Yesterday’s theme was all about Super Girl and her adventures in the big city. Today I’ll bring you all up to speed on what Number One Son, who is actually number two child, but the first and oldest son, only son, so why bother numbering him? I’ll just call him Connor, because that’s his name. Anyhoo, I told you all about his great summer of skydiving and how he was having so much fun jumping out of airplanes and hanging out with all his friends. But all good things must come to an end, especially when you’ve promised Uncle Sam a bit of your time. So in mid September Cathy an I drove our little boy down to the airport and put him on a plane so mean men in funny hats could make a man out of him. But apparently I’d already done a pretty good job of that myself because Connor blew the doors off basic training! He told me in his first few letters home that he was disappointed that the training wasn’t harder than it was. He’d grown up listening to his old man talk about how tough it was back when he went through basic training in 1979 and was looking forward to a similar challenge. You know, marching in waist deep snow to the obstacle course, up hill, both ways. About how the drill sergeants were still allowed to hit you back then and that we ran in brand new (stiff) black leather combat boots, not the fancy cross trainers they use today. It was also one of the hottest summers on record in good old Fort Lenard Wood Mo. Nope, Connor was disappointed at how easy it was. That was until the weather changed and weeks of cold rain produced a 1000 year flood and state of emergency smack dab over his training base in Fort Jackson South Carolina, maybe you heard about that in the news. Be careful what you wish for. Besides training in the cold rain every day the other thing that bothered Connor a lot was the double standard there was when it came to the females. While the Drill Sergeants were still quick to yell and scream at the men in Connor’s platoon they almost never raised their voices at the females and gave them special treatment constantly. The best example was when the trainees were first issued their weapons. In a rare form of common sense the Army started issuing each soldier a magazine for their rifle loaded with two blank cartridges in order to teach them how to handle a loaded weapon. Freaking brilliant if you ask me. The Drill Sergeants then warned the trainees that if anyone had a ND (negligent discharge, or oops) their would be hell to pay. They promised that the offender would receive an article 15 (mini-court marshal) $700 fine, loss in rank if they had any, and most likely have to start basic training all over again. You know, wrath of God kind of stuff. They had been hearing these warnings for weeks before ever being issued the blanks so they were all terrified of screwing up. And rightly so because having an ND is a good way to kill someone. So of course it wasn’t 20 minutes after receiving the blanks when, BANG! Everyone froze, one of the females had shot off a blank. Oh shit! She was going to get it now. Only she didn’t. Just one Drill Sergeant went over to the offending female and all he did was to ask her if she was OK and to tell her to be more careful. Connor and his buddies were beside themselves. All those threats were BS. Then a male trainee did the same thing, only this time the reaction was slightly different. 5 Drill Sergeants descended on the poor guy and screamed at him until he cried. He was given an article 15, $700 fine and instead of having to re start basic he was given 20 hours of extra duty. But don’t worry, the female trainee was OK.
Despite the hardships Connor continued to shine. He consistently placed in the top 5% in PT. Qualified “expert” in rifle and grenade, and shot high score in the company, we’re not going to count the guy who cheated by grabbing an extra 10 rounds. During his company’s field training exercise (camping) Connor’s fighting position (fox hole) was selected by the company commander as a almost perfect example and a reward he was allowed to man his fighting position for 8 hours in the rain, along with everyone else, and was told to keep a sharp eye out for enemy infiltrators. While standing in ankle deep cold water for hours Connor observed someone low crawling towards the lie 300 meters out. Connor could see it was his Drill Sergeant trying to sneak up on his platoon and called out “HALT, WHO GOES THERE?” The Drill Sergeant froze and then after pounding the ground in anger jump up, fire a few blanks at the platoon line and run off back into the woods. A few minutes later he came storming back to the platoon super pissed off and demanding to know just who the fuck had seen him? When Connor raised his hand the Sergeant screamed “God damn it McCauley! It took me two hours of low crawling to get that close! how the hell did you see me?” “Never try to sneak up on a deer hunter Drill sergeant!” Connor yelled back. He was made squad leader and then acting platoon Sergeant and was also on of only 4 troops in his company to be promoted for merit and outstanding performance. I think we’ve got a soldier on our hands.
Graduation day with the companies marching out of out of the smoke. Pretty cool