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Date: 2007-04-12 10:58
Subject: March Army FTX
Security: Public
Friday: 1800, my platoon reported to the gulag where accountability was taken. After everyone was either declared coming or missing we started issuing command of the platoon. I was made PL, Estright PSG, Allard 1 SQD LDR, Ku 2 SQD LDR, Grieco 3 SQD LDR. I was initially surprised at becoming the platoon leader and later asked why I was put into that position and CPT Estevez said that due to the fact that it was the last FTX for the year he wanted his best, and primarily Norwich Rangers, as the leading element for the duration of the weekend. Right off we split the three squads into sections and started assigning specialty teams and getting water, ammo, issue, and last moment PCI out of the way. Shortly there after we were issued our M-16's and we were ready to rock and roll. Sensitive items (NVG's, SINGAR's, AT-4, Claymore's) were handed out also and all accountability for those items was written down. Soon after admin. notes we were heading out to the base of Turkey Hill. We did a tactical road march all the way to the base of the hill and then continued up to the designated location on the top of Turkey Hill. We stopped occasionally and I had squad leaders check on their men and had Estright keep an eye on equipment and accountability. Shortly after getting the platoon to the top of the hill we set up a PB and provided security until the other platoons had made it to the top of the hill. For the remainder of the night we set up security rotations, sleeping areas, and designated the latrine and rotation of chow. We went to bed around 2230.

(to be continued)
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Date: 2006-11-05 12:33
Subject: November Army FTX
Security: Public
Friday: I went to classes and carried out the normal procedures of the day and immediately went back to the barracks to do last minute preparation for the FTX. At 1700 hrs, everyone going met at the Gulog. Following accountability we headed out into the back woods of Norwich. I was assigned the radio and I was remembering it as we were walking up the side of the mountain to get to our patrol base. When we got there we were all put into our positions that would last as our patrol base for the remainder of the evening. Following the fire we made, sleeping bags being set up, and our MRE for dinner, we went to bed around 2230. Landers and I had patrol duty, 0030 hrs - 0100 hrs. Challenge password: "Big" "Mama". Number password: "(#1-7)" "(number added to make 7)"

Saturday: Wake up call at 0430 hrs. We packed all our stuff so that we were mobile in the advent of an attack. At 0500 hrs, we were on 100% security in a 360 perimeter. 0600 hrs we were allowed to shave and eat breakfast for 15 minutes with 50% security and following my half of the fifteen we were attacked. We all had blanks in our M-16's and unfortunately most of our guns jammed all the time due to there not being enough gas from the blacks to re-charge the bolt. The first artillery simulator went of right in front of me and I was blinded temporarily. The fire fight lasted about 2 minutes and we were all shades of confused about what to do but by the end of the FTX we had things down pretty well. From there we held security till the sun was up over the horizon and we began our classes. Classes included how to conduct leader's recon patrols, how to conduct our two main battle drills: the raid, and react to contact. After the classes and an MRE for lunch we rehearsed and rehearsed the raid drill for the drill that was going to be the point of the whole FTX. Before rehearsal however there was the matter of dinner for that night. Immediately following drill classes there was a "kill class". Each platoon on the FTX (5 in all) were supplied with a 70 pound pig. One pig was used as a demonstration. Master Sergeant shot the pig in the head to stun it and then it's throat was cut and left to bleed out. The pig was then hung up, gutted and skinned. After the demonstration, the remaining pigs were killed and distributed to each platoon to gut and skin. I was on gut burying detail.

Following classes continued on raids we let the pig hang to bleed and rehearsed the raid that we were going to be doing that night. I was assigned snatch detail. There were potatoes and other food that we had to gather from the raid for the meal that night as well as gain intelligence on the people that we were attempting to capture. At 1900 we left to conduct the raid. When we reached the ORP, we thought our position was compromised and we decided not to conduct a leaders recon. We moved up a hill towards the objective and waited on line. 4th platoon screwed up their raid and were made to do it again (this all was happening while we were already in position). Under concealment of darkness and the enemy beginning to reset for the next platoon (because they had just gotten done chewing out 4th platoon) we opened a surprise attack on them and proceeded with the raid and aside from a few malfunctions with EPW, it was one of the most successful raids of the night. We returned back to our patrol camp and started dinner.

The pork we prepared for that night never really cooked at all because of how cold it was in contrast to our fire. I had one piece and called it good for the night. We were attacked in the night and probably in a real situation would all have been dead because our security guy at the time was pulling security from his sleeping bag instead of walking around like the rest of us had been. By the time I was awake, got my boots on and got my rifle out of my sleeping bag, the attack was over. I had 0100-0130 security shift that night.

