Saturday, September 30, 2006

Onto the next stage of the Army

As predicted, the BOLC II graduation ceremony was a joke. A few people actually had guests at the ceremony but they'd only come in order to drive back with them so the graduation ceremony was as inconvenient for them as for us. The people in charge also used the opportunity to screw with us one last time: the ceremony lasted half an hour, then we had to wait for the buses to pick us up for one hour. Surely, they could have scheduled the buses to come earlier - or how long did they think the ceremony would last?

Once we were back, we just had to pick up our packets, and we were released. I was one of the first people in the parking lot. When I picked up my papers, the sergeant told me I'd do good things for the Army. I also finally saw my peer evals which had the usual: needs to improve PT and command presence but tries hard and has a good attitude. And yet I'm so cynical and negative.

I drove twelve hours straight and made it home around 1 am. While I was home, I caught up with friends, watched the second season of Veronica Mars, slept a lot and neglected to work out. I can still pass a PT test (just nothing spectacular). I left Wednesday afternoon after lunch and made it to North Carolina by Thursday evening, where I had dinner with an old friend (although I'm not sure if a one hour long dinner was worth a three hour detour), and watched Grey's Anatomy - so far, it's been a very disappointing season. I'm so sick of the McDreamy story line, especially now that there are two guys fighting over her - I'm sorry, but I don't see what is so great about Meredith that two men would fall for her head over heels - she whines a lot, and looks rather anorexic. At least, there are some entertaining summaries of the show on some websites.

I made it to Virginia yesterday. Reporting in was a bitch because by the time I got there, I couldn't find anyone else at the building even though I was there before 5, so I had to go to a completely different building. Naturally, all my orders had on them was the building number, which is not that useful without a street. I also tried the Transportation Inn, which looked deserted. Once I finally found the building I was looking for (and they didn't actually know what to do with me there), they sent me to General Small's Inn where I learned that the Transportation Inn is their old building, but many of the orders haven't been updated yet. The General Small's Inn is actually pretty nice, and my room even has a small kitchenette. Unfortunately, I won't be staying there after Sunday because there isn't enough room (despite the fact that the place is huge), and instead the Army will be housing my class in Holiday Inn Suites. I just hope they have a mini-fridge because none of the normal rooms I've stayed in during my past few months of traveling did.

While reporting in, I met a guy who is in the class ahead of me for OBC. He said that I'd have every weekend off, at least in the first month, and usually get off by 5. The first month is mainly classroom stuff - sounds perfect to me. With weekends off, I should be able to actually take advantage of being in Virginia - I'm closer to DC and New York than I've ever been, and being one of the first colonies, I'm sure there are a lot of historic sites that might be of interest to me. Apparently, next weekend is Columbus Day so I might even have a four day weekend already (at least the guy I talked to does, but since it's only my first week of class, I'm not sure if I will).

Thursday, September 21, 2006

24 more hours

I'm almost done! This past week has been messed up and inefficient as usual but it doesn't matter because I leave in less than 24 hours. We spent all of Monday and most of Tuesday cleaning our weapons with minimal cleaning supplies. Lots of fun, especially when they wouldn't release us on Tuesday because our weapons weren't clean. 3rd and 4th platoon were both done by 10 pm (and all of Bravo was done before 8), 2nd hung with us until 1 or 2 am but we stayed up cleaning until 5 am - and that was just the M-4s. At that point we went on a rotation by squad for the eight crew serve weapons, and finally had those done by 9. And we even had PT at 6 that morning: we called our captain (who had left by 5 Tuesday evening) and asked if we still had PT despite the fact that we would get less than an hour of sleep and he said, of course. However, he didn't bother to show up himself - which was probably a good thing because we were so unmotivated and out of it that the lone cadre member that showed up told us to go back inside after ten minutes and that he didn't need us until 10 (except for the crew serve cleaning squad, of course), and later even moved that time back to 11. That sergeant has actually been gone for the past half week for a family emergency so it seems that he may have been the voice of reason. He's also my squad mentor which means he's going to be counseling me tomorrow (I'll finally get the results to those peer evals - although one squad member told me today that I'm not the worst - he said the other female who I actually ranked in the middle was worse because she didn't help out and complained a lot - hell, that's all I ever do as anyone who's been reading this probably knows).

