White Phase

 Mailed blog – written by Julian

28 Jan 11

We made it, no more Red Phase.  In Basic Combat Training there are three phases in your 10 week training.  Red – total control, introductory phase.  White – slowly adds more freedom, learn combat skills.  Blue – combine all your warrior skills and show your capabilities as a soldier.  You could tell they have been slowly sliding us toward white phase.  We’ve been able to talk to each other more, have slightly (30-60 seconds) longer to eat our meals (sometimes), and have been a bit more relaxed with the drill sergeants.  Just getting to know each other more.  Tonight we had the ceremony where we changed our platoon flag from red to white.  Man, we were so proud to see that white flag.  We’ve got a long ways to go, teamwork wise, but each day we are getting stronger and closer. 

Again today we went to the range to shoot.  I think I’m doing pretty good.  The last few days I haven’t gotten much feedback, but I guess that means I’ve been doing just fine.  You’d hear it if you were really messing it up.  For most part I hit the target right on, but every now and then my eyes go blurry and I have to refocus and regroup.  The first day at the range I kinda hesitated to pull the trigger and was a bit nervous.  Now I’m very relaxed.  On the first day shooting I positioned myself too close to the charging handle.  When I shot it came back and hit me in the glasses, giving me a little shiner under my right eye.  It’s barely noticeable.  Needless to say, I fixed my stance very quickly after that.  Silly me.  Its stuff like that that reminds me I’m still me.

We have been eating a lot of MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) lately, as we’ve been out in the field shooting every day.  I’m getting pretty used to them.  We all have our favorites and trade and share.  It’s the only time they let us take our time to eat because we need all those calories each MRE has 1200-1400 calories.  That’s about how much I was eating a day when I was back home training for this!  The other day when Gomez and I had range duty we were allowed to eat our candy.  Usually if your MRE comes with candy you have to hand it over.  Once you pass your PT test you can eat it, but as you all know I have ONE more sit up to do before I accomplish that.  Anyway, we ate our candy.  Boy, did we feel sick after that.  Almost four weeks of no sugar and our bodies were MAD at those Reeses Pieces!  Really though, food is our favorite part of the day, next to shower time.  We are always talking about food, what we’re gonna eat when we get out, what our favorite recipes are, and how nice it will be to have a cocktail again!

Our first road march is tomorrow.   We’ve been marching up the wazoo lately, but I guess this is the official one.  It’s 8K in full gear.  Wake up in 0415 and we form up to march at 0445.  Boy oh boy, these mornings are early!  But you gotta do what you gotta do.  And here there’s no choice, or a drill sergeant will be down your throat in two seconds.  This cycle our company is only three platoons instead of four, so the private to drill sergeant ratio is extra high.  Lucky us.  Time for shut eye.  Over and out.

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Mail!

 

Mailed blog – written by Julian

26 Jan 11

It finally happened….Mail call!  I was so excited to hear word from the outside world.  We are truly isolated here and privy only to the information they feed us.  It was awesome to hear from my mom, it was just like talking to her every day… which I miss!  A gigantic shout out to her and my pop for keeping this blog rolling while I’m training.  Please send lots of letters, the encouragement I get from them is so uplifting.

Big happening #2 of the day, Mable and I zeroed!  That means I shot 8 of 10 rounds in a neat little 4 cm circle in the center mass of the target.  This was supposed to be accomplished yesterday but for whatever reason I was shooting all over the place.  Today about 60 of us went back and I had no problem, bang, bang, bang.  Have no idea what the deal was yesterday.

I am praying constantly throughout the day.  These tasks are really challenging and I really can’t do it on my own.  I’ve got some good Christina friends to lean on here.  We’re always sharing stories of how God is answering our prayers.  For example, the other day before chow our Senior Drill Sergeant told us to eat light because we were gonna get smoked so hard we’d all be tasting dinner on the way back up.  My buddy King really couldn’t handle the thought of getting smoked (or pukeing) so she prayed her heart out we wouldn’t.  After dinner — no smoking.  I’ve really had some answered prayers the last few days.  My hip joints have been bothering me.  It’s a common ailment for females during training – our anatomy takes a beating from all the running, squatting, and especially marching.  We march about 3 total miles every day with about 40 pounds of gear on.  Anyway, I’ve been stretching and praying this hip pain will just go away.  Monday, for whatever reason we didn’t march to the shooting range, we got bused in.  Today our 8K march was cancelled; it was too windy, rainy, and cold.  And then tomorrow our DS asked for two volunteers, Gomez and I signed up.  We’ll have range duty, which means we’ll go to the shooting range early to set things up.  No marching either, we’ll get driven in a van.  Hopefully by the time I have to march hard again, the hip pain isn’t an issue.  God is great!  Say some prayers for me.

