Saturday, July 18, 2009

"It Was So Hot Outside You Could Fry an Egg"

Those lyrics from the Dave Matthews Band's song "Stay" pretty much summed up week two at the not so tropical oasis know as Fort Sill. It was also the week where I was placed into my first graded leadership position, acting as the Squad Leader (SL) for 4th Squad. Temperatures ran around 110 degrees at the height of the day, although we were granted a reprieve Thursday when the thermometer clocked in at 99 thanks to thick clouds and a brewing thunder storm. Monday started off calm enough with a crossfit WOD for PT that included 1mile sprints and healthy helping of push ups, sit ups, and the burpee. After the workout, I talked with the squad about coming up with a cool name for ourselves. Since we were arranged alphabetically 4th Squad was always the last to do things, receive things, and first to be picked for crappy details such as loading trucks and setting up sites we settled on "Bastards" as our squad moniker. The rest of the day consisted of CATC shooting instruction in preparation for the ranges we had over the course of the week. Tuesday began with an AGR (Ability Group Run) where the platoon was broken down into three groups by 2 mile time and then taken on a four mile run at a fast pace to improve our running. I was is in the middle group, which wasn't awful but it wasn't a picnic either. We hit the range later that day and zeroed our M68s before heading back in.

Wednesday however was no walk in the park. In fact in my seven years in the military I have never had a worse day of training. The day started with circuits of pull ups, push ups, sit ups, and dips before we headed out to the range. It was 1st Platoon's day to run the range and the Officer in Charge (OIC) was none other than myself. Luckily I had the opportunity to set up and run similar ranges back at the USMA so I was no where near being lost in the proverbial sauce. The range consisted of 25 meter, 100 meter, and 200 meter shooting in order to dial in our M68s to be even more exact. We shot 10 round interations, walking down and back from our targets to see where our rounds were hitting. Sounds ok but this was also the hottest day of the year so far, reaching 110, and we were in full gear to include helmets and 20lbs Interceptor Body Armor (IBA). To make things even better, the range was nothing more than a flat expanse of scorched grass with no trees or anything else that could be used for shade. Water in our canteens and Camelbaks became to hot to drink and our weapons were heated up so much that many of us to include myself burned our noses and cheeks while trying to aim. The day defined the term "gut check" and gave us all a new baseline level of suck to compare all other training to.

Wednesday's range location. Photo by 2LT Ashley Rowland

Thursday was a recover day and range qualification. The standard to qualify with the M4 Rifle is 23/40 targets from various shooting positions such as laying down or kneeling. The targets pop up at various distances ranging from 50 meters to 300 meters with two targets popping up at the same time as the qualification goes on. I shot a wicked 24 on my first try but knew what corrections were needed to better on my next set. We are issued 3 magazines for qualification, one 20 round mag and two 10 round magazines. The first shooting position requires the 20 round magazine. So on my second try I was shooting much better and hit the first 10 targets that popped up. On the 11th target, "click." I was given three 10 round magazines meaning I only had 30 rounds for 40 targets! After doing a quick reload I continued engaging targets ending up with a final score of 25. I was glad that my score was statistically better than my first round having hit 25/30 targets but upset nonetheless that I was shorted 10 rounds.

Friday began with a 4 mile road march with a 35lbs ruck, although I was carrying a radio in mine plus some extra weight to help prepare for IOBC. The rest of the day was a class on moving under fire and then weapons cleaning and turn in followed by all of my friends and I heading out to the Old Plantation Inn for steak Friday. Today started with two episodes of Band Of Brothers before heading out to do a WOD with some other Infantry Officers. We are about to head out to OK City for some minor league baseball. Next week holds more shooting and land navigation so there will be plenty to talk about come next Saturday's post. Until then, All The Way!

No comments:

Post a Comment