Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ahhhh....Rest!! (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 135

Our new room at Charlie Company. It's an eight man room after the big remodel
that went on earlier - new beds and wall lockers. You can't see my bed from
this photo, but it's the third on the right.

Usually I do a weekend wrap-up, but this Sunday is basically going to be a work day for me…so here it goes:

This morning I woke up a little after 9:00 AM. I was the only one in the room that was awake because we had all just moved in from RBK last night. I wasn't even fully awake yet, when all of a sudden the door of our room opens up and there is a man in civilian clothes standing there staring at me. I looked at him a little confused, I wasn't sure why he was standing there or why he was even in our room. Finally he said can't you see the rank on the lady's chest behind me. To tell you the truth I didn't even see that there was a woman behind him in the doorway, I was still confused why there was a man in civilian clothes that just came in our room. After he spoke though I realized who he was…he is our company 1st sergeant! I just was not quite awake yet and didn't recognize him out of context in his civilian clothes. I stood up at parade rest and then squinted my eyes, but without my glasses I had no clue what her rank was. I told the 1st sergeant that I couldn't see it. He then said "she's a sergeant…what are you supposed to do when a sergeant comes in?" (By this time most of the others are starting to wake up to the commotion). I say "At Ease"

The 1st Sergeant then looks around the room and starts going off. He is pissed that our beds aren't made (after moving in we all just slept on top of the mattresses). He is also pissed that we were not in our proper sleeping uniform (summer or winter PTs). So he starts going on and on about how he has to deal with this every time he comes to Charlie. Then he says we have a room inspection at 11:00 AM today.

We all cleaned up from the move before and made our beds. By 11:00 AM the lady sergeant came up and did a "drive-by" inspection. Our room commander went down and explained to her earlier that we had just moved in late last night and we were planning to get everything squared away today. She came up and looked in our room, then asked "Don't you know the 1st Sergeant comes by on the weekends?". We said "ummmm….no". We were good to go after that.

One nice thing about being back at Charlie company is that on the weekends, it's close to the DFAC and we can have free food once again. It's not as good as delivery that we would order at RBK, but it's free so I'm not complaining.

Tonight PFC Metal invited a few friends to celebrate the end of school with him. He had a hotel room with his wife and had a few people over to hang out and chill away from the base. It turned out to be a good time that we all enjoyed. There was a huge party that I think every private on the entire base was going to this weekend as well. I had heard about it, but it wasn't my scene…I was looking for something a lot more relaxed. When we got back we heard that the MPs were at the gate checking IDs of all Phase IV and Phase V privates coming back in Taxis after hours. Not sure what kind of trouble people were getting in, but they caught a lot of people.

When we got back to the company it was after 2:00 AM and we saw the command sergeant major in the front door chewing out some phase IV soldiers that were on hall guard. I'm not sure what it was about or anything…we were all a little scared to go in after seeing this. There was another sergeant there and when he saw we were all phase V+ he just waived us past. An exciting fun filled night…a great way to celebrate the end of school and to let loose a little before our upcoming weeklong FTX that finishes off our AIT experience.

A photo of us in PFC Metal's hotel room kicking back.
From left to right: PFC Metal, the young Hawaiian, Me,
the old floor commander, and PVT Celtic.

FS SPC Miller

Is it common for people in the Army to wear dark t-shirts with dragons and jeans?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011 - 12:26 PM

PFC McGuire

LOL...we're pretty limited with the civilian clothes we have in AIT. I only had a few shirts myself. With limited space you fit what you can in it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011 - 09:49 PM

Friday, October 29, 2010

M3 Test Out (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 134

This morning I had my last PT with SFC Kent. We only did our normal warm up and stretching because today is a battalion run. It is also a costume run as well. Anyone who wanted to wear a costume did. SFC Kent dressed up as Freddy Krueger…I guess because he's in our nightmares…lol. There were also sergeants in the run dressed up as Jedi Knights, Jason (from Friday the 13th) and the command sergeant major was dressed as a cheerleader which was pretty funny. One of the funnier soldier's costumes was a guy who obviously bought a kids batman costume and forced it on. It was pretty funny. The run itself was run at a pretty slow pace and we went a little over 3 miles.

This morning in class we tested out of M3. There was a written test which included questions from our entire time here at AIT. We went over most of them in the review that we had yesterday though. There was also a hands on test that had us setup a network with two routers, two switches, and two desktops. After we finished we had to wait in the student break area until lunch. After lunch we came back and then were told our scores. I scored 100%! I believe I will graduate at the top of my class now….wow!

After we were given our scores, we just kind of hung out in the classroom for a while, then we cleaned up and left. We had a safety brief which gave us the normal "don't do" list. We then were told that next Friday is Centurion Challenge. This is where our companies will compete against each other in different events. We'll see if Charlie can do better than last place this time. Our commander also told us that effective immediately there are going to be some changes for people that fail out of school or can't pass their PT test. The army is over staffed at the moment and there will be no more re-class options for people in AIT. This means if someone can't pass a class or their PT test, they will be chaptered out of the army.

We left to the RFAC and then to the library, but found out it was closed. We then waited outside until the RBK formation arrived to enter our barracks. Once there we saw that there was only a few people from Charlie there. Then PFC Metal got a frantic call from PVT Celtic telling us that everyone was called back to Charlie. So we lock everything up and planned to get a ride from PFC Metal's wife back to Charlie. As we're running to his car we hear "STOP…where are you soldier's going?" We then told him about the Charlie recall…he called Charlie and asked. It turned out there was no official recall, they just called everyone back that was in the area for mail call. SFC Kent then asked if we came over in the formation. "No sergeant, we missed the formation so we battle buddied over here". Then he looked at PFC Metal's car and asked "Who's car is that?". PFC Metal said it's his wife's car. Then the subject was changed, the sergeant told us only to believe what we hear from a sergeant and not word of mouth from privates.

We then started packing for our move back to Charlie company. Since PFC Metal's wife had her car here we just started putting stuff in her car. Then we drove over to Charlie. Everyone else had to wait for the duty van. PFC Metal and I were told we would get a two man room, so we wanted to get everything squared away before hand. We were very disappointed. The sergeant wanted to know how many people were coming over and then proceeded to put us all in 8 man rooms. We locked up what we had and then went back to RBK for the rest of our stuff. All in all it took us three trips. I have a lot of crap! Our room has the young Hawaiian, PVT Celtic and one of the original roommates we had when we first started in Charlie as well as a few other guys.

