Saturday, August 16, 2008

16 Aug 08

Sweetie Pie -

It was a fun, but busy day. At 0500 we started off for a 3k march. So we have our rucksack (a large frame backback) that was probably 20 lbs or so, LBV, or Load bearing vest. We didn't take our IBA (Battle armor). But we had our ACH (Army combat helmet), Eye pro (clear protective glasses )2 qt canteen, and the ever present M-16. We laos had our gas masks. So, we did the march, ate b-fast from the back of a large truck (well, its set up on table cafeteria style) and then did waht is called the confidence course. It is like low cope on steriods. Several of the elements were 20-40 feet high, whith no bolay - only pads. But it was good stuff. We had a few members of the team who persisted in being lazy and procrastinators - this caused dleay in the AM and got us in trouble. But after the course, we came together as a team. It capped with one soldeir who was beatly afriad of heights. we gathered and cheered him through the Jacob's Ladder withich is telephone poles that you climb like a large ladder. It was cool to see the platoon rally and run him through the final elements. One of our Drill Sgts gave us a "good job" for coming together as a team and said we got out of the "pit" (very difficlut and dirty "smoke" session) for learning the teamwork lesson. I did very well on the element. I even did a long (about 30 ft) monkey bars that was 15' in the air, the first time. It was also hooked to about 50 ft of high narrow balance beams!

Then after lunch in the field, it was off to the gas chamber - my dread! Well, I obviously survived it. They acutally asked if anyone was asthmatic or used inhalers. We stood around in our gas masks (standing around in formation is the worst part of basic by the way) for about 45 minutes. Then we filed into the room. It burns your eyes and lungs (not to mention exposed skin!) when you are forced to take off the mask. then, to get out, you must answer a question. for some it was mother's madien name, or SS number. Mine was the Warriors Ethos, which is

I will always place the mission first.
I will never admit defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.

It is a prot of the soldier's creed, which I've had memorized since before I got here to basic. But I finally got it out. it was tough to do when youre lungs are buring, you think you're going to choke to death, you can't see, and your brain freezes up. But, I made it and didn't die!

Well, pretty pie, I better sign up - or - I will be all out of room in this envelope. Oh, yesterday we learned combativness. it was basically some mixed martial arts that one of the big names of the UFC that taught the army in the late '99's/ early 2000's. Anyway, I did pretty good at it. I did draws with 3 of the largest guys (most of them oughweighed me by 15-20 lbs) and beat up on the rest of the platoon. we learned what is called a mount (when you are in a strong position to beat the crap out of someone) and a few arm bars (which are designed to break an arm or joint) as well as a few choke holds. I was able to put several of the guys in an arm bar. I'd get to a frontal mont (me sitting on top of their chest and simulating a choke) and then I'd slide one of their arms to the ground and do an arm bar. None realized what it was quick enough! Anyway, I did areal good, but it was tiring and I'm glad to be done with it.

I hope you're reading these to these to the kids. Tell them I love them and oftne look at their pics. Until the next letter, your smitten and devoted husband! Brent.