Saturday, August 6, 2011

IBOLC Week 10&11: Platoon STX and More OPORD

Playing some catch up here, but I'll keep it condensed.

Week 10 was in the field doing platoon-level exercises. Up to this point in my military career, I've only done squad-level operations, so this week was a learning experience - although I didn't actually run a mission as a platoon leader. The notable event of this week was the suck. I couldn't believe how much it sucked. Y'know, in ROTC, I always had a blast running operations. The kicker is the two-click movement through wet underbrush to get to the objective, the 48-hour straight operations, the patrol bases that you can't sleep in because you're on security all night... you never get THAT part in ROTC.

During PLT STX week I actually slept right on the ground in the dirt. I was so tired, and only had 45 minutes to sleep, and my sleeping mat was a full 30 meters away... and I just said, forget it. I put my face in the dirt, curled up in  a little ball, and went to sleep barefoot, since I had had wet boots on for about 36 hours at that point. When I woke up, we had a long movement (always with rucksacks) to the next objective. It was wet the entire time, and everyone's feet were soaked. Since the platoon leader was behind schedule, the instructors starting throwing artillery simulators at us - little firecrackers that make the sound of incoming artillery followed by an explosion. Whenever an arty sim hits, you're supposed to run away from it at full speed. We did this four about two hours. When the operation was finally over, we sat around from 1000 to 1600 because trans went to the wrong destination. I was so full of rage I thought I might explode. One of my platoon mates said, "These are the best Americans in the country right here. Who else works this hard?" I was so angry that I replied, "Who works this DUMB?" but he's right. No one works harder and through more suck than the Infantry.

The next week was another OPORD. It went much smoother this week, since we knew what we were doing. We planned and operation for an urban fight where we had to seize a building in order to allow follow-on platoons to seize the next buildings. As we were reading the initial operation order, I was getting pumped. Planning the mission was actually engaging, and I realized once again the unique role of officers.

Next week we'll be in the field conducting Urban Operations. Everyone in the platoon decided that they wanted to leave our sleeping pads behind, so for some reason we're going to leave the whole 10 ounces of weight behind and sleep on concrete and dirt for the next week. Awesome.

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