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Virtual Sanity

NEW! My Basic Training Blog has it's own site. Click here to read a day-by-day account of the first 10 weeks of Army life.

Saturday, April 26, 2003
Friday, February 7, 2003

Today is our first day of basic training, officially. Pretty much all classroom instruction, which surprises me.
Thursday, February 6, 2003

Snowed in the AM and we stayed inside. We get smoked for over an hour in the morning. It is hard. 49 of us in a small room doing pushups, situps, overhead arm clappers, flutterkicks, arching our backs, then letting our hips go almost to the floor and back up again. Puddles of sweat on the floor - not fun.

Smoked again at night - in the snow, with mud underneath it - for about 40 minutes. Front, back, gos in the snow. Front = pushups, back = flutterkicks, go = running in place, arms straight out in front of you. May sound easy, but it gets tiring very quickly. Some people will just not show respect or shut up. *sigh*
Wednesday, February 5, 2003

No entry for today, sorry.
Tuesday, February 4, 2003

We moved down to where we will be spending basic training today. They gathered us outside the reception area and loaded us into cattle cars. After a 10 minute ride or so, the doors opened and all hell broke loose. Drill sergeants everywhere screaming at us as we tried not to trip and be run over while running with our 70 lb duffle bags into a gym. We have to line up into I dont remember how many lines and get our duffles lined up perfectly from right to left. Each time we don't get it right, we have to do "corrective training". Either pushups or overhead arm-clappers, which are like the arm part of jumping jacks, but you don't drop your arms past your shoulders.

We are separated into 4 platoons and move out to our building and classrooms. There, we undergo a shakedown where the drill sergeants make sure we have everything we are supposed to have, and nothing we are not supposed to have - all that goes in a personal bag and is locked up until we leave.
Monday, February 3, 2003

Had to redo my security paperwork again. Everything I did at MEPS - staying that extra day - was not in the system. But now it is done... Got my ID and class A photo as well. Lastly, we had our PT (physical training) test: 13 pushups, 17 situps, and 1 mile in 8:30. I did that in about 6:50 and really needed it. All the anxiety and nausea is now gone, at least for today. I just want to get this started - an hour of activity goes much faster than an hour of waiting.
Sunday, February 2, 2003

0600 Wakeup. Lots of hurry up and wait. Got to make a phone call home to get some information for paperwork. Watch 1/2 of Black Hawk Down. Some people still don't understand the phrase "shut up." Stenciled names on our dufflebags. Went to church for the first time in 12 years, excluding xmas services. Was good to go - it was recommended to go as it is the only break we get during basic.

Find out we are shipping out to basic training on Tuesday. Nervous as hell.
Sunday, April 20, 2003
Saturday, February 1, 2003

I am finally writing here on the same day. I can't believe it, but last night, I was excited about the prospects of this morning's 0630 wakeup. We form up and head to the chow hall, after which we are waiting in a large room when a sergeant comes in and asks if anyone is from Texas. He then proceeds to tell us that NASA had lost contact with the space shuttle Columbia somewhere over Texas and turns on the TV. I remember watching the very first shuttle blastoff in 1st grade when my grandmother brought in a TV to my class - that was also the Columbia. What flashes in my mind next is this spoof story that I saw at Little Green Footballs shortly before I left. I don't know if anyone actually celebrated the tragedy, but considering that an Israeli Air Force Colonel was among the killed, they probably did (UPDATE: Yes, they did. The sick bastards.) Find out on the news that he took part in the Iraqui nuclear plant raid years ago. There is little doubt in my mind that if Israel had not done this, and Iraq was able to develop nuclear weapons from it, I would have been in a nuclear fireball on 9/11 rather than watching smaller explosions from my subway car. We owe this guy some sort of honor.

I can't believe the number of 18-year-olds here who think they are king of the world. Lots of spitting, cursing, sexual bravado, and fake southern accents... I hope my platoon when I actually get to basic isn't full of these guys, but I would love to see the attitude adjustments after they get smoked a few times.

