“my bags are packed, I’m ready to go
sitting here inside my room
oh yes, its great to say goodbye
for we’ve leaving on a jet plane
don’t know when we’ll be back again
Ft Benning, its great to go……
(with apologies to Peter, Paul and Mary)
Today saw just about the end of the training. And the briefings – seems like you turn around and there is another briefing.
After an entertaining few hours of PMI and instructional materials set to make sure that you can safely take apart a 9mm, trouble shoot potential malfunctions and clean the thing – we headed to the range.
This was my first (and second and third) experience with pop-up targets. Never mind the range was superbly run, all the firing was from the standing position. Standard is to hit 16 of the 30 targets, each group within the allotted time. Whether or not there were supposed to be time limits on the paper target ranges – I never experienced them. What I did find is that crouching, kneeling and prone were all fine and dandy firing positions with me doing well in any situation where I could brace or prop a weapon. The full weight of the weapon in the standing position means that I have muscular fatigue to the point of tremors by 20 rounds.
As you probably guessed, fatigue = not hitting targets. Not qualifying earns a chance to try it again (with even worse results). I will say that the coaches were great and extremely helpful. Especially once they figured out that 1) I wanted to qualify 2) it was not a matter of bad habits or not listening to them but actual physical inability to hold up the weapon/keeping it steady enough to aim. (one of the sergeants loaded my magazines for me after understanding that I simply did not have the hand strength to manage).
The good thing was that I was not the only one who recycled through. and that they exempted the health care providers from having to play with the M16s The down side is that it took hours before the muscle fasciculations went away.
What I can’t figure out is how I managed to accumulate stuff while I was here and actually have it take more than 5 minutes to pack out.
Actually, I suppose I can. It has something to do with signing for gear from CIF. Trying to cram two 1/2 duffle bags of gear plus a set of PTs into two duffles so that I have fewer bags to drag and bits of this, that, and the other on the floor. I actually had less for my backpack until I went hunting for a couple of extra books (just in case).
We draw weapons right after breakfast and load gear. After that – we will be banished to the flight line till whenever we leave. Means that I will be off-line till whenever we land in Kuwait and I manage to get to email. Times and numbers are never released in troop movements – not that anyone cares when we leave here except for the inbound people who might like our beds. But who is arriving in theater and when is not open source. .
Have a safe journey – remember how proud we are of you. Take care and keep your head down (Yes even in Bagram…)