A Minor Rant About a Minor Injury

So, I've discovered I really like to rant. That was one of the reasons why I started a blog in the first place, it was a public area where I could just say what I wanted to and anybody who wished to read it could read it, and if they didn't want to read it, so what?

I just got off of a profile, and in my military career I've only been on a profile a handful of times, once I was ordered to go to sick call by my drill sergeants after smashing my face against the carrying handle of my M16 and started bleeding everywhere. Thus was my no Camouflage profile which was the only profile I held during Basic.

I didn't really want to go on profile this time, but I was having a strange pain in my back that really only bothered me when I tried to march or run. I wanted to suck it up and drive on as I thought it would go away but after a day and a half I decided I needed to get it looked at to make sure it wasn't anything to serious. Or if it wasn't, that it wouldn't develop into something more serious.

Turns out its a pinched nerve, the sciatic nerve going into my right hip. Its actually something I can handle, but they put me on a run/march/jump at your own pace profile just so I can rest it and get it back up. So I've been taking advantage of this and walking when I can and avoiding running when I can.

The problem is, my profile says seven days, and technically I'm not supposed to be on profile for longer then 72 hours or I risk being kicked out of the school, even though this does not hinder my ability to do the training, I just avoid running for a couple of days, thats all. But because it says 7 days, I have to tear up the profile and pretend it doesn't exist. So I guess that's what I'm going to do.

I think the army has this mentality of toughness to suck it up if you are hurt and just keep driving on. While that's ok for the most part, especially if you know its just a bruise or a minor injury, it's also ok to check something out if you need to, your body uses pain as a way of telling you that something is wrong. So I went to sick call and checked out my back to make sure it was nothing serious, and to get it documented just in case it was and it turns out it isn't a big deal. But now I feel like I'm being told that I'm dogshit by my Senior Drill Sergeant because I didn't just suck it up and take it, instead getting a profile.

I don't know much about the sciatic nerve or the injury I got, but I was told that if I didn't rest it that it could get worse so I took advantage of the last couple of days and rested myself as much as I could. So sue me, if I don't feel better by Monday, then I'll suck it up then. I didn't miss any training to utilize sick call, I made sure training was done for the day before I asked to go.

More went into this issue with this little chat I had with the Senior, with which I won't discuss here, but we'll say I didn't gain any more respect for the person because of it.


Why Haven't the Bush Twins Enlisted?

Ok, in the Blame Bush category, everybody harps on how Bush is this major war hawk and how he went into Iraq under false pretenses and is over stretching the army and all of this mumbo jumbo and then they claim that they need to inact the draft starting with the Bush twins, as if Bush is so eager to go to War, he should send his daughters there first.

Ok, this logic is kind of twisted in several ways. For one, it is somewhat impractical for Jenna or Barbara to enlist. Furthermore, you know how many women enlist in the army in the first place? Not very many. In a country of 300 million people, there is something like 1.5 million people serving in our armed forces at any given time(that number may or may not be correct, but there abouts, bare with me). I think the demographic of women to men is that 15% of the military is female (again, an estimate, bare with me). If they inact the draft, they aren't going to draft women right away because women are barred from the combat arms and that's what they are primarily going to be drafting for most likely if they need a draft. Yes, they will need to fill other positions in the service support branches, but the first target is males.

Regardless, back to the original statement, a very small percentage of women in the US are even in the military. True, there are many who have served at some point and have gotten out but even with those into consideration, so giving a very liberal estimation, we'll say that 5% of American women have served in the US Military at some point in their lives. My point? So what if Jenna and Barbara Bush haven't joined the military to serve their country? There are a lot of people who haven't. It doesn't make them any more or less American. Everybody who gives me the BS statement that if you support the war, why aren't you or your kids serving in the military and fighting it? Well, there are a lot of Americans in this country, some support the war and some don't. But going back to the small percentage of Americans who are actually in the military, it stands to reason that some people who support the war have a family member serving and others do not.

