Sunday, June 26, 2011

IBOLC Week 5: Land Nav

In case you didn't know, "IBOLC" stands for "Infantry Basic Officer Leadership Course." Or something like that, anyway. And "Land Nav" is short for "land navigation," which is basically using a compass, map, and protractor to find points on a map. We spent a miserable week out in the field looking for point after point. It was non-stop drudgery through the mud, woods, and rain to find them. Granted, it is a critical skill, but this was a bit excessive.

We actually started the week with the Combat Lifesaver Course, which is basically just a first responder class. It tackles the subject of battlefield First Aid. Over the course of two days, including one day of classroom instruction and one day of practical exercises, we focused on:

1) Stopping the bleeding via tourniquet (did you know you can where a properly applied tourniquet for SIX HOURS before you are in danger of losing that limb?)
2) Making sure the airway is clear with a nasopharyngeal tube

(wouldn't love to have this shoved up your nose?) and
3) Treating tension pneumothorax, or a collapsed lung via sticking you in the chest with a needle to allow built up air to escape the chest cavity.

We packed up and moved to the Land Nav site to begin the real suck. To make a long story short, it rained every day, we tromped through the mud and woods all night and day, and ended the week feeling and looking like zombies. I'm pretty sure about half of us had the early stages of trenchfoot. We probably walked about 10 miles per day on average with our gear on, wet and muddy. My feet hated me and my legs wouldn't shut up. At one point I had to run uphill 4k in the mud in order to make it to all my points in time. The only thing keeping me going was the knowledge that if I failed, I would have to be out there an extra day with those who didn't pass the test. No thanks.

I can't tell you how glorious it was to lay on my own bed again. A lot of people have significant others waiting for them with dinner and what not, but me - I have a this divine sleeping system waiting for me, clean and comfy, that I just sink into... in fact...


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