Mailed blog – written by Julian
4 March 11
Remember a while back I mentioned this huge hill we would encounter on our marches that was about 45 degrees steep? The DS’s like to call that hill “Drag Ass Hill” Sometimes you just gotta call a spade a spade. Well, today I met that hill’s big brother, bigger brother, ginormous brother, and gargantuan brother!
On our 12K march we avoided Drag Ass Hill and I thought we’d do the same today. No such luck. If they wanted to make this final march as though and grueling as possible. Just to show how long 16K really is, uh mission accomplished.
Step off was at 0600 and it was a nice cool morning, thank goodness for that. Also, in a weird way I was thankful I have a cold. I had no appetite really, so it was easier to march on an empty stomach. We were all doing really good at the 7 miles marker. After our second break we were ready to finish strong. Just before we stepped off again to start our last leg, our female DS yelled out of the truck at us, “Privates, don’t be scared when you turn the corner and see that hill. I’m serious, privates, it’s not as bad as it looks.” We all laughed….. little did we know. The other DS also encouraged us nicely, “Privates, the suck has yet to begin.”
We turned that corner and laughed again, but this time it was nervous chuckles. That hill looked to be at least a mile high! I don’t think I’ve EVER seen a hill that big. But the DS was right, as always’:), and it wasnt’ too bad. The incline was stretched out over about a mile, so it was nice and gradual. THEN, holy moly, they took us into the woods and nearly the whole rest of the way was spent dredging through a foot of sand. The more the terrain went up and down, curving around, the more frustrated I got. I already have a short stride, and in the sand it became mini. As I fell back from the person in front of me, people had to pass me to keep the formation up. I didn’t mind though, it’s what they needed t do. It just frustrated me that I was pushing myself so hard, giving it all I had, and people were still passing me. But, I still hung in there and stayed in the front of the company with the rest of my platoon. I did not fall out and get on the van like others, not even close. I finished strong. All of the Death Dealers finished strong. And at the finish line was our DS beaming at us, as proud as ever, ready to check our feet. (what a job!)
We were bused back to the company and finally arrived for breakfast at 1100. Yes, that’s right! We did all that work without breakfast. Our tummies were so ready for food.
I, Specialist Plamann, a former slow eater, ate a plate full of food so fast I could have put a speed eater to shame. I ate four pancakes, two pieces of toast, three sausages, a big helping of scrambled eggs, and an orange in about five minutes. And I didn’t even feel full. The things you learn to do in the Army.
Impressive feat on all counts! 🙂 My husband still laughs at me for chewing applesauce. Thanks for doing what I could never do, Julian! Your “can do” attitude is inspiring. Continued prayers as you near the end.