The rest of White Phase consisted of learning more about the M16, shooting, and trying to not get smoked. We did our first night fire course and everyone survived. I really think everyone was just trying to get out of the cold. Night fire was fun because if you didn’t spend your whole magazine by the end of the course, they let you go full Call of Duty and squeeze until you were empty. Then was the fun part…picking up brass in the dark. Joy. We also took our last diagnostic APFT. If you’re not getting better, you’re wrong. My push-ups and sit-ups improved dramatically, but my run still sucked. I ran a 19:43 that day. Granted, the track was uphill, but still. It had to get better. After this, my battle got sick and I got chosen to go with him to sick call. I’ll say this. If at all possible, avoid going to sick call. Its not glamorous, its not fun. Its kind of like sitting in a prison waiting room for visitation. Only go if you absolutely have to. Also, if you go to sick call on a graduation requirement day and you miss, you’ll either get recycled or have to make it up. The next few days consisted of urban ops (shout out to the infantry), U.S. Weapons in which we shot the 249 and 240B Crew served weapons, and culminated with Warrior Tower. Now, Warrior Tower is a 50 foot wall that you have to rappel down. Its really not as bad as it sounds. Well, yes it is. Some people cried, some people stood up there for 5 minutes plus. This is a confidence builder. Once you figure out your Swiss seat isn’t going to fail and you will be ok, it isn’t so bad. I’ll spare the rest of the details for the sake of not ruining the fun. For me, once I got on the wall and started going, it wasn’t so bad. It was actually fun.
The infamous Fort Leonard Wood Warrior Tower
With Warrior Tower completed, White Phase has come to a close. It was not time to start acting like soldiers (kind of, we’re still in Basic after all) and get our stuff together. If we were in the barracks, the DS’ only wanted to be bothered if someone was on the verge of death. So we generally kept to ourselves and tried to stay out of trouble. We got a few more privileges, got smoked a little less, and got a little more time to eat in the chow hall. Nothing too fancy. Don’t mess around and get complacent thought, the DS’ wouldn’t hesitate to jack you up. Moving on, it was business as usual for us trainees. We did more EST and the next big thing was the Night Infiltration Course or as we call it “NIC at night.” This is how much I love it. Straight from my journal “ So NIC turned out to be something else to “get through.” We didn’t infiltrate anything. We just low and high crawled through a field with some barbed wire.” Sound like fun right? It gets better. The idea behind NIC is to simulate what it was like for the guys that stormed Normandy beach. It had been a particularly cold day (go figure) so we all layered up in addition to LBE and plate carrier. The sand was solid. So it was like low crawling across concrete. In addition, my helmet kept slipping down and eye pro (which you have to wear all the time, did I mention that?) fogged up. After finally making it to the end sweaty, cold, and frustrated, the commander gave a hooah speech and we packed up and headed home. I have to say, I didn’t like any part of that. Lol.
Night Infiltration course.
Then came the final PT Test. That snuck up quickly. Of course, the day we take it its 20 degrees outside and raining. Didn’t bode well. They took us to the gym for push-ups and sit-ups. I knocked out 55 push-ups and 50 sit-ups. Not bad. I felt good. Then they took us to the infamous FLW troop trail (which I would get intimately familiar with in AIT). It was still raining and still very cold…but we had to press on. One of my favorite DS’, we’ll call him DS A, wanted to run with me to make sure I passed. “Keep up with me and you’ll pass, Private.” Is what he told me. Ok. Easy enough. He kept a decent pace and so did I until I started having trouble breathing and everything got cold. I mean everything. By the time we were done, I was 2 minutes over time and couldn’t feel my feet, face, or hands. As upset as I was with myself, my DS said there was a retest. So I had an opportunity to fix the situation before I had to call and tell my wife not to come for graduation. Motivation/work had to be done. BCT is coming to a close and there couldn’t be any loose ends.
White Phase takeaways:
– Stay motivated. Learning your weapon can become tedious. But it will pay off
– Keep being squared away. The DS’ start to single out individuals instead of groups.
– Listen to your student leadership, even if they are a num-num. You might be in those shoes soon and it’s not fun if nobody cooperates.