Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Long Days Continue
Another really long day. Unlike the 5:30 am wakeup call on Monday, we got to sleep in until 5:40 am today! Of course, the day ended up just as long, since we weren't quite done until 8:40pm. Very unlike Monday, however, we really did accomplish a lot today. In the morning we got issued our weapons (both an M-9 9mm pistol and M-16 rifle) and learned a lot of safety rules, and about the fact that starting then, we would be in what they call "weapons immersion". Essentially we're going to be carrying our weapons (and wearing full body armor) around everywhere we go for the rest of the training. That, of course, started immediately after lunch, and we spent the afternoon learning lots of shooting stances and how annoying it is when your equipment knocks your helmet down over your eyes when you're trying to shoot. Although I learned many practical things about my weapon, I think what I learned most was how one can start growing used to wearing 30-50 pounds of stuff. As the afternoon wore on, it was less noticeable. Until my shoulders really started hurting near the end. But I'm not alone; everyone is making the same comments. PT (Physical Training) this morning wasn't that bad. I managed to keep up and not look as out of shape as I am, although they've promised things will get harder and faster in future days. I do hope they break up the groups between the hard-charging runners (who were complaining they didn't even get a cardio workout) and us old folks who were huffing and puffing afterwards. The days promise to be just as long the rest of the week: the main reason being that they're cramming a lot into the Monday to Friday schedule in order to give us the weekend off for Easter. (Actually, since most of us are thousands of miles from our families, it's really to give themselves the weekend off!) At the current pace of things, I'll really need two days to recuperate! All in all, though, I've still got a smile on my face, which is amazing considering the surreal feel of marching around with a rifle and an Army drill sergeant counting out a cadence about being an Airborne Ranger. This is certainly something I never would have ever expected to be doing. I'm looking forward to the day that I can call it something I never expected to have done.