Anyway, with the range duty on top of our fire guard duty we have to wake up at 0340 tomorrow.  Yikes!  Man, I’m gonna love sleeping in when this is all over — That and just lounging on the couch.  Yes, please!

Today was hump day, the week is downhill from here and that means another successful week at Basic Combat Training will be complete.  The next two weeks will be spent at the range.  As our company says to motivate good shooting, “Shoot ‘em in the head, shoot ’em in the head, KILL!”  With that — goodnight my dearies.

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“Center Mass, Center Mass, Center Mass.”

 

Mailed blog – written by Julian

24 Jan 11

“Mable” (my M16) and I had a really long day, but we were successful.  We went to the range for the first time and all had to “group” with our weapons.  Grouping is shooting 8 out of 10 consecutive rounds in a 4 cm circle at a 300 meter distance.  Well, Mable and I did it right from the get go.  Only about 20% of our company was able to group in the first two attempts.  Gomez, my battle buddy, and I had a pretty successful day.  We felt good about that.  But once again it was freezing cold out and we carried around warm jackets and hats, which we weren’t allowed to wear.  Tomorrow is supposed to rain, but I have a feeling we might just carry around our wet weather gear instead of wearing it.  Seems to be the routine around here.  “Zeroing” will be tomorrow’s goal with our weapons.  This is where you shoot 8 out of 10 rounds in the “center mass” of the target.  Hence today’s blog post title.  That’s what they yell when  you can start firing.

This morning we ran, ran, ran.  I’ve never ran that hard in my life.  We ran in ability groups and in formation, so you really had to keep up otherwise you’d start a chain reaction of failure and I sure as heck wasn’t going to do that!  At one point we ran up this huge hill and once we reached the top we ran back down it only to run right back up.  Everything is such a head game.  But I had great encouragement from my buddies on my left and right.  Gomez was cheering me on for most of the way.  Then when she had to pass me, Hassoon from Iran ran with me the rest of the way.  He kept telling me to breathe and that I could do this and not to quit.  It was so helpful; it’s really awesome when your buddies support you like that.

So yeah, I ran with a guy from Iran today.  We have two guys from Iran, one from Iraq, one from India, and a girl from Ghanna.  They’ve all been living in the states for a few years and for the most part will be translators for the Army.  Pretty cool.  Nandy is the guy from India and we always try to get him to say Apu quotes from the Simpsons.  He hasn’t played along yet, but even the drill sergeants are trying to get him to say, “Stop stealing slushies from the slushie machine!”  If you watch the Simpsons you know how funny this is.

Our Company really has people from all over.  Oregon, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Florida, Colorado, Alaska, Connecticut, Kentucky, Hawaii, and even Guam.  You get the picture, we’re from EVERYWHERE!  It’s pretty neat.  We are becoming a really close group, especially in our platoon of 56 soldiers.  We’re all in this together no matter where we come from or why we’re doing this, we’re a team.

We really had to lean on each other today.  Spirits are pretty low.  It was a really long, cold and trying day.  Before we left the range the whole company got smoked for talking and moving slow.  We had to low crawl through the sand pit on returning to our bays, we were caked with mud and sand head to toe.  Dirty.  I mean our uniforms went from camouflage to solid red brown.  You couldn’t even see my rank; it was caked over with mud.  And then…no MAIL…again!  I swear it’s on purpose.  It’s really messing with our heads though.  Poor Gomez just wants to know how her daughter is doing.   I don’t know how the moms do this.  It’s really hard to keep writing when you’re not getting anything in return.  I’m sorry I’m not writing more individual letters, it takes a lot of energy just to keep up with posts on this blog.  I’ll try to send little messages out whenever I can.  Plus, by day’s end I can be pretty grumpy and don’t have my happy self.  When you wake up at 0430 and go to bed at 2200 and every moment (and latrine break) is planned out for you, it takes all you have left to not flip out at each other.

We made it a third of the way through now.  We will need much more strength and energy in the upcoming weeks, so PLEASE keep us in your prayers.  We have days that are glass half full and days that are half empty.  I pray for more glass half full day’s I know somewhere out there in this universe you guys are thinking, praying, and writing. 

Love you!