We'll see how this goes…I was so looking forward to just a two man room. I am very glad that we are done with classes though…I needed the break. We have a short weekend because on Sunday we have to pack and leave for Capstone. This is the FTX (army camping) event that ends our official AIT stay here. At this event we stay at a FOB (forward operating base...well a pretend one at least) for a week with other MOSs from around Ft. Gordon. We have to setup a network for our part is what I'm told. I guess we'll see when we get there. There are no electronics allowed, so I'll be writing things down the old fashioned way and then updating the blog when I get back. The event is supposed to last a week….ugggghhhh.

Instead of the overheard quotes I'll put some quotes from SFC Kent that we would hear a lot during PT each morning at RBK. I won't be hearing these anymore since I'm back with Charlie:

"We gotta shake off the weekend rust" (Usually every Monday morning before a run)
"There ain't no cool way to do it" (Granted…we do look pretty stupid doing some of our exercises)
"Show me your doggone b-boy stance" (When we are stretching our thighs)
"You guys are in doggone sustainment phase now"
"Victory, where's your doggone motivation?"

M3 Review (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 133

I posted a picture similar to this before but I thought the satellite view was
a bit cooler to see. It really shows just how big Barton Field is. The
red line is our march from Charlie company to RBK, which I should
only be doing one more time.

I had hall guard this morning from 1:30 AM to 2:30 AM. The shift isn’t too bad except for the fact that I have a hard time getting back to sleep afterwards. I just tossed and turned in my bed until wake up at 4:30 AM. I then got up and got ready for PT this morning. Yes you heard me...PT! It seems like forever since I did PT. PVT LD asked me last night if I wanted to be his battle buddy this morning for an appointment he had, but I had to decline. I’ve missed so much PT already and I also didn’t want to be late to class today since we are reviewing for the test. 

After I was all ready, the word was spread that we were to stay inside the barracks. I thought for sure we were going to do barracks maintenance instead of PT. It was raining pretty good outside and we found out after about 10 minutes that we were going to do PT in the hall. Strange...never done anything like this before. We spread out all along the hallway and did a lot of push-up and sit-up drills. There were a lot of people not doing much because the sergeants couldn’t walk around the formation and check on them. I could feel the combination of being sick and not working out in a while taking it’s toll on me. I got tired pretty quick, but I felt like I got a pretty good workout.

Today in class we did a review, which included the instructor starting off just asking random questions. These are questions pulled from our entire time here at AIT. He then started to make a game out of it he called the Um game. Everyone had to stand up and the sergeant went to each person asking them a question. If they got it correct, they could sit down. The major rule to the game was that they cannot say “um” when answering the question or else it’s wrong and they keep standing. If the person gets it wrong the question moves to the next and so on.

After lunch we practiced setting up a network using Cisco’s Packet Tracer program. This is the time we had a little fun. PFC Metal brought his laptop’s wireless mouse to the classroom and hooked the little USB receiver to the back of PVT Celtic’s computer before anyone came into the room. Then for the next couple of hours he would pull out his mouse and right click, maximize windows, or add a bunch of routers and switches to PVT Celtic’s network he was trying to build. This would all be done anytime he wasn’t looking directly at his screen. He was about to lose it. It was pretty funny. My stomach was hurting because I was laughing so hard. Finally PVT Celtic saw me and PFC Metal cracking up and he knew we were doing something. LOL

At some point a senior sergeant in the school house noticed a guy in our class that didn’t shave. He went and got our class leader the MOS-T sergeant in our class and ended up smoking him because his class wasn’t squared away. Needless to say our MOS-T sergeant asked everyone to shave everyday...if we don’t we’ll be cleaning all the bathrooms in the schoolhouse.

After school the Charlie sergeant who marched us over lit into Charlie company. I guess their inspection of the barracks didn’t go very well. So he was pretty pissed off and giving them all kinds of threats. Looks like we’re going to be coming back to Charlie in an interesting time.

Overheard Quote: “If you were a dude, I’d drop kick you in the chest” (Our instructor after seeing a girl in class texting on her phone - phones are not allowed in class and she was trying to hide it from him while texting under the cover of her cargo pockets in her pants)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

M3 Final Lab (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 132

A photo of some of the guys in Charlie who are in a class in front of us.
They had graduation today!! The guy second to the left was one of
my original roommates in Charlie company.

This guessed PT. Instead me PFC Metal and the young Hawaiian had to go to the medical clinic to get some shots. Our status turned amber on our AKO site showing that we needed some immunization shots. I needed hepatitis A & B. When we arrived we had to sign up on a sheet. A nurse called both me and PFC Metal up at the same time and asked if we had our “packets” filled out. I looked at her with a puzzled look and asked “what packets?”. She started pissing and moaning about how we had to fill out a packet after we sign the sheet. I asked her where I could find one of these packets and she said she was not going to tell me. PFC Metal’s nurse was a little nicer, she brought him out and showed him...then she made an announcement to the room that anyone who didn’t fill out a packet needs to and showed them all where they were. I swear civilians that work for the army are all rude jerks. I have dealt with them since basic and there are so many a-holes out there. PFC Metal grabbed me a “packet” which consisted of two sheets of paper to fill out. I’m not sure how they expect people to just know these things when they come in. After that announcement from PFC Metal’s nurse all the folks in the waiting room came up and grabbed a packet to fill out, so I know it wasn’t just us that didn’t know.

