Sunday, July 08, 2007

"I think you'd better lock and clear your mouth and put it on safe."

I heard that recently (not being yelled at, but as part of a snappy comeback exchange between myself and another inmate here at Fort Lewis.

I am on a short break, a 72 hour respite from the field training that we do with cadets. The days are like this:
Day 1
0600--Show up at the patrolling TOC, bitch about being cold, being too early, & wait around.
0800--Meet up with cadets. Look over assigned patrol (24 cadets). Try to look imposing.
0830-1700 rehearse all of the combat patrols and tactics we will use.
1730: Begin patrol, zone reconnaissance (walk with 70# rucksack for 6-8 km/3-4 miles.)
(My ruck is 70#. Theirs is about 20-30 Pounds. I have to carry all of my food, gear, paperwork for the cadets, and other extraneous "leader supplies".)
2130-ish: Arrive and set up patrol base with cadets, ensure they establish security, conduct recon/security patrol, clean weapons, and conduct priorities of work.
2330-2430: Set up hooch for self and partner (we operate in pairs, my partner is a Sergeant 1st Class (E7) who is a jumpmaster, parachutist, and one hell of an infantryman and all-around good guy (and Hawaiian to boot.) Cook supper (we prefer the dehydrated backpacker's meaks to MRE's--go figure). Take meds. Sleep.

Day two:
0430: Wake up, sunshine!
0431: Bitch about the cold, mosquitoes, take a piss and have a smoke.
0435: Wake up the kids. Listen to them bitch about the cold, mosquitoes, and not being allowed to smoke (we can't use tobacco products in view of the cadets.)
0500: after ensuring kids are complete with stand-to, reduce security posture, leave them alone for 30 minutes to eat, pack, and prep for missions. Make my own breakfast (Backpacker's Trail (I think) Raspberry Crumble. Yummy)
0530: Give mission brief to new leadership (cadets rotate out as Patrol Leader (Like platoon Leaders) Assistant Patrol Leader (Like Platoon Sergeants) and Squad Leaders. Watch and evaluate.
0700: Leave for 1st Mission. Walk 6-8 KM in opposite direction.
1130: End 1st Mission, Begin process again for second mission
1300: Leave for 2nd Mission, walk 3-5 Km
1900: End 2nd Mission, move to and establish patrol base.
2300: Bed.

Lather, rinse, and repeat for day 3 and 4. Day four ends around 1830, and we go in for three days to refit and rest. I sleep until two PM, wake up, eat and take pills, and go back to bed. The next day I go shopping to replace items consumed--batteries, bug juice, food, etc. I do laundry, repack my ruck, and relax. Day three, eat a good dinner, (hopefully one that will agree with me) and go to bed early, because it all starts again in the morning.

And that's my summer.


(Damn, I miss my family.)

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