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“My Bad, your fault.”

Mailed blog – written by Julian

23 Jan 11

By nature, nothing is ever a drill sergeants fault.  Ever.  They don’t eat, they don’t sleep, heck they’re like military monks dedicated to lives of Army holiness.   On th surface they’re all hard and stoic, but deep down they’re people too.  Doing what they do because they love their country.  But, they do no wrong.  About six times a day, however, something happens like this, “Privates, you have about one minute to line up on the PT field.”  “Privates!! What are you doing?  Line up on the DRILL PAD, the DRILL PAD!” or this, “Privates line up on the drill pad wearing your Gortex (winter) jackets.”  “Privates, what are you all wearing?  Do you think it’s COLD out?! You haven’t SEEN cold until you’re in the mountains of Afghanistan.  And by the way you’re all lookin now, none of you will make it to that point in your military career.”  Needless to say, we’re constantly adjusting to the changing tides of instructions.  I’m mostly amused by this military quirk.  This weekend has been pretty low key.  It’s still cold out but we never get to wear our Gortex jackets anymore because they think it makes us weak.  True, true.  Yesterday we took our first full PT test.   Two minutes of push-ups, and a two miles run.  I scored a 59 in pushups, a 49 in sit ups, and a 64 on my run.  Alas, we need 50 in each category so I failed my PT test by ONE sit up.  I was really upset.  My final count was 16 pushups, 35 sit ups, and my run was completed in 20:00 flat.  Not bad, at least I know I’ll pass next time for sure.  Still….ONE sit up!!! 😦  As a side note, who would have ever thought my run score would have been the highest of the three?

Also yesterday was our first trip to the PX store since we got here.  It was like Christmas!  We all bought hair gel and toiletries galore.  Now that we had the opportunity to buy the appropriate products, our hair will be held to a much higher standard.  I still wish I had cut my hair shorter.  It’s really a pain trying to get it in a pony tail every morning.  At the PX before we checked out our baskets were inspected by a drill sergeant to make sure we weren’t buying any contraband.  When it came my turn, the DS goes, “Are you freakin kidding my private?”  I’m thinking, great what did I do wrong? “Have you been here the whole time?  Are you really in Alpha Company?  Are you a spy, private? How did you go un-noticed for two whole weeks?”  I told him that’s the way I prefer to keep it and he said I was smart for that.  Still though, he thinks I’m a spy now and he looks at me goofy.

Last night we got smoked as a platoon by our DS, DS Smiley who I mentioned awhile ago.  But before the smoked us, he went in his office and cranked some heavy metal, which was pretty cool of him.  He made us do this exercise that goes, “on your belly, on your back, on your feet!”  He was saying it so fast, that while it was physically strenuous, we couldn’t help but chuckle.  When he decided we were done we just laid on our backs, listening to music and shot the breeze with him for about 20 minutes.  The last event of yesterday was our combat Lifesaver written exam.  I passed!  It wasn’t too hard thought.  Now during our field exercised (camping trips) we’ll take our book knowledge and carry it out.  The good thing about this training is that they go over and over thing.  This stuff is getting implanted in our brains.

Today was church, bay maintenance, weapons cleaning, and grounds keeping.  Pretty good day, not so good morning.  My rank on my hat was broken and hanging crooked.  The senior drill sergeant saw it, tore my hat off my head and ripped the rank pin right off the hat.  At least I can take those things with a grain of salt.  Don’t get me wrong though, he was not happy and it will never happen again.  MY bad, MY fault!

Church again was really refreshing and got me ready for the week.  Hopefully this week goes as fast as last week, my friend PVT Moler, the one who helped me last week and wants to get baptized, well this week she was the one thinking she didn’t have time to go to church.  Her weapon sling was broke and she had no idea how she’d get it fixed before lunch chow.  I said, “Moler, God is so awesome.  He does great things.  He’s got your back, everything with your sling is gonna work out.”  Then I made her, and our friend PVT King, read Matthew 6:25, the section on worrying, and all three of us felt better.  And what do you know?  When we got back there was a brand new sling that was extra sitting at the front desk in our bay.  I winked at Moler and told her that’s no coincidence.  With that, it’s time I get some rest.  Tomorrow we have our first group run.  The DS’s told us at least 50% of us will fall out halfway through.  I might be worried, but as Matthew 6 says, “Who of you can add an hour to the day by worrying?”  Worrying is a waste of energy.  So for now, I’ll just be glad there’s only 24 hours in a day.  This too shall pass, God has my back, and I’m going to be so much stronger in the end.

