Basic Training: Week 7

May 19

Today I talked Durant and Briley (the booger guy... We ended up being friends after all) into going to the Islamic church with me. Some of the other girls from our bay were being so snotty about it. They said it was wrong of us to go. One girl said, "Do what you want then, but I worship Jesus Christ." She said it in such a way like she was better than us, it made me feel a little less proud of being a Christian myself.

For me,going to the Islamic service was a cultural and educational experience. It was really interesting. It wasn't a typical mosque service; since there's so many non-Muslims who attend, they let everyone ask questions and they answered them. I have a lot to think about. I think everyone should go so they understand Islam better.

To bug Eversmann, Durant and I are pretending we are converting to Islam since we liked it so much. She is so mad, she's not even speaking to us. I know it's a dumb joke, but Durant and I are dumb joke specialists. (Who else would call the drill sergeants on CQ during fireguard shift and fart into the walky talky?)

Today we got a phone call home. I didn't really want to call home but I needed to find out if anyone was coming to my graduation. I sort of was hoping no one is, because ... I dunno... My family doesn't really get the Army. I just want to keep them separate from my military life.

But my mom said she and basically my whole family is coming. When she said that, and I tried to picture them here, I had a feeling that I am opening up a whole new world to my family too-- not just myself. Something I'd never thought of before. In a way, they are becoming a military family now. And I think they will think it's pretty cool. (They don't even have to deal with any of the crappy parts I do.)

A classic military experience: Today the drill sergeants randomly told us to hurry up and get in line--this line for debit card, this line for cash. Everyone I asked had no idea what we were paying for or how much. When I tried to ask a drill sergeant, I got yelled at for talking. So we all just stood in these lines, went up to a lady and payed her $20.

Still don't know what that was for.

Then the drill sergeant told us we have our big EOC (End of Course) test this Wednesday. He said, "I'm not doing this thing again where everybody fails! So I'm giving you the answers. You better not mess up!" Then he read off a list of like 100 topics (not answers) and said, "You better not forget these!" We were in our PTs (no pockets) so of course no one had a paper or pen. The drill sergeant said, "I know we haven't really talked about any of these things..." (Most of them I've never even heard of.) "But you have until Wednesday to figure it out. That's plenty of time!"

The thing is, it's not just another game we're supposed to fail. It's a real graduation requirement graded by people outside this company, and you could tell the drill sergeant has no idea how to help us pass. S.O.S.

May 22

Our new cover/recover: "Heat cat 5-- Take us inside!" Even the drill sergeants did not make us change it, because I think they were hoping the commander would hear it and let us all go inside.

This morning was our final APFT. I scored 288, which is not 300. But that's okay. It is still the highest for females in our platoon.

Nobody got a 300, but some guys got higher than 288. Like Jollata. The drill sergeant put so much pressure on him to get 300 that he started hyperventilating during his test and burst into tears.

Not everybody's drill sergeant is as mean as ours. Ours is a special kind of jerk.

I ran my 2 miles in 13 minutes and 4 seconds. I wanted to record that since I'm probably at my physical peak and will never get that again. I got 86 sit-ups and 37 push-ups in 2 minutes.



The past two days we've just been studying for our EOC test. Today was the test. It was such a joke. The drill sergeants who came in to test us (it's a hands-on test, not written) marked us off on things they didn't even test us on. On the one hand, it was a relief. On the other, we're probably all gonna die in the field if we get deployed. I got passed off on operating a type of radio today that I still have yet to lay eyes on. If someone hands me one in an emergency and tells me to radio for help, I'll be like, "What even is this?"

Right now we are just in the bay "shaping our berets". For 2 hours. Where was all this free time at the beginning of the cycle? Now we have... dare I say it... too much!

I don't want to jinx us though. We have the Forge coming up and I'm sure we will have plenty to do for that.

I'm really scared for the Forge because it's a 30-mile ruck march and my back is hurting me. Our last 7-mile ruck was more than I could handle. My ruck is missing the belt, too, so all the weight rests on my upper back.

May 25

I just thought I should record this historical moment. It's 12:30 and the drill sergeant told us to go to our bays and cool off until 16:30. (The temp is over 100 today.) ... For those of you infantrymen who can't count, that is FOUR hours to cool off!

We have also been doing a lot of "shaping our berets" and "packing for the Forge" lately. (Really, falling asleep in creative places where we won't get caught.)

Jollata fell asleep in his locker... With the door shut. Everyone forgot about him when it was our hit time, so there was this big gaping hole in the front of our formation where he goes. Finally someone went up to find Jollata. They came flying down the stairs together. Not even fully dressed, Jollata was trying to zip up his blouse and put on his PC at the same time. It was so funny, I couldn't keep it together. He was barely even awake. The whole company just stared on in horror, knowing we were screwed.

Later:

The craziest part of all of it is I actually slept for the full 4 hours. I was expecting to take a 20-min. power nap, but 4 hours later... Was waking up. When you think about it, that's a full night's sleep (on fireguard duty days)! Just goes to show I actually haven't gotten less tired like I feel I have. Just more used to being tired.

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