Mailed blog – written by Julian
23 Feb 11
Oh, the things that go BOOM! Man, the DS’s sure had me worked up about today. They’re always telling us if we don’t do things to their specifications, we won’t pass and qualify to graduate. I know they tell us this to keep us on our toes, but for some reason I was incredibly nervous about today. Everyone knows I am not good at throwing things. Even my nephew Malachi told me baseball is “not so much for you.” So when they told me throwing a grenade is just like throwing a baseball. I knew I was in for a challenge.
The cadres that run the grenade range are some intense dudes, they need to be. One slip and it’s a life or death situation. After giving us a very thorough briefing, we pre-qualified with dummy grenades. Everything from how many steps to take, what to say, and what direction to face is all marked out for you. One incorrect move and you are hit with a safety violation. Two safety violations and you are removed from the range, unable to train. Serious stuff.
When my turn came to pre-qualify, I did all my steps correctly, but was flagged as someone who can’t throw far. Big surprise. I went to the side and got some pointers from a DS on throwing, but was sent to the live range without knowing if I could throw it far enough. Yikes!
Then I was off to the real deal. Before entering the bunker, they give you two canisters with live grenades inside. The most nerve-wracking part is standing and waiting just chillin and holding those grenades. Of course the pins are still in them, but it still makes you sweat. Right before I ran out to go throw, my DS grabbed my shoulders, threw me up on the wall and said, “Feel that shit? Feel it in your bones? Are you motivated?” Usually , as I’ve mentioned, I can sound off like a crazed woman. But, when I’m nervous, all I can do is eek. I tried to fake confidence, but not sure I fooled anyone.
Out the door he shoved me. The barrier was 30 meters away, so here I am sprinting and holding on to two live grenades. Again, yikes. And then it was over before i knew it. The cadre took my grenades, handed them to me one by one and I threw them Twist, pull pin, take cover, BOOM! Loud. I mean, loud! With all the dust and smoke from previous grenades, you couldn’t even see where yours were landing. All that worry for nothing. In all, our whole company did real good and no one got blown up. Good day.
Tonight I’m saying prayers for my hip pain. All the training this week requires full body armor, which the weight is really hard on your body. I just have to hang in there. Only two more weeks of training and then we outprocess and graduate! Hooray!