Sunday, October 4, 2009

Thayer Week

Thayer Statue at West Point.
Back at the USMA there are weeks known as "Thayer Weeks." These weeks are academic nightmares where everyday there is a major test, project, or paper due. They are stressful, tiring, and require a vast quantity of Red Bull to get through. I though Thayer Weeks were done but I was wrong. This past week was the Infantry School's version of a Thayer Week. The week started with a test at 0600. It was the first part of our two part test on combatives. For the first test we paired up and had to execute a few of the myriad of moves we had learned over the past five weeks. But execution is not enough, you need to talk through each move step by step as if you were teaching it to someone who has never done this before. Some moves only had five points to talk about but some others had up to fifteen. Not exactly a test that is easy to study for. We all passed and moved onto Building Snore for the first block of classes we would have over this week. No field, no weapons, no gear just Powerpoint. Lots of Powerpoint.
Monday's classes were on radios and included the different types the Army uses, how to use them, and how to set them up. The afternoon was a class on the FBCB-2 (don't know what that stands for). Its a cool computer that can be put in a HMMWV (humvee) and can act like a GPS, an instant messenger, and do a host of other cool stuff. Tuesday was part two of the combatives test. Starting at 0545 we began the Clinch Drill test. This test consists of being repeatedly punched in the face as you attempt to "close the distance" and control the puncher's arms by applying a clinch. You get to do this four times before you pass. At the end of the drill we were Level One Certified in combatives. Tuesday was classes on more radios and then engineering operations. Wednesday was regular PT and more Powerpoint, this time on Chemical Operations (to include Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical weapons threats) and was followed with a class on supply. Thursday was stretching to prepare for the PT test on Friday and classes on the Law of War and Close Air Support.
Friday held our final two tests of the week. The morning was the Ranger Physical Fitness Test (RPFT). Unlike the normal APFT we take, the RPFT has a five mile run instead of a 2 mile run and you have to do chinups after the run. The test needs to be past before you can enter Ranger School. So at 0445 we started doing pushups, situps, and the run. After passing the RPFT, it was time for the big test of the week, the CATD Exam. The exam is eighty questions long with a two hour time limit and covered all of the classes of week four (machine guns and fires) and all the classes of this week. Once the test was over it was time for POETS (Piss Off Early, Tomorrow's Saturday) and we began the weekend.
Not an exciting week but this coming week should be. We have a full week in the field doing squad tactics, another land nav test, and a 10 mile road march into the three day weekend. Good times. Until then, ATW!

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