BOLC Week Two: Lines, Lines, Lines!
My second week at Fort Sam Houston ... good times!Almost more than the whole "hurry up and wait" business, the Army is crazy about lines. We stand in line for just about everything: meals at the dining facility (DFAC), getting our FTX (field training exercise) equipment issued at CIF (Central Issue Facility), getting our Common Access Cards (CAC, also known as military ID cards) issued to us. We line up in the morning, we line up in the evening. And the beauty of getting into formation: it's all about accountability and making sure your buddies on your left and your buddies on your right are all present and well.
And anyone who has watched any Army movie ever in the history of the Army and Hollywood and moving pictures knows that if one guy (or gal) screws up, we all screw up ... we take the punishment as a group if we do bonehead things like miss formation or show up late without a darn good reason. Typically, as we've seen on the big screen, it means we show up for PT even earlier the next day. Yep, that is one thing Hollywood got right. People missed formation and we had PT earlier the next day. And again ... you could hear the groans as platoon leaders reported having officers "out of ranks," i.e., not present and certainly not accounted for. Really, people? Really?! After a couple of days, we finally got it right -- all of us! I think we're getting more squared away as the days pass. Having a bunch of prior service in the mix remains a great advantage, too. The best thing about the prior service peeps is that they are so willing to share their knowledge with a relatively clueless direct commission officer like me.
Also, for those of you who think Texas is hot all the time? Not so. We froze our tails off at PT more than once this week. It was more than 50 degrees outside, but the wind was bitter and vicious. We're wearing summer PTs right now (t-shirt and shorts), but were allowed to wear the PT jacket ... as long as everyone, and they meant EVERYONE, wore their jackets. See where this is going? Yep ... people showed up without jackets, and we all had to take them off. Oh, fabulous! That's not exactly what I said.
Thursday's PT brought my first formation run -- meaning we ran as a platoon, in cadence. I know for sure I am one of the slowest runners, so I got to be up in the front of the formation. I tell you, it is difficult to not speed up when the cadence seems to demand it! We were running something like 2.5 to 2.75 miles total, and wouldn't you know it, toward the end, I suddenly just knew I was going to vomit. In my mind and in a hurry, I was going over what the official protocol might be for such a situation: I didn't want to fall out of formation, but I also thought it probably wasn't good form to sprinkle my platoon peeps with emesis. So I fell out of formation and sought the trunk of a friendly tree, hurled a little bit, and got back to running. A couple of people held back to run with me, and then my platoon did a wagon wheel (a u-turn to come back for me) and put me at the front right position of the formation -- the official pace-setter. I guess I got some credit for getting back into formation after I puked, but hey -- I felt better! I am the kind of runner that needs to work up to my speed -- I start off slower, and then speed up. In the formation, we started off faster than I normally would, and it kicked my tail. But I finished. And I am learning that yes, it's true: if you can talk while running, you are not working hard enough. I am in awe of my peeps that can call cadence while running; they are rock stars!
And today I got my CAC card! Yes, we even have to stand in line on Saturdays when it is required. But I didn't mind -- with my CAC card, I no longer have to flash my orders and drivers license at the PX or commissary. I feel all official, even if I have total beret-hair in my picture. Hot stuff!
This week we also had some military history briefings as well as the dreaded briefing about CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, explosives). We were warned that we should bring coffee, and that by the end of the CBRNE lecture, it would be standing room only at the back of the auditorium (they encourage us to get up and stand back there if we are in danger of nodding off). However, I guess (know?!) I am a dork ... I have to admit I enjoyed the CBRNE lectures. Yes, it's true. It was like Hazmat 101, and Decon 101, and START triage ... all those things that any paramedic has learned several times over, so it was kind of like a refresher in some parts. However, relative to the CBRNE lectures and the caffeine directive, I did come up with a new acronym that I believe needs to be pushed through official channels and promulgated Army-wide. We have been told by our leadership that we need to be "AIS" by a certain time, "AIS" meaning "butt in seat," i.e., seated in the auditorium and ready for briefings. I make sure that I am AIS, but also SIH ... Starbucks in hand. SIH. Has a nice ring to it, right? Yes, there is a Starbucks in the AMEDD building. Love it!
We still have to go to Dental at some point, and my medical records are languishing in my big ol' expandable file folder ... not sure when those things will happen, but at least I got my husband enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) today! Now if only I could get a paycheck ... well, I won't go there yet. So far it truly is a volunteer Army...
About Pixie.RN, MSN, RN, EMT-P Senior Moderator
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.
Joined: Aug '05; Posts: 16,575; Likes: 13,478Apr 26, '11AWESOME stories.. I have been searching for info on this and just to hear stories.. can't wait to be in your shoes!!
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