Monthly Archives: July 2012

According to one of my platoon-mates, it’s officially 10 days until we step off for the Crucible. Not sure if you know what that is, but it’s pretty much our final test. It’s something like 56 hours, 2 1/2 MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat), and 6-8s of sleep. And at the end of a 9-mile hike, we become Marines.

We did the Combat Endurance Course yesterday, which is supposed to give us a feel for what it’s like and it’s hard, but motivating at the same time. It’s pretty much supposed to stimulate a combat situation with a bunch of obstacles we have to crawl under and help each other and stuff. And there’s lots of running around with heavy things. Oh! Like, one girl in our group “died,” (she sat up on the wall we were going over and our SDI was like, “Keep a low profile, stupid! Good. You just got shot. You’re dead. Roll over and lay down.”), and we had to carry her for a while. Not fun. Well, I personally didn’t carry her (I carried her weapon and provided security), but it didn’t look like much fun. It was definitely interesting and I totally felt badass attempting to use hand signals, and providing cover and security and stuff. And our group was the only one that did the entire course, too. Boo-yah.

I needed that motivation for sure, because lately, I’m just getting more and more exhausted. I think the entire platoon is. Everyone just wants to go home or, in my case, just sleep for an entire day, haha. But seriously, I’m ready to go home. I haven’t reached that point where I’d like, break down or anything, but I miss being normal. I miss being lazy. Even though our senior was telling us the other day that once we get home, we’re going to get annoyed with civilians because they move so slowly, LOL. I don’t know. Maybe I will. Or maybe I’ll just enjoy being slow with them. I’m kind of interested to find out how I’ll be like when I get home. Like, if I’ll wake up at 4 AM and eat my meals in 2 seconds and be all confused when I have nothing to do. That last one I kind of doubt… ha. It’ll be fun to see how I’ve changed though, because I mean, I don’t feel like I’ve changed much, but that’s because the changes were gradual, so I never really had the chance to notice them. But I’m sure once I get back and I’m around my family or you or whatever, y’all will notice something. Hopefully. If not, then boot camp didn’t work, LOL.

What else happened… shit, I don’t even remember when I last wrote. We had our company inspection about a week or two ago. Pretty much, we clean a shit ton and iron and all that, and the company commander comes in to inspect our squad bay for cleanliness and uniformity. Then, she inspects the platoon, meaning our uniforms, weapons, our Marine Corps knowledge, confidence, blah blah blah… It was kind of awesome, as uncomfortable as it was, because we got to wear our service alphas for the first time. I looked pretty sharp, if I do say so myself. Even though all my shit was too big since I lost weight. But I still managed to get an excellent on my inspections. The commander said I had a lot of confidence and I knew my shit. That was a pretty good moment for me.

What else… More shooting! This time it was combat marksmanship and holy crap, it saved my score. Remember how I said I kind of sucked at the range? (or maybe I didn’t, but yeah, I didn’t do too well on qual.) Well, this round gave me enough points to get sharpshooter, which is the middle rank out of three, and the bad for it is far less ugly than marksman, which is the lowest rank. It’s not as cool as the expert badge, but I’ll take it.

It’s kind of crazy to think about how much shit I’ve done here and how it’s almost over. I mean, 3 weeks is still a long time, but not as long as 12. And the last week, I’ll be a Marine, and it’ll just be our battalion inspection, and then graduation on Friday, so it hardly counts. I’m pretty sure all we’re doing this week is paperwork, (it’s called Admin Week, after all), and drill, (final drill is in, like, a week, and we kind of suck), so really, there’s not that much left. Well, no, that’s a lie… We still have our CFT (Combat Fitness Test) tomorrow, our PFT (Physical Fitness Test) sometime soon, our final knowledge test, practical application exam, and final drill. So maybe that’s still a lot of stuff… But it’s all within a really short amount of time so whatever.

