So, today.. was a very frustrating day.. and it really started last night in the barracks here..
We have two companies (Alpha & Charlie) 27 women.. and only about 8 of us are in Charlie.. Anyhow, the drill sargeants are telling their company one thing and our company another (as far as regulations for the "weapons watch.") We are supposed to have a watch starting at 2100 until wake-ups (0500) to ensure no weapons are stolen. Anyhow, then getting the watchbill completed (which the 1st classes are doing a good job of doing) was frustrating because you have people more worried about someone getting "hooked up" or screwed out of weekend liberty - that they just decided to do the watch based on the racks. It starts in the corner and works itself around clockwise by rack.. which makes it quite fair and a good rotation (especially when it comes time to wake up your relief). Thanks Michelle for volunteering!! :) Anyhow, you still had people bitching about they have this or that or whatever... Hello... we are in training. You are supposed to consider yourself deployed at NMPS and more over... here! Anyhow, the watch isnt that bad (only 1 hour on a work night) and 3 hours during the weekend days.. AND you dont have to rove, just do a weapons count, once during the watch and you can be in PT gear - or even on your rack on your puter like I am right now (and I am on the first watch 2100-2200). Anyhow, there are some still bitching.. it is rediculous. We got that straightened out - but we still have a disparity of what is being told to us by our own Drill Sargeants.. as well as base policy. Last night I was on the phone with Katrina and didn't want to wake the rest of the girls (it was 2300) so I went next door to the lounge (which is supposed to be open 24 hours according to the welcome packet and our Drill Sargeants. At about 2315 an Army Sgt came in wanting to lock it.. asking "Don't you have a curfew?" LMAO.. ummm..no.. just to be on base by 2200.. this is not boot camp for me! Anyhow, he locked the bldg up. It was minor.. but frustrating. Then today, we start our day in the classroom at 0600. Breakfast in the class. We did one lesson on Cultural Awareness.. which was actually quite informative and very good.. I did learn alot from it. But of course you have people (especially in a classroom with 94 people)that want to NUKE things out and OMG beat a dead horse.. so that can get frustrating. Anyhow, after that class we were all bussed to the other side of the base for a long day of death by power point. Well, here is the problem, the information put out was valuable. Every NKO (Navy Knowledge Online) course we are required to complete before coming, we have individual briefs for, to ensure we understand. This is good. BUT we were in the Marine Corps Reserve Center Auditorium (both companies - about 200 people) in steel chairs, all weapons and NO Air. NOW, if you want people to be engaged in the briefs and listen intently, you need to have a different setting. Every bit of the information was invaluable to us. Things such as Law of War, Recovery, Prisoner of War, How to evade, escape, etc.. All of this information - GREAT information - BUT - the crowd was soo HOT and miserable, that it was hard to concentrate let alone stay awake. I feel alot of people missed out on some good information that could potentially save their life, becuase the teaching environment sucked! It is what it is - but I will tell you we learned some things that I will remember forever, because it was that powerful. The first thing the LtCol told us, was that should we ever be captured to remember ONE THING ALWAYS - They will always come for us. They will find us. No matter how long it takes, they will find us. I do have to say this made me tear up a bit. The reality that of the 200 people in this room with me, surely not all will come home. I hope they do, but statistics and reality prove that some will not make it back. It was a little eye opening and very emotional to hear the words "We will come and get you. We are looking for you. Do not lose the faith in your country." Yes, I know, maybe a little cheasy to say out loud, but these are my thoughts and it hit home. It was a good reminder that whether you are an E1 or an O9 - you are important to the military and they will come for you. There was alot of other survival information put out, do's and don'ts and things of that nature that you probably watch on Survivorman.. useful. Very useful. but, again, the setting was not conducive to learning and its a little disheartening that some missed out on that information they needed. Anyhow, we suffered through those briefs until 1230 - where again we were given the bag lunch outside. At this point, a marine finally turned the a/c on for us. OMGosh! What a difference. Following the 15 minutes we had to eat, started out next brief. This guy - another LtCol/JAG officer gave us a brief on Laws of War. What we can and can't do, some engagement information and lewding. No lewding allowed. No pics to be taken in Sadaam's throne. No placing prisoners in awkward positions and taking pics, etc. He was amusing and could have been a stand up comedian for us. It was good. It kept us all engaged! After that brief was yet another by the Chaplain. It was a little solemn, but reminded everyone to keep their faith and call upon GOD every time, whenever they needed him and he will always be there. He reminded us that he is always on our side, and will never leave nor forsake you. This, again, was a moment for me. An inspiring, religious moment that gave me some comfort in what is to come.
FINALLY - death by power point was over...we thought. We were bussed back to our class, in a bus with no AC and by this time we were all tired, hot and getting grumpy. Plus the fact it was already 1530. We get back to the class and have one more brief on communications. It was okay, but they had us learn on equipment that is outdated, that we will never use in the field. If we need to learn how to operate a handheld communication device - just in case - it ought to be one that is in the field - so we actually know how to use it. That was frustrating.
Finally, end of day rolls around.. and we are released. It was about 1700 today.
Chow was at 1800 but some of us, including my battle buddy, were just too exhausted to really eat. We did go over there, clear our weapons, get our food, but I dont think either of us ate much.. her especially. She looked a little pale. I think the heat and humidity is starting to wear on some of us. It didn't help knowing that we have to show up at 0550 tomorrow for some more Army PT.. with our weapons on us..Just what we want to hear at the end of the day! Eergh!
Anyhow, we came back from chow, I sat on the phone with the kids and my mom for about an hour total and came in here to get ready for my first watch.. which really meant, just ensure I was in my PT gear. :)
So - today was a rather long day. What makes it longer - is that no matter where we go, we now need an extra 10 minutes because we have to clear all weapons before entering a bldg or bus, and in my company is 96 people - most of us with 2 weapons each.. its good practice.. I can clear my 9MM in about 3 seconds and my M4 in about 20 seconds.. I am definitely getting more comfortable with it - and am sure will be more so by end of next week and all the shooting we will be doing Fri, Sat and all of next week.
So - on a different note - I am glad this open bay barracks is only for 3 weeks. I don't know what I would do - if I had to live with 27 girls of all ranks (E3-O3) for 6 months... It is like junior high all over again. People whispering here.. bitching there.. and its hard not to step in sometimes, but most - I am learning to just walk away! The other things - there are clearly several girls that are NOT within standards. How they got here is beyond me, but quite honestly it is sad for whomever they will be with - I am not in the best of shape and will need to work on my running again (P90x was my program! LOL) but - I only hope they are not a hinderence to their shipmates when they get where they are going.
Okay, I think I have vented enough. Sorry for the mispellings.. time to turnover my watch..
More to follow...