I got the shot and then we took off to school. We were a little late, so we had to check in with the office before heading to class. We had another lab day today. This time we were much more successful setting everything up. Since I arrived late I wasn’t assigned to a specific area, instead I just walked around and helped everyone get everything going. The lab is an interesting place. There are so many places that are semi-dark and the instructor sits at a desk where he can’t really see anyone. There were people asleep everywhere. The funniest was the young Hawaiian who was asleep in a little cubby hole between the wall and one of the work areas totally out of sight from everyone. In each work area I think there was at least one person asleep as well. It was still fun though getting everything up and running in a more realistic environment. We hooked up three routers, 4 switches with two computers connected to each switch. We also had to get a domain setup with exchange server and a file/print server. Since we finished almost all of it before lunch you could walk around and see a lot of solitaire and pinball going

Tomorrow is review and then we test out on Friday, then I’m done with classes in AIT!! I can’t wait!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

M3 Lab (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 131

A photo of me on a laptop in the M3 lab with the young Hawaiian to the left.
(The lighting is mostly red in the lab to make it more "real" I guess)

The hall guard woke me up early today at 4:15 and said to get dressed in ACUs and see the sergeant. I asked him "what for" and he said he didn’t know. So I got up and got ready, but one thing that I’ve learned not to do when I’m forced out of bed early is not to go pee. There were about 10 of us at RBK that had to get up early. We were told to get in the duty van and it took us to Charlie company where we were told we had to do a pee test. This time I was ready to go and stepped up near the front of the line. I went and got it over with more waiting and drinking water and waiting and drinking more water.

There was a chick there who was obviously on some sort of medication. She ended up falling off the chair and just stayed passed out on the floor! She was totally out of it. I’m not sure how they planned on getting her to pee in a cup.

I then met up with PFC Metal and the young Hawaiian to go to the medical clinic. PFC Metal had to setup another appointment for his ears and the young Hawaiian and I had to get our smallpox shot checked out. The doctor took a look at it and said yep, it looks normal (it looks like a huge puss filled zit on my shoulder). I mentioned how sick I’ve become since getting the shot and he said it’s normal...great. If I don’t get any better by Friday I may head in there and get checked out again.

Today in our M3 class we went to the lab. We worked in teams to setup and connect a network and computers together. It was basically what we’ve been setting up in the Cisco Packet Tracer simulator, but with real equipment. We even had to take shifts guarding the door to the classroom with a rifle. Anyone that wanted to come in had to show their ID.

The exercise took the entire day and we still didn’t quite finish. We made some good progress, but not all of the teams were able to get everything completed.

It’s Tuesday and like every other Tuesday we have mandatory training. This time it was MAC (Modern Army Combatives). Me and everyone else who just got the smallpox shot were unable to participate, so we just hung out in the Charlie day room watching TV until the training was finished. When PFC Metal came back he said it was pretty stupid training and we took off to RBK to call it a night.

A photo of the lab showing two of the work areas

Our MOS-T sergeant running some cable through the raised
flooring in the M3 lab. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

No PT (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 130

Walked by this at the hospital on base...I've seen a lot of vending machines
in my time (I've even owned a few), but I've never seen a flower vending
machine. Insert $20 and get flowers for your sick loved ones at the
No PT this morning...this is starting to sound like a re-occurring theme now. I had all good intentions to do all the pt this week after missing so much last week. Turns out that we have a lot of stuff to try and take care of before we leave here and I’d rather try and get them done early before school so I don’t miss any. We are also required to have a battle buddy at all times, so when one person has an appointment two people have to go. 

This morning I went with PFC Metal to the hospital so he could get his ears checked. I also tried to get my glasses ordered at the same time, but that didn’t work out. Turns out they only accept walk-ins for glasses on Mondays and Wednesdays @ 13:00 now. So this means I’ll be missing some school. After we finished up, we went to the Starbucks that is located near the exit and then called a taxi. The hospital is actually quite a ways from the school house and although it is walkable, we wanted to make it to class on time. We arrived while there was still the formation in front and had the cab driver drop us off on the side of the school house. I think he wanted to pull right up in front of the formation and let us out...that would not have turned out very well. 

In class today we did another practice exercise that took the entire day. We use the Cisco Packet Tracer program to setup a semi-complex network. 

I’m still feeling a bit sick, so I took some more TheraFlu. That stuff has been working awesome, but I think there is only enough left for a morning dose. I’ll have to see what they have at the shopette tomorrow.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up (AIT - Fort Gordon) Days 128 & 129

This weekend I didn’t do much. I was able to talk to my wife and kids which was awesome...always love that. Although most of the time after that I get a little down because it makes me miss them all even more. I got a haircut on Saturday and watched the UFC fight streaming off of a laptop in the day room. The only problem is that the internet was so slow here that it ended up having to buffer a lot through some of the fights. The only one we actually got to see was the main event which was a huge surprise to everyone when Brock Lesner got his butt kicked.

Right after the fight PFC Metal and I had a hall guard shift. It’s a bummer because this is going to be our last weekend here at RBK barracks. After we test out of M3 we move back to the company barracks. It just happened that the weekend shift rotation landed on our room, so we had to do a 6 hour hall guard shift and stay up until 6:30 AM on Sunday. I then slept until 1:00 PM which kind of wastes the entire day.

We had recall formation which took forever. Normally the sergeant walks through pretty quickly checking everyone’s shave, haircut, dog tags, and ID card. Sometimes the sergeant even has the student leadership do it. This time however the platoon sergeant in charge decided he wanted to take his time and do a thorough inspection. He finally finished and we took off and headed back to RBK.

After the new student leadership here at RBK got chewed out after the inspection the other day, they have been coming up with all kinds of new rules that are going to be enforced. Looks like I’ll be leaving at the perfect time.

Now a little about my feet seem to be doing better. They are far from being normal again, but I see a huge improvement. I just think they don’t care for being in the boots from 7:00 AM until a little after 7:00 PM. I’m coming down with a cold or something. I know there were a number of side effects listed on the smallpox shot and this may be a result. I’ve had a headache for the last few days and now I feel like my chest is getting congested....wonderful! Let’s hope I can self medicate enough to get me through this week. Maybe I can pick up some extra vitamin C at the shopette this week.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Way of the Shamori Warrior (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 127

No PT today....I know...this week I have a total of one day of PT! Today was a little different than any other day I missed PT. There are a number of people called “shammers” who always skip out on PT or work name it. Today me and the young Hawaiian decided to sham out of PT. We dressed in ACUs instead of the PT uniform and left with all the other shammers and the few folks that actually had appointments. We went to the Charlie DFAC and ate breakfast, then went to the Charlie barracks and took a nap in the day room until it was time for school. I’ve never done this before, but it kind of worked out for both of us today. I had a headache and the young Hawaiian had a hurt shoulder. Sergeant Kent took two hours from us last night, we just took it back this morning. I’ll call us even now.

