Monday, September 22, 2008

Annotations of a Soldier #2

September 14th-15th 2008

"...Things have let up here since the day of smoke. Getting nutri-grain bars regularly, not much if any smoke(knock on wood) and it seems like we're heading out of Red Phase. All good points, at least in my book.

Went to chapel again today and it was pretty good. I still struggle with wanting more out of a service and needing to just love God for making anything possible and having the opportunity to praise him and be with others. Tobin and I are going to the bible study at 1530 though, so we'll see how that is.

Monday evening now, long day. Up at 0400 for a PT test. Got 218 out of 300. I could have done better and am kinda disappointed in myself, but 218 is pretty good. 180 is all you need to graduate. Then we went to do land navigation and oh my gosh that was fun! Walking around this huge forest finding posts by using map coordination, had MREs on us for chow so we could stop whenever we wanted and have lunch, was really fun, like a good day of hiking. I got the penne pasta and it was pretty good. Got a lemon poppy seed pound cake in it and that was so good. Traded the last bite for a chocolate dairy shake, and got the insta-coffee mix from someone who didn't want it, mixed it all up and had a delicious improv Mocha Milkshake. Blew starbucks out of the water. Once we finished the land nav we sat around for a while, and then the hurricane slammed down. Hurricane rain and lightning is AWESOME! We were supposed to stay and do night land nav. but we had to come inside because of the lightning. Tomorrow we do grenades, should be fun, and we get MREs again. Wednesday will be the gas chamber, which I'm really excited for actually, haha..."

September 17th 2008

"...Yesterday was grenades, which are ridiculously powerful. There was a sergeant there who talked to me for a long time and wished me luck at Selection and seemed really honest about it. It was very encouraging. My squad is Duty Squad this week, which basically entails packing up all the equipment for the day in a truck, riding out to the training area, unloading it all, then you wait for the company to show up. Today was nice for that. Rolled out and put together a bunch of test grenades and opened all the real ones' containers, then got to sit around and eat our MREs for about an hour with the morning mist and sunrise filtering through the forest.

Today we're doing the gas chamber, I'm excited, even though it's probably going to suck more than anything else we've done and will do here, haha..."

September 18th 2008

"...Alright, so let me tell you about the suckiest but very exciting experience of CS Gas in the Chamber. CS Gas is an incapacitating nerve gas, used frequently(It's stronger than tear gas) and uh, yeah. My group was the first to go. You go in with your mask on in a group of 30, and they already have the gas going. You can feel it burning on your neck kinda, it's not that bad at that point. Once every one's in and ready they go up to each person and have you pull your mask off and say your last name and social. That didn't hurt till I put my mask back on, and it wasn't too bad just some burning in the throat. Then the suck begins. They have you take your mask off, put your helmet on, and hold up your rifle and mask. Man, I took that mask off and it was the worst throat burn, couldn't see, coughing, snotting, spitting bleh ever. You had to stand there like that until everyone was ready. It was great because my side of the room had to take their masks off first, and all you could hear from the other side was this terrified "Holy @#!!?+" as they watched us immediately start coughing and wheezing and yelling, a few people puking. I started to laugh but that ended quickly once I realised laughing made it worse. After that we had to walk outside and do a few laps around the training area still holding up your rifle and all. They took pictures and laughed at us, it was fun.

Today we took the Red Phase test and Land Nav test. Did good on land nav but haven't gotten the phase test results back yet. Should be tomorrow. Almost white phase, it's so close..."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"Annotations of a Soldier"

Segments of My Updates From Derek

August 15th 2008

"... I can't wait for BCT to start because at least things will be happening. Yeah the Drill Sergeants will be louder and meaner, but at least we'll be progressing towards their respect, unlike the reception ones that just treat you lower than low and will your whole time in.

It's been hard to sleep and I think I'm sitting around with 45 minutes of sleep since the hotel. Oh! Also, jeez, they make you eat so much! They sit you down and just make you scarf and eat until you're sick. Also the heat is kind of weird here. It isn't that hot, you just sweat standing still. A lot.

