BCT: The finale

I previously posted my discharge from the military. But will continue what I did experience, from what I can remember (it’s been almost a year since I was discharged). I did keep a journal, but it was during my time as a hold over, and what started out as a letter to mail home, turned in to a daily journal (and then two) of each day’s events.

This is the finale, and is basically going to cover everything I can remember from BCT day 2 until my discharge (hold over and discharge will have it’s own post).

We were issued a lot of gear. From gas masks to sleeping bags and tents, to canteens and bulletproof vests. Then, we had to shove all of that crap into our lockers, and try to keep it tidy — by checking our diagrams.

We went on our first march, with an assault pack full of stuff we would need in case we had to stay somewhere or it rained; small stuff — but heavy, nonetheless. After a couple miles we arrived at a clearing that had a couple of shack buildings on it. We were told to get out our masks. We were at the gas chamber.

Before I knew it, first platoon was in the building, smashed against the walls — half on one wall, the other half on the other wall. I was near the back of the line — which ended up being the second group. If I had to do it again, I’d want to be in the first group. Seeing the first group lined up with a hand on the person in front of them, and then watching them take off their masks and recite (or attempt) the soldiers creed. Some got out a sentence, but then all were gagging, coughing, and wincing in pain with their eyes shut tightly. They were bouncing around, and couldn’t wait to get outside. It was brutal.

Then it was my turn. I was ready, there was no turning back — no option to, either.

They instructed us to remove our masks. “I am an American Sol —” soon the pain was real. My eyes were burning, my lungs were burning — I couldn’t breathe, I kept gasping for any oxygen I could suck down my lungs — but most of the air in there was not oxygen.

I finally felt the person in front of me starting pulling away, and then our feet started moving! We were going outside. Which ended up being just as bed.

We couldn’t open our eyes. They burned so bad. We were told not to touch our eyes/face. Snot was running out of our noses — tears running down our cheeks. It was hell.

Fifteen minutes later we were all laughing about it and how bad it wasn’t. Though it did suck — I could do it again, but I wouldn’t voluntarily.

One day we made our way to Victory Tower. We straddled ropes and shimmied across, we repelled off of the tower, crawled down rope ladders and had a lot of fun. It would have been better if my harness wasn’t so tight — it was cutting into my skin.

Another day we made our way to an obstacle course. First we ran through with the drill sergeants leading us and showing us how to properly maneuver each obstacle. Once we did that, we picked two males and two females to go through it, timed. Second platoon also did. Second platoon won the banner and we got to do pushups.

We marched off to a shooting range where we learned how to enter the range, the terms we would be hearing from the drill sergeants when we made it to the live fire and shooting on a simulator. The simulator sucks — so don’t worry if you can’t zero for a while. It’s nothing like the real thing.

We learned how to use a map, coordinates, and a compass. We learned the ranks in the Army. We learned that you can never clean the latrines good enough for the drill sergeants and it will cost you sleep. Usually you go to sleep at 21:00. But the drill sergeants would come inspect the bay, and would always come out saying I’ll be back in an hour and this better be cleaned. So we’d lose an hour of sleep, cleaning. Some nights we’d lose two or three hours of sleep, and more if you had to be on fireguard that night, too.

Some days we would get to our bays and find lockers emptied on to the floors, boots thrown around the bay, mattresses flipped over. These were warnings. It meant lock you locked, correctly — if it was unlocked your crap was on the floor. If your bunk was incorrectly made it was flipped, tossed, thrown. Boots and shoes would be thrown all over. But it didn’t happen too often, and never happened to me.

One day, our bay wasn’t clean enough for our drill sergeant so he let us take every single item in our lockers down to the pit where we dressed it, dress right dress. Afterwards he let us carry it back up and put it back in our lockers, dress right dress. It sucked. You have at least 150lbs worth of crap. But if your platoon has decent people in it, they’ll help you and vice versa.

One kid passed out the second time we had to do that. I yelled at the drill sergeant that he passed out. The drill sergeant made his way over, “Private, wake up” and the slapped his cheeks. Then we had to drink water because they assumed he was dehydrated. This wasn’t the first time he screwed us over because of that.

The second time he passed out was during PT. We then had to drink an entire canteen. It’s hard to drink that much water in such a short amount of time — your stomach gets full of water faster than you think.

I’ll add to this once I remember more — or if I ever get around to it.

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