Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Land Nav...Tedium

The past two freaking days have been dedicated to the Land Navigation task for the EIB trials, which I completely hate as of now, just to let my beloved readers know. Let me break it down for you.

Fort Lewis is a rainforest. I don't mean like those idyllic movie backdrops that leaves room to walk around, HELL NO. No, this is more like your worst impression of NYC. Its every man, plant, creature, and aspect of nature for itself. Trees and brush and godknowswhat wrestling in a frozen battle royale with a moshpit proximity to each other. If you could freeze time and try to navigate through a moshpit or a riot, you'd have a slight idea of what this abomination of God (rainforest) is all about. Navigating in normal terrain isn't TOO bad, though I suck at every form of navigation, especially when it involves driving.

So there we are, a bunch of young, dumb, and ugly Joes, herded out into the woods to continue our EIB adventure. A quote I overheard when one dude said he didn't even want his EIB:

"You will GET your fucking EIB, and you will fucking LIKE it!!!" He then went on about how maybe the Joe should reclass and be a cook, and flip burgers, etc etc etc. I just chilled. At this point, I was already pissed off. Let's take a look at why, shall we?

Our hero has successfully completed a grueling roadmarch and qualified expert with his rifle. Sweeeet. Now he has 3 hours to find 2 out of 3 points. He is given a map, an answer sheet with coordinates, a compass, and a protractor. Go play. I plotted my start point and my three destinations on the map before stepping off, figured the azimuth (think angle I suppose) that I had to travel, and the distance to and fro, yaddah yaddah. As I stepped off, I had to do my best to stay on my azimuth (direction of travel is probably a better description) as well as monitor my pace count, which would tell me how far I've traveled.

Apparently I was an intruder in these woods. The trees are hostile. They LOVE to slap you in the face as you "Pardon me" your way through. My legs are covered in cuts and bruises, and my hands aren't doing much better. I could swim upstream with salmon better than I could crawl through these woods.

By some miracle, I found my closest point. Whoo hoo. I wrote down the letters and numbers from the sign, proof that I had been there, and began to travel towards my next points.

Let me spare you the details. "You are a NO-GO at this station." That means I failed. Get back in line, do not pass Go, do not collect EIB. Try again. All day yesterday I was doing this, hurt as HELL from the roadmarch, to the point where the night before, it was a challenge to roll over. It was an epic BATTLE to get out of bed in the morning. That kind of hurt. After the all-day land nav, it was time to do the night course. Needless to say, I failed. I love getting lost, its almost cooler than Richard Simmons. Almost. Tromping through the woods, using Vietnam era training as always, your mind begins to wander, usually debating on which direction your ankle or knee is most likely to break in. Then a tree slaps you in the eye, also fun.

I'd been doing this over and over for two days. Walking kilometers upon kilometers through thick woods. "No Go. Do it again." My morale withered with amazing speed. And while I'm complaining, let's be sure we get one thing straight.

I have a lot of respect for anyone who earns their EIB. Its not easy. I'm three events into the prerequisites, and I'm ready to kill someone. Personally, I think it would be cool to get one, but I'm not placing any hope on it. I don't want one, but I don't NOT want one. I just don't care about mine, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to try. This year may not be the year for me though.

I finally DID pass my day land nav, but remember how I said my expert rifle qualification seemed suspicious? Well, let me just say that my day land nav is also suspicious. More so. I still have to go back out tomorrow night and do the night navigation, but where I'm sitting now, if by some miracle or manipulation, I DO get my EIB, I'm not going to wear it. Not if I'm not earning it. I might as well go to one of the shops on post and just buy an EIB patch and put it on my BDUs. Maybe the higher ups just want their units to have a large number of EIB qualified soldiers, or something stupid like that. Whatever, already, it isn't mine. Just like that army achievement medal or whatever that's supposedly coming to me for that day out on the mortar range, where I didn't do shit but play with my camera, help prepare a few rounds, and fire ONE round....oh, and get wet.

Wish me luck on earning my now hollow award.

Aside from that subject, I'm doing very well, and actually don't have much to complain about.


membrain said...

"If you could freeze time and try to navigate through a moshpit or a riot, you'd have a slight idea of what this abomination of God (rainforest) is all about."

That is just brilliant writing. Keep up the good work.


Anonymous said...

Man, for someone who is up for grabs for the EIB, you sure bitch a lot about not wanting it.
I hope you get it, just cause I want you to sit there with it in your hand and be like 'well shit, now that I got it, I should wear it'
Keep up the good fight


BigD said...

Don't you love the word "tedium?" I use it a lot when I am cleaning choreography with the little rug are a NO-GO for the last 16 measures...go back and do it again! If evil looks, exasperated sighs and loud groans are any indication, they are not happy with me. This is when I introduce their new SAT word..."tedium/tedious." Isn't it funny how life pops up and smacks you in the eye, no matter who you are or what you are doing? Did you ever get the EIB...I sure hope so after all that whining! Reading on...chin up and chest out soldier!