Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Dip

Friday was the infamous Lucky Dip. At least, it's infamous by transpo standards. I wasn't quite sure what to expect since the cadre kept talking it up as a smoker that would separate the weak from the strong (physically and mentally) and provide us with a gut check. Given what I've seen of this place so far, I thought a lot of this would probably turn out to be talk. As it turns out, it was harder than I expected but not nearly as bad as it could have been (and as I feared before becoming disillusioned with this place).

The class before us said they were done by 1 or 2, so we are all looking forward to a short, but possibly tough day - we didn't get released until 4:30 which is pretty much business as usual. We started off the competition with a short smoke session which involved two NCOs yelling at us, and forcing us to do exercises such as the flutter kick and leg spreaders. After that, we had to distribute eight sand bags throughout the squad to carry with us for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, it had started raining as soon as we got to formation that morning so the sand bags weighed even more than they usually would. We then walked around from one location to another, picked up more equipment and did different missions. For two of the missions we had to drag vehicles from one location to another, but luckily we had a few big people on our team so it wasn't as bad as it could have been. We even had the best time for the 5-ton. The final event was an obstacle course - the monkey bars were spaced very widely, but other than that, this was definitely one of the "nicer" obstacle courses I've been on: only one or two of the obstacles really messed with my fear of heights unlike the course at Ft. Lewis. It also included a walk through a muddy river but I liked that part.

During the awards ceremony, we got a little speech from one of the colonels who told us about his time as platoon leader, when he only did PT twice a year. I should have joined the Army in the '80s - he didn't have to start physically challenging himself until he was a captain. It was definitely a different Army back then, but that's why it's always so weird having these people tell us about their time as PL - their experiences don't really seem to relate that much to what we are going to be doing. He also asked if any of us "hated this shit:" I was in the process of raising my hand when he said of course no one of us are going to admit to it because we are being watched. I wonder what he would have said if I'd been just a little bit quicker: that I have an extra-ordinary amount of personal courage (it's an Army value!) or am so honest that it approaches stupidity?

Next up, we had a major who of course wasn't about to be outdone. He told us that Lucky Dip was designed to be physically challenging, and he doesn't know what kind of physical conditioning we were getting at BOLC II but now we know what we need to work on. While I'm the first to say that BOLC has some definite problems, I am very amused by the fact that everyone feels the need to rip on it in comparison to TBOLC. In fact, except for the fact that we didn't do PT in the FOB (and an odd obsession with jumping jacks on the part of some LTs), we actually had a pretty good PT program at BOLC. It helped that we actually did PT there (PT for Thursdays has been reinstated by the way - apparently there weren't enough of us showing up to drink - of course, it's kind of hard when we all live eight miles away and are told not to drink and drive . . .).

Yesterday, I went to see The Prestige and Marie Antoinette. The Prestige was great but I found Marie Antoinette rather boring. Some of my favorite movies are slow-paced; I also like period pieces occasionally because of all the visuals (clothing included) but MA relied way too much on the pretty clothes and buildings. Also, I wasn't sympathizing with Kirsten Dunst's portrayal of the poor little rich girl who is oh so misunderstood in her new country. It wasn't Dunst's fault; the movie was just too slow and had too little dialogue to really get into it.

Tomorrow I have a test (which I haven't studied for - it's open note), and next week my training schedule is due. I was going to work on it this weekend, so naturally, I haven't even started it. The problem is just that none of this homework even interests me. In college, I never ran off to start papers early, but I'd be thinking about them, and I'd be interested and care. All our homework here just sounds tedious and boring. Also, they keep telling us not to reinvent the wheel, but they want original work which is amusing. In the real Army environment, if I ever have to write a training schedule, I'm going to find someone else's and change it to fit my circumstances because that's the way things are done in the Army. One of my friends had to come up with an SOP for his unit - he found one, and changed it around a bit but basically, 60% of it was someone else's work because "there is no such thing as plagiarism in the Army." Only 43 months left to go. I need to start looking into online classes or night school before my brain completely deteriorates.


Joe Gentry said...

2Lt. K
I will graduate in May 07 and get my commission from Fresno State. (Army ROTC)

I found your blog searching for info on BOLC 2. I have been reading since then. I find out next month what I get branched. I know I will be in the ARNG and hopefully get branched Aviation.

Well, I just wanted to let you know I am enjoying your posts.

Hang in there.


Anonymous said...

Lt. K,
I also have enjoyed your blog. Hopefully I'll be getting my commission soon and enjoying BOLC 2 as much as you do.

Good luck. It sounds like you're doing well, so keep up the good work.