We made it!Wow, the last week is kind of a blur. We left very early last Monday for the field. It was a short field week for us anyway as we were scheduled to return on Thursday at noon, then do various administrative tasks on Friday. This was the field week many of us were anticipating because we would actually get a (simulated) taste of what it was like to receive casualties in various settings, from a Battalion Aid Station (BAS) to a Combat Support Hospital (CSH). Good times! I was lucky enough to get to fly in a Blackhawk as part of the casualty simulations on Tuesday, which was amazing. Wednesday I was elected by my cohorts in crime to be a triage nurse at a simulated explosion, so one of the PAs in our platoon and I did our best to sort out the wounded. It was challenging and fun, and it was interesting to see a lot of what we had learned in class put into action.
Wednesday night we did night land navigation. From what I've heard, the standard is usually to find two of the four assigned points, rather than three of four points as it is for day land nav, but we were told that we had to find three points to receive a "go" (pass), and we had one extra hour. We were also told in the briefing that we could not use our flashlights to walk, but only when we were plotting or checking maps. Luckily there was a bit of a moon, and we were able to see after our eyes adjusted a bit. We found our start point and first and second points easily enough, but the third point was a challenge – it was pretty much in the middle of nowhere, not visible from a road or trail like many others said their points were, and it took us some adjusting (i.e., replotting from other points we found) to finally get there. Our fourth point was too far away to reach in time to return to the FOB within the time limit, so we were satisfied with getting three of our four points for a "go." We finished that around midnight and had to be up at 0400 for an early formation on Thursday.
Thursday morning brought angry skies, and we knew there were some severe storms in the forecast. Some people left the FOB for vehicle washing detail while others went to clean masks. Those of us not assigned to a detail did a mass police call to pick up trash on the FOB. As we worked, the sky grew darker and darker, and we realized we were in for a huge storm. This would be the first real rain I'd seen since arriving in San Antonio on March 21st. Around 0830, a voice announced that all people on the FOB needed to return to their tents. We were instructed to get everything up off the floor in case of flooding. The storm rolled in, and plans were made to bring the buses to get us off the FOB about two hours early. It was an amazing, awesome storm – the sky almost looked green (I was checking for rotational action in the sky!), there was a lot of thunder and lightning, the rain was blowing sideways, and it sounded like a freight train in our tent. There were people out for day land nav retesting, and they were taken from the course early and brought back to the FOB. We were finally herded into tents based on the butt stock number on our weapons (the easiest way to get accountability since it wasn't safe to get into formation outside), where we awaited, then boarded, buses back to Ft. Sam Houston. By the time we arrived at Ft. Sam, the storm had blown through. We were taken by bus to the arms building to turn in our M16s for one last time, and then the buses took us back to our lodging. Ironically, my boots were relatively clean after three weeks in the field, but they got all muddy when I stepped off the bus back at Ft. Sam. Haha.
Friday we met in our classroom one last time to turn in books, compasses, and knee and elbow pads. Our platoon leader (who is absolutely fabulous!) then sat down with us individually to give us our DA 1059, which is our evaluation for our time at the main portion of BOLC. We also had to do an online survey to provide feedback on BOLC, well as attend a briefing/AAR with the LTC in the afternoon to provide feedback. We were originally scheduled to return all of our field gear to the Central Issue Facility (CIF) on Friday, but it ended up that the short course people (Reservists) got to do that Friday, probably because they had to clear out early on Monday.
Friday afternoon, in the blazing hot sun, we had graduation rehearsal. During that hour we had a couple of people fall out due to heat, so we were grateful to hear that our scheduled graduation time on Monday (0730) had a forecasted temperature of 57 degrees. Sure enough, Monday was gorgeous! The graduation ceremony lasted less than 30 minutes, and we were all very happy to have reached this point. And now we're truly in the home stretch: on to the two weeks of Nurse Track!
About Pixie.RN, BSN, RN, EMT-P
LunahRN: a short green-eyed redhead, very tattooed, a volunteer Paramedic, ER RN, new 2LT/66HM5. Avid reader, addicted to good shoes, allnurses, and her smartphone.
Pixie.RN has 'NREMT-P: 11, RN: 6' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'ED/Trauma, 66HM5 (Army)'. From 'everywhere and nowhere - global nomad'; 42 Years Old; Joined Aug '05; Posts: 12,635; Likes: 7,233.