Tuesday, May 06, 2008

BOLC II - Week 5 - Day 1 & 2

Yep, getting lazier as times goes on and there is more to do. Ironic that now that there is more to write about I am writing less since I am actually doing the stuff.


I went to formation and then went to sick call. As noted I hurt my toe and it would have been a bloody mess to go for a run on it. Sick call in the Army gives me the closest appreciation of what I feel that purgatory would be. Long lines, waiting around, moving from queue to queue.... After I got back there was more waiting, then a formation to tell us that there would be more waiting, then more waiting.

Finally we got the go. Loaded up on buses, took a short nap on the way to the range. This range is different. We have a squad that heads down the range in tactical formation (basically big wedges/V formations) with loaded weapons. Yep, the team behind me, loaded with 40 rounds of ammo. This is where the trust comes into play, that those soldiers have their weapons on safe, fingers off the triggers and doing so consistently. Then we moved further into the range where pop-up targets appear and you must get down and engage them, while the other element (the other team) moves around to flank them. Its actually pretty satisfying when you have a target and get to take it down, since so often we use blanks and there is never that situation. I would note that we do this lane twice, first with blanks to show how we would do all the normal actions then with live ammo after we have conducted an AAR and corrected any issues. Our run on this lane went well and we got a pretty good review. The low point of the day was that we didn't clear this range (since we had to walk through and collect all the brass) until 1900 (7PM). Which means we didn't get off until 2000.... And somehow dinner slipped through the cracks. I joined a few of my compatriots at the walking distance Mexican restaurant for a big burrito and a couple of beers and chips.


Apparently the cross-fit stuff is catching, as today's student PT leader brought us back to doing cross-fit. Modified squats (looks like Russian dancing), push-ups, sit-ups, crunches and pull-ups (as well as this crazy thing where you repeatably jump onto a step and then back down.... I am REALLY slow at these.. very much the white man can't jump thing going on here). Then we did a bunch of classes after PT until lunch.

Today our big event was the CCTT, the Close Combat Tactical Trainer. Yep, today was video game day. This is an electronic simulator that creates a tactical movement of HMMV's along a patrol corridor. Someone drives (that was me), someone is the vehicle commander, you have a turret gunner, and two guys in the back who can dismount. Believe it or not it feels really real after a bit, some people even get motion sick even though nothing is really moving. This was seriously bad ass and everyone enjoyed the training opportunity. 4 of the vehicles were electronically linked together, so we could see the actions of our other soldiers, communicate with them and react to their actions. We encountered IED's (Improvised Explosive Devices), hostile dismounted bad guys and even a VBIED (Vehicle Borne IED). Everyone though it was great training. This was the first time that they have used the CCTT here at BOLC II and I imagine that based on the response (highly enthusiastic) that it will quickly be incorporated into the normal schedule. The use of this facility has save the Army 10's and 100's of millions of dollars (since in addition to HMMV's it can also do armor like M1's or M2's, which are godawful expensive to operate and fire (M1's for example guzzle fuel at the rate of 2 gallons per mile)) while giving the soldiers chances to engage more realistic training.

Since my platoon was (again) the last to go we finished around 1600, giving us time to run errands and get dinner (unlike yesterday).

Gotta love a day where you get payed to "play" (I use this loosely since we were using tactics and reacting like we would in real life) video games.

A passel of movies

One of the side effects of my time down here in Georgia is that I see a lot of movies (and get to eat out at some different places).

This weekend was a break weekend after the whirlwind of last weekend. Lots of sleep on Friday (10 hours), woke up, hit the gym, putter around my room for a while, then off to get some dinner and watch some movies.

  • Baby Momma - Love Tina Fey. This movie was pretty funny. I enjoyed it a lot
  • Hidden Kingdom - Jackie Chan. That's really all I needed, everything else was bonus. Fun movie. Not too deep and pretty predictable but good. 4/5
  • Iron Man - LOVED, LOVED, LOVED! this movie! Lets lay aside that I am a massive Iron Man comic book fan for a moment (as any of my family can testify to given the number of his comics I own). This movie represents a quintessential superhero movie. Action, comedy, Action. A little character development and a lot of happiness for the fans. (loved the SHIELD reference) 5/5
  • Fools Gold - eh. okay romantic/adventure. Very linear and predictable. Glad I only paid a dollar for it. 2.5/5

Then I hurt my foot while outside the theater. ow! But it looks to keep me from running with my IBA (body armor) tomorrow so that's okay, though its gross and frustrating.