Monday, May 28, 2012

Saturday, 28 MAY 88

1/3 of way to getting out. Didn't
get phone call privilege today. Almost
2 weeks since I called [fiance].
PT test today. Despite cold I did
43 push ups, 76 sit ups, and 2 miles in 14:43.
Amazed even myself. That passes Army
standards and I've still got 6 weeks
to go. I still have a roll around my
waist. I'd cut down on desserts but
I'm so hungry I like to grab everything
to eat. Hell, I ate peas today!
Prospect of two days basically off
is pretty good. Bugs are big here.
Guys still basically pretty cool. Only
a couple I don't like. Even one guy
who didn't seem to like me
appears to like me. Cool. I thought
he was OK from start--kept
treating him in friendly manner
w/o backing down. Can't wait
for BRM. Want to redeem my
poor score on that shitty firing point.
Sometimes it seems like such
bullshit. EX. Hand-to-hand combat
today. 1-1/2 hours of wasted time.
No way we'll get proficient to make
it more effective than using an
empty rifle or shovel. We just risked
injury in useless throws.
Great desire to be careful now physically.
Don't want to get recycled.
Sleep in to 5:00 tomorrow.
May get 6-1/2 hours sleep. Thinking
of going on sick call Wednesday. Road
march Wednesday. Knowing me, when
time comes I'll probably be stupid
and go on march despite back.
Feet better, still. Morale good.
Wish this was over, though. Glad I'm
not RA [regular Army]. Just found out we get
15 minutes on phones Sunday. 10 for [fiance].
5 for parents. Mental health note--
I seem to sing cadence to myself
a lot.

Only a third through. I had a calendar where I included--day by day--what percent of my time in basic training I had left.

I did well enough to pass standards easily. Given my sundry pains and injuries--and while fighting a cold, to boot--I think I was fairly shocked.

I am still shocked that I periodically mention how hungry I was or that food was sparse. My memory is that I ate plenty. But the primary document says otherwise. And three weeks into training, I was not buff like I was on some government-run fat camp. I'm still not. I bet Julia would be all buff, and stuff.

I remember the guy I'm talking about. A Mexican-American from Texas. For some reason he took an instant dislike of me and didn't hide it. Eventually he came around. He signed my "year book" and wrote I was "a cool dude." I never did learn why he disliked me or why he changed his mind. I suspect he figured I was just some well off, college-educated white guy. He was a cool dude, too.

I'll never forget him popping a hot pepper in his mouth, smiling, and eating it like it was a piece of Wonder Bread while I thought I'd been hit with tear gas doing the same thing.

I continued to focus on shooting and was confident I'd do well. But some training seemed pointless--like the hand-to-hand. After enduring the worst 3 weeks of training, the worry of being "recycled" and starting over loomed over everything we did. I remember convincing my sparring partner that neither of us wanted to risk that and so we went through the motions of the throws and moves without actually knocking each other down. I don't think either of us suffered for that scam.

To be fair, once at war our Army finally did teach enough hand-to-hand techniques to make it useful for deploying troops and even made a sport of it to encourage extra training on free time.

I was still debating going on sick call for my back pain, but suspected I'd keep putting it off. Doing so on the eve of a major exercise seemed like it would look bad.

And my morale was good despite it all. I also had the advantage of knowing that when I was done with basic training I'd go home while the regular Army people went straight to their advanced individual training.

It took years before I stopped singing cadence to myself while I walked around. I don't do that any more.