Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Back in, Back out

I am in from the field (and back out tomorrow--I've been recovering for the last couple days after spending almost a week getting pissed on by WA's "unseasonably rainy" weather.)

Training cadets is usually pretty fun. You have to realize (and it is a pretty large leap) that they are NOT trained soldiers. Worse, they haven't been working together for months, and really barely know each other. Luckily, we don't just evaluate them on tactical and technical abilities. We look at attributes (Mental, Physical, and Emotional), skills (Conceptual, Interpersonal, Technical, Tactical) actions (Communicating, Decision Making, Motivating, Planning, Executing, Assessing, (Subordinate leader) Developing, (Team) Building, and (individual) Learning.

Still, amidst all the evaluations, it's still pretty fun to watch them work under pressure. I don't add to the pressure, the stress comes from the situation and the Cadet. It's often self-inflicted stress; sometimes in the form of an overly-ambitious time-line, a way too detailed plan of execution, or simply not rehearsing a plan and watching it unfold... badly. They tend to make the same mistakes from platoon to platoon, which is good in the long run, because it shows that across the board, they are all trained to about the same level, regardless of university (except for MY cadets. MY cadets are either untrainable imbeciles or Exceptionally Well-Trained Apprentice Tactical Geniuses.)

Sidenote: I still hate my room mate. We have a one-day overlap, and I can't wait to get back to the field. He. Keeps. Talking.

So today I will re-pack, put more camp-dry silicone spray on my gear, cache some chow out in the woods (hey, it doesn't have to be hard to be training) and maybe go see a movie.

I've been remiss--I have not share with you a good friend I've made here. Bob is my counterpart lanewalker. Together, we evaluate the cadets in our patrol. Bob is a NonCommissioned Officer, a Jumpmaster Instructor, and an all-around good natured guy. He's the son of a Marine Sergeant Major, a Hawaiian (always a plus in my book, S.H.) and quite often the voice of common sense to my off-the-wall ideas. Let's face it, when I get bored, I get creative, and the higher in rank I get, the fewer people who can tell me "No, Dumbass" and more who have to say "Sir, I don't think that's a good idea, but if you want to..."

Bob and I get along really well, the tanker and the infantryman, we teach the kids the tactics, he focuses on how to lead and interact with the soldiers, I teach the kids how to make touch choices, how to separate themselves and remain objective, and how to plan and execute. Actually, we both do each other's jobs, and share our breadth of experiences with them. Plus, it's fun to watch them embrace the suck from having to sleep

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