P.S. still no mail! It better all be in the mail and just taking forever.  At this point I don’t care if I have to do 50 pushups for each letter.  I want to hear from you guys!!  OHHH! and I heard the Super Bowl is the Bears vs Packers.  Is that True?!  If so, someone better record that for me.  How super sad I’m missing that!

(Note from Pam:  We have informed Julian we beat the Bears to become NFC Champions – and now we will play the Steelers in the Super Bowl 2011! — She is still very sad to miss this moment in history! and says GOOOOOO PACKERS!)

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Snow Day

Oops – Note from Pam/Mom:  my first Blog Blooper – I just found this post still in my “draft” folder – guess I never clicked “Publish”….it’s a good one – especially at the end where she talks about “Mabel” (a nickname I use for my mother) – it was a Kleenex moment for me – sniff…..

Mailed blog – written by Julian

10 Jan 11

Today Fort Jackson got like 4 inches of snow!  It was kinda crazy, I felt like I was right back in Minnesota.   South Carolina was not quite sure what to do with themselves.  We were supposed to go to Victory Tower, which is where we rappel down 40 feet.   That got cancelled because the conditions were near white out.   We got rescheduled, but won’t be able to go until Feb. 12th, so that’s kind of a bummer.   For all of you who thought it would be nicer here than in Minnesota, it really hasn’t.  Maybe warmer by 10-15 degrees, and we spend a LOT of time outside.

One of our drill sergeants said to us that a soldier’s life is “always cold, always tired, and always hungry.”  I’m really starting to find out what that’s all about.  Five hours of sleep is considered amazing to me now.  Each night, every hour – two people have to be awake for fire guard.   This consists of patrolling the bay, guarding the doors, counting weapons and making sure the safety is on, doing laundry for the platoon, and cleaning the bay.  We have 28 females in our bay, so each bunk has to do fire guard for one hour a night.   Two nights on, one night off.  So that means most nights you are not getting a very good night rest.   a couple hours here, a couple of hours there.

I’m starting to learn how to eat really fast, but unless you’re that crazy hot dog eating guy you can’t eat much in 90 seconds.   Yep, that’s how much time they give us.  By the time the next chow rolls along  you’re REALLY hungry.   In fact, I’m super hungry right now.   last night I dreamed my battle buddy had a turkey sandwich in her wall locker and I ate it in Army style, like 5 seconds flat.   I told her about it this morning and we had a good laugh.  Despite all the little minor hardships, we are constantly being reminded that we will experience discomforts at a much higher level when we get deployed.   In every task we do , we are reminded that we are soldiers preparing for a very real and dangerous war.   All of our drill sergeants wear patches on their right arms.  A soldier wears the patch of the unit they fought with when deployed in a war.   They’ve all served 3-4 duties.   The stories and passion they have for training us are really quite amazing.    They say “You fall asleep in class, but are you going to fall asleep when you’re on patrol in Iraq?”  Our drills sergeants say it’s about discipline, leave your civilian habits behind, they make you weak.

Today events:  We got issued our M-16’s.  So now wherever we go, the rifle goes.  They say you should name your rifle after someone you love so that you develop a bond with it.  I’ve decided my rifle, #548, is going to be called “Mable” after my Grandma Wiegman.  That way she’s with me wherever I go, I already know she is. 

Because of the snow we really didn’t do much except for classes, which are really hard to stay awake in.   No hardcore PT yet….YET!

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G.I. JULES New Address

UPDATED

 4, Feb, 2011

We just got word Julian’s address HAS CHANGED!    She craves to hear from everyone and anyone about what’s going on outside Ft. Jackson walls.  

LET’S RALLY FAMILY & FRIENDS – Please write her and write her often!

Please note her address MUST BE EXACTLY LIKE THIS:

      SPC PLAMANN, JULIAN

      A Co. 3/34 Inf. Reg, 165th BDE

      3rd Platoon, Death Dealers

     10788 Hampton Parkway

      Ft. Jackson, SC  29207

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Warmth!

Mailed blog – written by Julian

19 Jan 11

If anyone thought South Carolina would be warmer this time of year, wrong-o!  Last night and yesterday was spent out in the field.  We learned some really neat skills; how to respond to direct and indirect enemy fire, how to move in a tactical formation through a wooded area, and how to perform at a security check point.  Lots of low crawls and time spent face down in the ground.  By the end of the day we were all soaking wet and filthy dirty. 