I now have to tell you a little more about M3. It’s more than just a class, it’s a state of mind. Everyone in M3 is pretty pumped up because it’s the last class. There is a lot of hooping and hollering all the time. Everyone else all of a sudden is looked down upon and called A+ (the very first class taken at AIT) no matter what class they are in. “If you’re not M3, then you’re A+” is heard all the time. M3 heads up all the formations and the class is also issued weapons, so we always march in front in a tactical formation. In the mornings M3 forms up in front of the doors and then watches as the rest of the school files by into class. In the past there was a lot of heckling that went on, but that has largely been stopped. 

There is so much excitement and yelling a lot of the time that the sergeants end up smoking all of M3 because they are too noisy. PFC Metal and I found out really quick that we’ll just stay in the normal formation instead of M3 to stay away from all the craziness. So now we don’t do any M3 formations.

After class we had our normal safety briefing, only this time it was much quicker than normal. There was a side note to be careful if traveling in downtown Augusta because there is a lot of gangs and it can be a dangerous place especially for soldiers traveling alone.

We left after the safety briefing for our usual RFAC trip. When we got to the barracks we found out that they issued our class weapons in the RBK formation before coming over. So there are some of us that will not have weapons this week. Oh darn! (sarcasm) I had enough of lugging that rifle around in basic. We don’t use it, we just carry it everywhere we go and it just gets in the way. I hear we’ll just get issued one next week...we’ll see. 

The entire RBK barracks did a mass cleaning of the common areas in RBK because Sergeant Kent said he’ll be by to inspect them later. Who knows if he actually will or not, but since everyone was helping it didn’t take too long to get everything the weekend begins!!!

 PFC Metal introduced me to this music video by one of his favorite bands...Five Finger Death Punch
It's a new take on an old song and they to a pretty good job covering it. They are also big supporters
of our troops and this video is of them in Iraq with the troops.

Friday, October 22, 2010

M3! (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 126

I had no pt this morning...I had to get my POR form signed from the dental clinic with the young Hawaiian. We ate breakfast at the Charlie DFAC and then hung out in front of the dental office until it opened up. They signed mine right away, but it took a while for the young Hawaiian to get his taken care of. He actually had to schedule another dental appointment and if he is cleared after that, then they will sign it. We are not allowed to leave AIT until we are cleared with medical and dental.

We start M3 today. M3 is our last class here at AIT. We made it to class about an hour late, but it was all review so far. Actually the whole M3 class is a culmination of all the classes we have taken here so far. I think it mainly deals with CCNA (Cisco & networking).

After school today we did our normal dinner at the RFAC and then hang out at the library until the formation arrives at RBK. When we arrived we found out that we had to wait outside our rooms because Sergeant Kent was here telling everyone what was wrong with their rooms. (He inspected them today instead of tomorrow for some reason)

He was upstairs when we arrived and we sat with everyone else outside our room. We waited...and waited....and waited. This is one of the things that really piss me off. We have so little personal time already and when we have to spend most of it just sitting outside our room it really sucks! We ended up waiting a little over 2 hours outside our rooms. Finally he got to our room and let us know what we had wrong (everyone had at least one thing wrong of course). My bed was not tight enough. He had the student leadership following him through all the rooms and went over the inspections with them present. I think this was actually more for them than it was for us. After all the rooms were finished Sergeant Kent took all the leadership into the day room and chewed them out for at least a half hour. You see the leadership just changed over to all new guys because all the old ones just graduated. So Sergeant Kent had to break them all our expense.

I had the first hall guard shift of the night with a guy in the room next door. The first hall guard shift is actually the best of all of them. You start at 9:30 PM and it lasts an hour, so it doesn’t interrupt your sleep and the duty is just cleaning the laundry room which isn’t too hard. 

Overheard Quote:  "CNN is like the McDonalds of news...I keep coming back to it, but it's not good for me" (a private behind me in the dental clinic where CNN is playing in the waiting room)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

BCCS Test Out (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 125

Me showing off this high tech setup in our BCCS classroom. The only
problem is that we never even used these! Instead we used little
laptops that we placed in front of the big screens. I hear
these will be used in some future class that we will not see.

So this morning we had to wake up a half hour early (4:00AM), but we didn’t have PT. Instead we marched over to Charlie and then separated by active army and national guard & reserve. We all then formed up in alphabetical order and marched up the street to the ops building. Once there we filed in and showed our dog tags, our ID and then initialed on a piece of paper next to our name. That was it, we then went to the DFAC and ate breakfast. After breakfast we had plenty of time before school, so me, PFC Metal and the young Hawaiian went back to the Charlie day room and tried to nap. It turned out to be pretty tough though because there were people coming and going and being noisy.

The morning portion of class was all review, which was good because I missed the entire second part of the day yesterday. I was able to catch up on everything I missed thanks to my neighbor PFC Metal who answered all the questions I had.

We then went to Charlie during lunch time and went over notes before eating lunch. After lunch we tested out of BCCS. I ended up leaving after I took the test because I had to be the young Hawaiian’s battle buddy for a dental appointment he had. (I found out later in the day that although I didn’t get the highest score in the class, I did score a 99% which is good enough for me!)

The young Hawaiian and I went to the dental center and on the way over he told me that the old Hawaiian is finally going to be able to go home this Friday. He’s been wanting out since he cannot be a 25B, so we’re happy for him. It’s just too bad that we can’t go out this weekend and give him a proper send off. While waiting for the young Hawaiian I fell asleep in the dental waiting room. A sergeant walked up to me and asked me what I was doing. By this time the place was closing and I was the only person left in the waiting area. I looked around and saw the young Hawaiian with an assistant signing out and said “I’m just waiting for him”. The sergeant said “Don’t fall asleep in here” and then promptly walked out. That was a close

The night was our normal night consisting of dinner at the RFAC and time spent at the library. I made use of the library computers because they have a CAC reader (our ID card is called a CAC card and actually can be inserted into the computer for ID purposes to get onto some government websites). I was able to transfer my security+ certification information to the army finally. I will probably need to get one of those readers eventually so I can use it on my laptop. That will make things a little more convenient.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

POR Shots (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 124

Outside of the medical clinic I saw some random soldier asleep.
That can't be comfortable!