Not much today. Saturday and Sunday are slow at reception - I hear not so much during basic - we'll see. I have fireguard duty from 0000-0100 so I'm going to bed.
Friday, January 31, 2003

We spend most of the day processing paperwork for our finances, benefits, etc. Then we have an x-ray taken and get a mouthguard from the dental office, and have an eye exam if we wear glasses, which I do.
Thursday, January 30, 2003

We get to sleep in until 0500. Head over to the reception hall where we wait around most of the morning for medical in order to receive 7 shots in less than 1 minute - the one in the hips/butt really aches later in the day. One poor guy told the attendants that he would pass out as soon as they stuck him. They didn't really believe him until he dropped the second the 1st shot went into his arm. He then passed out 6 more times; one time for each additional shot.

We get our clothing issues: 4 sets of BDUs (battle dress uniforms, i.e. camo fatigues), PTs (physical training uniforms), boots, socks, underwear, etc. Then we go to the PX (post store) to buy stuff they easily could have told us to buy before leaving home.

Yes, I added a tip jar. I am having trouble with publishing and archives, so I am hoping to upgrade to a blogger pro account to solve these issues. Please do not feel obligated to contribute.
Wednesday, January 29, 2003

4:45 wakeup and back to MEPS. Since I have been sworn in again, I am now officially active duty and they put me to work shredding paper for a few hours. After a couple briefings about mealtickets and what to do if I miss a flight or anything, I head to the airport and fly through Detroit to St Louis. We wait a couple hours at the USO in St Louis for a bus to take us to Ft Leonard Wood. I sleep about 1 1/2 hours on the bus, which is a good thing, as we are met by a drill sergeant and have to continue with some paperwork after we arrive around 1:00 AM. Actually get to bed around 3:00.
Tuesday, January 28, 2003

4:45 wakeup. I slept maybe 2 hours. Arrive at MEPS (Military Entry Processing Station, Im pretty sure) for a medical inspection. There is a paperwork problem that causes me to miss my flight out. I re-swear in after it is fixed and head back to the Doubletree for another night. This time, I actually sleep 4 or 5 hours!

Monday, January 27, 2003

My brother-in-law drove me to the Portland, Maine Doubletree Inn to spend the night and await my early-morning processing at the MEPS station the following day. I'm unable to sleep, but unlike when I first signed up in September, I'm not nervous. I'm simply thinking about the good reasons why I am doing this.

Saturday, April 19, 2003

I've finished my journal and it is 80 pages long. Not sure how long it will take to get all on here, but I will get it going a little at a time, mostly over weekends for sure. I should have some started tonight, but if not, definately tomorrow - there are usually a lot of people waiting to use the computers here and they limit us to 30 min at a time when there is a line.

Some of the writing is very rough. I decided that I will transcribe it exactly how I wrote it, and not polish up the language at all. It should add some dimension to my state of mind, level of stress, amount of sleep deprivation, etc... :)

On another note, I read through most of the notes of advice I got from many of you before I went in. Most made me smile at how right on they were, especially the one from the ex-BCT batallion commander. For anyone going in, thats pretty much all you need to know.

UPDATE: Forget not changing the language. After scanning the first couple days, I have a lot of short thoughts there that I need to elaborate on at times.
Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Wow. That was tough. I am sitting in a hotel now with my father and step-mother, who came out for graduation, which is tomorrow. I noticed that my average number of hits per day has been around 40 since my Instapundit surge, so I wanted to post this little note since I have a chance. I ended up keeping my journal and have over 70 pages of composition-sized notebook pages full. I am about a week behind so that should be over 80 when I complete it. Once that is done, and I am settled into school in California, I will be transcribing it here a couple days at a time. Entries vary from a few lines, to pages. I am looking forward to discovering what I have already forgotten. The experience as been good at times, bad frequently, even fun at times, but mostly it was just sit back and take it for X more days/weeks/whatever and it will be over.

I look forward to answering questions as I go along in my basictrainingblog. Please email me any you have or put them in a comments area.

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