Sunday, May 8, 2011

End of Week 7: FTX WLT Testing, Gas Chamber, Land Nav, Convoy Training

We are nearing the end of Camp Bullis.  We finished our second week in the field.  We only have 4 more field days remaining before graduation.  This week we restarted PT and combatives.  This was every morning Tuesday-Friday 0600-0700 (PT); 0600-0800 (Combatives).     This week was much cooler than last week. Highs in the upper 70's and lower 80's.  Just a great week to be camping :-).

Monday we went to the M9 range.  This was a cool day with highs only getting into the upper 50's.  You get to attempt to fake qualify with the M9.  I say fake qualify, because even when you qualify nobody writes your name down so you know this didn't count for anything.

Tuesday we had WLT testing.  We did pretty good with most of my squad getting first time go's on everything.  This took the entire day.  Again in Army fashion, it was 2 hours of testing and 8 hours of sitting and waiting.

Wednesday was the dreaded gas chamber.  This went really quick.  You quickly line up in your platoon and go through the chamber.  They make you say your name, rank, serial number, hometown.  I didn't inhale any of the gas, but my eyes burned pretty good.  It took about 10 minutes for them to stop burning.  But once it stopped, your eyes are back to normal.  Overall it really isn't that bad.  After the gas you go through a few classes on CBRNE.

Thursday was day land nav.  You have 3 hours to find 3 out of 4 points to get a go.  If you don't at least 3 points or you fail to get back to the FOB in 3 hours, you have to retest next Thursday.  You will go out in groups of 2.  My team did well.  We found all 4 points and returned to the FOB with an hour to spare.  Some teams weren't so lucky.  There were many failures, including some teams which didn't even get 1 point.  If you fail you have to go back out with failures next week (you can't get someone who passed to go back out with you).  Land nav is really easy.  Just pay attention when they show you how to plot your points.   Next week we will be doing the night land nav test.  After the test we had 3 hours of outdoor classes to tell us about the simulations we will be doing next week.

Friday was convoy day.  You went on a convoy and had to go through scenarios with IED's and small arms fire.  After the convoy we went to the convoy simulator.  Basically this is a big video game.  You have a driver, truck commander, a couple of passengers and the gunner.  I got to be the gunner and man the 50 cal.  That was pretty fun.   After the simulator you got sent to the heat trainer.  This simulates roll overs.  You get into a hummer and you will be flipped a few times and have to get out upside down.  A couple of key points.  Don't drop your weapon and don't grab any equipment (ie fake ammo can) flying around in the heat trainer.  If you do they will keep on flipping your entire team.

Week 2 is complete.  Next week we will be doing Role I, II, III simulations, plus night land nav.  Then on Friday we will be back at FSH for graduation rehearsal.

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