Guess what? The Army is not for everybody. There are plenty of people out there that have no business being in the military because their personality or issues they may or may not have are incompatible with it. Maybe they are just scared of being shot at. Joining the Army is not a small matter, it takes a special kind of person to gather that much courage to think about enlisting, and yes, there are people out there who join the army because they don't know what else to do. It doesn't make them any less of a person and they can become better for it.

And besides, if Jenna and Barbara Bush did join the army, can you think of the secret service mess that would cause? Would it even be logical for them to join? Specifically enlist? I mean, seriously, how many children of Presidents enlisted in times of war? I could see them possibly becoming officers if the desire struck them to do that instead, but really. . .

Using this argument against Bush is actually kind of dumb. I wish people would stop muttering about how hypocritical he was for sending our men and women of the armed forces to war when he doesn't have his own daughters serving.

I can just imagine the nightmare that would be for the Drill Sergeants who would have to train them if they did decide to do such a thing.

Case in point, shut up about it already. Its not a big deal that the Bush Twins have never served in the military. Members of the Bush family have served in the past and I bet their might be a cousin or another relative serving now.

*yes, a rant, saw some special on one of the cable news networks interviewing Jenna on why she hadn't enlisted yet and I thought it was ridiculous.*


Running and an Update on Army Life

I'm quite pleased with myself, though truthfully when I first came here I was hoping to do better, but there is only so much you can expect from yourself.

I came here with far from stellar PT scores on my Army Physical Fitness Test. In fact, I came to this school on a Failed Run. So I have had to work my butt off to get back into shape so that I could do ok when I got here.

So I ran my ass off before coming to this school, every day before I left I ran at least one mile, sometimes sprinting sections of it, taking a quarter mile and trying to get it to as close to two minutes as I could get (easy the first time, harder as I did it more and more) so that when I got to school, I had shaved two minutes off my run time in two weeks.

I was pumped about that, and then the second phase was shaving more time off so that I would get in the 90s in each event.

I'll be honest, the PT here isn't entirely difficult and I don't feel like its pushing me, but I do see a lot of improvement. I'm 3 pushups away from my 90, i'm two situps away from 100, and if I can shave 16 seconds off my run time for another 90, I'll be eligable for commandants list when I got to BNCOC. Commandants list was a goal of mine here too, but my performance hasn't been satisfactory considering I am very inexperienced for the caliber of soldiers that are here (but I'm not the worst off by any means). I wanted to get 90 in each event while I was here, but I'm not upset, far from it, I was pumped to get the scores I did as it shows how much I have improved physically since I have been here.

Now I need to maintain my physical fitness, which will probably mean doing PT with the Privates when I hit the trail in October. Maintaining my physical fitness level will probably be the toughest thing to do once I get back home but my health is worth it. It will be a great snowboarding season, I feel like I'm in the best shape I've been in in a long time.

Run Times for the two Mile

AUG 4 - 20:26 (yikes!)
AUG 17 - 18:20
SEP 7 - 17:59
SEP 24 - 16:52 (best runtime I've had in years!)

My goal is to get that runtime under 16 minutes, which is doable if I keep at it. If I do time on the trail, I have learned that there are opportunities to go to schools that I have always wanted to attend (like Airborne). I will not volunteer for that school unless I know I can handle the run and if my run is under 16 minutes, I know I can do it. Next year might be a crazy year for me if I end up doing this full time. It's still a maybe, barring other opportunities prevent me from volunteering to train soldiers as a full time job, but if I'm motivated and feel like I know what I'm doing and have a desire to be there, I know I can do it.

Once upon a time when I joined the army, I had this deep motivation to get as much crap on my uniform as possible, I wanted to be a drill sergeant, I wanted to have a huge stack with Airborne and Air Assault and all of those gung-ho schools and everything. I think I suffer from Combat Patch envy, and knowing that I probably won't have one is kind of a bummer especially with a school such as this, but now that I'm here, as long as I can stay motivated, these last three weeks should be a breeze. It will be tough, and I'll probably get the snot kicked out of me during combatives, but I'm ready for it!


So. . .

So, I'm still hanging in here. Things are going smoothly on some days, and others I have the intense desire to do bodily harm on some of the people surrounding me. But I have contained my destructive urges and have endured the school for the most part. But I do understand now why Drill Sergeants are so angry all of the time. This school doesn't help matters.

