Half way through Red Phase and its really cold by this time. It was around the first week of December and we were close to finishing week 3. This week we had the Confidence Course. This is the one you do with a buddy and do everything from monkey bars, to climbing a cargo net, to walking across a rope bridge. Today we also got our first taste of Commo. Using the radio was pretty cool. The next day was the (first of many) moment of truth. Our first PT Test had arrived. The day started at 0330 and guess what…it was raining. So we went to the gym for the push ups and sit ups. For this first test, I did 32 pushups and 41 situps. Not breaking any records, but it was enough to pass that portion of the test. Then came the run. That sucked the life out of me. Mentally and physically. I ran/walked a 22 minute two mile. The only reason I post this is to encourage people. My time went down significantly by the time it was all said and done. More on that later though. And to add insult to injury, we double timed all the way back to the barracks (about a mile). Its about this time I started wondering “what did I sign up for?” You have to let things go quickly in the military because we kept moving. The rest of the day was spent at EST. It’s the rifle simulation. You shoot and your targets are all electronic. Kind of like Duck Hunt but with an M16.
Our next adventure was the last and final obstacle course, the Team Confidence Course. You may recognize these from BCT videos or pictures. It’s the most common one. Here is one of the obstacles called “Jacob’s Ladder”
This course is all about teamwork and overcoming fears. We had a girl that absolutely refused to climb an obstacle. After a long discussion with our DS’s and a talk with the 1SG, even she went. So anyone can do it. We all had fun. Its hard to believe we were getting paid to do some of this stuff. Red phase was starting to wind down and we could feel our DS’ let up on us ever so slightly. The last weeks consisted of our 8K road march, going to the shooting range ( The first time you shoot an Assault Rifle after being trained is liberating) and of course PT. The first few times you shoot will be grouping and zeroing your weapon. That is getting it “tuned” to you and being able to shoot a tight shot group. This is basically the end of Red Phase. Once you start shooting, it’s only a matter of time until they give you the white guidon and you are officially in white phase.
Red Phase takeaways:
-Keep your head down. You don’t want to be that guy that gets the Drills attention early
- Be prepared to be smoked. A lot depending on your DS. Luckily, we never got woke up to get smoked but I have seen it happen to other companies. So its not out of the realm of possibility
- Learn to eat fast. Get only what you can eat and shovel with a spoon.
-Listen closely. It will keep you from the aforementioned smoking session.
- KEEP YOUR HEAD. Its going to suck. Its different. The Drills aren’t going to beat you (physically anyway). Keep your wits about you and keep pushing forward. Look at your end goal.
I may have missed something. Questions? Comments? Fire away.