Golly, I was just gone for two hours for dinner and standing around some more. That pause was cleaning our barracks and showering. At least all the guys are cool and chill since they're all older and going as either SF or Rangers. It's interesting seeing all the other personalities and thinking about what strengths they'll have during OSUT and selection and comparing it to my own. THough I'm afraid I might be at the weaker end of the scale. I still have lots of hope though! =)

Okay, so, it's the next night now and I have some bad news: Reception got extended for us because thy're getting their summer rush now, and they now say that we're not going to actually start OSUT for like, THREE MORE WEEKS or something. We still don't have our ACU's(the camo uniforms) or anything other than the PT uniform.

Some of the platoon is doing wrestling on some mattresses on the floor, it's kinda ridiculous, haha.

Okay, new morning of the next day. Fireguard is pretty lame though if you rotate thorugh the four different stations with the other guys ever 15 mintues the hour goes by fast. Thy're going to play some movies today so it will be nice to relax some(my back is sore from standing straight). And if nobody screws up we get to use the phones this afternoon..."

August 18th 2008

"...So yeah, reception continues the course of being lots of standing, eating, and waiting. Recent highlights: My bunk-mate ate a cockroach for $29(no, I did not put any dollars into that pot, haha); we got our shots today, and let everyone know it wasn't bad at all. I actually had a really bad case of the grins and giggles. It was bad, like, I was scared of getting called out for it. And that was for the butt one. The pancakes are fantastic. Like, really, it's all super delicious. Other events...hmmmm... still no ACUs.
(The next evening) So crazy day. We sat around forever only to discover we had been FORGOTTEN and it was too late to get our ACUs again. I forgot to say "sir" to a Lietenant Colonel once today. I was so cared once I realised and tried my best to say "sir" a LOT for the rest of the conversation..."

August 20th/21st 2008

"...Finally got our ACUs today, kinda look good in them, though they're a little baggy. Today I had to convince an entire section of staff and NCOs that a staff Sergeant had messed up and completely disregarded me the other day which threw my ID card precessing all out of whack. It was ridiculously annoying. One of the personnel asked me to go find a guy while I was in line, and as I left the room a staff sergeant stopped me and had me sign out and everything even after explaining that I hadn't sat down yet. Bleh, so yeah, I wish I had been writing down everything we do each day. Let me try to remember today:

0330: Wake-up
0410: Down to formation
0450: Go to finish shots
0615: Done with shots, wait in line outside
0640: Go to chow, think I had biscuits, eggs, gravy, pancakes, yogurt, and a banana
0730: Form up for Dental check
0800: start dental
0930: start financial
1015: begin ID hassle
1215: go to chow
1300: start ACU/Boot stuff

1550: just getting to boots
1640: final chow
1730: Formation, then back to bay
1900: final formation
1950: call you
2000: start this

And now a new day. They said my contract was a really good package(the financial people did). Like, one of the better ones they've seen recently; because of the retirement package, bonus, college, and doing it all married. Oh and the final tally on the paycheck is going to be about $2500 a month, though the first one has some stuf taken out for the PX stuff we bought. Lets see, I also signed both of us up for life-insurance and tri-care should be coming so that'll be like $170 out with the GI payments, so we're good. Off to chow.

So it's pretty crazy here. Like, in a bad way. Yesterday a kid hung himself in his locker, and this morning a sergeant that was processing OD'ed and is in an ICU. And there are around five kids that have to wear big red vests for suicide watch because they tried to. They also have to have two people with them at all times. It's sad..."

August 21st/24th 2008

"...still haven't recieved phone privelages. I'm pretty hungry right now, didn't go to lunch, and then we all got smoked for not going to the movie. I can't wait for chow.

