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Another letter from our daughter at Army Basic Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

Letter Six Dated July 29, 2012 ~ Summarized

(Notes in parentheses are mine.)

Hey, Hey Madre y Padre!

I realized all of my letters have had a lot of Army jargon so I’m going to take some time to let you know what it is like here.

I am a member of the 1st Platoon in Delta Company. There are four Platoons in Delta, which is part of a Regiment with six other companies. We do all of our classroom and group training with our platoon. Our big training (foot marches, field training exercises, etc.) is with the whole company. Each Platoon has three Drill Sergeants and around 50 Privates in four squads.

(She drew an org chart for us too.)

I’m pretty sure I would be friends with my Senior Drill Sergeant if we were in a different setting. He is the highest-ranking Drill Sergeant in the company, and is Infantry, Ranger, and Sniper qualified. He is one scary dude when he is mad at us, but he pushes us harder than any other Drill Sergeant pushes their Platoon. I’d much rather have that than someone who didn’t care or babied us.

(Can I baby you when you get home?)

Last Friday, we did the obstacle course. It was awesome and a butt kicker of a work out. I was on the 1st Platoon’s team and competed against the other Platoons. Well, there was one obstacle where we went over three walls and under three beams. It rained the night before so there was a huge puddle on the far side of each wall. I went over two of the walls and on the third twisted my ankle, but still finished like a badass and road-marched back. The next day, we had a physical fitness test, so I got up a 4 am, iced my ankle, and took the test. My sit-ups and push-ups were good, but my run wasn’t so hot. I was in a good amount of pain, plus exhausted and sore from the day before. All of us who competed in the obstacle course struggled on the test.

I didn’t go to sickbay for a few reasons:

  1. You gotta go in the morning, and Saturday after the physical fitness test it was too late.
  2. It is closed on Sundays so you would have to go to the hospital instead . . . uh . . . NO.
  3. The next week we had our first official road-march, day and night land navigation, the gas chamber, and our field training exercise. These are required events and a pain to make up.
  4. I didn’t want to be a wimp. So many people are hobbling around here, mostly faking it, in order to get out of training. Plus, the Drill Sergeants have to deal with those losers all the time, so complaining didn’t seem like an option.

So I drove on. It hurt like a bitch but I still beat most people, if not everyone, at the stuff we had to do. But, on Friday morning we had a group run and part of the warm-ups were “high-knees” and I felt the pain all through the back of my heel.  I fell out of the pack on our run.

I went to sick call on Saturday and they sent me to the Troop Medical Clinic. The doctor told me I injured my Achilles Heel and gave me some pain meds. Most injuries, you get put on “profile.” That means the doctor specifies what you can and cannot do. I made sure to tell the doc, “NO PROFILE.” He was pretty cool about it but I need a brace because if it rips through all the way, I’ll need surgery. My brace is a huge metal thing I can hardly fit in my boot. I’m part robot now!

Good news though. I was worried about my Drill Sergeant thinking I was weak. But since the night before was peer reviews, he already knew I am a strong soldier. When I got back from the Clinic, one of the other Drill Sergeants said to him, “Hey, your Private Coyle tore her Achilles. How f**ked up is that?” (This was overheard by me . . . they were in the back room.)

My Drill Sergeant responded, “No. F**k. That right there is my best Private!”

Then he yelled, “Coyle, what the f**k did you do? You going home?”

I said, “No Drill Sergeant! And no profile Drill Sergeant!”

“F**k yeah, Private!”

(During a high school soccer game, Amanda collided with an opponent and sat out of the game for a few minutes. She begged the coach to put her back in and Amanda played out the game. Her ankle was swollen that night and the next day, so I took her in for X-rays. You guessed it, BROKEN. Talk about high pain-tolerance.)

The Sergeant and I talked about some of the training, like “high knees,” that really screws me up. He said since I am not a “f**ked up Private,” he’ll let me pick and choose what I should not do to abuse my heel. And two days ago, I thought he didn’t know me! Now he does and looks out for me. He also has been harder on me and points out my little mistakes so everyone can hear. I know it’s only been two days since, but trust me, there’s a lot of stuff he finds to yell about. I hope is it because he is getting ready to put me in an official leadership role.

Love ya and miss ya!

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