And, again, I’m going to spend time talking about how I want to stuff my face so badly. You know what sucks though? I was trying to play exactly what I was going to eat as soon as I got home and then I realized… I’m probably flying into San Jose at like, midnight or later. And I could still go get something, but fuck… I want Asian food and that shit ain’t open that late. Or some In-N-Out… Mmm… But regardless, I’m sure if it’s that late, all I’ll want to do is pass out. And fortunately, I’ll still be able to get tasty snacks and such before then, because we have Liberty Sunday the day after we get back from the Crucible, meaning we get to wander the base and buy actual food, and a bunch of the other recruits said that their families would be willing to adopt me on Family Day (the day before graduation). Either that or I figured I could mooch some treats off of them and then run off with some of the other orphans and have a bit of free time. Even though I’m a geek, so I find myself wodnering if there’s a bookstore somewhere on this base… LOL. I NEED TO READ THE SECOND BOOK IN THE CHAOS WALKING TRILOGY. Also, I would like to read Divergent. I think I just miss reading. And TV. Oh man, if I could, I would so just buy a pint of ice cream and a pack of cookies, (Chips Ahoy or Nutter Butters), and find a TV and just veg. That’s how I would spend my Liberty Sunday. Because I’m boring, LOL.

I’m already getting the feeling that I’m going to be super lazy when I get home. Gotta make sure I keep up with the PT. Especially since I plan to eat hella. Like… HELLA. Even though I probably shouldn’t… But fuuuck, I want me some sushi and like, KBBQ and chocolate milkshakes and a burger and a donut from this awesome donut place in downtown Campbell, and banh mi from Lee’s, and Yogurtland, and EVERYTHING. I’m hungry. This needs to stop.

To answer your question, there are 4 starting positions: standing, kneeling, sitting, prone. I’m not going to go over all of them, but I’ll go over prone, because, like you mentioned, it’s the one where you’re all sprawled on the floor. And it’s not the position itself that’s uncomfortable. It’s the sling. Pretty much, it’s cinched around your arm to the point where it’s falling asleep, and then it’s hitting your wrist in this awkward way (at least for me), so it totally fucked up my hand for like, 3 weeks. And the buttstock is digging into your shoulder. Also, the scope hit me in my face due to the recoil, more than once. Fun times.

But, it’s over and like I said, I got sharpshooter, so whatever. Oh! And yesterday, we totally got our dress blue uniforms tailored and I’m so stoked to get it back. Not sure when it’ll happen, but I don’t even care. It’s just too bad we don’t graduate in them… But the service Charlies are still pretty cute. AND, I finally have my ticket home. I just bought it the other day and was like, “Shit son! I’m finally going HOME!” I’m excited. Oh! And the CFT! I passed. Did a lot better than I thought, even though my score could have been better on the run if some jerk didn’t trip me as she was passing me, but whatever… I’ll do better on my next CFT. Did I mention what that consists of? I don’t think I did. It’s a half-mile run in boots, ammo can lifts (they’re 30 lbs.), and then a sadistic obstacle course-type thing where you have to run, crawl, drag a buddy, firearm carry a buddy, then sprint around with 2 ammo cans. Pretty much, the entire time you feel like you’re going to die. And the girls behind me are talking about baked goods and I want to punch them. Gah!

But I’ll be able to eat cake soon… Warrior’s Breakfast. It’s right after the Crucible, and rumor has it, there is EVERYTHING there. Doubt there’ll be any Asian or Mexican food, but I’ll be satisfied with some cake. Or pie. Or both. 10 days, dude… 10 days…


As of now, it’s the 24th of June and we just finished training day 35 yesterday, so we’re halfway done! Pretty exciting to think about. At the same time, it feels like we have a shit ton of stuff to do still. For instance, rifle qual. We’ve been here for a week so far, mostly just practicing all the rather uncomfortable shooting positions, but we’re officially going to get to shoot live rounds tomorrow, which I’m stoked and scared about at the same time. It’s kind of like when you get into a car by yourself for the first time–on one hand, it’s fucking awesome, but on the other hand, you could very well kill yourself or someone else. But I’m just going to try and relax and ease into it, because fuck no I’m not going to get dropped at the rifle range. Our platoon got 9 new recruits this week because so many people from the earlier platoon failed and that ain’t happening to me. FUCK NO. Hell, I’m setting my sights on that expert badge, because that would be badass to have. And you gotta aim high, right?

