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.
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.