Alpine Summit

Saturday, February 10, 2007

BOLC II is Gay

So let me update everyone on my latest adventures. Since I posted last, I have been in my second officer class known as "Basic Officer Leadership Course" or "BOLC" II. My hopes for this course were that I could hone my skills as an officer and learn more professional development things like how to act as an officer. My hopes were dashed the first weekend when half my platoon played beer pong in the hallway of the barracks. Not to worry though, it all went downhill from there.

Having gone to BCT, it's been hard to adjust to the less artificial environment of the actual Army--even through OCS I had this problem. While I was waiting for this course to start back in December, I caught a glimpse of what the REAL Army is like: way more laid back. After experiencing this, I come to BOLC II where they try to enforce that artificiality again to some extent.

The course itself is stupid because EVERYTHING-- and I do mean everything-- we do here I have already done, sometimes to a better standard. This isn't to say I haven't enjoyed SOME moments here, but it's really just a waste of time. Since this past week is most fresh in my mind, I'll cite that as an example because it's all been a similar experience from week to week.

These past two weeks, we have been in the field doing various training tasks. We have one more week to go and then we'll be out processing. On Tuesday, it was the nicest weather we've had since I've been here, and luckily we were supposed to be doing convoy operations--that's where we hang out the side of a truck and ride around shooting at the enemy. Instead, we receive a FRAGO (quick change to existing orders) that we have to assault the motor pool. At this point we were pretty excited because it sounded cool to actually assault an actual building on the post. As we are approaching, we get another FRAGO that says our "enemy" is now friendly which was weird to hear on an operation. As we are pulling into the motor pool, we see everyone else in the company walking around sweeping the parking area. At this point we now hear that the mission is canceled and we are going to be picking up trash instead. Picture this: commissioned officers-- college educated future leaders of the military sweeping a parking lot like a bunch of E-1 privates. All of us were beyond words at how we felt.

But what about the training? You might be asking yourself. Well, we finished our training exercise on Thursday when it was once again cold as it could be and rode around in 25-30 degree weather for 2 hours. Safety considerations are much more lax in this place. Training is supposed to be done with a low safety risk level, but I would classify our training as well into the "Moderate" level of safety.

Thursday night, we were told to complete a squad-level mission where we basically go out, recon the rage we did our ARM (Advanced Rifle Marksmaship) on and return. We exectuted at 11 at night. We didn't get to bed until about 1 and had to get up at about 5. Losing sleep for stupid missions with no perceptible training value. Awesome.

Everyone here at BOLC tells themselves the same thing: I could be through a lot of my training in my branch-- instead I'm wasting time here in BOLC II. What we find most frustrating about this course is that we see how it can be a good course for professional officer development and instead it's just like basic training with fewer restrictions.