Friday, April 25, 2008

BOLC II - Week 3 - Day 4 & 5

Thursday - Survived my CQ shift. So boring. I got through a couple of TV shows while sitting at the desk. Started with some interesting PT. Tire flipping (big truck tires), stretcher carry, sandbag passing (tougher than it sounds) and a station where you did a combo of overhead arm claps, pushups, crunches. At 0900 we got the good news, just work on weapons cleaning. So out came the cleaning kits, rags and of course the ipods and laptops as we sat around and worked on getting our weapons cleaned. We had a quick class at 1130 on DAGR (basically a GPS system) and then off to lunch (my squad had pizza!). After lunch it was a class presented by the foreign student (the military often has international student in many of its classes) from Albania who gave a presentation on his country. It was a good idea since he gave everyone an idea where he came from and answered a bunch of questions at one time. Then we were off for the day (at 1500!!!). I promptly went to bed for a nap and then went to the gym.

Friday - 0330 wakeup. UGH! This seems like a trend on Fridays, waking up early. Don't like it. It was kind of neat to see the Night gear in play. Using the laser to point the weapon and seeing it on my NOD. I killed 8 of 20, which actually was pretty good. All they used was the 50m targets, I can't really see hitting beyond that with this scope. Back to the barracks and then we had some off time until 0900. Then we practiced for a number of hours on short combat drills, basically shooting a target at close range and the tactical movements necessary (like making sure that your body armor is the one thing presented toward the enemy). A quick turn in and then, miracle of miracles, we were done by 1430. Its now the weekend!!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

BOLC II - Week 3 - Day 3

Weapon Qualification day.
Started the day with a 60-120 running day. 60 seconds of sprinting at top speed and then jogging for another 120 seconds. Pretty good workout.

Then as we are the duty platoon for the day we had a hurried morning where we got our stuff together and walked over to the range (it was only about .5 miles away). Even walking in this gear is hot. Upon our arrival we set about some of the usual tasks of running a range (making sure that all support gear, like water, is set up, loading magazines, etc). I was a safety for an hour, then as we had members of the platoon qualify they rotated me out to qualify. Unfortunately for the first set dirt had gotten inside my weapon, so I suffered from a series of weapons jams that gave me a pitiful 7 hits. That coupled with the fact that I was still getting a hand around this whole kneeling position that we are supposed to use (the standard, 20 prone supported, 10 prone unsupported and 10 kneeling was a new one to me as when I went through basic it was 20 foxhole and 20 prone unsupported). After cleaning my weapon throughly I had to make a few more tries and then I qualified in the early afternoon. Pretty frustrating but now its over. Then we continued to run the range until we closed shop at 1600. We fired 18,500 rounds to qualify 180 soldiers (there were a few people at the end of the day who hadn't qualified, but they have a couple of more chances starting tomorrow.). A quick cleanup (we have to gather all the spent brass for turnin) and we moved back to the barracks.

more scenes from the range, not very exciting.

We did have one more task for the day. One of our cadre had his birthday today so a cake had been arranged. A pink one with a tiarra... Pretty funny but he was a good sport. Then off to bed as I have to get up at 0200 to do CQ for 2 hours. Joy.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

BOLC II - Week 3 - Days 1&2

Range days. Lots of downtime.

Monday was a run day, 3 miles of running around a mile track (somewhat hamsterish, but better than doing it on a 1/4 mile track, thats enough to make you dizzy). Then we got our weapons and moved out to the range. Today was zero day, where you use your weapon to aim at a target simulating a 300m target (though its only 25m away.... its just really small) and have to get your shots grouped into a tight group (5 of 6 shots need to be within a 3cm circle, right in the middle of the target). This involves a lot of stopping and starting as you also adjust your sights so that the rounds are walked into the correct location. You fire 3 shots, wait until everyone is done and is away from their weapons, walk down, see where your shots hit the target, then go back and adjust. Pretty time consuming. It took me a couple of tries to finally get it, as I started to remember and reassert my marksmanship fundamentals (breathing, trigger pull, sight picture). It was hot, even though we went in the morning. We were wearing our IBA (Interdictor body Armor, the same stuff they use in Iraq), equipment harness, kevlar helmets and eye protection on the range. Its impressively hot. Then we came back, did some weapon cleaning (always a good practice), then had some student led classes before calling it an evening. I went over to the gym and hit the hot tub to cap off the day.

Tuesday morning we did something different for PT. We did Crossfit training, a combo of situps, dips, elevated pushups and pull/chin-ups. Pretty good cross training. Then we did the classic military "hurry up and wait routine", where we were ready to head to the range by 830 (in all our gear). Then we took off the gear and had student led classes for the next 2 hours (got mine out of the way and got a go). A long lunch and then we moved to range (god, even walking in all this gear is tiring). We did ALT-C training today, where we shot at a paper target at 25m. 40 rounds, 20 from the prone supported, 10 from the prone unsupported and 10 from the kneeling (still an odd position, its not what I trained on). I did pretty well, getting a 28 on the score (you are supposed to put 4 shots into 10 different targets, all sized so that they look like what they would be at that distance). After that we had a few more little tasks and were done by around 3pm. I executed the Army standard and took a nice nap before dinner. A quick trip to the gym and another visit to the beloved hot tub.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Relaxing weekend

Apparently yesterday was Rachel Bilson day... I went and saw Forgetting Sarah Marshal and then later in the day went and saw Jumper at the cheapie movie theater. I felt that I had seen most of the really funny scenes for Forgetting in the previews, sometimes a distinct danger of this sort of comedy. Overall it was pretty entertaining. But of course I am a bit predisposed to both the leading ladies so its not surprising.

Friday night was a late start, as we didn't get release until 6. A couple of the guys went over to a Mexican restaurant right outside the gate and we got margaritas. One was all it took for a good night. $14 for this ginormious 60oz, top shelf beast. We had our DD drive us back to the base and then "watched" a movie (as I fell asleep pretty much as it started.... 4am wakeup and a nice drink predisposed me to falling asleep). I also hit the gym yesterday and then went to a local Chinese place, Chef Lee's, which was recommended by a classmate and was listed by USA Today as one of the best Chinese places in the country. It was pretty good and I can see myself returning there.

Sunday was a late morning. Went for a 40 minute jog around the base, showered, popped over to the commissary for some necessities (detergent, water, stuff to put in water (big fan of the crystal light hydrate packages... for someone who has been IV'd 3 times last year I know the importance of replenishing electrolyte's)). Then off to catch a movie, The Bucket List. As yesterday seemed to be about youth and beauty (very defining for both the movies I saw on Saturday) today countered that with Jack Nicolson and Morgan Freeman. It was fun, somewhat predictable but a fun little romp.

Ah, now the fun part of the day. I got up too late for breakfast so I decided to take advantage of a big lunch (luckily I get per diem for food on the weekends) at Country's BBQ. Sooo good. I had a combo plate, some ribs, some pork, some beef with sides of french fries and fried apples along with cornbread. Very good though next time I will stick with the pork, I liked that a lot more than the other 2. Then I rolled back to base..

When I got back I also worked on homework (this place feels even more like a dorm as I work on homework....) and took a long walk while talking to people on the phone (was going to hit the gym but it closes at 1700 on the weekends). Off to bed for an exciting day at the ranges by 2300!