Friday, March 24, 2006

Some Firsts


I have now shot my M-16 as of today. It doesn't really have much kick. Unfortunatly, they discovered a problem with my rifle, so I'm getting that fixed tomorrow.

I noticed something for the first time weight loss. I was on the toilet (MRE's do make you constipated) and suddenly, I realized my stomach felt different. I see where my weight loss is starting to go. I don't have a six pack...yet...

We did a 3 mile hike yesterday. It really wasn't so bad. Our next one is Saturday at 5 miles, plus, they are having us wear our helmets and flak jackets this time. Kinda cool, but kinda not, as it's heavy stuff.

We start doing a lot of shooting next week, so I am really excited. I really want Expert (top qualifying score).



The new event I get to tell you about is the CCX or Close Combat Course (Don't ask, I don't know either). It's just like playing war as a kid. You have a fire team (4 guys) and you charge the course. There are dummies you bayonet or use a butt stock strike. At each obsticle end, the fire team leader yells, "Fire team ready! Rush!" With that, you "war cry" to the next obsticle. It starts out with D-day looking stuff-through a drainage tunnle to barbed wire (you crawl on your back and it's really tiring). It ends with some trenches. Oh, I almost forgot- you run with a rubber rifle, flak jacket, and plastic helmet. It was awesome! Afterwards, we did pugil sticks again, but I didn't do as well this time. :(

In random news, my weight droopped 4lbs to 165. I can tell some came out of my face, but I don't know where all the weight is coming from.

Last night, we have a group called "New American Singers." They were sorta like a youth group from some church, except they danced too much to be Nazarenes. It was a really good matter how cheesy the puppet show was (yes...puppets). It was nice to have someone show appreciation for what we're doing since the DI's job is to relentlessly pound the idea that we're scum in our heads until we don't listen to them.

Oh, there's a website for you to give a try I'm not quite sure what all is there, but it's supposedly up by the 9th week.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Camp Pendleton


Just a quick letter today. We ate MRE's for dinner... Wow, I was impressed. When my dad talked about them, he talked about how bad they were. That has changed. I had a beef enchalada with refried beans, cheese sauce, a cracker, and a cookie. It was probably 3,000 calories.

The chow hall here is better tasting, but it's definately less quantity, so we've been pretty hungry most of the time.

Tomorrow, we have a hump (3 mile hike). Based on experience so far, it won't be much fun but will build my calves pretty well.

Well, I need some sleep...


Aaron started the Crucible today. It's 54 hours of little sleep, little food, and constant physical and mental challenges. It's designed to truly stress all the training the recuits have learned the past two months. Please keep Aaron in your prayers.


Sunday, March 05, 2006

1, 2, skip a few...

So, I am quickly realizing that I am not keeping up with blogging all the letters Aaron has sent me. Between moonlighting two jobs, taking a class, and running, I'm really not sure where my time is going. Anyway, off to the highlights of one of Aaron's more recent letters. I'll highlight a couple more of my favorites and then hopefully I will be able to highlight letters as I get them (or at least within the same month!). -sejs


Time for another laundry letter... We are currently hygiening (showering, brushing teeth) ourselves and have been preparing for Phase 2 at Camp Pendleton. We did a 'mock' PFT. I was shocked at the number of recruits that had never run 3 miles before. I was pretty happy with my score of 218 [out of a possible 300]: 11 pull ups, 114 crunches, and a 23:30 on the run. I might have been able to push a little harder, but had eaten too much at lunch about 30 minutes before.

Now, to answer your questions in your letter:
1. How did your first PFT turn out?
Answered that one. The really good news is that my leg didn't come apart.

2. Favorite part of training?
Well...I like a lot of it. Classes are good and I enjoy drill (marching), except I seem to be uncoordenated. If it wasn't for my drill mistakes, te DIs wouldn't ever know my name.

3. Upcoming event I'm nervous/excited about?
Tomorrow, we do the Confidence Course again. I don't think my fear of heights will cause too much a problem, but we'll see. I'm also really excited about Phase 2 and doing 'Marine stuff,' especially rifle qualifying.

4. Still wanna be an officer?
Yep. But I want a good break from this crazyness. Like several months. Maybe January OCS [Officer Candidate School]. Our Series Commander is a Naval Aviator (Captain Bowmen). In all his classes and presentations he has his F-18D pictures (the one I'd like to get put in as NFO [Naval Flight Officer]). Those wings give me inspiration.

5. How are the guys in the platoon?
The majority are younger. The average age is 19. All the 17 year olds are gone now. The oldest is a 30 year old former Navy guy. There are a couple 27-29. Several are married, but more have kids and are not married.

6. Wonder what I got myself into?
Actually, I've been pretty positive. Sometimes, it sucks and I would like to be somewhere else, but I just remember why I am here.

7. How do you look bald?
I'm not a big fan, though I'll admit it's easy to clean. I'm looking forward to Phase 3, when we get to have hair.

8. Pooping...
No, there isn't time to poop during the day, so I have been training myself to poop at night. I've been pretty successful so far...though I need to poop now...

Now about your Nutrition class, here are my usual meals: Breakfast-eggs, bacon or sausage, two pancakes/waffles, yogurt, banana, cottage cheese, two pieces of toast with apple jelly.
Lunch-Salad, 2 veggies, main course (usually meat or pasta), banana, water or PowerAid.
Dinner- it's like lunch.

You'd be proud of me eating my veggies. This week I stayed at 169. So, I think my weight has stabilized.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Laundry Letter

I have to say it's awesome that I get letters from Aaron about twice a week. I wish I could share everything, but I would be typing for hours! I love getting his letters and I hope you enjoy them as well.

Hey Love!
Another laundry letter. Things are going well. Physically, I am tired, but mentally, I feel good. I'm looking forward to getting to Phase II. Phase I (the first 4 weeks) sucks! ...Can't wait to wash myself instead of having the DI's do it.

We have initial drill coming up. If we're good, we might get to call home. I don't remember if I told you we lost four recruits to failing the drug test and one to a criminal record. We pick up two recruits. One was in medical for a month with Bronchitis. The other got into some sort of fight with his DI.

I'm amazed at the amount of mail I've gotten. I love getting letters! Today was my first chance to send some to others.

I managed to avoid anyone finding out my birthday...though I had some close calls with some cards-my grandma sent me $5. They like to 'celebrate' your birthday with 2 hours of firewatch [patroling the area while everyone else sleeps].

I ran the O-course a couple of times now. It's not too bad now...still tiring though. Oh, I got weight yesterday: 169lbs. I've lost 15lbs since I've been here. I think most of it is the high activity level. Mostly marching around in boots...which are heavy. With boots and "water bowls" (canteens), I can do 7 pull ups...after doing lots of exercises for PT that day.

Oh, I almost forget my brainwashing. One of the DIs started talking about it and was tearing up everything about people who say it happens here [that Drill Instructors brainwash recruits-they don't]. Funny stuff...The drill instructors are starting to lighten up some...though I stress 'some.' But, you had better not laugh at them.

I got IT'd (Intensive Physical Training-also known as "The House of Pain"). You just do whatever combination of push ups, crunches, mountain climbers, etc. that the drill instructors scream at you to do.

I'm hoping to aim for sqaud leader sometime soon, but I need to work at being louder and perfecting my drill moves. I feel like I could direct the jobs that need to be done without a problem.

I got my BCGs (Battle Combat Glasses - aka. Birth Control Glasses) and they are so anti-sexy it's horrific. They're huge!