Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Two weeks of crazy!

Well, I didn't quite get the opportunities I wanted to update on the DCC course.  Ha!  I DID think I might steal a few moments to update a couple of times, but the internet was SO bad it was unpredictable at best and completely non-functioning at worst.  Verizon loves me this month...I chewed through my data in days and had to buy several increases in data just to make it through to the new billing cycle.  Blah.

So.  I suppose this will be an all-over recap of the course, as best as I can possibly remember.  We were so busy 99% of the time up until the last days that days just blurred one into the next and I lost track of time completely.  Days were marked by wake-ups, PT sessions, and hard times, then we would fall into bed exhausted at the end of the day just to wake up and repeat.

The second week at the DCC (other than PT every morning) was spent in the classrooms and around the barracks preparing for our coming week in the field.  We cleaned and assembled our gas masks and learned how to put them on quickly - you have 9 seconds from the alert of "GAS, GAS, GAS!!" to have it on, tightened, sealed, and breathing normally.  Beyond that there is a whole suit to put on: pants with suspenders, a jacket with hood and a crotch strap (to keep the jacket down), double gloves, and boots.  You have 9 minutes to get the whole kit and caboodle on, which is MUCH harder than it sounds.  It's hot and you're in a hurry, trying to get all of the gear on without hyperventilating in the mask.  And putting on a charcoal-lined suit and gas mask on in the middle of the summer in Oklahoma is HOT.  As in clothes-drenched-with-sweat hot.  They would take us completely by surprise.  We would just be sitting there, then suddenly "GAS, GAS, GAS!!" and we'd spring into action.  If you didn't have your mask on in 9 seconds, you were "dead" and had to do pushups to revive.  Then on to the suit, and more pushups if you didn't have it all on in time.  My record time was just over 5.5 minutes! 

We also learned land navigation using a compass and protractor.  We were given coordinates, then we would find them on the map and plot an azimuth.  We learned map topography and how to back azimuth, etc.  We went out into the field behind the barracks and learned some tactical formations, as well as how to take organized action if fired upon.  All the while we are being told how the "Badlandians" across the highway don't like us and want to do us harm while we're out in the field (FOB Mow-way).  Between learning these things we had leadership classes and talks from various high-ranking officers who came in to see how things were going.  Our WONDERFUL platoon leader brought us a Keurig for the classroom on the second week, and we were ecstatic!  We took up collections to buy more supplies, so from the second week till the very last day we had K-cups and green tea to help keep us from conking out.

During this week we had a run where we were separated out into ability groups.  I have to admit that I took umbrage to being placed in the slowest group.  I know I'm not the fasted runner, but I didn't expected to be placed that low.  So I really worked on my running to improve form and speed given my new hot and humid circumstances.  On my first run I did really well, leading the pack by several paces with our OIC running beside me, chanting my own personal cadence..."In your nose...out your mouth!  You can do it!  Keep it up!"  I pull over to the side of the road to dry heave, he says "Keep going!  It's all in your head!  If you don't hate yourself a little bit after this then you didn't push hard enough!"  So I kept running.  I arrived at the same time as the middle speed group and was very proud of myself.  I even got a high five from my OIC!

Now...enter Father's Day.  We were told at the beginning that we could crack the windows but don't open more than 4 inches or the alarm would go off.  On Sunday after church my roommate and I were doing laundry and trimming threads and making repairs and it was hot.  I go to open the window.  I open it 2-3 inches, then lay in bed and enjoy the breeze slipping in.  Until someone comes pounding on the door a minute or so later.  "Did you open a window?!  The alarm went off!"  UGH.  4-5 fire trucks and a lot of drama later, I become famous for opening a window.  *sigh*  I'm serious.  I will never live this down.  It's funny now...any time someone sees a fire truck now they're like "Did you open a window again?!"  Haha, people.  Hilarious.

On the third week we went out to the field.  I think that deserves a post of its own.