Today’s PT consisted of circuit training. Normally circuit training is a piece of cake and all is well, but today we had the very de-motivational sergeant that has come a few times in the past. I swear this sergeant is the worst one on post. He is just horrible. Everyone hates this guy. So my day started off pretty crappy just dealing with this sergeant and it made me start off the day demotivated. It was one of those days I just didn’t feel like doing all the army things...I just wanted to hang out in my room and maybe watch a movie or two. 

Class was pretty boring in the boring in fact that PFC Metal created a projectile weapon out of his mechanical pencil. He then became a sniper and started shooting people in class which was pretty funny. The things we do to entertain

After lunch me and all the others in our class that are going overseas (with last names starting with M-Z) had to go to the medical clinic for shots. We arrived and were given a small brief to let us know what we needed to do. I had to go to the lab for some blood work. I then had to get smallpox, typhoid, and anthrax shots. The smallpox shot will end up turning into a blister on my arm and then fill with puss. It sounds pretty crazy what we have to do after this shot. We have a bandage that we leave on for three days and then we change it daily after that. We are supposed to take the used bandage and put it in a baggy with some bleach to keep it from spreading. We also can’t be around kids under 1 year old and a host of other warnings and precautions. Holy Cow! We have to go back in a week and have it checked out. Right in the middle of this with about 40 people in the clinic they had a fire drill of all things. We all had to go out wait for a specified period of time before going back in. 

After we finished at the medical center the young Hawaiian and I went to the IET center. There wasn’t enough time to head back to the schoolhouse, so we hung out in the IET center for a bit and then went to the DFAC to eat dinner.

Tonight we had yet another mandatory training. It was the last in the series that we’ve been doing for the last few weeks. This one had to be the best though! We learned how stress is bad for us and how to deal with it. He had everyone close their eyes and take some deep breaths, it was the first time during training we could close our eyes and relax without having to worry about a sergeant yelling at

We were told after training that Charlie doesn’t have any PT tomorrow, instead we have some sort of accountability over at the company. All we know is that we have to be in ACUs in formation at 4:30 in the morning. I’m glad we don’t have PT because my right arm where they gave me the two shots is pretty sore, it hurts every time I move it.

When we arrived back at RBK we found out we have a formation tonight at 20:30. WTF?? I hate living in barracks! I hate having my personal time taken for granted by whatever NCO needs his ego stroked. It turned out after we all formed up that it was the same exact message we just heard at the training we just came from. (We will not be doing PT and will need to be in formation at 4:30 in our ACUs). What a waste of time.

Overheard Quote: “Wow look at that bubble up! Don’t worry, that’s normal. Even if it wasn’t we would say it is” (The doctors who were giving me the anthrax vaccine said this after they gave it to me.- My arm started to bulge out where they gave me the shot)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

BCCS (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 123

"RBK at Sundown"
A photo I snapped on the way back to RBK barracks of the sunset

This morning I didn’t have PT, instead I was a battle buddy for PFC Metal at a dentist appointment first thing in the morning. It’s always nice to miss Monday’s PT. It’s always a run and it seems Sergeant Kent is always trying to punish us for having the weekend off by making us run all over Ft. Gordon.

We started a new class today called BCCS. Unlike our last class we actually learned what this stands for...Battle Command Common Services. Not exactly sure how this will play into everything, we have learned the initial setup of the laptops and that is about it for the first day. So far we have had an assistant instructor and the normal instructor teach and they both seem so much better than our previous instructor. This instructor said he will be with us through our last class as well.

After lunch we were reviewing on our own and about 4 people in class fell asleep. Just then a badass sergeant came walking in. He walked right up to PVT Celtic who was fast asleep and yelled “Get Up!!!”. He then proceeded to tell the whole class how important it is to stay awake during your military career no matter how tired you get. Back in the day he realized this when he fell asleep along the DMZ (De-Militarized Zone) in Korea. When he woke up he thought he saw a North Korean standing by a tree. His heart was racing and his blood was pumping. He was instantly awake and wondering what he should do. Eventually they went to the tree and there were no foot prints in the snow around, it was only his subconscious imagination at work. He said it taught him a valuable lesson and he hasn’t fallen asleep on the job since.

The rest of the day after class consisted of eating over at the RFAC and then hanging out at the library. I was able to print out all the paperwork I need for my 4-day pass coming up in November (Veteran’s Day). My wife is flying up (using that free ticket) and I’m looking forward to seeing her again. Use of the computers and printing is free at the library....nice!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 122

The weekends are always so nice, but they always end so quickly. I slept in until 9:00 or a little after both days...nice! Saturday was laundry day for me, then PFC Metal and his wife picked me up to watch Jackass 3D. Not sure why they made the movie in 3D, it didn’t really add anything to the experience. I’m thinking it is just a way to make more money from everyone. The movie was what I expected...stupid funny pranks and some very gross stuff added in. All in all it was a nice escape from the base.

After the movie me and the young Hawaiian went to the PX. I was starving by this time because I hadn’t eaten anything except some very expensive movie theatre popcorn all day. So we split a pizza and then I picked up some of the basics I need (deodorant, body wash etc.) I also picked up some gels for my boots so I would have a pair for each of my boots. My old gels were getting pretty worn.

We ended the night by watching UFC 120 in the day room. It was free on Spike TV which turned out nice. The day room has a nice LCD TV and it gets Spike in HD so the picture was awesome. 

Sunday was pretty laid back, I didn’t do much of anything all day. I tried to log into some required training I’m supposed to do before I head over to Korea, but I couldn’t get logged in. The highlight of the day was when the young Hawaiin and I ordered Chinese food delivery for lunch. That was some good stuff! Other than that we just had recall formation. I had to shave my full on beard that I’ve been growing since Friday and we had to wear our winter PT uniform to it. The winter PT uniform is very nice in the morning when it’s cold, but in the evening when the sun has been out all day long it is pretty warm.

