The unit commander in a quick talk before dusk falls.
Just back to post at Ft. Leavenworth and catching up on email for a few moments before heading off to another function.
I’ll say this; the past thirty-six hours have been epic. And inspiring.
We started yesterday morning at 0400h for PT with a training battalion, working out under the stars with young men and women. The battalion mascot, a bulldog statue, kept watch over the training field, joined by multiple drill sergeants. After a quick run through the DFAC (dining facility) we moved off to an endurance obstacle course. After walking the course with recruits who were only four days into the program, we were able to participate ourselves.
Let me say, being surrounded by hundreds of young men and women who are getting amped up and excited is an amazing experience. There was electricity in the air.
And lots of shouts of “Yes, drill sergeant!”
The rope bridge was my personal favorite, though the netting obstacle and the tunnel crawl were awesome in their own rights. It was fascinating to see what each individual obstacle taught. Some focused more on team work, others on individual skills. But throughout the course, each six-man team had to stay together and move, sprint, and negotiate challenges as a team.
We attended several briefings through the late morning and afternoon, including a tour of the HAZMAT school (fascinating), and were able to drive robots (nothing like steering a half million dollar diesel robot around a field) and fire weapons at a simulated range training facility. I was pleased to see that my limited shooting practice paid off.
All in all, it was an incredible day. More on the above will come in later posts.
But today I want to focus on the last event of the day – we were able to attend a night infiltration course. Recruits from Alpha 3rd Battalion, 10th Infantry finishing their eighth week of training were run through the training course, surrounded by pyrotechnics to simulate heavy fire, various explosions and live (tracer) fire high over their heads. We were given the opportunity to take a quick walk through the course at dusk, and I was impressed by the loose sand underfoot. The entire course is taken at a crawl (both high and low crawls) and in that footing that alone would be a workout.
Lt. Col. Larry Glasscock, the battalion’s Regiment Commander and his team were extremely kind and patient in allowing us opportunities to shoot the training. We were issued safety googles and NODS (night observation devices) and I was pleased to see that, while the Canon had trouble adapting to it, my iPhone worked with the device rather well once they both were calibrated for each other.
The Lt. Col. allowed us access to the two live fire towers located on hills above the training field. I was stunned by the opportunity, and can say that being in a pitch black room with a machine gun firing tracer rounds over a training field is one of my top life experiences thus far.
We were able to speak with some of the recruits after the experience, and I can report they were thrilled, hyped and happy to be there. I spoke one-on-one with two recruits, one young man and one young woman, and both grinned as they relaxed into the conversation. They were well-spoken, articulate and very intelligent. Ready to get the job done and full of confidence, looking for a challenge that the Army has provided. After working beside a team of often slow journalists, it was extremely good to break away from the group for a moment and speak with the competent young recruits.
More to come soon on the events of the past few days. For now? I’ve got to trot off to a briefing.
The media received a briefing on the training session.
A live fire machine gun hill, viewed from the recruit’s perspective.
Training in progress, via NODs.
The night infiltration course, seen from the light of a flare.
Interviewing recruits after the training.