Sunday: The next morning, wake up call was at 0530. We were on 100% security at 0600 and had all our stuff ready to go and move out. After an AAR, we moved out back to campus, cleaned rifles, turned them in and returned to dorms at around 0945.


Temperature- D:35F N:15F
Blanks fired- 10
Sleep- 4 hrs
Meals PD- 1.5
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Date: 2006-10-29 10:47
Subject: Land Navigation and Orienteering FTX
Security: Public
We finally got to put our skills to the test! Previously we were learning how to land navigate and orient in ROTC class, and yesterday we got to go out and see how we all did. I woke up 0400 and rolled out of bed and got all the utility stuff taken care of. After that most of my time was taken up by making sure that I had everything that I needed on the packing list so to make sure that I was not "that guy" that was missing something. When it was time, me and the rest of the Echo Company people that were going headed down to where the buses were picking us up. We lined into formation and shortly after due to the weather being pretty rainy they sent us into the indoor track to ground our stuff and have our breakfast. MMM, good 'ol MRE's! After the exchange of what we wanted to eat amongst ourselves, breakfast was cleaned up and we were ready to go again. We loaded the bus and it was pretty tight but we all managed to fit. There were 4 or 5 buses in all. About 2 minutes into the trip everyone was asleep including myself and after about 45 more minutes there was the resounding, "ALRIGHT, GET UP!" After pouring out of the bus it was still raining and we headed into the main building to receive our plot points. Our captain gave us a map, the points, a pat on the back and said, "enjoy the weather!" I was partnered with my rook buddy, KU, and we headed out to find all 5 points. The first one was easy because it was right along a road about 175 meters out. The second one that we set out to find proved to be the hardest one for us. We eventually found out it was on the ridge that we were on but just did not go far enough. After we got lost trying to find it we set out to find the main road again. After finding an intersection on the map and shooting a new azimuth, we switched roles (I was the pace count and Ku was the compass man) and proceeded on. About 40 minutes later we found our second point and proceeded onto the 3rd. It was pretty easy from there on out. We had some 500 meter points and 1, 1500 meter point. We broke up some of the longer ones and by the time we got back to the base, we had found 4 out of the 5. The 5th one was too far out of the way to get it and make it back in time. Some groups only found 2 or 3 and there was one group on our way back up to base that had not found any. Upon eating lunch in base they called it a day due to the weather being so horrible. The officers said that it was the worst day for land navigation that they had ever seen. By the time Ku and I were heading back, it was hailing, raining, and winds were picking us up off of our feet. We were supposed to work on ambush drills and night land navigation but perhaps we will do that another time. And again, 2 minutes into the ride back home, all of us... were snoring.
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Date: 2006-09-24 08:06
Subject: 09-23-06 Firing Range
Security: Public
Today we went to the firing range to qualify with our M16's. There are three levels of shooting that you can be qualified for. There's Marksman, Sharpshooter, and Expert. I qualified as a Marksman but was actually partially dissapointed because myself and the rest of the recriuts had many elemants working against us. It had started raining earlier that day and by the time we had gotten our ponchos on we were already wet. The wind was not horrible but just cold enough to give that deep chill in your bones. I was pleased though in the end on the ride home. A lot of people did not qualify at all. Some of the recruits in my company qualified also. My roomate got the highest score in our company and qualified as a Sharpshooter.

The whole day did not consist of being at the firing range however. There were other events and stations going on there as well. The first station I went to was the Claymore Mine station. Here we laerned how to properly deploy, detonate, and if need be retrieve the mine. It was actually pretty interesting. The mine and blasting cap were dummies of course but all the other equipment was real. After that station we proceeded to the Bugle Stick course. Here we got to beat eachother about the head and knee. I got walloped pretty good a couple times but got quite a few shots also. After this station we proceeded to the firing range where we went over safety, positions, and proper etiquette while being on the range. After that we went to the Communications tent and learned how to use radios. We went over radio protocal with the pheonetic alphabet and proper numbers (A= Alpha, 9= niner, etc.). The final station was the Medical Station where we learned how to properly assist a soldier that was incapacitated. The steps to follow and how to execute necessary actions. We had MRE's for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and I'll be grateful when we can get some real food tomorrow

By the end of all this it was 1700 and I was more tired than I had been in a long time. I slept on the bus ride home. As soon as we got back we had about 1/2 an hour to get changed out of BDU's, eat dinner, get ready to go to the concert. Lee Greewood as a tribute to the National Guard troops that were returning home from Iraq. Our tickets were paid for which was nice but my company and I included were so tired that we really considered not attending. Out of respect though for the troops and the people responsible for paying our way, we went. As soon as it was over we came back to the barracks and crashed. About 5 minutes into sleep however we all woke to what we thought was a morter attack, but really were fireworks being set off after the concert. It was a good day but pretty tiring.
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April 2007