So, a few things have happened since I last blogged, and actually since before then. If all goes well and I get my hat (which it is a 99% chance I get it unless I completely screw up and get a DUI or something dumb like that) I will be hitting the trail right away for at least two weeks, option to extend longer if I want to once I'm there, and I think I'll take them up on that as any experience I get on the trail will make me better at this job as that's what I really need, experience.

Funny thing happened to me today. I ran into somebody at church today who had read my blog from apparently my 'Not Sorry' days. Good thing I was in church clothes because if I had been in uniform I would have dropped him :P.

Ok, probably not, but if I get any privates in my company who mention anything about knowing my internet persona, I think I will drop them.


So, I found Heroes S1 in my possession and watched it this weekend (I had a little free time) and I'm hooked.

I knew this would happen, it was bound to happen, it looked like a tv series that I would get hooked on and indeed I did.

Season 2 premiers tomorrow. Not sure if I will watch it or not but I can attest that this is one tv series that is very addictive. Highly recommended, unless you don't have time like myself to be watching a tv series, and therefore, if that is the case, stay FAR AWAY!

If I have time tomorrow after work and I'm not overwhelmed with other things, I think I might try to catch it. Otherwise, well, I might just wait until season 2 comes out on dvd sometime next year.


What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

Somebody showed this to me and I looked into it and this is what popped out. Hmm. I think I need to take it again because I have a tendency to be somewhat vague with my answers.

Since I'm constantly wondering to myself what should I do with my life, I found it to be beneficial information.

1. Go to http://www.careercruising.com/.
2. Put in Username: nycareers, Password: landmark.
3. Take their "Career Matchmaker" questions.
4. Post the top twenty results (in order).

Number 40 was Infantry. I find that amusing.

1.Horse Trainer
6.Website Designer
7.ESL Teacher
8.Foreign Language Instructor
9.Desktop Publisher
10.Animal Trainer
11.Animal Caretaker
12.Shipping and Receiving Clerk
13.Music Teacher / Instructor
14.Industrial Designer
15.Computer Trainer
16.Corporate Trainer
18.Cartoonist / Comic Illustrator
20.Interior Designer

Horse Trainer was the number one pick, which is interesting because when I was a girl of 12 and a complete horse nut, that's what I wanted to do. Obviously I love animals and everything. Art Teacher didn't come up, but Music Teacher did, considering my musical skills are limited this was amusing to me.

I should take it again in a few days, see if something else comes up.

See if I can't get Drill Sergeant in there.


Strengths and Weaknesses

So, how am I doing?

As you can see, I've kind of toned down my blogging, mostly because I've been busy. And I'm doing a lot better. I had a bad week in there, unfortunately it was the week I was rated for Leadership and so I got bad marks on my Leadership skills, probably partly due to the fact that I let my bad mood get in the way.

You live and learn. I know I'm weak on Leadership, its hard when you haven't had consistent leadership in the past. But it is an area I'm aware I'm weak in so that means I can work on improving in that area. In fact, this school is highlighting a lot of my weak areas, which unfortunately are standing out more so then my strengths, because I have the mentality of a Specialist in a lot of ways and haven't had a lot of Joes to take care of, and in this school, its not a mentality I should have. I have to get into that Sergeant mode. I know I have it in me, I just have to get immersed in it, and I'll have a lot of time to do just that.

So Saturday is roughly the halfway point (I may have mentioned last week that it was the halfway point then but I was wrong, grr) and the Drills have lightened up and now things are going a lot smoother. Now that I look back and recall Basic, my first few weeks there were no walk in the park too, and I think it was for a lot of the same reasons, basically because of the type of personality I have and the person I am. I am very motivated when I'm doing something I enjoy and now that we are getting into the hands on stuff, I'm enjoying myself. This is a hard job, I can see that I can't get into my lazy moments if I want to do this (and I have plenty of those) but I can also see the rewarding factors with it as well. I think once I get out on the trail, if I have battle buddies on the trail with me worth their weight, I can have a really satisfying experience out there on the trail.