We ate all our meals outside for two days.  They alternate between “Hot-A’s”, meals brought out to us from the DFAC (dining facility), and MRE’s  We are learning real fast which are the good ones.  They’re really not bad.  Of course if candy comes in the package we have to hand it over.  Sweets are a No-Go!

Once the sun went down the temperature dropped to about 35 degrees and we were sent to our tents.  It was so ridiculously cold.  The tents we have are tiny one person tents that just lay  horizontal, so you can’t even sit up.  Getting dressed for guard duty (yes, we still do that out in the field) and in the morning was super tricky.  Also adding to the trickiness is that we can ony use red lens flashlights, which are very dull (so the enemy can’t see us), and everything is done with a weapon slung on our back.  Wake up was at 0500 and we packed up everything in the dark.  Thank God there was a full moon out, it was the only light we had!  The march back was brutal.  We were all freezing and the hills were really steep at some points

Physically I’m holding up pretty good though.  We take our first full PT test in a couple of days.  I’ve been practicing push ups and sit ups at night and should have no problem passing.  My feet are good too.  No blisters just numb toes, which I guess is normal.

Today was kind of a low day.  We were all just so tired, cold and hungry.  It wears on you after a while.  That, and we haven’t gotten any mail yet!  Hopefully tomorrow though, as some letters are slowly trickling in.

I think of my support system often.  Love ya all!

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Death Dealers!

Mailed blog – written by Julian

18 Jan 11

For the first time, we were allowed to sound off with our platoon motto today.  Our company is the “Assassins” and our platoon is the “Death Dealers.”  We were all so pumped after saying that. In true Julian form, I got a little choked up.  It was a big moment for us.

Today was full of big moments.  Our day started at 0545 and ended at 2145.  We were outside all day, ate all three meals out in the field, and marched for about 7 miles with about 40-50 pounds of gear on.

First we marched to the gas chamber where we learned to trust our chemical gear.  It was insane.  You walk in, they have you break the seal, say your name, social security number, and platoon.  About every other word came out.  Man, that stuff chokes you out.  Then we put the mask back on and had to clear it out and regain normal breathing.  That’s was a challenge.  But I stayed calm and did what we were trained to do.  Then night before we left the chamber we had to completely take off the mask and recite the Soldiers Creed.  Again, about every other word came out.  As we left my eyes were tearing and my nose was just running.  Did my first “farmer blow” out in the field to clear that stuff out.   I handled it pretty well.  It didn’t affect me as much as others.  Some people went absolutely nuts.  They caught it all on video, so you can see it when I graduate.

After that we went and did day corregidor.  Which is Army speak for land  navigation.  My team, which consisted of three 18-19 year olds that say “dude” a lot and a 37-year-old mom from Kentucky, get 3 out of 5.

Then for some reason we marched ALL the way back, only to eat dinner outside and have 30 minutes of class time.  After dinner we marched back for night corregidor.  Not gonna lie, that made me more nervous than the gas chamber.  We had to go in the woods with just a compass and map, only using our flashlights to check the map.  It was so dark.  I was the team leader and therefore in charge of the compass and sending us in the right direction.  I know, scary, right? 🙂  At first we were running around like chickens, but after we got our bearings we were unstoppable.  We got all 5 of 5 points right!  Well, I don’t know how to break it to you all, so I just have to say it.   I died out there.  One of the drill sergeants snuck up behind me and put his hand around my mouth and slit my throat….with his finger.  Non of my battle buddies had my back!  We’ve got a lot to learn and are constantly bonding every day.

Okay, another big day tomorrow.  Yeah, we were supposed to stay out all night tonight, but they keep changing things on us, so that’s tomorrow.  Just like they always tell us each march is 7 miles long, when it’s more like 1.5 miles each leg.  It’s all a game, and tomorrow I’m gonna bring it!

P.S.  Check Facebook for the Ft. Jackson 3/34 INF REG page.  I guess they update it about us frequently.

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“Are you motivated?”

Mailed blog – written by Julian

17 Jan 11

“Motivated, motivated, down right motivated.  Ooh, ahh, I wanna hurt somebody.  Ooh, ahh, I wanna kill somebody.  Beat ’em with a stick, beat ’em with a stick.  Whaaaa!”