Overheard Quote: "I think they put something in the water...I didn't have a boner the entire time I was in basic" (The young Hawaiian talking to me about the days in basic. He went to Fort Benning as well and was in 3rd Platoon - Terminators)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Test Out (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 121

This morning’s PT was muscle failure day. We didn’t have our usual motivated Sergeant Kent out on the field with us, but I still had a good workout...lots of push-ups and sit-ups. We had a new sergeant leading PT and at the end he had us try a new type of sit-up which turned out to be pretty interesting. Each squad of soldiers all interlocked our arms and then did a sit-up to his count. There was nobody holding our feet so it was pretty tough. 

We arrived at school today and saw an instructor in their Alass A uniform...then another...then another. We were then told that the sergeant major told all instructors to wear their Class A uniforms (dress uniform) today. I guess there was going to be an inspection for I guess no matter how high you get in the army, you still have to deal with the same old crap. They all looked pretty sharp. There was a combination of the greens and the new blues all over the place. 

We tested out of TIMS today. The test was basically going through the steps like we have been practicing all week. There was also a written portion and we were allowed to use the help files on the computer as well as the manuals, so I should have scored 100%...but I didn’t. Like most of the class I scored a 99% on the test. There was one written question that I missed.

There was a little commotion earlier in our sister class. I guess there was a girl that was supposed to be on bed rest, but came to class anyway so she could take the test. They told her she was not allowed to break bed rest and that she wouldn’t be able to take the test. She was also told because of this she will be recycled and have to take the class over. Since the next class is in delta she will also have to move to delta company. She was not too happy and was seen crying down the hall. I don’t mind too much though, she was a loud obnoxious bitch and an attention whore. I won’t miss her in our formations.

After the test we headed to lunch and then came back to class. We had nothing to do so a lot of us took a nap. I woke up  to take a break with the rest of the class. What I didn’t notice is that PFC Metal had taken my phase badge off and replaced it with an ACE card. (This is a suicide prevention card the army issues everyone in basic). Thankfully he didn’t let me walk down the hall too far with it before giving me my badge back, I didn’t even notice. I’m sure a sergeant would have before too long though and I would have been asked where my phase badge was...that would have been bad news.

After the break we cleaned the heck out of the classroom since it will be our last time in it. We buffed the floors and scrubbed everything. We also had to do our normal cleaning duties as well, so I had to clean the bathroom...lucky me.

We then had our safety briefing for the week. This one was pretty short with the usual...don’t do drugs, don’t drink if you’re under age, drink lots of water, and be careful. We were also told that there was an Oktoberfest going on at the end of Barton Field with a number of carnival type rides and such...what they didn’t say is if we were allowed to drink there or not.

The sergeant who was taken away by the MPs was back. I’m not sure what he was taken away for, but I imagine that it wasn’t what the rumor mill was saying about messing around with a private. I can’t imagine them letting him come back to his same job if that were the case.

Had the normal evening plan with dinner at the RFAC, but this time since we were there early and the formation was coming early (early release on Fridays now). We ended up just staying in the RFAC the entire time. We sat near the TV and just shot the poop the entire time. We also ran into some fellow gladiators from basic that we haven’t seen in a while.

The end of my night consisted of communicating to my ex-wife that she doesn’t need to bring my current wife into the middle of this whole situation. Nobody is happy that I’ll be gone for 12 months longer. Of course I want to see my kids, but there is not a lot I can do about it right now. I’m hoping maybe there will be some way perhaps my wife can still come and live off post in Korea, then there would be a chance that we could have the kids come and visit if we can afford the tickets. I think it would be a great experience for them to see another country. I just hate dealing with my ex and her drama, but I won’t go into details here...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

POR (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 120

I had hall guard last night from 2:30 to 3:30. This shift wasn’t bad, it was the fact that I just couldn’t get back to sleep after the shift, so I just laid in bed awake until 4:30 when it was time to get up. I used to never have a problem sleeping before, but since AIT I’ve had issues now and then. It sucks because getting enough sleep each night is vital. I need to be able to stay awake and pay attention in class during the day and if I don’t sleep well the night before it makes paying attention difficult.

As mentioned yesterday I did not have PT this morning. In the morning formation they read off a list of people who need to attend the POR - (Preparation for Overseas Replacement). This was the first official announcement that we had to attend this meeting. We marched over to the Charlie DFAC and ate breakfast, then waited at Charlie company to march to the POR. The sergeant on desk ended up telling everyone just to battle buddy over to the POR because she just had surgery and couldn’t march us...fine with me.

We arrived at the POR and it lasted half of the day. There was a lot of information dealt out. It turned out to be really bad news for me though and everyone else that has dependents and is heading to Korea. You can take your dependents to Korea with a command sponsorship, but it’s full right now. Yes...Korea is full. They can still send soldiers over there, but there is no more room for dependents. Why they send married soldiers instead of single soldiers I don’t know. Why they don’t build more housing for dependents I don’t know. All I do know is that I’m pretty pissed off and depressed. Yes I knew before joining that there was a good chance I would be away from my family for a period of time. I just thought I would have some time with my family before getting shipped out. I’ve been through basic and AIT separated from my family, now I find out I’ll get two weeks after AIT to spend with my family and then I’ll be away for 12 months. This really sucks! Today was probably the most depressing day I’ve had since joining the army.

I arrived back in class after lunch and we reviewed for the upcoming test tomorrow by doing an exercise that basically had us do all the steps we’ve learned previously. I don’t think the test will be too difficult, I just hope nobody asks me what I learned in this TIMS class.

Our normal group left for the RFAC for dinner once again. The food there is so much better than the Charlie DFAC. I also had a berry pie with ice cream all over it (eating a lot out of depression I guess). We then headed over to the library to wait for the RBK formation to arrive. 

I then talked to my wife for a while about everything that’s going on and our future. Nobody is very happy tonight.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

MP MP Don’t Arrest Me (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 119

Heard last night that a Charlie company platoon sergeant was picked up by the MPs. The rumors are flying about why...the biggest one is that he was playing with private’s parts. I guess there are rumors flying that he got involved with a private in the company. These are all just rumors though...I don’t think anyone will find out for sure why he was picked up.

