 of the class fell asleep at some point. Our instructor just told everyone to work on the practical exercises. (installing vista and setting up users and groups) That got old really quick, which is why so many people were looking at the back of their eyelids.

Finally class ended and we marched back to eat, then back to RBK. So nice to get back and not have mandatory study hall. I actually have a bit of time to wind down.

The Wife

do you think "Volentold" would work with the kids?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 - 01:22 PM

The Wife

Ok I meant "Voluntold". ;)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 - 01:23 PM

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hungry Howies (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 53

This morning I had hall guard duty with PFC Metal. The weekend hall guard duty here at RBK is actually 6 hours long! Ours started at 6:30AM, which seemed a bit early after staying out late last night. Add to that a lot of beer and the hot wings and you could say I wasn’t feeling a 100%. I can’t complain too much about the weekend shift because it doesn’t come up too often and we get to sit in the comfy chairs and use electronics. So most of the shift I was on my laptop, iPhone, or reading my book. 

I watched a movie... the third in the Twilight Saga “Eclipse”. Which the sergeant saw and commented on how good the quality was. You see there are terabytes and terabytes of movies that soldiers have on their computers here. Some are purchased legally, some are backed up copies of their legal DVDs, but I would venture to say that most are illegal downloads of the movies. In fact I watched one that a soldier let me use and it was actually a recording made from a person in a theatre. The quality was watchable, but you could actually hear the audience laugh during funny parts. Anyways the sergeant wanted to know where we got it from because he wanted to go there and download movies too. I told him I got it from a buddy. This started quite a long conversation with the sergeant (Sgt. Cujo by the way). We all talked about kids, news, movies, computers and regular army life. This was a little strange, maybe it’s a drill sergeant thing where these guys can just change their personality like a light switch. He was actually normal and laughing with us, treating us like normal people. I kept wondering if he was on drugs, or maybe since he was at the end of a 24 hour shift his mind was not working normally. I’m not complaining, I was happy to chat with him and it passed the time.

Our roommates were on the schedule to relieve us, but only one showed up. He said the other guy is running late and asked if one of us could cover for him until he arrives. He also said he would pay us for it. I didn’t have anything planned and since PFC Metal’s wife was still in town I offered to stick around. I ended up doing hall guard from 6:30 until 14:30. Surprisingly the time flew by and my roommate finally came to relieve me. I promptly went to my room and took a nap.

I woke up from my nap and shaved to get ready for the recall formation that was coming up in a couple hours. We went to recall formation which took quite a while, instead of lining up by platoon we did one mass formation and it took forever for everyone to get in alphabetical order and get checked off. There are a number of new people as well. I remember those first few days I was here, they sucked because of the lack of communication. I feel for those guys!

When we got back to the barracks our roommate ordered us all pizza from “Hungry Howies” and we got the cajon crust style pizza. This turned out to be the absolute highlight of my day (besides chatting with my family of course) The pizza was awesome...so awesome in fact that I suggest anyone who likes pizza and lives in the Augusta area to give it a try. Check ‘em out online here: http://www.hungryhowies.com

Nick's mom
Good Morning
Just wanted to Thank you for sharing your experiences.  My son just arrived at Ft. Benning on Aug. 3,  he is going DR tomorrow.  I found your journals while searching for any info on Ft. Benning basic training.  I am completely Army ignorant and have appreciated your mature insight.  I would like to Thank you and your Wife for your service and wish you and your family  Godspeed.

PS:  We are Mac fans also!

Monday, August 9, 2010 - 07:19 AM