Dirt. Bullets. Dirt. Blood. Dirt.

Mailed blog – written by Julian

17 Feb 11

Three days out in the field and we are some dirty privates in the woods of our beloved DS, “Privates, y’all are dirty, dirty, dirty….that makes me happy.”  I had dirt inside my ears, up my nose, on my eyelids, and so much on my hands they turned a whole nother color.   I washed my hands four times with a nail brush and they were STILL dirty.

How did I get so dirty, you ask?  By having lots of fun, of course!  Day one was spent rolling around in the forest, practicing how to react to enemy fire.  I was the team leader and got to yell things like, “Enemy fire, twelve o’clock, twenty meters, small arms, ACU’s, BOUND UP!”  We successfully killed the enemies and blew them up with our faux hand grenades made of pine cones. 

Later that night we had the Night Infiltration Course.  It is a football length field with a series of drops, alleys, and barbed wire to get tangled up in.  You have to low crawl on your stomach across this field while live rounds are being fired over your head and “bombs” are going off around you.  The DS’s really like to play this one up by saying the rounds are one to two feet above your heads and if you even poke your head up for a second, you’re done.  Bullet in the head before your even get to war.  While it was very tiring and action packed, the most stressful part of the exercise was the beginning where you are in a trench and have to climb this 9 foot wall with weapon in hand.  There was a slight angle and some grooves, but I kept sliding down two or three times, as did everyone else.  The DS was screaming, “Oh, my GOD, privates!  You are all going to be CASULATIES in ten seconds!  You’re gonna die, privates, DIE! Get up that wall before your ass gets blown up!”  That’ll get you going.  It was all very cool.  As the night sky was lit up with enemy fire, I just kept thinking,”I’m not gonna die, not like this!”

The next morning we were all still pretty pumped up.  The DS’s finally let us do a DS impersonation show.  We all, DS’s included, laughed until we cried.  Some of the privates can do spot on imitations of our DS’s.  I was too shy to jump up and bust out my version of our female DS.  But lunch time was another story.  Our platoon was sitting in a circle, enjoying some MRE fair and I was entertaining them all when I totally got busted by another DS.  He was highly amused and made me put on my show for the female DS next time I saw her.  So I threw out her line, “PRIVATES, TURN AROUND!  I don’t wanna see yer ugly little faces when I’m eatin!”  She chuckled and then insisted she doesn’t sound that mean.  Uh huh, right.

Day two was spent learning how to clean rooms and kick in doors.  The site we went to for this was pretty cool.  There were three buildings you could go through with different set ups.  We worked in 4 man teams.  Each man in the group has a different job, so we had plenty to practice what with switching out positions and all.  The highlight of the day had nothing to do with cleaning rooms, however.  The site also had a tunnel system and the DS’s thought it would be a good idea to have the platoons race through the tunnels and see who’s the best.    If there’s something a private likes, it’s a competition.  The tunnels were about 3 ft in diameter, so you had to crawl through pitch black on your hands and knees.  Ever wonder how long it takes 55 highly motivated Death Dealers to find the exit to an underground tunnel system?  Five minutes and elven seconds to be exact, beating the next platoon by about two minutes.  I’ve told you before, the Death Dealers are far superior.  Sorry to King’s family that you have to find out about your loved one’s inferiority in such a way 🙂  We did so well, the DS’r wanted to mess with us so they sent us through again.  They were very amused that our motivation was just as high as our first venture through.  This time, however, they locked the exit we used on the first pass.  Thus sending us through an even longer passage and spitting us back out at the entry.  It took twice as long and twice as much yelling and screaming.  Yet another victory to strengthen the bonds within our platoon and to make our DS even prouder.  She loves us and spends most of her time getting on to the other platoons.

That brings me to today where we rescued our buddies and got blood squirted at us.  We went to a training site that simulated a battle scene with an exploded Humvee, and three casualties, two live persons and one anatomically correct, blood squirting dummy named Matt.  As we tended to the wounded, “bombs” were going off and we were under enemy fire.  We killed Matt right away.  Whoopsies.  One of our medics took Matt’s armored vest off to check for wounds just as we were struck by an enemy grenade.  Rest in peace, Matt.  I was a medic and the casualty I was assisting was very much alive (role played by one of my fellow privates).  His arm had been burned in the explosion, he was wearing prosthetic skin and loads of fake blood.  He was very distraught and the more I tried to help him, the more he reached for his dead buddy, Matt.  I kept trying to talk him down, but he kept yelling, “I can’t hear you!”  Just my luck, how do you calm down a frantic casualty who’s hearing was lost in the explosion?  Well, the scene started to look like combative.  I pinned him down in a tight side bar but since he was much stronger, he just was dragging me all over the floor.  As hard as I tried, he resisted even harder.  He actually got scolded afterwards for being so uncooperative.  It was a long ten minute exercise in which I learned a great deal.    I decided in real life I’ll just punch my casualty in the face and things will go much more smoothly.

I cannot tell you how good it felt to wash all the dirt and “blood” off tonight.  Unfortunately, through all the excitement of the past few days,  I seem to have developed two nice blisters, one on each heel.  This has me concerned because Saturday morning we have our 12K field March.  Before then I’ll be taking real good care of them and saying lots of healing prayers.  Blisters could make for a very, very long march.

Thanks to the following for great letters:  Mom & Dad!, Chloe, Elaine Bartel, Marcia Schuyler and Sherri Beausolei et al.  You guys rock and I absolutely love hearing from  home.  Your love and prayers are definitely felt here at Fort Jackson.

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6 Responses to Dirt. Bullets. Dirt. Blood. Dirt.

  1. Karla Bartel says:

    WOW We are so proud of you even though you don’t know who I am. I graduated with Pam and follow your story through her facebook page. Amazing to hear how it is in another world. There are no words to express how we feel when reading your stories. Honor !! You are an amazing woman just like your family !!

  2. Angela Young says:

    All I can think of while reading this is how for real what you are doing is. How important what you all are doing is. How underappreciated what you are doing is. Oh how I wish I could get some moleskin to you for your blisters before your march!! Well, I’ll do a better thing and pray for fast healing!! Lifting you and your fellow soldiers up in prayer that you stay strong physically, mentally and emotionally.

  3. Karen Medema says:

    Wow!!! I am so PROUD of what you are accomplishing! Your positive take charge attitude shines through. Keep up the good fight! You’re in our thoughts and prayers. Love, All Medema’s

  4. Penny Techlin says:

    …amazing, Julian! Thanks for the update… it seems like we’re right there with you! If this military thing doesn’t work out, you could always switch to writing; you have a real talent for it! ; } Keep up the good work- you’re in our thoughts and prayers!

  5. Kim Fenske says:

    It is amazing to see the transformation as you progress through your training. You always demonstrated self-confidence, but now you appear to ooze it. 🙂 I can see why the DS likes you. So awesome that you got to be the team leader! Thanks for all you are doing. Continuing to lift you up in prayer. I will especially pray for you on Saturday. Blisters stink.

  6. Christine Thompson says:

    WOW, my Julian. Your energy and love shines through, even when writing about blisters, blood, and dirty privates! You are one special woman and BFF. You’re in our prayers.

    Love.
    C.

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