We also had CIF turn-in on Tuesday which was ridiculous - we got there about 30 minutes before the place even opened, and the line moved extremely slowly - basically the first people went through the line at 8, and the W's finally made it back to the barrack at lunch time. It wouldn't be a big deal, but it would have made so much more sense to take one platoon at a time, or one quarter of the alphabet since we still needed to clean weapons at that point but no, they had all 157 of us in the line at the same time. It's almost as if they've learned nothing from the last cycle - which they haven't given us an AAR for the past two weeks so maybe they haven't.

The past two days we've been packing and cleaning. We also had graduation rehearsal today - another waste of time since all we have to do is stand up and sit down at the same time. The only people that have anything to do are the key leadership and the honor grads who are getting certificates. I read my book through half of the rehearsal. Actually, I don't even see the point of graduation - I'd much rather just sign out and go to my next school. They greeted friends and family during the practice run throughs, but all of us LTs just about fill the room so it's not like they're even expecting family. Although I heard one woman in my platoon talking to her sister on the phone about how excited she was about her coming since no one else in the family was. The only way I'd want my parents to come would be if they lived in Lawton, and even then I'd reconsider making them sit through it - it's not like I do anything in the ceremony.
Anyway, off to pull my last CQ shift for a while - since we stay in lodging and not barracks at OBC, it might not even exist there but I'm not sure.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

BOLC strikes again

And here I thought I was done.  This morning I looked at the schedule for the week expecting to see things like cleaning and outprocessing but what do I see instead?  A nice three hour block of time to complete an obstacle course.  A few people are considering sick call since we are allowed to miss up to 72 hours of training but I'm pretty sure they'd be back in time for the course.  It's not that big of a deal, but it's just another pointless training event no one wants to do, not to mention the fact that they are worried about the possibility of getting hurt now that it's nearly over.

I had a nice, relaxing weekend though.  First off, there was running water, so a definite improvement over last week (which the most annoying part about that wasn't the lack of showers or flushing toilets, but the fact that they didn't even set up hand-washing stations anywhere, not even before chow).  I watched two movies yesterday while in Oklahoma City (they actually show movies other than Talladega Nights up there), and went to Barnes and Nobles.  Today I spent most of the day reading in big, cushioned chairs at Starbucks and Atlanta Bread Company.  It's so nice having my car back, although the traffic definitely bothered me on my back from OKC last night.  It's actually kind of weird that interstate traffic makes me so nervous at the moment considering that my accident was a one car mishap and had nothing to do with anyone else.

Anyway, while the obstacle course is going to suck, I am missing out on the combatives PT tomorrow since I'm part of the cleaning crew for the FOB.  Whoever would have thought I'd be excited about cleaning.  I wonder when we are finally going to have our sensing session with the general.  I can't wait to have an opportunity to voice my complaints and concerns to higher (although I'm sure a few people will beat me to the punch on quite a few issues).

Saturday, September 16, 2006

No more training days left

One more week to go! The FOB was alright - I actually got more sleep than I expected but like everything else here, a lot of the so-called training seemed useless or inefficient. In many cases, it seems like the only people that really get anything out of the training are the ones that are in leadership at the time while the rest of us miss out.
We left Monday morning for the FOB, and my platoon was in charge of FOB security that first day which basically translates into guarding towers and tracking where all the other platoons were. It was mostly uneventful except for when the OPFOR scaled the walls and took over the TOC (one of our cadre was pretty mad because he felt like it took away from our actual learning experience - the TOC was overrun by the OPFOR just about every day we were out there but it's definitely not a common occurence in real life). On Tuesday, we rotated and became the Quick Reaction Force. Normally, one squad is ready to go and the rest of us are sleeping, waiting to be called up as a necessary. However, since we have a certain mentor, he took the one squad out for five hours so the next squad in line had to take their place. The point of the QRF is to go out around the FOB and investigate disturbances, or help out and then come back. A five hour mission is much more like a patrol. A two-star general also stopped by that day so in order to impress him with our high speed training, the acting QRF squad was loaded on a truck ready to go, and so was my squad, the on-call squad while a third squad was waiting in the classroom. Everyone was complaining about the training but as soon as the general asked if we were getting high-speed training, a few of them replied with "Hooah, sir." I just bit my tongue as usual.
The third day was nice since we were OPFOR for the patrolling platoon. They needed the whole squad for one mission and only half of us for the next one, so I spent most of the day in the barracks reading and sleeping. They even took us out for showers that evening (only the women though - Bravo Company, on the other hand, took in everyone for showers on a daily basis).
I didn't enjoy patrolling that much. We had one night mission - assaulting Liberty City. I am so sick of attacking that place in the dark - I don't like using the NODs when attempting to walk stairs (yes, I finally had a pair that worked). Our afternoon mission was ridiculously long and involved us lying in a field for two to three hours waiting for the imaginary CID force to complete its investigation (in other words, we were waiting for our captain to decide we'd "learned" enough). Of course, our ten mile road march took eight and a half hours, so I have to give the man credit for being able to drag things out. I hate road marching, and was a bit worried about this one because I've never road-marched that far. I was grateful for the first stop because I needed to readjust my ruck due to some shoulder pain. After that, all the stops and missions just drove me crazy. We stopped way too many times, and at each stop we had to take our rucks off to get into the prone - every time it was sitting comfortably, we'd stop. I would have preferred a straight road march to one with a lot of missions - I hate road marching so making it incredibly long doesn't make it better. Oh well, at least it's done and over with. Now all I have to do I clean my rifle to standard, and outprocess.
In other news, I got my car back today so I will actually be able to leave next Friday.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Farewell Garrison

