A tough PT. For some reason done in ACU's and tennis shoes, not sure why. More Crossfit, I was definitely feeling it later. Then it was prep for movement to the FOB (Forward Operating Base) Victory. We packed our "A" Bags (everything that doesn't go in your rucksack) and loaded them on a LMTV along with the MRE's (34 boxes, 12 per box) and other associated equipment, it made for an impressive pile when we unloaded at the FOB. We also drew our weapons (including the heavier squad and platoon level machine guns). I headed ahead with the equipment (needed to have a supercargo to make sure that it was protected) and then waited, and waited (over 2 hours total) for my platoon to join us at the FOB. After being given a few minutes to settle in to the ginormious "tent" (it had a soft roof and and aluminum siding for the sides) which houses 240 soldiers we were provided our first mission, to man 4 of the towers ringing the base and also staff the ECP (Entry Control Point, the funnel where all vehicles entering and exiting the FOB are inspected while being covered by a tower with a medium MG and several supporting soldiers). Basically had a 2 on, 2 off cycle for the next 12 hours, then at the end everyone had to wake up to conduct an AAR that seemed to go on FOREVER... (Ending around 0115) Pretty much everyone (except for the poor bastards that got the mission for tomorrow morning) just fell into bed.
0415, the nightmare of early awareness continues..... Mission briefing at 0440, then prep for the mission with a departure by 0530. We wandered around to 2 points and combated the evil CIF (Columbus Insurgent Forces... these are some bad ass dudes, armed with the latest in American weaponry and the almost sadistic desire to use it against American forces.. they are members of our own platoon that get volunteered to take us out). Another AAR, then it was my turn to play as a leader, serving as a squad leader. Our mission was a joint mission, us and another one of our Company's platoons. We received the mission of pulling security on the area while other platoon cleared a building. We departed by 1300, after taking care of the usual tasks of preparation. Mission was a complete success and we returned by 1430. After conducting yet another AAR (we really love them) then the people who had held leadership positions were counseled (so that we could get our "GO"s in the graduation requirement. Another short nap and then it was time for dinner at 1700. It was our single hot meal of the day (the other two being either MRE's, whatever pogie-bait (ie, field food... small, high calorie snacks) we have or maybe the "gut truck" during lunch). A quick OPORD (Operational Order) brief about what we would be doing tonight and then I slept until my shift at 0200. Shift ran from 0200-0400, then we were held over until 0530 (just napping in our briefing tent... hard plywood floors). Worst thing is that I broke the mount for my night vision walking to my bed. (just means more paperwork in the end)
Slept until 0945. OPORD brief at 1000. Today I get to be a SAW (M249 Machine Gun) gunner since the person who it is normally assigned to is in a leadership position. We do some rehearsals and prep and then roll out at 1300. This was a convoy operation, with me hanging off the back and poking my weapon out to kill any enemies that dare oppose us, which for some reason they do. We have chow at 1500 and then start planning for the next mission. This time I chose wisely and volunteer to be OPFOR, while the team runs their mission.
Basically they had to inspect a suspect mass grave right around dusk. They did and us OPFOR gave them a good run. Then they reset us, sending us to a new location (full of trenches and barbed wire), and gave the team the new direction. And then I waited, and waited, and waited.... turns out they got lost and wandered around quite a bit. We didn't get back until 1145, and our AAR didn't end until 0120.
0515 wakeup. Joy, I get to be a Squad Leader again. On the same basic mission that I had run earlier. Went well except for some comm issues (none of my soldiers decided to bring their radios to formation). Then we collected brass on the site (and boy was there a lot of it). Back to the FOB for more police calls, packing up, doing all the little tasks to reset the site and get ready to depart. We then left early on our 10 Mile Ruckmarch due to concerns about the weather (lots of severe storms were not too far away). Long march at a fairly brisk pace (17 minute miles) with 10 minute breaks every 2.5 miles. Even with no sun and all it was hot.... and muddy (since it was raining). Finally completed it in 3:30. So tired. Then after making sure that everything was settled (weapons in a safe place, etc) we were released around 1900. I had a beer and some taco's and fell asleep by 9..
Recovery. Late formation at 0800. Then we began weapon cleaning. Everyone is pretty eager to get things done and ready to go. Lots of cleaning, of equipment (everything we have been issued needs to be return). Everyone is in the PT uniform, since we are all pretty beat up. Finally got released for the day at 1730. God my hands are dirty.