Monday, June 20, 2005

Heading Out Part Two

Here I go again, a few hours from flying out, this time to Fort Lewis, WA. People ask if I'm nervous. Why? I already did basic, now I'm going to my duty station. I'll be nervous when the situation calls for it. Til then, I can entertain inflated fantasies of what the wonderful state of Washington will hold for me.

I'll post more neat stories about Basic and how awesome it was later. I apologize, but at the moment, I'm at a loss for decent adjectives. And I still have lots of loose ends to tie up.

Packing List for Reporting (There's always a packing list with the Army, it seems, so I better devise one as well):

-Uniforms, PTs, BDU, and Class A as well as all other issued clothing
-Wallet with ID and debit card
-Civilian clothes
-Family Guy Seasons 1-3 on DVD
-XBOX with all CDs stored on hard drive
-Stephen King's "The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass"

A very feeble list, I admit, but I'll only be able to check two bags, and I really don't feel like bothering with all of my worldly possessions that I won't have room for. I'll come back for my guitar and peripherals after I've bought a decent motor vehicle of some nature.

Ok, so there I was, in a college town this weekend, still with me? Good. I'm talking with some old friends of mine, listening to the same old, "Wow, u r lyke, the LAST person I would expect to join the army, omg." And this hippied out supposed-collegiate mangey dude says, "You're in the army, huh dude? That's cool. I just wanna say that I hate Bush. (Insert uninformed opinions here). I don't mean to bring you down or anything, man, but I hope you don't die for oil."

.....Wow, people like that sure are interesting, and very worth my time to talk to. Because come on, they've obviously looked into the subject HEAVILY, otherwise how could they ever make a connection between Iraq and oil? Man, this guy must stay up all hours of the night, hunting for information so as to be an informed individual, capable of sharing intelligent and thought provoking insights on the world. Before that fateful night, I had never heard any accusations about the evil United States stealing oil from poor old Iraq. I'm so glad he put it into perspective for me.

And I'm a liar.

I know a few guys who have been to the waterless beaches of the middle east, and yes, were DEPLOYED there, not vacationing with Sean Penn, who in the entire time they were there, did not ONCE have any involvement with an oilfield. But hey, its the war we fight, right?

Me personally, when I'm not out killing babies and ruining lives of strangers, I enjoy taking over oilfields by force, and during my off time, I pal around with the boogeyman, and together we cause all the problems in the world.

Oh I'm sorry, did I seem sarcastic? Well shit.

On a serious note, all I ask from anyone who wants to talk to me about anything remotely political, is that you please don't accuse me of anything that you don't know for a fact about (and hearing it on TV or the radio does not count. Depending on fevered egoes to keep you informed is a little counter productive). Well, I should clarify. Without the media, no one would have any effective means of finding out about global situations. So instead, please don't swallow everything you're told (and I agree to do the same), and please do some real research and form your own opinions, don't borrow someone else's for convenience's sake. Think for yourself, its fun, I promise.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. Hold your remarks regarding members of the military not thinking for themselves, its old, tired, and cliche. But I digress. Later on, once things are settled, I'll do a better job of explaining what the military lifestyle has been like for me thus far, and I may even throw in some very interesting rants for you, the reader to dislike and disagree with.

Kudos to the Americans that don't give in to stagnation. I wear the flag for you. For those at the end of the learning curve, there's a spot saved for you, looking forward to seeing you there.

Stay tuned for patriotic ranting from a slightly different perspective.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Catch Up Post

I posted during our 36 hour pass, and thanks to the wonderful computers at Fort Benning's PX, it didn't register. Great. So now, I'll throw in chunks of narrative from The Days of Then to make you neat people happy once more.

First off, I'm just going to point out that I'm a bit grouchy, and that'll probably affect this post. Sorry, but the civilian world and I don't get along sometimes. Maybe I'll explain some rainy day. For now, lets strap on our galoshes and tromp through the puddles of Memory Lane.

MEPS was the usual picnic. I flew to Benning the next morning, plane hopping all day with another kid from my town who ended up not graduating after catching mono. We arrived in Atlanta that night, and waited for a long time. Yay. Then we congregated with a bunch of other losers who thought they were going to be Infantryman. Meet a portion of Bravo company.

A bus took us to the wonderful fort, and to 30th AG, the reception battallion. For some stupid reason, we were smoked right off of the bus. The drill sergeant did the whole yelling thing, and ushered us nicely off of the bus and politely asked us to get our bags from the cargo thing of doom underneath the bus. He didn't seem to have his mind made up as to what he wanted us to do, because he kept having us run, then get on the ground and do pushups, then get up, then get down, and we really weren't making any progress. When we finally made it to the sidewalk in front of the doors, we got into two single file lines, holding our civilian bags over our heads, and the drill sergeants gave us an introductory speech, sort of. Then we went inside and were briefed.

Now, the majority of reception, especially the first two days, are a blur, because I didnt sleep much. Basically, they inprocess you. You do a bunch of paperwork, you get your clothes, you get your haircut, you buy a bunch of necessity crap from this tiny little toolshed of a PX, and you get shots.

At 30th, there isnt much to do when you aren't inprocessing, so all you really do is sit around and talk. I made a few buddies there, some of which ended up in my platoon. Man I miss those guys.

PICKUP DAY!

I remember the day we were going to "ship downrange", we all had our BDU uniforms on, with out field jackets, which we were told we'd never wear again. True. We were formed up in the breezeway, with our duffel bags and laundry bags stacked in front of us. We all ate a big breakfast, because the drill sergeants at 30th kept going on about how hardcore day 1 was going to be. I was freezing my ass off, trying to decide how I felt about the situation.

And then this white truck pulled up, a cattle truck. And for a moment, all I could see from under the truck were a pair of jungle boots, walking around to our side. They came closer to the edge, and then I saw the Brown Round, the trademark hat of the drill sergeant. Welcome to the fucking jungle.

They marched us to our battallion, screaming all the while. Apparently we're not supposed to "bebop" when we march. Seemed I was doing ok, as I went unnoticed, a feat I accomplished throughout Basic for the most part. I still don't quite know what constitutes a bebop, but I guess you can't win em all.

They had all of our bags in huge piles in front of the PT field of our new home. We had two minutes to get both of our bags and be in formation. Day 1 was a blur. Lots of yelling. Lots of pushups, etc. Once my platoon got to our bay, our humble room in the barracks, we were to "Toe the Line", which meant stand along the line that outlined a rectangle in the center of the room, called the Kill Zone. The drill sergeant said, "Its called the killzone, because if you walk on it, I'll kill you."

Once we were successfully Line-Toed (think Full Metal Jacket. Everyone in front of their bunks), we enjoyed a thorough PT session, which was prefaced with the omenous command, "Take off your field jackets. You aren't going to need them."

Once we were good and smoked, we were told to go into the latrine and fill our canteens, and come back out. We then had 60 seconds to drink the full quart of water. After that, we were told to fill them up again, and fill them up all the way. Well wouldn't ya know it, we then had to drink that canteen, too. Force hydration and lots of PT, well, you can imagine. There was a bit of throwing up.

I remember feeling really guilty while we were getting smoked because the floors looked so nice, and my boots were scuffing them up. Silly me.

That night, we were issued our gear, helmet, etc, signed for it all, did a little more paperwork, and then the entire platoon was in and out of the shower in 10 minutes. That was something.

I'll write more later. For now, I'm going to go back to missing my army friends while I enjoy leave at home.