Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hurry up and wait. Again.

It's been a long day. It started at 5:30 am with breakfast, followed by a 6:00am meeting. At first it seemed like it was going to be an efficient morning, as we rode by bus to the main base at Fort Jackson for our initial uniform issue. We got there about 8:00am. A sign on the wall there said "You are about to become the best dressed soldiers in the world." There were lots of new Army recruits milling around with frightened looks on their faces -- the drill sergeants told us it was day two for them. Uniforms in hand, we boarded the bus again for a short ride to another issue point, arriving about 10 am and getting lots of equipment we'll need, and lots of it that we won't. But it's a "one size fits all" issue point, so like it or not, we've got it. At about 11am we arrived at the last point, where we would get the "RFI" equipment. That stands for Rapid Fielding Initiative... it's all the latest and greatest stuff that the government is buying for soldiers. Unfortunately, this particular crowd was behind; they got even further behind when they took a lunch break (we ended up with boxed lunches) and it was about 2:30pm by the time we finally got in to get our equipment. And all the 3 hours we were waiting were outside in the sun. Needless to say, despite efforts to stay in the shade, I'm sunburned (especially on the top of my hair-challenged head). We finally got back to our base at about 5pm, the beginning of the dinner hours. But rather than let us eat, we ended up going to a class to learn how to put together our "T-50" gear. That's the body armor and other attachments. While it was interesting learning how everything works, we ended up doing that stuff until 6:30, when they allowed us a quick break for chow (it would close at 7). They were out of many of the food choices by the time I got there. Bummer. After eating, we went back to finish learning about our equipment and putting things together, and finally at about 8:30pm I got some time to myself. I checked email, I'm making this post, and I'm going to make a quick call home, but then this tired soldier sailor is going to crash. PT starts at 5:30 tomorrow!

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