Since the insurance company cut me off, I dropped off the rental in Oklahoma City yesterday.  Due to the lack of actual transportation, I didn't get to visit any art museums, but I finally got to spend some time in a Panera's and also bought the first season of Veronica Mars on DVD.  I started watching it last night around 7, finished it a few minutes ago and promptly ordered the second season from Amazon - it should get to my parent's house just in time for me to pick it up on my way to Virginia.  Obviously, I didn't get as much sleep or rest before FOB week as planned but at least I got my laundry done.  Now I just have to go finish up packing.  They took us to the FOB during convoy operations but we never actually stepped foot into the buildings so I have no clue what the set-up is like and which luxuries would just not be worth bringing.  I guess I'll be making a lot of phone calls for entertainment since I won't even be able to do the email thing (although maybe they'll pleasantly surprise me with a computer lab - I hear there's wireless at Benning's FOB).  It's only five more days.  Of course, the 1SG wants us to do an end of cycle class project to fill up all our downtime during outprocessing week so I'm sure even that week will annoy me.

Anyway, I'll be back in a week.  Hopefully I don't screw up too much (or take any heads off - I'm really not a people person, especially when I'm tired).  Speaking of which, I haven't even mentioned the showers here.  There's a woman here that likes to sing (belt it out) in the shower - Friday night I felt like I was listening to Disney's Greatest Hits.  It was so sweet and wholesome that I was tempted to start singing "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails.  Yes, I'm a bad person.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

How can a four day week seem so long?

I'm done with another week of BOLC II. I only have two weeks to go, but I have hard time believing that the end is actually in sight since I feel like I've been here forever. I would say that this has been the week from hell, but I say that every week. I think I'm just going to have to accept the fact that I'm going to experience all the different circles of hell in the next four years until I finally ascend back to the world of academia and school. Seriously though, hopefully once I'm done with BOLC, things will start getting better. At the very least I'll have my own room at OBC! It's not that I don't get along with my roommates, but I had a one bedroom apartment all to myself my senior year, so I'm not used to living with people (and when I had roommates in college, it never ended well - I guess it's the only child in me coming out).

We started off the week with Convoy Operations on Tuesday. We got a quick class about battle drills (some of them are so basic I can't even believe they are considered battle drills - for example, the assistant driver shooting back at someone as they drive by is a drill - or at least that's the impression I got from our class). After that, we practiced loading and unloading trucks. My life is just that exciting. We even had a mission that day, but being 4th squad, we were in the very back humvee (which means I don't have to jump as far down), and didn't do anything. They gave us six boxes of ammo (20 rounds per box) and I didn't fire a single shot. Usually during convoy ops, only the first trucks have a lot to do - they are the ones that in theory hit contact first and also should notice the IEDs. As a result, all we did in the back was pull rear security. Of course, that also means we didn't get shot at with paint balls.