I just need to work on leadership, teamwork and delegation. And a few other things.

I need to update my Milblog, I've been so busy and my schedules been so crazy I haven't been able to touch it.


Alright, I have a confession to make.

I read Perez Hilton

What got me started on Perez Hilton was the whole Britney Spears shaving her head debacle. I found this gossip website that is no holds barred and I was all "dude, this guy is funny!" It didn't help matters when they made me Magazine Girl at my work and I kept pretty current on all the gossip rags there too. I couldn't resist, my life was far from extremely exciting at the time and some of this stuff is stranger then fiction!

Case in point, Britney Spears. Lindsay Lohan is another interesting cookie that I admit when she first came out as a child actor in Parent Trap I really liked. I don't like her much more, though I've never really liked Britney Spears but these people dig their own graves.

So, I guess the question is, why does society get caught up in the lives of spoiled and pampered super celebrities that are in the middle of career suicide? Why don't we get concerned with the important events of today like War and Poverty and Hunger and Disease and all of these issues that affect millions of people and become more aware of what is happening in Government, etc etc? Really, people are always harping on those that follow gossip rags about how they don't know anything about what's going on in the world other then the fact that Britney went out without underwear again.

To tell you the honest truth, I personally don't see a problem with getting caught up in the gossip. Why? Because it is something to do! Yes, it is important to stay in tune to current events but the problem with war and hunger and all of those things is that the only way to bring people's attention back to it is to shock them with it, and you can only shock a person so many times with this stuff until they move on to something else. People in general have a short attention span, you can only go on about a subject for so long before they grow tired and look towards something else to catch their attention. The War was big in a lot of people's minds back in 2001 and 2002, but as it drags on, news of what is happening over in the sandbox becomes routine for society that when they see it on the cover of their newspaper, they shrug their shoulders and turn the page to see what else is going on. It's sad, but the fact remains, people are going to be drawn to news that is fresh and different then the same old routine unless you can change it up a bit. People don't get appalled when you spout of statistics about the AIDS Epidemic in Africa because its been harped about for years that it doesn't catch interest anymore, even if it is important.

No, what they want is to be entertained, and unfortunately, the people who entertain is people like Britney Spears and her mess of a personal life. I'm sure she loves the attention, why else would she make such a spectacle of herself?

As long as they are entertaining, yes, I'll keep reading the gossip rags and websites like Perez Hilton.


What Makes a Drill Sergeant?

So, what makes a Real Drill Sergeant?

I don't know, but as long as I go through the freakin' active duty school and get my hat and badge, I guess that will officially make me a Drill Sergeant, until I do something stupid like sleep with a private or trainee abuse and get it taken away. Which I don't intend to do.

Now granted, I doubt I'll be winning any drill sergeant of the cycle awards or anything like that, as I'm far from a subject matter expert on all things military, but I can learn, and if I'm motivated, I can do the right thing.

I can get into a pessimistic attitude, but the only thing I have to remember is this is a game and when it's all said and done, I'll have a hat and badge and will hopefully be competent enough to train soldiers on how to fight a war. I can bring the mean on if I need to. I know deep down I can do this job. And if I do it, I'll probably be doing it for the next five years.

And there are all sorts of drill sergeants in the army. There are some outstanding ones and there are some lackluster ones and there are some that have no business training privates. The army says they need to fill a slot so there they are.

There are a few soldiers in this school that I can't picture being Drill Sergeants. And there are others that are going to make outstanding Drill Sergeants. I should have come to this school more prepared then I was but now that I'm here, I'm going to try to push myself and be a better NCO because of it. I already know this school is going to make me a better NCO, and I want that hat and badge.

So upon graduation, I may not be the best Drill Sergeant this army has to offer, but with time and hard work, I intend to at least be a good one.

One Day at a Time

So, that's my new motto. Just take it one day at a time.

We're out of the classroom and doing more field work, and I admit that in basic training my weak area was the class room, because I was prone to the zzz monster there. Here I've gained enough discipline not to conk out into a full blown coma every day so now that we're out of the classroom, well, we're doing ranges now. Ranges is what I like, heck, this is why I wanted to become a drill sergeant.

