Mailed blog – written by Julian
12 Feb 11
Everyday here, I am amazed at the things I’m doing and learning. Today we conquered Victory Tower. I’m going to try to explain it as much as I can, but I really recommend Googling it. I’m sure there are YouTube videos of this. Victory Tower is 40 feet tall, with a series of obstacle courses before you reach the top and rapple down the side. If 40 feet doesn’t sound hiGH to you, you really have to see it. When we saw the tower for the first time, it was a healthy mix of fear, adrenaline, and excitement. I thought for suRE I’d get through it, but in the process I’d probably fumble around a bit and look like a ninny. OH no, not so! I was so slick, they could put me next to Tom Cruise in the next Mission Impossible…except that I might show him up.
First you climb up a ladder to a 15 ft platform. Then you climb across a 3 rope bridge up to the 30 ft platform. This looks like a “V”, where your feet are on one rope and your hands are each on one at your sides. Next was the most exciting.. From the 30 ft platform back down to the 15 ft, you take a single rope bridge and slide across staying on the top side of the rope the whole time when I saw this demonstrated, I thought heck no and I paid real close attention on how to fall safely into the safety net. But I did it like a Pro! As I neared the next side, the DS said to me, “too easy, right private?” To which you’re to respond “TOO EASY, DS, TOO EASY!!!” Except that I was concentrating so hard that it came out in a tiny whisper. My fellow privates chuckled, but the DS’s hate it when you whisper to them. One of my favorite DS quotes so far is, “Private, Do I have long hair? Do you date me on the weekends? Then why are you whispering to me?!?!” needless to say, privates only shout when spoken to.
Once I owned that single rope bridge, I had to once again cross up to the 30 ft from the 15 ft platform. This time it was a two rope bridge, one rope for your feet and one for your hands. After the single rope bridge, that was a breeze. On the 30 ft platform, then you climbed a ladder to the 40 ft platform and climbed down a rope wall until you were about 5 ft off the ground, then you threw yourself back on a big mat screaming, “Death Dealers,” Are you all tracking? Are you exhausted yet? Wait, the finale’ is here! To finishe the trial so Vicotry Tower, you learn how to tie a “Swiss Seat” which is a rope harness around your waist and legs. Think of a “giant rope wedgie” that will save your life. Once those ropes are checked and you’re all fastened, up a 40 ft ladder you go.
Now for the moment of truth, jumping off the top of the tower. When you’re all set to go and hooked up to the rope you have to look over the edge and say “Lane 1, on rappel!” (I’m ready!) And the guy below says, “Lane 1, on ballet!” (I’ll catch your rope if you start to fall!) That peek down is a wide awakening to just how far down you’re going. I was on lane 1, Gomez was on lane 3, and the dude on lane 2 was flipping out. I mean, bonkers. Crying, snot was comin out of his nose, “I can’t do this! no, no, no…I CAAAAAN’T!” Dude was having a breakdown. I got in position first, which is where you lower your body so that it makes a straight “L” with the wall and you are completely parallel to the ground. That was freaky and I had to stay like that for about 45 seconds (which felt like forever!) until Gomez was ready. Then we left the cry baby behind in our dust and raced to the bottom. In true best buddy form, we landed at the exact same moment. We had a good chuckle and double high-fived our successfully kicking the butt of Victory Tower. Hooah!
The rest of the day was pretty low-key after all that excitement. I did get to place a 10 minute phone call home and got to talk to my pops. Again, I blabbered on the whole time and he didn’t get much in. Sorry pops! I just have so much to share! I really am enjoying myself. We can all see the end nearing and I just hope the next four weeks go as fast and smooth as they have been.
As always, I think of all my loved ones often and miss you all lots!
Reading this made me think of the wall in the movie “Rennaisance Man” from about 1994. I had to have watched it about 20 times alone in the theater. I loves watching ‘Army life’. All I can say is You are too tough private…too tough:-) Way to conquer it!
*madem was supposed to be “made me”. I just looked it up and the Victory Tower in Renaissance Man was yours at Fort Jackson. So, if anyone wants to see it…rent the movie.
You don’t know me, but I feel like I know you. I have worked with your mom for about 5 years and of course she has been sharing your army adventures with us. I am avidly following your blog. Thank you for sharing the details of your training with us! You write so well that I feel I am there feeling the chill in the air, the sound of the weapons, and the drill seargeant’s voice. It’s amazing to read and gives a good perspective on what it must be like to be there–but of course only a hundredth as intense as what you are going through.
Your Mom is very proud of you! We all are. Thanks for making the choice you did. Good luck in the rest of your training! I’ll be watching!
PS I think this is a link to the Victory Tower. Thought others might be interested in it. Wow.
If you click on my name, the video comes up. So much for my expertise at blogging!