We finally had land nav on Wednesday. I wasn't sure what to expect because I was hearing different things. Bravo Company did land nav the week before us, and I had heard that they only had two failures total in three platoons. However, 3rd and 4th platoon from our platoon did the course on Tuesday and they'd had eight failures in 4th alone. Of course, as I found out later, Bravo used a different, much easier course than we did, and had even had a practice day (apparently, Alpha Company is the only company that doesn't use the other course). My platoon, on the other hand, had a slide show about land nav in the first or second week, and then just went to the course Wednesday morning. We had thirteen failures out of forty-one people, and of course my partner and I were two of those failures. You know, I really think I might enjoy this place more (or at least hate it less) if it weren't for the fact that I start stressing out about the fact that I might get recycled every other week.

Not only did we fail, but we failed miserably. The standard to pass is 5/8 points. Many of the other failures had 3 or 4 points. We had 1. 1! Our biggest problem is that we were both so used to the LDAC course that we saw that our point was located near a path on the map so we thought we'd just go to the path, and use that to find the point. Unfortunately, there are dozens of paths in the eastern part of the course, and only two or three of them are on the map so that messed us up a lot. We also lost two protractors while on the course but I'm so blaming that one on my partner.

That afternoon we got remedial land nav training which consisted of us watching the same slide show from week 2, only this time it was given by the most long-winded cadre member in our platoon. We were all just sitting there with our eyes glazing over. I'm great at the theoretical part of land nav, I can plot points and I can pass a written test, no problem. I need help with the practical portion so watching a slide show did me absolutely no good. It didn't help that the sergeant didn't always understand the point we were trying to make to him, and then one LT kept arguing with him, dragging the class out even more. At one point, we all just started cracking up because the LT just said, "No, don't explain it again" in complete exasperation.

We had our second chance at land nav the next morning (I love getting up at 2:30), and this time didn't trust the map at all as far as paths and such are concerned. Once we had our points plotted, we started heading towards one that we knew because we'd walked past it the day the before. On our way, we ran into another group that had one of our other points, so we walked with them. One our way there, we saw another group on the road so one of the guys from the other buddy pair yelled out, "What point are you going to? Do you need help?" I'd thought the group looked weird because there were three of them, but it was too late to stop him by then. Anyway, at that point the Company Commander said: "This is Major ___ and the RCO (Regimental Commander, so we're talking colonel here). You can't talk to the other groups." (The 1SG was the third member of that group.) Luckily that was the end of it, and we didn't get into actual trouble. Besides, they never officially briefed that the groups couldn't talk to each other. We ended up getting that point, and then found the point from the previous day. After that, we relied on our compass and pace count the entire time. One of us would walk ahead, the other one would tell them to go a little left or right to get on the right azimuth, and then catch up and switch off. It made it take a while to get to points but we ended up passing with 7/8 (we didn't have time to go to the 8th point) so it was worth it. By the end of the morning, all but one of the buddy groups had passed, and the remaining pair got it on their third try.

Unfortunately, we had to join the rest of the platoon for training after that instead of getting some rest so Thursday was a pretty long day. As a matter of fact, Thursday and Friday were both extremely useless and inefficient. We worked on FOB security on Thursday, but in my case that just meant that I stood in front of the exit gate for one and a half hours with another squad member. We got absolutely nothing out of it. Then we did the Quick Reaction Force, which meant more practicing getting in and out of trucks, and then going on a little mission. When 2nd platoon did QRF while we were guarding the FOB, all they did was sit in the shade and plot a mission. Our platoon drove to rescue a downed pilot through some of the dustiest roads with a few random mud patches and puddles. Given our luck with getting done on time, we of course were worried that we were going to get stuck in the mud as we simultaneously were coughing from all the dust (I love Ft. Sill!) - after all, one of our humvees ran out of gas once. Luckily we made it there and back, and once again all I did was pull rear security.

Friday we had the live convoy fire, which was actually kind of fun. Unfortunately, it took us all day to do about fifteen minutes worth of training. Our first formation was at 0600, but we didn't leave until 0730. Once we got to the training site, we got a training brief, and then proceeded to wait until 2nd platoon was done with the training so it would be our turn. We finally left at 1330 (1:30 pm for you civilian types) because they had to do a dry run, a run through with blanks and then the live fire. Since they didn't do it correctly at first, they also had to do the dry one or the blanks twice. That entire time, we just sat and waited (and ate MREs - when we had lunch, one guy said that he was about to eat his 4th MRE of the day). After lunch, we gave each other First Aid classes to look like we were doing something other than napping. One of the other lieutenants who usually keeps a good attitude (he's Infantry, and pretty excited about it) gave the class on sucking chest wounds and it was absolutely hilarious. He basically started the class with, "you're probably going to die if you have one." Our platoon sergeant (the LT, not the actual one) came by and asked if any of us had Prozac that we could give to the Infantry guy. Apparently Thursday broke his spirit, and as a result of this week he is now completely disillusioned with the Army (see it's not just me that hates this place). In fact because of Thursday another LT even shaved off his BOLC mustache - or as someone put it, it fell off because we've all lost our motivation.

