Band of Buddies

Mailed blog – written by Julian

05 Feb 11

Life is full of ups and downs, good follows bad.  Yesterday was one of the worst days since I got here and today was by far the best.  Yesterday our drill sergeants had to head to the range for  their annual qualification, so they left two of the newbies behind.  Seeing as we are a day ahead of schedule, there really wasn’t much to do with us .  It was cold and rainy out and we opened the whole day doing ONE drill over and over again to prep for next week’s shooting out in the field.  All day we said, “Target, Semi, Squeeze, Safe.”  I mean ALL DAY!  Gomez and I were running on three hours of sleep due to our staff duty the night before, so the day of monotony was pure torture.

I have now learned I can fall asleep standing up, sitting down, in the rain, snow, sun, sitting in a puddle of mud, listening to M-16’s firing in the background, and even while a drill sergeant comes through our bay and trashes it.  Every second of sleep counts.  If we’re given a 5-10 minute break to use the latrine, we go as fast as we can and then sit and sleep for a couple of minutes (as long as a DS isn’t around).  We can only use our beds at night when we sleep, so during the day there are bodies all over the floor.  The other day we all had our armor and helmets on, so when we passed out on the floor… we had a hell of a time getting back up.  It was pretty funny seeing all of us rolling around.  We could have used one of those “help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” buttons.

After yesterday’s agony, today was a ray of sunshine.  But only hypothetically, as it is still raining.  We were supposed to have our White Phase PT test.  After the push up and sit up portion, which we performed indoors, it started lightning out so the running portion was cancelled.  On Monday, we’ll have to re-do the whole test as all three categories need to be performed on the same day.  Needless to say, it was good practice for the push-ups and sit-ups.

From there, the day went a little south.  During our classroom time, we were given a latrine break.  In the past, we’ve always left our weapons in the classroom under our chairs.  Well, today our D.S. went off on us for doing that.  I was already in the latrine when she said to bring them.  All those who left their weapons in the classroom had to put their name on a list.   Only two females from our platoon fessed up, so that was frustrating.  We are getting a counseling statement which goes on our permanent record and all next week instead of personal time we have to serve on the First Sergeant duty cleaning and doing tasks.  Major bummer.  Especially seeing  that we were just doing what we had been told to do in the past.  Counseling statements are always threatened, but I’m pretty sure this one is for real.  Boo.  Another instance of the drill sergeants giving conflicting orders and it being our fault.

But, c’est la vie and the day got way better.  After lunch we finally got our White Phase phone call.  It was amazing to talk to my parents.  I was surprized at all the little things I had to share with them that I haven’t said in blog posts.  I’m sure I gave them an earful.  I was so grateful they answered the phone and that they were both together.  They confirmed that mail has been slow but letters are on the way.  I’ll be anxiously awaiting here!

And the day gets better!  We had a very suspicious pizza party.  The whole time I kept thinking there was some sort of hitch, but there wasn’t.  We all pitched in $10 which got us pizza, soda, brownies, and candy.  I guess we’ll do the same deal when we get to Blue Phase too.  In general, I don’t care for that kind of food, but man it tasted so good.  We ate till we felt sick.  Once we got back to the bay we felt guilty and immediately started exercising…. and laughing and dancing around due to all the sugar we ate.

During the pig out feast, we watched Band of Brothers.   I have always loved military and war movies, but now it takes on a whole new significance.  I see the characters and immediately replace them with me and my buddies we know the lingo, tactics and lifestyle of the soldiers on the screen.  We were talking back to them and yelling out orders, it was very interactive.  We understand the bond between soldiers now.  These are my buddies, my family now.  Gomez and I will forever be connected.  It’s a bond that is hard to explain that only grows stronger as you endure more together.  It’s a pretty neat feeling to be a part of the Band of Buddies.

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