Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dodged a Bullet... Again

Last night is definitely a story for today. The scenario is me sitting on my bed studying for my International Relations Written Partial Review (IR WPR) which is going to be two essays on two articles. At about fifteen past nine I fall asleep. A quarter hour passes...
Enter stage left my platoon sergeant (PSG)

PSG: Hey [my name] are you awake?
ME: *indistinct grunt*
PSG: Oh good because you know you're plebe is going up for Brigade SOQ tomorrow morning right?
ME: *indistinct grunt*

At this point, I'm not even paying attention because of course I know that my direct subordinate and only leadership responsibility a plebe (freshman) with prior military service experience is going before the Brigade Soldier of the Quarter (SOQ) board tomorrow. I drifted off back into sleep only slightly hearing my PSG ramble on about having "sooo much to do tonight including a problem set and..." I just fell asleep. Then I had this crazy dream sequence where I went down the hall and asked my plebe if he was ready for the board and that I went downstairs and was in another building after taps. All of this was so dreamy and almost none of it happened. I never set my alarm and didn't even think it had really happened.
The next morning my PSG asked me how the board went for my plebe. I gave a blank stare,

"What? The board? Oh I don't know, I haven't asked him yet."

I swear my PSG's eye twitched, but all my PSG said was that it was okay "it happens". As if to throw gasoline on a fire I found out at lunch that my plebe had actually slept through the board. Then I heard word at lunch that the blame was being shifted to me in a sneaky attempt to keep someone else's military performance squeaky clean. I was defensive and on edge, and asked for a little advice. I clearly didn't remember being told to be there or to get my plebe in the morning. I spent the better part of the day wondering about it since a couple other people had brought it up.

In the afternoon today after PMEE (called PME squared, and I don't even remember this acronym but it usually means a BORING class in the free part of our afternoon) I got to meet the sponsor of the other girl on the company sandhurst team. She was a '93 grad of West Point and lots of fun. She helped a little with the cake, but just a couple tips with the frosting and flouring the pan which I had already greased. The cake was cute, dense and perfect! It was for loosing a bet to a guy in my company, but I had loads of fun making it when I brought it back to the barracks I couldn't resist telling the people giving me funny looks,
"Yeah, I baked this cake.... for a man."
It's sort of a running joke here due to a speaker last year who made a joke in which he said, "Woman, go bake me a pie." Well here I had an actually baked cake. When I brought it to his room I'm pretty sure if he'd been gone for longer than 20 minutes his roommates would have devoured half of it without him. Everyone was floored I had actually done it because it's one thing to 'bet' you're going to bake a cake, and another thing to give up your afternoon go out of your way to meet someone with an oven and get the ingredients and really bake a cake. It was a very yummy cake by the way, but extremely simple. See, the my sponsor offered to pick up the ingredients too and I made sure I picked a recipe with plain ingredients most of which I knew she would have around the house. Just as as starter recipe and since I wasn't sure if I'd get the opportunity to go to the commissary with her.

It was much fun and she even had decaffeinated Pepsi around the house because it's all her husband drinks and since I gave up caffeine for lent, it was awesome!

I then had practice which to be quite honest was a 'suck-fest' today. We put our gear on and went downstairs to the basement weight room. I chose a 35-lbs plate for the squats, the bent-over row, back and forths, etc. Then our fearless squad leader got us to scramble into our gear and run upstairs. I also had to get the rope ruck and so after snapping on my Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH) I went to my room and pulled my gas mask out of the bottom along with pulling the E-tool out of its pocket too. Theeen we starting running down Thayer Road towards Thayer Gate and though I really put my heart into it I began to fall back. Unfortunately one of the much more fit members of the team had an eye on me today and fell back preemptively to push me up to the group. I was both embarrassed and propelled forward at the same time. Fortunately less than a mile into it we paused to go over the 8 steps to evaluate a casualty then we pushed up the hill to michie stadium. I required a lot of help this time, but I definitely pushed hard. The same person who had been watchful earlier was close by a second time and definitely helped push me up the hill although the squad leader had me grab his Load Carrying Vest (LCV) too. I had multiple help, but I still managed to push an awful lot by myself given we were definitely going faster than my pace even without gear. Another pause to recite the 9-Line Med-Evac Radio Call and we were off again. At the beginning of the steep S.O.B. that is the bottom of the PX hill another super fit member of the team began to push me, but I was hurting at this point. Once again the person who had fallen back to help me the previous two times was suddenly next to me again pushing me literally and verbally. When I couldn't help but slow down some more he said,

"Come on, I'm pushing all you're weight right now."
To which I curtly replied, "I get it!"

And immediately tried to alleviate the pressure. Sure, I didn't get all my weight off his hand, but I was trying and trying. I felt like my lower back and legs were going to disintegrate or seize up or spontaneously combust. I honestly wanted to throw myself on the side of the sidewalk and just lay there and vocalize the pain I felt in my muscles. Eventually we switched to a quick walk then we ran a little more and in a brief moment of walking the squad leader asked how I was doing, in particular about my knee and I was honest that it was feeling tight. That was more than likely just due to the extra weight of gear and the pounding of ramming up the hills after exerting our muscles. Nonetheless, I had knee problems earlier this school year and it was better to let him know than to be stupid. I had already done two runs in times difficult for me, and I had done two hills (true with help, but I was obviously waning in my strength) and there was no point in destroying myself for practice.

Along the way the same guy who helped me those three times also instructed me in how to hold my rifle while running and told me to control my breathing because I would "wear myself out long before I had to." I was sucking down air like a freight train...

The last thing the team did was buddy carries up the hill past Delafield Pond (Yes, ANOTHER hill, like I said there are so many f-ing hills around here) And I helped where I could but did not carry anyone because it would have been more stress to my knee I didn't need. I offered to carry two teammates' dummy rifles (called rubber ducks) and one of the dummy rifles of the 'casualties' they had to carry. Along the way "M'n'N" asked me to help him for a moment with the multiple rifles he carried and I jogged over and started to take rifles from him, then he said,

"Or you could just take my place for a little bit."
I shook my head and said,
"Sorry, squad leader told me not to carry anybody."

He gave me this annoyed look and dropped the rest of the rifles at my feet. I stooped to pick them up, but I didn't forget about it. When we got to the top he approached me and asked me to help him unclip the rifle on his back to which I replied and didn't care how snooty I may have sounded,

"No. You threw two rifles at me down there."

He apologized unconvincingly and I made some excuse up about being unable to see how it was clipped in and other people removed it. M'n'N was apparently having a bad day but I was still irritated.

The day ended earlier but I've been trying to finish my Econ Problem Set and study for Statistics, the latter of which didn't happen at all tonight. Oh well, it will pretty straight-forward and I don't care for that class much anyway. A lot happened today, it was a full day in a make you tired kind of way.

No comments:

Post a Comment