The rain is so weird here. It's like 80 or 90 outside and pouring. I step outside expecting cold to go along with the grey and rain, but instead you get hit with hot, humid rain. We're in a hurricane right now if you didn't hear on the news or from somebody, pretty crazy. There was a little Q and A session from some guys just completing OSUT, and they said that your best day at reception is like ten times worse than your worst day at OSUT, which is awesome, cause i've had some enjoyable days..."

August 25th/26th 2008

"...We're doing PT int he mornign finally, which is exciting, still need our dog tags though. People are going AWOL every night(not from our platoon) so we have to get up in the middle of the night and go to formation. So the sergeants can take role and count everyone. Another guy killed himself this morning, and the suicide watch is increasing. It's crazy.

So let me tell you about some of the guys here, realised I haven't mentioned them. First is Lee and Durrett, who are probagbly closer than anyone else to me. They're not as boyish as the others. There are some more mature guys that I think are pretty cool, like Dang, Pops, Robbins, and Carlos, but I think they think that I'm just kind of whatever. Interesting, but not regularly. Lee is short, Asian, and innocently funny. He's straight infantry, no airborne, no ranger, no SF, which is odd for our bay. I think there are only two or three other non-SF/Rangers in here, but they have airborne. Durrett is about my hight but lankier. He's from Virginia, kinda squirelly, 26 I think, and...I don't know. A strange personality that I haven't experienced before. There is Hopper, the other 18x from Oregon. He was standing next to me at the swear-in. He's pretty cool. Nice and mellow, similar-kinda interests. It's funny how many gamers and nerds are in here. A suprising amount play D&D, haha..."

August 26th 2008

We're shipping on Friday now, but we're moving into a trailer tonight. We went for a run this morning and it was so good, haha. It was pouring, so good. Getting anxious about starting OSUT, just want it to start already. Worried about the "shark attack" and being scared even though I know I shouldn't be.(shark attack is right when you get there and there are like 20 or 30 Drill Sergeants there to tear you apart) But that's all, really.

Snuck laundry in this morning while everyone was asleep, it's nice to have some clean clothes. Though we have to use shampoo since we couldn't get detergent at the PX. I still don't have my glasses but I do have the prescription inserts for the ballisties glasses, which are awesome looking. So if I never get them the Drill Sergeants will let me wear these.

Let me know any news down there so I can keep up with things, and apologise to my parents for not writing them..."

August 27th/28th 2008

"...Getting ready for leaving tomorrow. But we're all squared away. Getting anxious again, haha. Leave tomorrow at 0900, crazy. The power went out at the DFAC and delayed lunch for like an hour while we were al in line. It was bad..."

August 30th 2008

"...Sorry for the sudden delay in contact, we got shipped and it's all crazy. Graduation is going to be December 5th.

So right now we're in red phase, which really sucks. It's the basic people think of. Drill Sergeants in your face all the time, getting smoked all day(crawling through long sandpits over and over, running up and down steep hills and doing pushups, and so on). Right now I'm on laundry guard. Today we got issued our rucksacks, body armour, sleeping gear, and guns. Hopeing tomorrow will be smooth. Cause this sucks right now. Thankfully we're fairly squared away as a platoon. So my main task in the platoon right now is road guard, which is given to the fastest runners. It's pretty fun but kind of stressful. I can't wait for red phase to be over and be able to get off my toes for awhile. Oh showers are crazy, The shower room is a big square with four shower heads on a side. Everyone gets in line and walks through, soaping on one side and rinsing on the other. Crazy. Chow is pretty bad too. Eating all that food in like 3 minutes..."