We finally got out on the convoy fire, and in the middle of the blank fire, we had an adminstrative halt because the range got closed down. After about a half an hour, we were cleared to fire again, and then we finally got back to the live fire. Unfortunately, whoever distributed ammo did a bad job so on my truck, we only got two 20-round mags instead of four. That was actually probably a good thing because even with less rounds, we still had a three people get burned by the flying brass (surprisingly I wasn't one of them but my brass did burn the guy next to me - sorry).

We finally got back to the barracks, and then had to wait to get our safety brief so that we didn't get released until 7:30 that night. 3rd and 4th platoon got back early so they took care of barracks maintenance for us, but there was a rumor that Captain America (that's what everyone calls our platoon mentor now - behind his back, at least) was going to inspect our rooms so we had to clean those up. I also got counseled for my squad leader position from last week. The sergeant said I did a good job, even if I was a bit quiet. He also said that the Captain wants to talk to me about my peer evals. Uh-oh. I was probably ranked dead last in my squad, but I guess I'll find out Monday. I always get ranked last one these kinds of things, at least in a training environment because no one knows me, and my strengths lie in different areas. Within my ROTC program, I always do better because they know I get my stuff done, and will always show up. My roommate just said not to start crying during my counseling on Monday, but since I pretty much expected to be ranked last, I don't think that hearing it is going to upset me.

At our final formation, our class leader announced that a few of the cadre were doing an optional 7 mile road march this morning for anyone that was interested. The 1SG chimed in to say that it was for our benefit because previous classes have complained that they don't prepare us for the 10 miler. Yes, so the best way to help us out is to do a 7 miler at 6 in the morning the week before. I am pretty sure they meant that a few road marches should be included as part of training during the weeks before rather than something the week before on our own time. This place may be good in theory but so far implementation is lacking. After all the point is to make sure we are all on the same page, but for things such as land nav, they don't actually train us; they just send us on the course and hope we know what we're doing. Additionally, we all have different standards depending on our cadre so that completely defeats the point. For example, the companies at Ft. Sill don't use the same land nav courses, and I don't even want to think about how different Sill and Benning must be.

At least it's almost over. Even if it doesn't feel like it.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Oklahoma Culture

Yesterday we explored the culture of Lawton some more. We went to the Golden Corral for lunch, and ran into another guy from our platoon, so the four of us sat together. I don't think I've ever seen this many buffets in such a small area. After lunch, my roommate, JD and I went to a few different shops in Lawton, including a pawn shop. It was kind of crazy. The owner had all his pistols in the back counter, located conveniently next to the religious material. JD and I were both looking at some of the pamphlets and joking around so the proprietor of the store was kind enough to give us each a copy of "Pornography: The Road to Hell." It turns out that men (because women are only mentioned as the "wives of porn-freaks" and not users) who like pornography are dogs who will end up alone with their semen (yes, it actually said that). Additionally, it is woman's place to honor and obey her husband even if he is a wicked man because first comes God, then Jesus, then the husband, and then the wife.

Not only was the pawn shop owner a religious nut of sorts, but he also had a thing for gun (obviously, given the location of the pistols and pamphlets). He started a conversation with JD and some other guy about his 90 round magazine (what is he hunting - dinosaurs? I am pretty sure there is nothing here that wouldn't die after a few rounds, unless he is just that bad of a shot - even I should be able to hit something with that many rounds). He also hates Bush but he's very grateful to him for not re-newing the ban on assault weapons. Where the hell am I? Can somebody get me out of here? To add to the oddity of Oklahoma, about half the radio stations are Christian, and the beer has to have a lower alcohol content here than in other states.

