D-298: Fort JacksonI wrote the above on Sunday, after our first day of training, and haven't had time to come back to it until now. I can't really remember where I was going with it, so I am abandoning it.
We arrived at Columbia airport yesterday after a grueling cross country flight that began at 7:00am - which meant that after a night of drinking Johnny Walker with my buddy Greg, I had to wake up at 3:45 to get to the airport on time. The flight was uneventful with a short stop at O'Hare, and we took a taxi van to the McCrady Training Center at Fort Jackson.
Today we started some meetings at 1:00PM, which were boring and covered mostly common sense items. My uniforms still aren't in, all with most of the rest of the RFF-611 folks from Port Hueneme, so they just gave me a loaner pair of standard Navy PT gear to wear around until my stuff gets in.
The open bay berthing is not that bad, the beds and lockers are all new and it's got good wireless access, so I will still be able to deliver blogging gold to my throngs of adoring fans.
Army training isn't bad, we've been issued out individual body armor (IBA) which is just an amazing pain in the ass to get around in. The vest and helmet weigh in at about 50 lbs, and I have an M-4 and an M-9 that I have to carry everywhere and care for meticulously. So, that is going to take some getting used to; I think the main point of this training is to learn how to handle all that shit safely. Everything else is just "Army appreciation," they want us to learn to understand Army culture. Army culture is totally stupid.
Truthfully, our Army drill instructors are pretty cool, unfortunately it's the Navy chiefs who are pissing everyone off and making life fucking miserable. They put the senior enlisted in charge of the student platoons, probably because the enlisted drill sergeants believe them to be easier to deal with than officers. Nine times out of ten, this is probably true, and it is true in 3 out of the 4 training platoons in my company. However, my company is run by an idiot Senior Chief who has no clue what he's talking about most of the time and wants to have a bunch of meetings, which is infuriating because it cuts in to our very limited liberty time.
There are really a lot of IAs here. I would guess about 250. There are two companies; each with four platoons of 40 people, ranging from E-3 to O-6. Everyone is mixed into the companies and is basically given the status of "student," to avoid any issues of rank.
Day 1 was just an intro, day 2 we were issued 3 seabags full of crap, from the aforementioned IBA to canteens, sleeping bags, and bug spray. I don't know how on earth I am going to drag this shit all over the world. I am guessing that I'll never use at least one full seabags worth. There are some cool items that we can keep, like sunglasses and silk thermal underwear. I have four army ACUs, rain gear, cold weather gear, and virtually every other thing that has ever been made in a camouflaged pattern.
Bottom line: So far, this is not so bad. The food's okay and guns are fun.