September 4th 2008

"...Lets do some updating. OSUT started on Friday, around ten o clock, with the shark attack, which consisted of running about half a mile from the buses to a covered area with all of our gear on our backs, then having to hold the bags over our heads for about ten minutes, and if you dropped it the Drill Sergeants would grab the duffel and toss it far away and yell at you as you run to grab it. I never had mine tossed but it was hard. Then we ran to the barracks, got our roster numbers, bunks, rules, stuff like that. God smoked a bit, more rules, then went to bed. Saturday was kind of the same though we went and got our rifles and I think our field gear. Sunday we went to chapel services and had classes, Monday was our first PT day, and we had more classes and more smoking. Lots of smoking. The classes mainly consist of values stuff, legal stuff, and the like, but we did have some disassembly classes with our rifles(which is real fun, oh and tell the Nerd Herd I get to tote around an M4 Carbine, they'll probably think that's pretty cool). We also have done some Drill and Ceremoney training(marching), tactical and fast reloading drills(which are fun), malfunction drills, and other little things. Tuesday was way fun because we got to go and do about half of the confidence course, which is one of the two obstacle courses here. It's hard to explain each one, but it was really fun and really hard. God's been helping me a lot as I realise I can't do these things without his strength.

Today we didn't do much, except PT was super hard because it was a run day, and I joined the A Group wich moves FAST. The First Sergeant leads it and he flies. We were all huffing after that. We also played some interesting games tonight, like pong, frogger, and bunk-races. Our Drill Sergeants are starting to joke around some more. Apparently, we are doing a lot better than the other platoons, and 2nd Platoon has a reputation for being the toughest in the company, maybe even battalion. We have this guy named Lerado who is a "restart", someone who was told to start OSUT over for whatever reason. He had to restart from week ten for faking a PT test. But he's pretty awesome about it and has given us some good tips. There are only 3 guys from Reception in my platoon, one of which is Peplow who seems to have a similiar personality to mine. He's pretty cool. Oh, and here's the address, they finally gave it to us:

Private Willer, Derek RN #254
F Company, 2nd BN, 58th INF Regt.
9375 Conway Drive
Fort Benning, GA 31905-5914

I'm already bulking up a bit from muscle growth, it's crazy. Oh Friday we're doing Eagle Tower, which is a really tall repelling course. And on Monday I think we're doing the Gas Chamber, which reminds me! Go to and I guess they'll have pictures there of the company doing stuff..."

September 5th/6th 2008

"...So it's like, 3AM right now on Friday and I'm on squad fire guard. The whole squad is up, and we have to wear our "full battle rattle" which is our ACUs, body armour, helmet, and utility vest. Normally there are two on fireguard, and they can wear just ACUs or PTs. Must be nice. I don't know, I'm usually laundry guard. But we all did our boot displays different so we got smoked(ouch) and had to do fireguard in squads for two hours each. Oif.

So yesterday was pretty fun. We did LRC which is the Leadership Reaction Course. You would go with your squad to different stations and there would be a few obstacles and then some equipment and you would have to find a way to get an army box to the other side using the supplies you had(usually boards, rope, pipes, and so on.) It was great. We also started bayonet combat but that wasn't too interesting. Today is going to consist of some intense running PT, the repelling course, and evening remedial PT(which hurts).

Man this body armour is uncomfortable right now, and I'm tired and cough and infection is pretty bad. Bleh. I hope today goes well.

It's Saturday night now. So repelling was so much fun. It was scarey at first, but once I got over the ledge and got my legs straight it was smooth sailing. I think the tower was around 50 feet tall. Been getting lots of MREs lately, and they've all been pretty good. Today we did map reading and land navigation stuff. That was funn too, knew it all already, but it was fun to really have the map and compass and mark it all. God continues to help everyday. Always there are tasks I don't knwo if I'll have the strength to complete, but I preay for help and God pushes me through to the end.

So we might be getting out of Red Phase early. We're doing grenades, gas chamber, ruckmarch, phase one testing, and peer evaluations all next week, and they smoke every platoon really hard at the same time with the same excercises, as if it's just scheduled and not because we did something really bad.

