Saturday, August 1, 2009

"Whatcha Gonna Do PL?"

Hello again from Fort Sill. 4 weeks down and only three left, 10 days of which are actual training days. Never thought the words would escape my lips (or for those reading this, my fingertips) but I can't wait to get to Fort Benning. Just found out Friday that my friend Nick Runyon has found an apartment for us to move into which is exciting. What's not exciting is how much a bed costs as well as other housewares. Best part is that our place will be on post and across the street from the IOBC school house which allows us the luxury of not having to wake up at 0 dark thirty to get through gate traffic. Well onto training highlights.

This week I was given the job of platoon leader of 1st Platoon. While I wished to be a PL later in the course during the tactically intensive field portion, the job was still a welcome challenge. The first step was to plan PT for the PLT for the upcoming week. Luckily we only had three days of PT since Thursday and Friday were combatives days and because of that no PT would be scheduled in the morning. For Monday I planned an 8 exercise circuit where you did each exercise for a minute before moving to the next station. Tuesday was a 3 mile AGR and Wednesday was a 4 mile road march.

Monday would be mostly classroom instruction for the PLT. The first half of the day was medical classes but since I was a medic when I was enlisted I helped do a layout for the company commander in the motor pool. The afternoon was Convoy Operations classes to prepare for the next two days of convoy ops. Tuesday morning after the run I was given a map and about 30 minutes to plan the route and create a convoy OPORD to our training area. I was able to turn out a pretty decent plan and order thanks to USMA classes and we were off on trucks. Along the route though, the civilian driver told me that the turn I told him to make was wrong and we needed to go further on the road to reach it. Well lesson learned. I should have trusted my map, my plan, and my gut and told him to make the turn. Instead we wound up on a route completely different then what I briefed which was very bad even though we still got where we needed to go. After that it was time to let other LTs take over as PL for the rest of the day as we ran two separate missions.

Wednesday began with the road march which turned out to be about 4.5 miles. We finished in 1 hr 3 min meaning that I set about a 14:19 min/mile pace which is decently fast for road marching with a 40lbs ruck. After that it was time to write up a new convoy OPORD and head out. After some truck problems we left and this time I made sure to tell the driver when to turn and we got to our training area no problem. Once we unloaded we set up a security perimeter to include employing heavy machine guns before being told to move up a hill 100 meters to a better location. I put my platoon into squad columns and moved out and then reset security. It was the first time I was able to act as a PL in a tactical situation since my Junior year at USMA and I loved every minute of it. Sadly once we set in I had to let some else be PL for the rest of the missions that day.

Squad Column. Ref FM 3-21.8

Thursday and Friday was our classes on Modern Army Combatives. Since hand to hand fighting may be a necessity in close quarters combat (CQC) the Army has dictated all soldiers be familiarized with 20 hours of combatives instruction that includes different movements to get in dominant positions to inflict maximum damage as well as chokes and techniques to break bones. After learning the moves we then practiced, fighting each other for 3 minute rounds trying to make our opponent "tap out." The second day we fought against third platoon. I did pretty good over all, getting my opponent to "tap out" three out of five times. We all walked away completely smoked, bruised, and sore but having learned valuable skills given the current environment the Army operates in today.
After we ended Friday it was time for Steak Friday where I ate entirely too much. Today has been a day filled with Motrin and random errands as we prepare to go back to FOB Kelly for another week in the field beginning Monday. Next week is heavy weapons familiarization and two live fire events to include a squad live fire. Until then, ATW!


  1. I am really liking this steak Friday gig you got going! and the hand to hand combat seems pretty intense...congrats on 3 out of 5. No idea how you can do anything in that kind of heat! 110 degrees, is insane!! Are people passing out left and right from heat stroke? Congrats on the new apartment, when do you head over there?
    miss ya!

  2. p.s. i couldn't get my name to come up! lol

    its corinne! =)