Basic Training: Week 9

June 05

It's the first chance I've had to write in a while. They say the weeks before graduation are really chill, but this week has been crazy for me. Honestly, it's been harder than Red Phase. More work and less sleep. I'm like a zombie. A really emotional zombie.

At first it was a really good week, because we got to go to a concert celebrating Fort Jackson's birthday. Everyone got to go, even trainees in Red Phase. (Can you imagine?) There was PIZZA and CANDY, a live band, a drill team, and fireworks! Durant, Eversmann, Fales and I ended up jumping up and down near the front of the crowd near the stage with the live band. It's one of those times I'll never forget. For us, it was a graduation celebration. We watched the fireworks at the end of the night, in formation, and said, "I cant believe we made it." Everyone's spirits were high.

Then back to real life. Things got crazy. Eversmann, the two males, and I were constantly training for the battalion-wide competition. When it came time to do it, we did great. I think we actually won. But the command sergeant major seems to favor Bravo company. Bravo company has won every single competition this cycle, even when they really shouldn't have.

After all the events (radio transmissions, grenade launching, Individual Movement Techniques, Tactical Combat Casualty Care, manual arms, PT test, etc.), which we smoked the other companies at, the command sergeant major said he had one final surprise event that would be a tiebreaker. It was a dead lift and a bench press in the cadre's gym. I have never benched in my life!

Despite that, we somehow won that event. (My team picked up my slack.) But still, Bravo company won the competition overall. I understand that the Army isn't full of geniuses, but explain to me how the winner of a tiebreaker event does not win a competition! It doesn't make any sense.

I'm a little mad about that. But what I'm more mad about is that I haven't slept more than 3 hours at a time since before the Forge. We are on some weird fireguard punishment for something... I don't even know for what. Working on that amount of sleep for one or two days is doable, but when it's consistent for prolonged periods of time, it can really mess with your mental health. I've been depressed and downright exhausted all week. Surely doing PT all day only adds to the exhaustion.

We finally finished the competition we inexplicably lost (we seriously asked for scores or some sort of explanation, but got none) and I thought, "At least that's over." Then our senior drill sergeant sprung on us another competition, this time for the company instead of the battalion. He chose me and Eversmann as our platoon representatives.

The competition was hard. It was a relay race. We had to carry people around the track on a gurney, while carrying jugs full of water at the same time, do tire flips, push-ups, and pull-ups, and all these other things. It sucked because I was already so drained.

Then we lost that competition, too.

Every time I think about being on fireguard again tonight, I feel like I want to burst into tears. I just need some sleep.

Oh, also I've been spitting up blood for a few days. I don't have a cough and I don't feel sick, so who knows what that's about.

June 7

Part of our uniform here is a camel back hydration system. We go through gallons of water a day to stay hydrated. Sometimes we even add packets of salt to it for electrolytes.

There are these spigots outside the company where we fill up our camel backs. There used to be a sign by them that said not to drink the water, but the drill sergeants painted over it the first week. We have been using them ever since. There are no rules about it except that you "take a knee" when you're filling up.

Today we were serving hot aides for lunch outside the company, and somebody dropped a serving spoon on the ground. Durant and I went over to the water spigots to clean it off. Our senior drill sergeant stopped us and said, "Don't wash it off in that water! Are you crazy?!"

Durant and I looked at each other. She said slowly, "You know that's our drinking water..."

Senior drill sergeant looked embarrassed and said, "Yeah, I know, just... Don't wash the spoon in that water." He took the spoon from us and brushed it off. "See, it's fine. Go back to your chow duty."

A few minutes later, he was coming through to get his food from us. Durant and I made sure to serve him with the dirty spoon, which he preferred over a spoon washed in the spigot water. I'm not sure I want to drink the water anymore.......

 Oh well, I haven't died yet.

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