Saturday, August 18, 2012

Eagle Tower, gas chamber, Taco Bell

My son, Christopher, is in basic training until Nov. 2 at Fort Benning. (He's the one pulling down on the large round thing in the photo.) I'm sharing his letters home for all those who have said they want to follow what he's doing.

Aug. 5, 2012
Hello everyone,

Friday marked the end of Week 1 of basic training. I'm now a third of the way done with Red Phase as well.

Monday we did an obstacle course but it was the kind where you're given different items and you have to take them across obstacles over water. Our next day we did a crawling-under-barbed-wire-in-mud-type of obstacle course, and it was raining so we were drenched, muddy and sandy. And then we had to march 3 miles home so that gave us a good taste of infantry life.

The next day we got to repel off Eagle Tower. What that is, is a huge, 80-foot wooden tower that you repel off, and that was a lot of fun but scary on that initial step over the wall. Friday we went to the gas chamber. Before I explain, the videos do it no justice as to how much the chamber sucks. So when you walk in, you have your gas mask on but you feel the gas irritate the back of your neck. That irritation starts then to feel like someone pouring boiling water down your neck. The drill sergeants then have you life up your mask and say your last name and last four social digits. They do this so you can put the mask back on and properly clear it. They then have everyone take their masks off completely, which brings that boiling feeling to your whole face, your eyes and lungs. After proceeding out the door and breathing fresh air you return back to normal. It's not as bad as it sounds. I just don't want to do it again.

Finally Saturday we had a 2-mile run and we started MACP (pronounced Mack-Pee). It stands for Modern Army Combatives Program. We got to wrestle other people in our platoon and I did very well.

On another note, though, today is Sunday, which is nice because there's no PT (physical training) so you get a chance to relax and write some letters. Thank you for the lengthy letters. It's an awesome feeling receiving mail.

You asked what a typical day here is like. You wake up at 4:30 a.m. (except Sundays at 5:30, which honestly now is sleeping in). First formation is around 5:15. We then do 1.5-2 hours of PT, come back and change, then eat breakfast. After that we do our training for the day, come back to evening chow or dinner then we clean the outside areas up, then our barracks. I didn't mention lunch but we get that, too. If we're lucky, we get some personal time; it's usually 10-15 minutes. When I get more personal time I will write more. Let everyone know, too, to write me. We don't have to do push-ups for mail or anything so the more the better. It's not too bad overall here but it can be pretty stressful so mail is nice.

I've decided that when I graduate the first thing I've doing is going to Taco Bell. Once we're back in Indiana I really want to go to El Camino. For some reason Mexican food sounds constantly appealing to me.

Also, so you have it in writing: If the oil needs changed on my car, use Pennzoil Ultra 5w-20.

That's everything I can think of for now though so I hope everyone is doing well at home. Time is flying by here. I miss home but I'm doing great. Take care. I love you!


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