Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mobilization Training Week 1

So the day finally came. The orders, plane tickets and eventual instructions came, directing me to Camp Shelby MS. There I joined up with the "Replacement Company."

I am playing catchup with my unit that is already enroute to Afghanistan In support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In this Company there are sets, platoons, who are grouped together as they arrive and prepped with the required training, medical reviews and equipment for their destination. Soldiers deploying to Afghanistan like me are being issued new uniforms in the OCP (OEF Camoflage Pattern, recursive acronyms....), aka Multicam. Soldiers here are going to both Iraq and Afghanistan, which means that the formations look quite odd (reminding me of the transition period where we were switching from ACU's to BDU's).

In true Army form it was hurry up and wait, as I flew out on Friday at 0600, finally got to Camp Shelby at 1400 and attended their final formation at 1600. And was told that I had nothing to do until Monday at 0730. So it was time to be bored for the weekend.

As noted the Warrior Platoons are ad-hoc, filled with mostly junior Soldiers (mine has 12 total, 6 right out of Basic/AIT another a year out of that, 3 SSg's a Captain and myself).

The first week was not very busy:
  • Monday - nothing
  • Tuesday - briefings. Approximately 5 hours of DVD's that were made from canned presentations.
  • Wednesday - SRP (Soldier Readiness Process). Also known as "damn my arm hurts" day. Medical review coupled with review of things like legal, pay, etc. Including the dreaded shots... Anthrax (which made my arm hurt for 4 days afterward) and Smallpox (which requires a lot of attention to make sure the area stays clean and dry)
  • Thursday - RFI (Rapid Fielding Inititive), CIF (central issuance facility) and JLIST (NBC gear issue, suit, gloves and boots). I ended up taking over another locker to fit all the stuff I got. 4 sets of Multicam, 4 Army Combat Shirts (sleeves look like normal uniform, core is under armor type stuff, meant to be worn under the body armor), 2 boots, a whole mess of cold weather gear, new helmet, pads, body armor, tons of pouches (Rifleman kit), sleeping bag and tons of other stuff. 2.5 duffle bags full all told, probably close to 10,000$ worth of stuff. I am going to keep using the ACU's until Saturday then switch to my new gear, sending the rest home.
  • Friday - weapon issue, followup for medical, and mask fitting (another piece of gear I won't use, joy....)
  • Saturday - Army Combatives. Way more useful than the last time I learned it. It finally added a section on fighting standing up. And now I learn that this training is being phased out....
  • Sunday is an off day.

This has been a very lax training schedule. On no day did we work past 1300...

The base itself is ok. They have a shuttle that comes by every 15 minutes and covers the whole base), key since the px is 1.25 miles away and it is hot! The gym is acceptable (has at least one of most machines) and there is a .45 mile ack for sprint work (why in gods name it is that distance i have no clue) as well as closing a road for morning pt runs. Their PX is pretty nice and well stocked, as is the military clothing sales. Because they do not provide lunch other than MRE's (hot meals for breakfast and dinner) there're some options to eat. There is an AAFES Grill, pizza delivery, and even food trailers (a burger stand, southern cuisine (lots of gravy), fried seafood (yum, catfish!), burritos). And the cadre are allowing us MWR runs to town, to the mall, walmart and the movie theater (1 during the week(4hr), one on the weekend(6hr)) so that makes things more tolerable. Only bummer is very limited Internet. Just a handful of computers and only one place far away that has wifi( only place to hook up your own computer).

I sleep a lot... And talk to my fellow Soldiers, some of these guys have done 3-4 tours and are close to retirement.

And anyone discovering this before heading to this place really needs to figure out and complete all the online training that this place requires. My unit had me do it when I was first mobbing up and it is kind of a relief to not be stressing systems being down or completing the classes while here.