Mailed blog – written by Julian
08 Jan 11
Well, we made it to the basic training at 0700 we formed up in formation and watched as the sun came up behind the American flag. On front of the flag was a sign that read “Through these gates pass the worlds greatest soldiers.” It was a pretty cool moment. And then the cattle trucks pulled up and we stood and stared at them as the engines ran for about an hour. We all felt like we had eaten a bag of rocks for breakfast and we were sure they were going to load us onto the trucks. Thankfully, after much dramatic suspense, they made us load up just our heavy duffles. Then buses came and loaded us up. We had to carry our civilian bags and our laundry bags. I was so glad we didn’t have to carry the duffles. They weighed at least 100 pounds and were about 3 1/2 feet tall. I almost tipped over carrying it! Once we got onto the buses, DS “Scary” (I’ll get more into the Drill Sergeants later) told us to put our faces in our bags. I love how all drill sergeants feel the need to say everything at least three times. “Put your faces in your bags. Put your faces in your BAGS! PUT YOUR FACE IN YOUR BAGS!!!” So guess what we did? We put our faces in our bags! Once we made it to the trailer park I realized they weren’t kidding, it really is a trailer park. First things first, they had to give us a shake down. So all those neatly packed bags got dumped out on the drill pad. All 175 Alpha Company soldiers had their stuff all in a mess. We tried to keep things separate, but it was super windy, sand was blowing in our faces and we were a panicked mess. The drills sergeants would yell, “Three ACU pants!” And we’d have two seconds to find those pants and hold them up. All this was to be sure we all had our issued clothing and nothing else. It was so cold outside during all this. Our ACU’s (Army Combat Uniforms) are really not that warm. At one point we had to take our boots off and stand on the concrete in just socks. Luckily, I was standing right in the front so they checked my boots first and I was able to put them on fairly quickly. The others in the back row couldn’t feel their toes by the end though. The downside but good side of the shake down was that I was able to find my things pretty fast but that meant I had to hold them over my head longer. Man, my arms were sore by the end of that! After that – the day was surprisingly easy. We got issued more gear for our field exercise and got our Kevlar (sp?) armor vests and helmets. The upside is that they have to take us to chow three times a day and put us to bed by 2100. If you break it up in small parts, it’s not that bad.