Thursday, October 30, 2008

HMMWV rollover

Not sure if I spelled Hum-vee right or not - don't care.

This little gem teaches us how to get out of our top heavy/prone to tipping vehicles:

This took place a while ago...

wow - I'm way behind in blogging - why doesn't the Army schedule time for this?

I loved this - it was so funny watching the guys inside the vehicle get pummeled with the rubber ammo cans and junk left loose in the cab.  Getting out of an upside down humvee while wearing body armor/helmet was harder than I though...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Commanding tanks in the field!

I just got back from a week of Armor STX (Simulated Training eXercises).  It was INCREDIBLE!  I and the other LT's in the class filled various roles in three separate tank platoons.  We did everything from planning and commanding platoon missions, to driving the actual tanks.

Let me tell you, I thought it was fun taking my old 1995 Pathfinder off road, but it's NOTHING compared to driving a 67 ton tank, with a 1500 horse power jet turbine engine, across "undulating terrain" at up to 45 miles per hour.

Also, there are few things as exhilarating as pulling up into a support by fire position and suppressing an enemy defensive battle position, and on command watching your bravo section assault across the objective, spewing dirt trails behind them as they destroy the entire enemy platoon.

As far as spending time in the field is concerned, being on a tank has its advantage.  The exhaust from the port at the rear of the tank reaches a temperature of around 800 degrees Fahrenheit. At a distance of about 12 feet, a group of shivering Armor/Cavalry LT's can get warmed up real quick on a chilly October morning.  Also, the back deck of the tank (where the power pack is housed) retains heat for hours and hours - it's a GREAT place to lay out your sleeping bag on a cold evening.

This experience here is incredible - we are somewhere between exhaustion and elation at any given moment.

Here are a few memorable moments from the STX:
  • Observing an LT throw rocks at a skunk as it wandered among our lines of tanks, because he didn't want it to sleep under his tank.
  • Hearing CPT Stierwalt drop artillery sims in our TAA in the wee hours of the morning
  • Every time an LT drive (myself included) hit the brakes a little too hard, and hearing everyone over the intercom curse as they slammed into the gunner's sight/TC's .50 mount/front of the loader's hatch.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Finding the time to blog...

It's been quite a while since I posted to my beloved outlet to the world, and honestly I had grand intentions of documenting exactly how much fun I was having at Armor BOLC III and how awesome tanks are...

The reality of the matter is this - the Army has kept me so busy that I am spending every "free" moment I have with my family, napping, or just trying to regain my sanity. Honestly, the Army has always found a way to occupy my time, but in the past my time was spent waiting for the next thing to happen. Now, they have me working, studying, rucking, writing, etc... from before 6 AM every morning until at least 5 PM every night - and now when I am "off work" I am writing seven page Op Orders, creating map overlays, phase sketches, etc... until the wee hours of the morning.

I'm sure I'll be a better officer after this experience, but am NOT having "lots of fun" - at least not right now... This is probably in the top 3 for the most difficult experiences of my life.

Just so you all know - here is what's going on with me for the next little bit:

I finish Armor BOLC III on December 17th - the course culminates with a 10 day field exercise in the middle of winter in Kentucky... wow. After that, Becca, Eli and I will fly back to Utah to spend Christmas, and then I'll come BACK to Fort Knox for Scout Leaders Course, which will be comprised 27 days (2 weeks or so in the field), once again in the middle of winter.

After I finish these two schools, I get a short break before I leave with my unit to train up for our deployment to Iraq.

I am really excited to be fulfilling a dream, and very excited to be serving my country. At the same time, I am sad that I am sacrificing precious time away from my family that I love so much, and I am obviously feeling a little worn down from my current training.

Please keep our little family in your hearts and prayers - we love and miss you all and I can't wait until we're all back together again with our friends and family in Utah!