Friday, April 11, 2008

BOLC II - Day 4 & 5

Combined these two
Day 4
Another early morning. 0420 formation before the PT test. 55 pushups, 61 situps and a 16:29 2 mile run for me. Which gives me 220 points on the 300 point scale that the Army uses. Then off to get weighed again (lost 3.5 lbs from last night) and then taped (I passed.... just about the best thing that I can say.... need to hit the gym tonight.). Then we had off until 1230. A quick review of dental and vision records (looks like I am getting new glasses... at least they aren't BCG's (army slang for the glasses they used to issue.. Birth Control Glasses... as in you are not getting laid wearing these)) and then we were done for the day (1530!!! Nice to have that time off).

Day 5
A nice little PT at the late hour of 0545. Then a very quick shower as we had to meet a quick deadline to be in an auditorium for a briefing by the the Battalion Commander and his Command Sergeant Major. After that we had one last line to sit in, waiting for shots (of course I get to the front and they tell me I am good to go). A bunch of barracks cleaning and then off chow. Then we had a class given by our platoon mentor and were finally released at around 1600 (and most importantly I get to shift off this PSG position to someone else after getting my "go" at the position).

Now all that is left is an 0600 Charge of Quarters on Saturday morning (basically sitting around for 3 hours in the morning and doing whatever tasks are required of me and my partner for that time). Then I am free for the rest of the weekend!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

BOLC II - Day 3

Ah, the special Army joy this morning. We had to wake up special early (first formation at 0430) for a drug test. Probably the most efficient one that I have ever seen (they have it down to an art when dealing with 200 soldiers). Then we had a very light PT session (as we have a PT test tomorrow), a very light breakfast for me and then off to more briefings
Another light lunch, the off to CIF (Central Issuing Facility) to get my gear. Another 2 duffle bags full of things useful (rucksack, poncho and liner, sleeping bag) and not (cold weather underwear, gortex jacket). Then we had Company issue (the dreaded IBA, Interdictor Body Armor with 2 plates in it. This is the standard body armor of the Army and works pretty well, though is bulky and heavy as sin) as well as an LBV (Load bearing vest) so that useful things like canteens and magazines for weapons can be easily accessed.
A few more misc tasks and then we were done for the day. I took the chance to get in a nap and then walked the route that we would be using for the PT test tomorrow (a big 1 mile track that we run twice). Also met a new soldier to my platoon, a 2LT from Albania. Then a very light chow, some goofing on the Internet and now shortly a very early bedtime for the 420 formation tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

BOLC II - Day 2

Another day down. Early morning (0500)... the joy of being in charge and having to make sure everything is set. A nice PT session (a warmup run to the field and then lots and lots of ab and upper body workouts). Then back, a nice shower and then time to talk to our Platoon Mentor (he is a Captain with combat experience). Due to some SNAFU (Situation normal, all f'd up) we were first told to come back at 1245 by the 1SG (1st Sargeant, the senior sargeant in the company (in this case a fellow 2lt appointed to that position)). Who then redirected and then mimarched (I was in the formation and cracking up..... so confirming theories on why officers can't march). A quick meeting with the Chaplain.

Later after a long lunch break (yah! made some phone calls) and then off to Finance briefings. This was most joyful as it confirmed that I would in fact be getting BAH for my condo.. since this represents 1600 dollars its quite a big deal. Congress just passed a law because for a while reservists who were in training didn't get anything.

Then some more paperwork. Then I was off. I went shopping to the PX and then to Rangers Joe's (where I got my rank and patches sewn onto my BDU's for use next week) and then a light dinner. A few more meetings to clear things up with the PL and then it was off to an early bed.

BOLC II - Day 1

Inprocessing. Lots of paperwork. Briefings. The standard Army struggle to stay awake. Woke up at 520, first formation at 550. I further confirmed my whole "world is small theory" and ran into a number of classmates from last summer (as well as another Virginia 2LT that I didn't even know was coming).

They kept us busy in briefings until 1530 (330pm) and then we did PT. Lord I am/was tired from that workout (They really pushed us... kind of a way of the cadre introducing themselves). I got tagged as the Platoon Sargeant for this week. Lucky me and my D&C (Drill and Ceremony) skills. Lots of little tasks that needed to be handled (working with my SL (Squad Leaders) and my PL (Platoon Leader.... poor lady is a Direct Commission who never had any Army training until now.... talk about being thrown in the deep end). We had to set up a CQ (charge of Quarters) for the evening. This is a task that rotates among the platoons of a Company based on whose cadre has to stay in the barracks that evening. Missed chow so I had to settle for grabbing something from a fast food place (went as healthy as I could... APFT on Thursday so I have been eating lightly) when I stopped by the PX (Post Exchange).

I am so tired. I was asleep almost the minute my head hit the bed.

Monday, April 07, 2008

BOLC II - Zero Day

After a final push I finally arrive at BOLC II, located in the heart of Ft. Benning. I actually took it pretty easy, taking my time to stop, stretch and do some pushups (the dreaded PT is due shortly). I don't think I have been eating enough because I am so anxious about passing the weight/tape test.

Check in was fast (I showed up in uniform since I saw some things saying I should). Turns out I didn't have to. Its sticky down here, lots of humidity in the air. Met my new roommate (who went to undergrad at VCU). Didn't see any other familiar faces but this being the Army that is due to happen. Now to build a list of stuff I need to buy (starting off with a fan... barracks are AC'd but its still stuffy in them). Then off to bed (at 1030..... oh yeah, the high life).

Sunday, April 06, 2008

BOLC II - T-Minus 1 day

So what is BOLC (pronounced "Bow-Lock" as we military people are prone to day acronyms) II? 7 weeks of training for all new officers in the Army (the only exceptions being the Doctors and the Chaplains) to bring them up to speed on tactics, weapons and fieldcraft. Sounds more exciting than it probably will be (I predict lots of waiting around). The Army used to send all its new officers to the specialty training course right away, but they decided that they all needed to funnel through this course before heading to get technical training in their specialty.

Said my goodbyes yesterday and the day before. It sucks (hard to explain to my 3yo nephew that he wont see me for a while) but at least I will have access to computers and telephones and have time to use them while I am away. And I get to go back at the end of the course for a long weekend on Memorial Day. (before heading off to my specialty training)

Drove about halfway, I am in NC after stopping for the night (long trip, over 700 miles and about 12 hours). I also stopped at VT for a brief visit (see previous post). I will be pushing onward shortly. I will probably check in early evening and get a lay of the land.


On my drive to Ft. Benning I was approaching Virginia Tech (as I took the scenic route and went 29 to 64 to 81).

"Its rainy" "Its Blacksburg, odds are its rainy"

"It will take too long" "Whats the rush? Don't have to be at Benning til tomorrow evening"

"Don't wanna, bad thoughts" "Might as well face them"

So I pulled off 81, went onto the still unfamiliar 460 exit (since it wasn't there when I was a student). Popped over to the Virginia Tech exit, admired the pretty additions to Lane Stadium (way nicer than the last time I had seen it). Drove around the drillfield to Burass and walked around. I think I have to agree that the current memorial is the best, simplicity and poignant.

This all reminded me that all my personal sadness and frustation is pretty small in comparison to these people and their families.

And to top off the Tech trip, visited Soulvaki's for a Gyro and some Baklava and walked around the campus a bit.