Friday, June 23, 2006

Quick post to notify everyone that I am alive and "well"

I'm on CQ duty right now, which means if anything goes wrong tonight, I'm the point of contact. It also means that I have to conduct checks of the barracks to make sure the fireguard is awake and doing its job, and enjoy some interrupted sleep for the next few hours. On the plus side - internet access.

As it turns out, being a cadre member at Warrior Forge is not that much better than being a cadet. While I don't have to participate in all of the training, I also have even less time to sleep than the cadets. As much as it might suck to be a cadet, the schedule usually includes personal hygiene time, down-time to prep for the next day, and little things like that. Also, the cadre ensure that cadets get three meals a day, and they are offered laundry services. As for cadre, we get our $10 a day per diem so if we are in the field, we are kind of on our own about meals. We have personal hygiene time before we wake up the cadets and after we put them to bed which is about the same time we pack our rucks, prepare for the next day and do laundry. As one person has already told me (and I've figured it out on my own), they really don't take care of the cadre here.

I'm in this weird position in the middle. I'm cadre but I was a cadet only four weeks ago. Also, since all of the 2LTS have to proceed from here to BOLC II, the next Army training camp in store for us, somebody decided it would be helpful to have all the 2LTs go through basic rifle marksmanship and land nav. We had to do the BRM training with the cadets so that makes it a bit harder to really act and appear as an authority figure. We also have to take a PT test, and are expected to work out while we are here, but there is no time in the day for the TACs. It's not like taking a PT test is going to help me perform well at BOLC II - I know my own limits already, and it's not like a PT score is going to train me or change them.

Anyway, I should probably go take this opportunity to take a quick nap before the next cadets show up to replace the ones currently pulling fire guard.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


I bought my ACUs today. Since I hadn't actually seen anyone in the uniform before, I was a bit confused when I got to the store and tried them on, especially since the collar has to be velcroed down. It also turns out they were out of quite a few of the smaller items such as patrol caps (which I won't need until I'm in the field) and the normal issue socks. The ACUs don't look or feel like real uniforms to me yet, but I'm sure I'll adjust. The velcro is actually more convenient than I expected: all the patches just attach to the uniform so that will save money on sewing (and it's also much easier than getting the Class A uniform ready since all the areas are pre-marked - no need for a ruler or anything). However, I'd still feel safer if the patches were attached by something more than velcro. I'm a klutz, so I could definitely see myself walking into a thorn-bush or branch and accidentally ripping off random patches.

I've also never actually bought boots before since I always just used what they issued at school. A lot of the cadets that were also in the National Guard seemed to be into buying their own gear and special boots but I was never that interested. The only thing I ever got non-issue was my poncho liner. As a result, I was standing in the back room, looking at the boots with absolutely no clue. My solution? To call every single 1LT whose phone number I happened to have in my phone (fortunately, the list is pretty short at only two). I ended up with a $130 pair of boots and two $10 pairs of socks (Thorlo Brand) so hopefully I won't blister up too badly during road marches.

My university's mascot was the Chief. There has been a long on-going controversy about the Chief and whether or not he is a degrading stereotype, or a symbol that honors the Illini tribe. Personally, I was always on the anti-Chief side of the debate, but it was not an issue I was actively involved in. As it turns out, my future unit's nickname is the "Indian Head Division" due to the symbol on the patch. I think I was the only one in my class that was anti-Chief, and I'm the one who gets assigned to the unit that has a chief of its own. Talk about irony. I wonder if there has been any controversy about the Army patch like there has been over the mascot?


Here are the last of the pictures from my trip:

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

View from Rest Area in East Washington

Columbia River, Washington