Yesterday was a not so good day, and I was frustrated with myself and just grumpy and overall not a happy ball of sunshine. I've noticed that PT in the mornings generally start the mood off right. If I stay out of the drill sergeant's radar for pt, I usually do ok. Often times, even if I think I'm doing the right thing, and I get yelled at, it just puts me in a freakin' grump fest for the rest of the day. Like yesterday.

Today was different. One, well, PT went nice and smoothly. And two, bayonet.

The bayonet course is one of those things in the army that they really don't use anymore. I mean seriously, can you imagine soldiers fixing bayonets and fighting with them in Iraq? If you have to fix bayonets, then you're screwed. The whole reason for the bayonet course in basic is to motivate soldiers, because it's an army thing and it's fun!

The Bayonet course was one of my favorite things about basic training initially, and its partly the mood of the course, where you yell 'kill' at random and growl, hiss, spit and make menacing gestures to your opponent (another soldier or a figure made out of old tires). Its a course that is purely about motivation.

When you go through these courses as a Drill Sergeant rather then a private, I notice they go a lot faster though.

Anyway, for the next couple weeks I'll probably be saying 'kill' at random moments. I let off a lot of steam and just felt good after ramming a bayonet into a tire a few dozen times while screaming myself hoarse. One of the drill sergeants got a picture of me in full bayonet i wanna kill somebody mode and I kind of want to get a copy of that picture (or pictures, depending on how many she took) but it was a freakin' fun course! One of those things that gets you motivated to be a drill sergeant again and to do this job.

So I'm motivated again. And I'm just going to focus on this one day at a time. Some days are going to be awesome, other days are just going to suck. Fortunately, we have maybe five more days in the class room before the end of the class so I just have to behave myself, say 'yes drill sergeant' and 'no drill sergeant' and all questions that are asked of me that are not able to be answered by a simple yes or no are purely rhetorical and therefore I just need to remain silent. (unless they genuinely want an answer)

We are getting to mingle more and more with the privates. The privates are kind of fun, in a panicky snap to parade rest because they have a deep fear of you sort of way.


Still Training

I've run into a problem while I've been here at Fort Leonard Wood.

I've got a double whammy going against me. I'm female, and I'm a reservist.

Now, normally, I wouldn't want to use that as an excuse, but it is my own lame excuse for how I'm feeling right now. Females are automatically treated differently in this environment, and because females are the weaker sex and have to prove themselves in a male dominated environment like this. Now if I was an active duty soldier, I don't think this would be such an issue, because I would be more used to it and I could buck it up and do what I have to do.

But I'm not. I'm a reservist. Meaning I play this game one weekend a month. And when I'm not going to the drill hall playing soldier, I work a part time job at a retail gig and I go to school full time. I have a life (yeah, a lame one, but one none the less) outside of the army. I'm an independent thinker. I have to know what's going on and why. And often times, especially from being screwed over by former NCOICs in the past (namely one) I feel the need to constantly defend myself and my actions. Which is precisely not the mindset one needs to have in a school like this.

What am I getting at? Well, as much as I would like to say I'm a gung-ho, badass, super soldier, I'm not. This school is trying me at every turn and I've discovered since I've been here that I'm not the same person I was when I was a 19 year old private entering basic combat training. This was the kind of thing I wanted to do back then. I'm discovering that it isn't so much what I want to do now.

My goal is to get my hat and go back to my unit. If things start looking up or I can get a complete change of attitude, I might volunteer for a year deployment downrange, but right now, I don't think its something I want to do. I do know that I have to get my hat, this is not an option. I have to get it so I'm going to keep going with this school whether I have a change of heart or not. I just got to keep a level head and try to get my motivation back.

We're in week four now. This school has definitely had its ups and downs. Unfortunately, more downs then ups. Not a cake walk. I was hoping it would be a little more fun.

I remember getting a kick out of basic training, and that is not considered easy training either. I'm still trying to pinpoint exactly what is different this time around then before but I think it has more to do with ignorance as a private and knowing and expecting more as a sergeant.

Six more weeks.