That’s one of the chants we’re currently allowed to use.  We’ll get to say and do more fun things as time goes by.  It’s funny, they keep saying, “Privates, basic training starts today.  You’ve got a long ten weeks ahead of you.”  Amusing because we’ve already completed two weeks and they say it every day.  It’s all a part of the game.  However, in a way it did all start today in that our Senior Drill Sergeant came back from his leave.   Until now, things had been just kind of tense.   Now that he’s here, things have gotten much more tight.   That’s a good thing though as many of us still need to work on our discipline, even two weeks in.

Today we had a briefing by our battalion commander.  It was really engaging.  I’ve said this before, but the training we are undergoing right now is for a very real war.  Lt. Co. Hernandez did not sugar coat anything or mince his words.  Every bit of this training counts, because in six months we’ll need to have our buddy’s back and it’s a manner of life and death.

Tomorrow, basic training starts:) haha.  But the fun exercises start.  Right after breakfast we’ll have the great experience of the gas chamber.  We’ll spend five minutes in CLS gas with our masks on and then we’ll remove them and have to recite a bunch of stuff.   I’ll let you know how that goes.  From there we’re going on a day and night land navigation exercise.  We have to find points plotted on a map, in the forest, with just a compass and protractor.  Then we’re camping!  And, staying true to my camping luck, it’s going to rain.  Joy!

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24 Hours

Mailed blog – written by Julian

16 Jan 11

Today I thank God for 24 hours.  Usually you hear people say, “If only I had more time in the day.”  Here people are just glad the drill sergeants can’t add time to the day.  That and they need to take us to chow and feed us three times a day and put us to bed by 2100 (usually).  Hallelujah for that!

I knew it would happen, and last night it did.  Remember how I said yesterday was a good day?  Well it was a bad night.  Every so often our drill sergeants need to pull staff guard, which is their version of fire guard (which I’ve mentioned before).  When our DS is up, two of us help her in 2  hour shifts throughout the night.  It is part of the fire guard duty to wake up those who have staff guard, 30 minutes prior to their shift starting.  Well, we didn’t get woken up until the DS called up and asked us where we were.   The girls on fire guard forgot about the whole waking us up part.  We arrived for our shift 30 minutes late at 0030.  The DS was not happy.  Two hours later at 0230 we were relieved by the next two girls.  We briefed them and headed back to our bay.  Fifteen minutes later, just as we were getting back in bed, we got called back to the staff duty station.  We had never served staff duty before and apparently we were not properly relieved of our shift.   If the DS was upset before, she was downright mad now.   It’s a huge no-no to leave your post before properly relieved.  So we threw our full uniforms back on (layers, undergarments, and boots — all per code) and went back.  She punished us by making us come back with each shift for the rest of the night, at 0400 and 0600.  Each time we had to change in and out of our full uniform, as you’re not authorized to sleep in your ACU’s, only your PT clothes.  Needless to say, we only got about 3 hours of sleep in short little 45 minute intervals.   Bad Night.

Today was Sunday though, and despite the bad night it was a beautiful day outside and we made it through.  We are getting ready for our first FTX, which in civilian terms is a camping trip.  On Sundays they give us a huge list of things that need to get done from 0830 to 1200.  They say we can go to church, but if it were them, they’d stay and take care of their work.  It’s a bummer they discourage us from going.  So, I tried to get my work done and 10 minutes before church line up I was really starting to stress out.  PVT Moler saw this and she helped me pull it together.  The two of us made it out just in time for formation.  I was so thankful for her help, if it weren’t for that I wouldn’t have gone to church

Moler is from Connecticut and she’s new to God.  She’s always wanted to have a relationship with Him and thinks this a great time to start that up.  Even going as far as wanting to get baptized here!  How exciting!  I hope and pray that I can be a good friend to her and have all the right things to say.  God sure works in awesome ways.  He put the two of us together for a reason.  Please keep her and her faith journey in your prayers.

The service was nice.  We sang some praise songs that really filled my heart.  Surprisingly, my favorite part was the benediction.  It’s always my favorite part back home, such peaceful words to start out your week.  Even though it was a Christian non-denominational service, they used the same benediction as back home.  Hearing it just brought tears to my eyes.  Hopefully as the weeks go by, more people will attend.  You can get your work done and go worship.  It’s all about priorities.

Well, that’s a long entry considering I’m going on such little sleep from our “bad night.” Oh, on another note, they ran out of things for us to do tonight so they smoked us for an hour for no other reason than the fact that we are “sorry privates.”  We were in full uniforms and packed into a tiny room, shoulder to shoulder, 171 of us.  I was soaked through and through.  So really, GOOD NIGHT!

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