I bet you’ve been wondering where I’ve been? In the past year I’ve kept with drilling, worked, and continued a master’s degree. Actually, I just finished it. Oh, and we had our first child. No big deal right? So forgive me for my absence because I know you all were waiting with baited breath for the conclusion of my IET experience. Lol. Anyway, without further ado, blue phase.
The next big event was the buddy team fire. Nothing too special here. You learn to fire your weapon and cover your buddy while they move and vice versa. Once again, it was freezing at Fort Leonard Wood, so that zapped any fun out of this event. In Blue Phase, you will complete your final FTX. FTX3. Everything you have learned thus far will be used at this FTX. This FTX was already leaps and bounds better than FTX2. No mud, no shelter halves, and it was actually warm (more on this later). We stayed in something called a “hooch” which is basically a house with 4 walls and some windows. You set up a cot and slept. There was a chimney in the middle for a pot belly stove. It beat the crap out of staying on the cold ground. Your mileage will vary, but our DS pulled a fast one on us. We thought we were in trouble, so our company commander called us into formation and started getting on us. Meanwhile, DS’ dressed as insurgents infiltrated our camp and stole our crew served weapons. Then proceeded to kill just about all of us. If you were shot, you had to lay on the ground. Probably the most fun (besides Urban Ops) I had at basic. It taught us a lot about securing your equipment. Then our platoon got the short straw and got to pull guard duty all night…that’s when it started to get cold… Anyway, the next day we ran our lanes and did dismounted patrols and a rescue mission. We failed miserably. But it was ok because they expected us to. Per Ft. Leonard Wood standard, the weather changed yet again and a thunder storm rolled in. Since out hooches were in low lying areas, we packed up and headed back to the barracks because they were starting to flood. By the time we got back, the temp had dropped 20 degrees and the wind was blowing about 15-20 mph. We had the last guard shift and they pulled us out of the tower about 10 minutes in. They told us to wait in our rooms for further instructions and that was that. The next morning was the last of the graduation requirements. The 16k ruck march. For those not European, that is right around 10 miles. After we got finished up policing the area, we lined up and started walking. At mile 6 we halted. In true Missouri fashion, it started snowing.
Now, this actually is our BCT company. Not sure who made the meme
And sticking on the road and on us. Our 1st Sergeant decided to call it and we rode cattle trucks back to the barracks. Once again training was foiled by the weather. That night, we did a “rite of passage” ceremony. Basically where the battalion commander congratulates everyone on completing training and you receive your challenge coin. Again, your mileage may vary, but we had something called Super Lunch. Where they let us eat what we wanted and we had people impersonate the Drill Sergeants. Some of it was pretty funny. From here until graduation day, we cleaned. Everything. Literally. Latrines, hallways, cracks, each other, CIF gear. If it could be cleaned, we cleaned it. We were preparing for our IN4 inspection. That is the final inspection of everything. Lockers, gear, your class As, appearance. Etc. When all that is over and if you do right, you will get family day. It’s a day where your family will sign you out and you can go eat or whatever. The drawback of Fort Leonard Wood is there is no overnight passes. So we all had to be back at 2100. Oh well, it was better than nothing. The next day was graduation. Nothing to it really. Walk across the stage and don’t jack it up. And that is the conclusion of BCT. Pretty anti-climactic, right? Depending on your MOS, this can be very different so your mileage may vary. And when I got to AIT, I found out some companies never made it out of White Phase. So take that for what it’s worth.
Blue Phase Takeaways
- Be squared away. This is the downhill and its hard to mess up.
- Don’t lose your Military bearing. This is when everyone gets complacent and starts violating rule number one.
- I’ll reiterate this again, listen to your student leadership. BCT is rough on them (I know from experience) especially during FTX.
P.s. – For those wondering about my PT, yes I did pass (obviously) on the retest. I feel like I have the hardest time running. But keep trying and push yourself (cliché I know) and you’ll pass. As one of my battle buddies said “You can die afterward.”
Be on the lookout for my next few posts about AIT and life outside of TRADOC land. Stay tuned