Alpine Summit

Friday, September 01, 2006

OCS, Week 2

So this week was nothing but classwork. We went over offensive/defensive operations, troop leading procedures and the five paragraph operations order (OPORD). The classes weren't so bad because they would insert movie clips in the presentations to illustrate what they were talking about. You would be surprised how well that keeps a group's attention. Having all-day classes from 9-4 (or 5) would be mind-numbing for most people. In fact, it was for some of the prior service guys here because they already know the stuff we are going over right now. For the rest of us, though, it was half-way enjoyable!

The best part about doing nothing but classwork this week was that it was in Infantry hall where there are countless vending machines and a coffee shop. Having just come out of basic, you tend to miss the simple things in life like caffiene and sugar. I have certainly been making up for lost time, but the weird thing is that I'm still not eating nearly as much sugar as I used to before the Army. I have lost my taste for it somewhat (but still LOVE it). Now it is more of a "oh no, I better not eat any more sugar... it can't be good for me!" Not that I'm complaining--I'm in the best shape of my life, it's just that the Army changed me and that's a visible sign of it. Whenever I eat junk food I feel like I'm breaking the rules or something.

Anyway, this weekend is Labor Day and we get a 4 day weekend! I'm really enjoying it so far (even though it's the first day). Having a break like this is really nice since we will be going into the field soon for about a week. Though I plan on enjoying my break, it still isn't the greatest because I would really like to see my friends and family (and girlfriend). That's the only aspect that I can truly say has been "hard" to deal with. PT and smoke sessions aren't anything. Sure you hurt after doing it, but it always goes away. Being without friends or other support and constantly being at your job is more difficult because I know it won't end until the training ends. It makes me wonder how I will cope if (when) I get deployed.

I have had prior service people here tell me that TRADOC (Training and Doctrine), the all-encompasing "education branch" of the Army, is nothing like the normal Army. I certainly hope so because from what I have seen so far, I am not too happy. Not that I'm saying the Army is bad, it's just been hard. Despite their best efforts, it's just not home. So from that standpoint, I am not really inclined to stay in after my contract is up. On the other hand, the Army does do a LOT to make sure I am happy and well taken care of. So while my official stance is "I don't know," my unofficial stance is "probably not" regarding whether or not I am going to stay in for 20 years.

Yesterday I called a cadence for the first time for my platoon. It didn't end so well because I screwed it up and was told to get back in formation by our platoon sergeant. Oh well, roll with the punches as they say.

I can't believe week 2 is already over at OCS! I only have 12 (11) weeks left! I put 11 in parenthesis because we get two more 4-day weekends before graduation which lowers the training cycle by a week. I still count it though because if I'm not near family or friends (or girlfriends) then it isn't really "time off" for me.

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