Sunday, August 9, 2009

"Like a Mouse On Crack"

Another week down and only two more remain before BOLC II comes to a close. This upcoming week is our capstone week as we run 24 hour operations all week and then we out process and get on our ways going to our branch specific courses. Nick Runyon called Friday from our house on Fort Benning to let me know that the place was ours. I can't wait to get down there because barracks living is not a bowl of fun and I've seen enough of Oklahoma to last me for a long time.

Anyway, week five saw B Company heading back out to FOB Kelly for the week. PT this week was light as we did an AGR on Monday and then two "motivational runs" (when we run slow and sing songs) on Tuesday and Friday. Monday's major task was to learn about and fire a variety of weapons the US Army has in it's inventory. The weapons we fired were the M2 .50 Caliber Machine Gun (MG), which has been around since World War II, the MK 19 grenade launcher, which is an MG that fire 40mm grenades rather than bullets, the M240-B MG, which fires a 7.62 round, the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) and the M203 Grenade Launcher, which is a single shot launcher connected to the bottom of an M4 Rifle. While this sounds cool, we didn't have alot of rounds to play with so time on each weapon was short.

Tuesday we did buddy team live fire. For this exercise, a pair of soldiers moves down a 100m lane, bounding to different pieces of cover while their buddy engages targets in order to cover the other guy's movement. Before using live rounds, each team had to run the lane with no ammo and then with blank ammo so we had to run the lane a total of three times in full kit. Luckily there was a strong wind that day so it wasn't unbearable. When the time came to go live I was partnered with LT Joe Paolini, a West Point football player, and we took off down the lane low crawling and rolling in the dirt from position to position. We only had 30 rounds split in two magazines for the lane but along the way when I was crawling one of the mags fell out of my pouch. When the time came to reload I reached down to my pouch and saw that the mag wasn't there. After letting out a string of words that cannot be printed on this page I started to bound back to the start point to look for my missing magazine. I was already halfway down the lane when I had to reload so there was a good amount of distance to cover. I ran as hard as I could in all my gear, dropping and crawling where necessary until I got my mag back and then turned around and worked my way forward again. Running back and forth like that I looked like running a maze like a mouse on crack. I finally made my way forward and completed the lane.

Wednesday was squad live fire and like the day before we would have to do the lane a total of three times. I volunteered to take point and be the guy all the way out front which would mean I would get to engage the first target along the route we would be approaching our overall objective on. The first two iterations went well so we were cleared as a squad to use live rounds. When the time came lock and load I chambered my live round and then heard everyone behind me do the same. It was then that it clicked that there are 11 other people walking directly behind me with loaded weapons. I definitely had a moment of reflection of whether or not being all the way up front was worth it, decided it was in fact worth it and then started walking with the rest of the squad behind me. Half way through the walk a single target popped up and I engaged the target with two rounds making it fall back down. From there we moved a little bit farther forward and crawled into our support by fire and assault positions and began the actual actions on the objective, pretty much mirroring the actions of the buddy team live fire but on a much larger scale.

The rest of the week was classes and rest time. A couple of friends and myself went to OKC again this weekend and it was a good time. It was probably the last time I'll be in OKC since next weekend will be packing for the move to Georgia. Should have some good stories after this week. Until then, ATW!

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