13 SEP 09 The Journal

Today was kind of tough. We did sprints today which had me feeling like I was going to drop a lung. It was pretty bad. I got through it though. Hopefully it will get easier as we keep doing it.

DSC01604DSC01580Today we also did the confidence course which was actually really fun. It basically consists of obstacles that you must complete with teamwork.  It was a lot of fun and it helps to build DSC01581confidence as well as trust in your team mates however it was really tough. We had to get over a 12 foot wall with just yourselves and nothing else. It was hard. Especially after just doing sprints for morning PT.

I did not get to finish this letter last night so I am just continuing the letter now. We had our second road march today. It wasn’t so bad though. I think it was only about 3-4 miles but it wasn’t a cake walk either. We had our ruck sacks on, which were about 40 lbs. That is about half the weight of our real ones. I know it doesn’t sound like much but walking up and down hills all morning with a ruck sack on can really start to hurt after a while. A few of the guys did not make it. They ended up riding in the back of a truck for the entire march. It has to be embarrassing because everyone else is marching and toughing it out except for you. As drill sgt. says “they are big pussies.”

Even though drill sgt is a tough drill, I would rather be in his platoon than the ones with more lenient drill sgts. He punishes us harshly when we fuck up but he is also fair. Most of the time he just likes messing with people and joking around. He isnt afraid to smoke us for more than an hour though. He will toughen us up and turn us into real Soldiers. Plus drill sgt knows what he is doing. We know that he was in a unit that served in Afghanistan in a small out post.

In other news, I am not sure if I told you yet but one of the men pooped his pants. He is the guy that might be “special.” Apparently he asked drill sgt if he could go to the bathroom but was told he could not leave formation. I guess he did not let drill sgt know exactly how badly he needed to use the latrine so he ended up crapping right there and in the process tracking poo all over the bay. To make matters more interesting when he finally did get to use the toilet he did not quite make it and ended up getting crap all over one of the bathroom stalls.

DSC01812We also ended up doing our land navigation courses after the march which was kind of tough. It involves finding different points in the woods with just a compass. The process involves counting your paces to estimate distance and getting direction in degrees. It is made harder because the woods are pretty dense and you can end up walking half a kilometer or more looking for the point. You have 3 hours to find up to 5 points. It sounds like plenty of time however it is made harder if you get lost or fail to find the first point. Both of which we did. We ended up wandering around for an hour and a half. If you can not find your first point there is no way to find the first one because the subsequent points depend on finding the first one.

We then went on another land nav exercise only this one was at night with no lights on. It is a little eerie wandering in the woods when it is close to pitch black. We ended up only finding one of the points, but we only had an hour to find it so oh well.

When we got back we just ended up sleeping in sleeping bags out in the open which was also pretty creepy. You could hear the wild dogs and mortars going off in the distance. The bright flashes and blasts from other company exercises made for a surreal sleep environment.

The next day we headed back to the battalion. We thought we were going to have to march back and none of us were looking forward to it but we ended up just taking a bus back much to our collective relief.

So today is Sunday and supposedly the day we were suppose to get our phone call. This however was made impossible because one of the men had not shaved for 10 days and as punishment we were all denied phone calls. Needless to say we were all in bad spirits after that. As you know I have not been able to give you a call for a few weeks which is hard to say the least.

Today is also day 10. What is nice about basic training is time seems to pass really quickly. I wake up everyday looking forward to the next nights sleep but before I know it, it is time for sleep which is why it has taken so freaking long to complete this letter. Technically we get an hour of personal time however between smokings, locker and buck maintenance, hygiene and studying there is hardly any time of our own to write letters.

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