And speaking of quals, to answer your question, no, you don’t need to know how to swim before you get to boot camp. They teach you if you can’t and even if you fail the first day, you have the entire week to get your shit together. Our platoon had 3 people from the earlier platoon who got dropped for swim, but everyone passed this time around. And hellz yeah I’m getting buff! I’ve lost 14 lbs. since I got here and I somehow ended up as a cooler recruit, meaning me and the other 3 have to lug fucking heavy-ass coolers everywhere we go. And do a bunch of other shit that involves running around with heavy things. It’s not all bad though. We get to go chow earlier than everyone else and most of the time we get back to the squad bay way before the platoon, so we get time to make head calls and socialize. And it’s good exercise, so I’m not complaining. Too much.

But we’ve done a lot since I last wrote. We did the rappel tower and the gas chamber (both terrifying, but not as bad as I thought it would be), our initial PFT (Physical Fitness Test), and… I’m sure some other stuff that I can’t quite remember. We’re seeing a lot more of the males now, although the DI’s are very strict about making sure we don’t look at each other. So mostly I just see backs of shaved heads, haha. It’s kind of cool to think about how they’re going through the exact same stuff as us, though. Especially with Echo Company, which is the male company we’ll be graduating with. They were doing all that stuff I mentioned earlier at the exact same time our company was. And OMG, when we were doing the gas chamber, we were getting the brief at the same time the males were and some people had to go outside to exchange their masks. Our DI’s were out there and you could hear them SCREAMING at the males. Which was hilarious in itself, but when the guys came back in, this one dude was like, “Fuuuck!” And I wanted to tell him, “Hey, that’s what we have to deal with EVERY DAY.” But the gas chamber wasn’t too bad. I mean, yes, it was horrible, and I felt like I was going to suffocate and die, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Meaning, we only had to suffer through it once because (mostly) everyone did what they were supposed to do. One chick put her mask back on before they gave us the OK, but fortunately for the rest of us, they only made her stay and do it again.

As for my haircut… Not sure if it could be seen as edgy in any way. I look more like a 12-year old Asian boy straight off the boat from China (fucking middle part, guh!). But have no fear, I didn’t use the cash I brought with me for the cut. That $20 is still tucked away safely in my foot locker. When we first arrived, all the recruits were given a cash card-like thing with $300 on it. Which sounds awesome, right? Well, I spent $240 of that money on buying supplies for the platoon, and more shirts and shorts for myself (all of which have been mysteriously swallowed up by the laundry). But recently, we all got debit cards connected to the accounts where our check is going, so I still have a decent amount of money left. Of course, can’t say what will happen once I buy my plane ticket home, but that’s not going to happen for another 3 weeks or so, so I’m not going to think about it. First things first: rifle qual.

And, like always, this letter is taking me more than one day to write, so I’ve officially shot an MI6A4 service rifle with an RCO attached. Boo-yah. It was pretty awesome, although the sound was nothing like how I expected it to be. It kind of sounds like a cap gun, in all honesty. The recoil also wasn’t bad at all, although I will admit, my face was a little too close to the scope and my eye got slammed a few times. But all in all, shooting is super fun (albeit uncomfortable), and I’m not as nervous about qualifying. Whether I can get expert is an entirely different story, but I’ma do my best, yo. Still have 3 more days to practice, so there’s time. I’m sure by the time I write my next letter, I’ll be able to tell you how I did 🙂

P.S. Because this letter took me so long to write (again), we have returned from the range! And I qualified. Barely, but I’m pretty stoked that I did, because let me tell you, no matter how good you are at Left 4 Dead, shooting a real M16 is way the fuck different, LOL. In other words, I’m not very good at at it. Unfortunately, we had more people unq (not qualify) than our sister platoon, meaning we lose the series guidon we won from our initial drill. Sad times… But that just means we’ll have to work harder to get it back. Cross your fingers…!