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Part 1 of Amanda’s letter dated August 19, 2012 recapped Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The grueling days included a 3-mile Ability Group Run, marching to the Engagement Skills Trainer in “Full Battle Rattle” for shooting practice, Concurrent Training, Muscle Failure Physical Training, Advanced Rifle Marksmanship, shooting at night with Night Vision Goggles, infrared lasers, and close combat optics, grenade throwing, and sleeping on an ant-infested field of sand. Yowza!

Part 2 picks up with Thursday.

Letter Ten Dated August 19, 2012 ~ Part 2

We were allowed to sleep in until 0630 on Thursday and didn’t have to do Physical Training. That sounded like a wonderful surprise until we realized that was because we had combatives. The “warm-up” for combatives takes 45 minutes and exhausts your whole core. There is no way I can describe them in a letter. I’ll have to demonstrate them in person. Then maybe mom can write about these exercises beautifully. 

(Quit guffawing. I didn’t add that last line.)

After combatives we sparred within each Platoon with pads and a pugil stick. It is to imitate bayonet training. We were given foam Q-tip-looking sticks and we hit each other with them. It was so much fun. We were all in a circle and picked people to fight, cheering each other on, and laughing. It was a really cool thing to do after two long days in the field. I lost my round, but only at the end. I didn’t wear my ankle brace like a dumbass so my ankle quit after about a minute and a half of round two. Plus, there is no technique to it. It feels like pillow fighting for a crowd. You just kinda swing and hope something sticks.

(Finally! They had some fun!)

(I thought pugil stick pillow-fighting sounded like fun until I watched that video.)

Friday we went back to the Reception building to get our Dress Blues, or Army Service Uniforms. Reception is where I was when I first got here for in-processing. That place is miserable compared to here. When I arrived at the base I really didn’t notice. I was so fueled with adrenalin, anxiety, and a little cockiness, it didn’t faze me at the time. But the facilities . . . OMG! At Basic Combat Training we are in brand new facilities and they are gorgeous. Thanks to “Don’t ask, don’t tell” being repealed, everyone gets their own shower stall and bathroom stall. There is air-conditioning and enough space to open our wall lockers. OMG, it is fantastic.

At Reception, there is none of that. We were there forever getting our uniforms. So, we were up early, as in 0300, and went to bed around midnight. Oh, we arrived at Reception in time for breakfast. And my God, that was disgusting. Runny eggs, undercooked cold bacon, and hard pancakes.  How I didn’t notice how horrible it was when I was there is beyond me. Our dining facility is awesome by comparison. In fact, I think they plan when we go back to Reception on purpose . . . because it is like just when you’ve had enough chicken and rice to last you a lifetime and you can’t help but hate the dining facility, they take you to Reception and your whole perspective changes. All of a sudden we couldn’t wait for dinner chow’s chicken and rice. Not tonight though!!! Tonight is Sunday and that means hamburgers!!!!

(Simple pleasures.)

If you get kicked out of Basic, you don’t get to go home right away. It takes a long time . . . even if it is injury-related. They send you back to Reception. They say the quickest way to leave is by graduating, so quitting is NOT an option. I can’t imagine being stuck back at Reception for weeks, literally.

To tease you for the next post with Part 3 of her letter, I give you her next two lines . . . 

Saturday. Oh man, Saturday . . .


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