Headed back to class with our horrible teacher. This lady is perhaps the worst I’ve seen here. She goes through the slide shows super fast, so we don’t have time to take notes unless we are a speed writer. If we ask questions she acts like we’re idiots. She doesn’t explain anything. The only thing we’ve learned is the step by step process to get everything setup and how to run a couple of reports. What are the reports? I have no idea. What and why does each step accomplish? I have no idea. Will we be able to pass the test? From what I’ve heard it is basically following the steps, so I think we will pass. Have we learned anything from this class? No!

I have so many questions about my assignment in Korea. It has basically taken over most of my free thoughts for the day. Thinking about the logistics of getting all our stuff moved there and what will my wife have to do before she can move. There are so many questions.

PFC Metal, the young Hawaiian and I all walked over to the RFAC for dinner and then hung out at the library until the normal formation arrived at RBK. The library has an issue of Army Times I usually pick up and read, which passes the time nicely. It has all kinds of interesting articles. Perhaps it’s because I’ve worked at a newspaper for my entire professional career, but I do enjoy sitting down and reading the news.

We had asked our platoon sergeant earlier today if we were going to have a POR briefing soon. This is the briefing all overseas soldiers get to let them know everything they need to do and answer any questions before shipping out. In true signal brigade style the sergeant said he would get back to us and never did. At the end of the night we heard from another soldier here at RBK that we did have one coming up and it was tomorrow morning, so we will need to get up and get ready in ACUs because we will not be doing PT. There was no notice or anything put out, I just happened to ask a guy if he had heard anything yet. If I hadn’t done this, I would have found out tomorrow morning and been in a rush to head back up to the barracks and change back into ACUs. This place has a serious communication problem.

In other news my feet are a total mess. They are definitely sore from my boots, but I also have some sort of rash going on. I’ve been putting lotion on them which has helped with everything except the rash. I purchased some athlete's foot cream and started putting that on my feet. I’m not sure if they are getting better or not yet. I’ll give it a few days and then I may have to go in and have a doctor look at them. I’m sure it’s because I wear these boots all freakin’ day and I can just feel my feet getting hot all day long. It’s such a relief to take them off each night.

ROK (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 118

No PT this morning, I was lucky enough to be a battle buddy for the young hawaiian. He had a dentist appointment that he made conveniently enough first thing in the morning. It’s nice because we miss a run day after a long 4-day weekend and also since it’s early we will not miss much class.

After we were finished with his dentist appointment we made our way to the school house and checked in. When we arrived I found out that we didn’t miss much. The instructor started class about a half hour late and then just gave everyone an exercise to do when she did finally start class. I jumped in and started on it right away and was able to catch up with the rest of the class pretty quick.

There were a few more people in class today who found out where they were assigned, so at lunch time I checked my account and sure enough mine was finally posted. I (like a number of others who found out today) will be heading to ROK...The Republic of Korea....a.k.a South Korea. I’m a little shocked, I can’t believe I’ll be heading over there so soon. It states that my reporting date is December 17th. There were a couple of people that actually got Kuwait, so I guess I’ll be a little better off than them. From what I’ve heard Korea is actually a pretty cool place, so I’m looking forward to this new adventure. I have a lot of questions, but no answers right now. My head is still spinning from the news. 

It’s Tuesday so we had another round of mandatory training after classes today. It was still being done by the same group that has done the last few weeks. We learned to think positive and visualize success. I was glad when it was over. I’m sure it was great stuff, but I just can’t concentrate after an entire day of class. My motivation to learn by this point in the day is down to nothing and I just want to take off my uniform, shower and relax. I think they may get better results if they had this mandatory training during the day, perhaps cut the school day off early or something. Oh goes on.

My boots for some reason decided to get a little rip inside of them that is driving the back of my ankle crazy. I switched to my backup boots, but I didn’t move the gels that I had at the bottom of them. By the end of the day my feet were killing me. First thing I did when I got back was move those gels to the backup boots....STAT!!!

We found out after we arrived back after our long day that we had a mandatory formation in front of RBK at 20:30 with Sergeant Kent. It’s never good when he’s here at night. This was no exception. I guess there were two pieces missing from the body armor that was used for our weapons pt last week. He gave us a chance to see if we could come up with it, when it didn’t show up he ended up doing a room by room search. He checked everyone’s bags and lockers. Luckily our room was the second in the search, so we were able to go on with our night pretty quickly.

During this whole incident there was a pretty funny moment. We were all standing outside of our rooms waiting for Sergeant Kent to start the inspection. PVT Celtic had previously run into his room and grabbed a huge (trick - or -treat) sized bag full of candy from his locker. He was unable to get it to the garbage can before Sergeant Kent came down the hallway. As everyone knows any type of food is strictly forbidden inside the barracks. PVT Celtic tried to sneak down the hall after Sergeant Kent walked by, then all of a sudden he loses his grip on the part of the bag and candy spills out everywhere. Everyone started laughing and Sergeant Kent stopped and turned to see PVT Celtic trying to pick up a mountain of candy. It was pretty funny. Sergeant Kent surprisingly didn’t make a big deal of it because he wanted to do the inspections. He just walked over to PVT Celtic and took the bag to his office, then resumed the inspection. He told PVT Celtic he would deal with him later.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

4-Day Weekend Wrap-Up (AIT - Fort Gordon) Days 114-117

Operation Surprise Visit was a total success, but let me start from the beginning. We had a 4 day weekend to celebrate Columbus Day and it turned out to be a hectic, but fun filled weekend for me.

Friday: Student leadership woke everyone up at 5:00 AM this morning so everyone could get themselves ready and then straighten up their stuff before the inspection at 6:00 AM. There were no showers allowed until after the inspection, so they would stay clean. There were also a number of urinals and sinks in the bathroom blocked off and the laundry room was also off limits all night and this morning. 

Sergeant Kent arrived and started the barracks and room inspections. It took a while because our room is the last one in the hall. When he finally got to ours he came in looked around and said “it shows that you guys put in a lot of effort in this room”, then he took off. 

We then got everything ready and those of us on pass marched over to Charlie company to get signed out for the 4-day. The line was long and slow moving, so PFC Metal and I walked over to Burger King because the DFAC was closed already. Technically we were allowed to go earlier, but if Sergeant Clark came to inspect our room and we weren’t there it wasn’t going to get done and we would not get our pass to leave. We ate and then headed back to Charlie and there was still a line, so we got in it and waited. Finally after about 15 minutes we signed out and were free of this place. PFC Metal took off with his wife and I took off in a cab to the airport.