The platoon is still in its storm phase. Generally people are cool with each other and get along, but since we don't have a leader or anything yet the minute authority is needed or corrections needed, it gets kinda crazy in here.I'm in 4th squad, which is probably the most squared away of the squads, and also, the oldest by average. I think we also have the restart Lerado which gives us an edge. Tonight we're all supposed to pick our temporary squad leaders so that's going to make an interesting week I think. Wright from Reception sleeps next to me(I don't think I wrote about him, but he's pretty awesome). And my bunkmate Walters is SUPER nice, probably one of the nicest and most selfless person I've ever met. Peplow from Reception is in 3rd squad and he and I get along real well..."

September 8th 2008

"...They started doing the 2 or 3 minutes to eat thing, which really sucks. No one gets close to finishing everything. I've had like, one full meal today, plus we had PT at night and ruckmarch this morning, smoked after PT, and will have PT tomorrow before breakfast. I'm already hungry, haha. And here I am on two hour fireguard shift, bleh. Today we learned that cerebrospiral fluid smells fruity and tastes sweet.*shrug* Was all the combat Life Saver stuff. Tomorrow we get to do IVs, i'm excited. The ruckmarch was short but it sucked being roadguard and ending up at the front of the company. Crazy string of events just came around. Walters might be medically discharged tomorrow for a pst knee injury that's coming back, and there's a guy in our platoon with a cellphone, which is WAY not okay and he is not cooperating. If he's caught with it he could be dishonourably discharged or stripped of rank, pay, and contract, and it could affect the platoon as well. Take our 36 hour passes away at week 9, make red phase last longer, and so forth. Not good..."

September 11th 2008

"...The Drill Sergeants have let up a bit.

As for the news from Basic, we did Combat Lifesaver Training yesterday and got to give each other IVs. Was fun, though my partner(Tobin, great guy, I love him) pierced my vein the first time and it hurt bad. Felt a lot like the penicillin shot in my arm. I bled a lot, was pretty cool. I did p retty good and responded to the stress of blood flowing out of Tobin pretty well. We also did buddy carries and I got teamed up with Tobin again and he's got like 50-60 lbs on me. Wowza. Tough stuff. But I made it.

Alright, so later in the day now. We got smoked bad because someone from our squad stole food from the DFAC. And it was just all downhill from there. Almost ended up as a heat casualty. Dehydration sucks, had to drag Tobin around some more. Now we're in the barracks and everyone is arguing about the phone issue(it got way out of hand, someone stole it to throw it away and the perpetrator threatened to tell the Drill Sergeants about it).

And back again after some medical training scenarios. Got smoked really bad. I almost puked like three times. It was bad. Had our platoon pictures today, and now I'm just hoping for a good dinner with no rush, and no more smoke tonight.

Forget no smoke, we got smoked from after dinner until bed time. My body is screaming no at me like never before. We did low crawls across the width, then lenght of the sand pit. Sprints, more low crawling. 1845 to 2045. Also had to lowcrawl in the sand, then get up and run to the barracks and get everyone in before the timer ran out. We stared at 30 seconds, and every time we didn't make it in time we'd have to run back to the sand pit and lowcrawl until he said go, and he would ad 5 seconds each time. We got to 55 seconds before we made it finally. So five times we had to do it. Oh, we also had to run around the battalion once. Now i'm on fireguard at 2300, bleh. Oh well. .."

September 12th 2008

"...Yesterday,(well, Friday, it's Saturday morning right now, fireguard, woo...) We went out to the mine warfare range and learned about explosives, how to set up mines, and how to look for and ract to IEDs. Got to see some claymortes blow up, and, those are crazy. Scarey stuff there. We had to march there and back and that sucked. I got badly dehydrated again. I just don't want to go down as a heat casualty..."

Friday, September 5, 2008

Updated E-mail Address

Greetings All!

I have a new e-mail address:

Also, if you want to get a hold of Derek go ahead and use that. He doesn't have e-mail right now but I will pass on the message to him myself. =)

If you want to be in my "Contacts"
then PLEASE reply to this with your e-mail or message me with your e-mail. It takes a lot of work away from me if I don't have to go through and type in millions of e-mails. (Copy & Paste works like a charm) THANK YOU!