As I sit here in my easy chair, with beer in hand, on the day after, I think back on the past days events, and think of where to begin. Was it seeing Max and 1st Sgt again. Was it seeing fellow alumni again. Meeting other alumni. The challenge. The competition. The training. Or the clown photo. D, all the above.
Guys this was a fantastic event and one you need to be at. Yes, you cannot come off the couch and just do this thing, but with proper training, you can do it. More on that later.
Day 1 starts with getting re-acquainted with every one, and meeting some new guys. After a quick briefing you jock up for the 2-mile run. Rucks are weighed on a fish hook scale and donned. It must be 30lbs DRY weight. It must be slightly heavier to allow for any water/Gatorade you drink. At the signal, off you go. You go up the road to the “TOC” or school house, and then shoot up the trail between the two ranges. This is hard. In fact this is a Mike Foxtrot. I had trained running up my local hills with 30 lb ruck; this was not possible here. So you adjust. You walk, quick time up this @%$^&*#!. Then you run again, down and around to the start of the hill again. Second time is harder. You just put one foot in front of the other. You can do this. You reach the top. Now run again, back down and this time turn to head back down to the square range and the finish point. You give it everything you got (left). You cross the finish and re-weigh your ruck. You made it.
Now you dump rucks and jock up with belt kit, chest rig (MVT, right?) and rifle. Roll up for the shooting test. 1st Sgt gets you loaded up. Bless his soul. You toe the line. Ready, steady, go! Up the hill you go, kneel at the line, get a good firing position. Send it ten times. Change mags, prone out, send ten more. Change mags, stand up, advance to the 25. Assume a good standing position, send the good news again. Change mags, drop to kneeling. Ten more. Change mags. Advance to contact. Ready UP! Send those pairs! Stop at the 10. Assume a good position. Transition to handgun. Ten more. Safe those guns! 1st Sgt IS looking. Now score your target. You made it.
Now dump all that shit. Re-hydrate, get some chow down your cheese pipe. Re-form for TC-3. You listen to an excellent lecture on combat care protocol. Then you practice it, in scenario form, on the square range. Your buddy gets hit. You establish fire superiority. You get a TQ on him. You drag him to cover. You find the gunshot wound and stuff and wrap it. You find a sucking chest wound and seal it. He has difficulty breathing so you do a needle de-comp (sim). You report the casualty status to your team leader (mod. 9-line). This block of instruction was worth the price of admission by itself. Very informative. Lots of new med items to get!
Now back to the Wink. Clean those weapons, troop. Shower and shave. Get some dinner at the grill. Finish your preps for the next day. Watch the AMC movie marathon with your mates. Nod off, (as opposed to NOD-F).
Day 2, quick brief again. Jock up for land nav. Belt kit, MVT (TM, Pat Pend) chest rig, assault pack, and rifle. Get your map. 1st Sgt is smiling. Oh, you got a good one. Plot your azimuths. Measure your distances. Off you go. You bag your first point, straight away. OK, good start. Now for the second. It’s getting hot, and the hills are getting a bit harder. But you get the second point. Just a lovely stroll in the woods, eh? Now, down across the main creek bed and into the other area. Third point, there it is. You’re tried but getting there. Press on. The last point gives you trouble. You have to return to the 3rd point and try again. But you find it. Hallelujah. You hear voices so the start point can’t be far off. You tear ass down in that direction. There it is, reporting to the 1st Sgt as ordered. He looks over your course work, with a complete poker face. Your heart skips a beat. Did I fook it up? No, you wanker, he gives you a passing time. Excellent! Get out of there before he changes his mind.
Your uni is soaked, you must have sweated off 5 lbs. Re-hydrate, get a dry shirt on, eat a quick snack. Jock up for live fire training. Transfer up to the TOC. Stack your rifle. Listen to the briefing. Got it. Line up your 4-man team. Move to contact. There’s Ivan! Give him the good news. Your team reacts and maneuvers up to his position. Sorry chum. Ivan bites it again. “Stop!” You get your brief. Not bad. OK. Your team is up again. This time we break contact. Lucky for you Ivan. Rally, Rally, Rally! OK, you guys did all right. Some things to work on but you pass.
Back down the hill. Re-hydrate. Get another snack. Set up your rifle for weapons manip test. Roll up and wait your turn. Go! Race up the hill. Grab your rifle and attempt to fire (don’t peak yet). Dead trigger, so look. Oh good lord, a brass convention. Mag out, rack, rack, rack, mag in, mag catch, aim in, fire. Not bad. OK.
Back to the Wink. Weapons, you, then formal dinner at the Grill. Everyone together this time. Good time. A bit more Telly, then lights out.
Day 3, morning brief. You’re a bit strung out by now but still operational. You jock up for stretcher carry. Belt kit, world famous MVT chest rig, and rifle. Max gives the last words of encouragement. Off you go. This thing is heavy, the hills are hard, but you hang in there and do your part. Up the hills then back down again. Max is impressed. OK.
Re-hydate, get a snack, and another dry shirt. You get a block of instruction on CQB. Very informative. You run through dry fire. Work out the kinks. Then jock up and do it live fire. It’s a rush. Something totally different. Get feed back. Run more drills in progression. You and your buddy are pretty smoked by now but you keep on trucking. Finish it up, you did good. OK.
Now the 1st Sgt gives you the good news. Police the brass. Oh joy, the part I’ve been waiting for. Where’s Fred, I’ve got some steel case. All right.
Now we get awards. You made it. Others get prizes and applause. You are happy just to be there. Max give you your tab. Wow, there it is. What you’ve worked for all this time.
You did it. It’s over and you’re slightly shell-shocked. We sit down and give Max a “hot wash” AAR. Shake hands all-around. Until next time mates.
You’re too gassed to drive, so you clean weapons, then you, and meet of couple of guys for Mexican. Trade sea stories, de-compress.
One more night at the Wink. Some AMC, and off to sleepy land. Wake up, load up, and you’re off. Write up your AAR, and bob’s your uncle.