For the last month or so my wife and I have been planning a trip for me to go home and visit everyone. We kept it a total secret and now I finally get to put it into action.

When I arrived at the Augusta airport I sat and started watching shows on my laptop. I had a while before my plane left, but I just wanted to get away from the base as soon as possible. After a while I heard an announcement that they had overbooked the flight before mine and my flight as well. I had a flight to Seattle via Atlanta and then Denver. I told the guy as long as I can make my connecting flights I would be interested. They ended up sending me to Atlanta on a taxi, giving me a meal voucher good at the Atlanta airport, getting me on a direct flight from Atlanta to Seattle (arriving only an hour later), and $400 (delta dollars) to use via

So far the weekend has been pretty good! On the plane I watched “Get Him to the Greek” a pretty funny show as well as some TV episodes that I was behind on. My wife met me at the airport and we stayed in a hotel nearby because we knew I would be arriving late. 

Saturday: My wife dropped me off at Denny’s and then picked up the kids. She asked them where they wanted to eat breakfast and they chose Denny’s of course. They walked in and were in shock to see me sitting there waiting for them.

We all then went to my sister’s house and they dropped me off a couple of blocks away. They all went inside and then I came up later and rang the doorbell. My mom opened the door and before she even recognized who I was, I came in and gave her a hug. She was surprised (I think I almost gave her a heart attack). I then surprised my sister and her husband later on by just appearing in their house.

Sunday: Today is my sister’s 30th birthday. My mom invited all of the family over, so it really worked out easy for me to celebrate my sister’s birthday and also see all of my extended family as well. 

The flight home was tough, I didn’t want to leave so soon (I had an early 6:00AM flight on Monday morning). It was awesome seeing everyone, I just wish I had a longer time to visit. On the plane ride back I fell asleep numerous times and every time I woke up my mouth was wide 

The 4-day weekend was so awesome...and very much needed.

Overheard Quote: “Oh Sheeet Oh Sheeet, I’m sorry, I’m sorry” A guy in another cab left the door open and the driver started driving off.

Friday, October 8, 2010

TIMS (AIT - Fort Gordon) Day 113

This morning we had another episode of weapons PT. This time it was pretty much just your normal muscle failure day with sit-ups and push-ups...only we had on our IBAs (body armor). There was also some “Y squats” thrown in while holding our rifles above our heads for good measure.

Last night I heard some sad news. My buddy the old Hawaiian was told his security clearance didn’t go through, so they are going to re-class him into something that doesn’t need a security clearance. I can’t believe they would have him go through all these classes and almost completely make it through the entire 25B AIT course only to say that he has to be re-classed. This means he will most likely go to another base and he will be in training for even longer now. He said it was because of a credit issue that they were aware of before he even left for basic training. What a bummer! Now he doesn’t even want to be in the army at all. He’s going to see if there is any way he can get discharged now.

When we arrived to the schoolhouse after getting off the bus from RBK I was surprised to find out that we can no longer take a nap while waiting for the rest of the companies to arrive. That’s horse crap! I was so looking forward to taking my morning Instead we have to stand in a formation and wait. This is all because some MOS-T soldiers were jealous and complained to the sergeant major. Oh goes on.

Started a new class called TIMS today. Not sure what it stands for, but what I am sure is that our teacher is probably one of the worst we’ve had so far. She is a staff sergeant and quickly rushed through the slides then quickly walked us through the steps to setup our systems. After that we had to set them up again on our own and she would act like we were stupid if we had any questions. Later on we did some exercises where we would answer questions based on the user manuals located on the computer. We ended up doing this the rest of the day. When it was time to go over the answers she chose a person to stand at the front of the class and read the questions off and then have people give the answers. It seemed like the whole time class was going on our instructor was either not there, or was playing around on her computer. Great....another class where I’m going to have to learn everything on my own.

There was a small highlight during class time though. PFC Metal was able to “obtain” the guy’s beret next to him. He then sewed the top of it together into a little ball. Not satisfied with that, he also grabbed the guy’s camelbak and sewed the straps together. It was pretty funny. Don’t ask me why PFC Metal has a sewing kit on him at all times.

When we got back to RBK Sergeant Kent was in a very pissy mood. I guess he went through the barracks and found all sorts of stuff wrong. We were basically on lock-down all night cleaning up everything. Every single person in our room had something wrong with their stuff. Like I tell the guys, if he wants to find something wrong he will. Take my bed for instance, it passed last time just fine. I don’t sleep in it, so nothing at all has changed. This time however it was marked as incorrect. It was like that with pretty much everyone’s stuff. So we all corrected our "incorrect" items and had leadership check it off. We then were told Sergeant Kent will be coming in tomorrow at 6:00 AM tomorrow morning to check everything himself.

Around midnight last night there was a lot of commotion, so much so that it woke me up even with my beanie pulled over my eyes and my white noise playing in my ears. PVT StrangeLove was told last night by student leadership he could head over to midnight chow and eat. He went with a couple of battle buddies, but when he came back Sergeant Clark freaked out on them. I guess there was an actual formation that headed over and they were not part of it and they also crossed Barton Field after dark which is a no no. So Sergeant Clark said they are all kicked out of RBK and to pack their stuff up now. So PVT StrangeLove had to move out right in the middle of the night back over to Charlie. He didn’t like RBK anyway so I’m sure he didn’t really care, he was just worried that his 4-day pass was going to be taken away. I don’t think that will happen though. 

A long disappointing day is down and a little over a month left of school. I’m counting down the days.

Matt W.
Hey thanks for the blog. I work 13 hour night shifts and it can get pretty slow, but reading your blogs from the beginning have been entertaining. I'd forgotten some of the funny crap that went on in IET and so you've kept me laughing. Keep it coming!

BTW, I don't know why you wouldn't want to live in Alaska, I love it. ;)
Saturday, October 9, 2010 - 09:53 AM


Thanks for reading!

I've never been to Alaska, so I'm just going off of what I imagine it would be like. I know it's probably beautiful, but I just imagine it will be cold all the time and dark for half of the year. I know I could be totally wrong though.