I actually went into a Christian bookstore yesterday. There were some nice things, a lot of trinkets that looked like dust collectors, and a Bush biography as well as a Patriotic Karaoke CD. I haven't been in that many Christian stores, so I'm not sure if this is the exception or the rule, but it just seems like an interesting mix of patriotism and religion, as if all good Christian folk are also good patriots and vice versa. Of course, I guess it's easier to mix those two together with our current president.

In the evening we went and saw Crank. It was a bad movie, but highly entertaining. My roommate hated it, but Juan and I were cracking up during most of it. I feel like I got my five bucks worth.

Today, we drove around Oklahoma City in search of Qdoba's, and a mall. My roommate already saw the museum and the memorial last weekend, so we didn't go there, but we stopped by a Art Festival, and the Farmer's Market/Antique shops - there was so much junk. Next weekend, we might go to the zoo or I might look if there is an actual art museum. I haven't been to the Chicago Art Institute in more than a year, so it would be nice to see an art gallery.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Urban Operations

I survived Urban Ops (well, I died twice on Thursday, once on the mission and once as OPFOR). I actually enjoyed the training up until Thursday night when it came time for the night mission. They are so worried about us losing the equipment that they didn't issue us the NODs (don't ask me what it stands for; it's just what everyone calls the night vision) until right before the mission so that we barely had time to really play with it before it was time to assault the building. It was a bit worse for me because I was 4th squad leader so I was also the last person in the platoon to get a chance to adjust mine, only to discover that I got the pair that didn't focus - at all. Also, as usual, my squad didn't actually listen to me. I placed one 240 team on the top of the roof as ordered by the PL, and put the other team on the lower roof. For some reason, the first team came down, too, because their team leader told them to come down. Okay, but I'm the squad leader, so what did I tell you?
Every time we do anything at night in this place, it just ends up as a huge mess that no one learns anything from. Partially, it's because we don't get the equipment in time, so it would almost be better if they didn't bother to give it to us at all. Also, they are just so wasteful. We got a total of a hundred rounds for all of Thursday. I used up about two mags on the second night mission because they told us to expend as much ammo as possible so I was shooting at the air but other than that I used maybe three rounds all day. At the end, they had us shoot off all our extra rounds. It is a waste of resources, and now my weapon is filthy because I had to fire all those blanks. I wasn't the only one annoyed with that: one guy in my squad wrote, "I pay taxes, too" on his weekly AAR. Another one suggested that we use privates to collect up all the brass, which my roommates and I found extremely amusing (as squad leader, I had to collect the AARs from everyone, so of course I looked through them).

I was the assistant gunner for the Friday mission, so the tactical squad leader gave me the radio. We were issued three radios for the squad, two smaller ones and a large one. Somehow I ended up with the big, heavy one because as AG, I would be in one position the whole time - then why didn't the other AG get the big radio? I have bruises on my leg now from when I frontloaded it, and didn't get a chance to tighten up the straps, so the radio was just dangling in front of me as we walked down the road.

My roommate was the PL for the attack on Liberty City, and she had a few problems dealing with all the restrictions placed on her by the cadre. She had no choice but to cross the open field to the city while another platoon curtailed the city and attacked from a different direction. As a result, we did a Gettysburg style assault on the city. We also had to take our rucks and had to leave a two person guard with them even though they were within sight of the 240 position. Our platoon mentor told her she couldn't leave them on the trucks without a guard, but he didn't mention anything about her needing a guard if they were within view of the city until we dropped them - otherwise we would have left them on the LMTVs. (At one point, 2nd PLT's trucks drove by us - the LTs were already off, but all their rucks were still on there - we were about ready to start cursing). When we asked about the rucks during the AAR, the response was, "Have you ever seen Black Hawk Down?" Actually, I haven't, sir, but could I have a better rationalization than a movie title, please? I don't really know what I think of our platoon mentor. Sometimes he seems nice, but then again he is also a bit too hardcore or something. Perhaps it's the combination of being a West Point grad and FA - I hear both of those groups tend to have minor complexes. While we were clearing the buildings, the PL was trying to call in her reports to higher, which was our mentor in this case, only to look out the window and discover him shooting paint balls at her. He also shot another cadre member in the head because he "kept poking his head out the window." Unfortunately, since he was cadre and not OPFOR, he wasn't wearing any of the protective wear, and now has a black eye.

We only have nine training days left now. It's exciting but five of those days are in the FOB so the next weeks are going to be long.