20 August 2007

BOLCII DAY 11: Practice land nav & BRM dry fire

0310 wake up considering I got to bed about 2300 that was tough. Packing list is simple, ranger pack, wet weather top, safety vest, camel-bak, MOLLE vest w/1 QTs, eye protection, compass, protractor etc. I add bug spray and a few extra pens, pencils and protractors. We draw a happy meal (MRE) and load the bus for the trip out to the range.

We eat our MRE on the bus (One D Co PLTs had to report 0250 to eat there MRE on the ground prior to loading the bus, DON’T do that to your Soldiers!) I eat the breakfast of champions: wheat bread with jalapeno cheese, pound cake, and M&Ms and save the rest for later.

After about 20 min we arrive, go to the bleachers for a safety/orientation brief (A too little brief on the wildlife for my taste given all the stories of large spiders, boars, snakes etc!) and then verify our compasses is correct and verify our pace count. Then we are issued maps and a score card. The maps are terrible B&W copies, usable but just barely.

NOTE: you will be issues a compass as part of your PLT TA-50. I brought mine just because.

NOTE: Buy a INOVA 24/7 LED Multi-function Flashlight Emergency kit with the head band feature. It was indispensable for working the map/ walking with both hands free to see and defend myself from the creatures of the night!

NOTE: Buy a Ranger Joe’s protractor. The GOV issues ones can lead you astay if they are not cut right.

My battle buddy for this practice is LT Christina Castellano, we plot out points, chose a course of action to navigate to the first point and decide if angles of attack will be a better option give the terrine we find. We had a terrible time finding the first point. We are still not sure what happened because it was only about 500 m out. Anyway we spent an hour and half of better on it (you are given 5 hours, from 0500-1000 to find 5 of 7 points for the practice course, but not required to graduate) and finally walked to a road intersection and repotted back and found it right away.

It was light then and decided angles of attack was going to be the best option and head back to the road to the other points. Like most land nav maps, there are roads and trails not on the map and the ones on the map are not necessarily where the are shown or make have moved so use caution. We had a high level of frustration at several point but where able to figure things out with the help of other LTs on the course.

The course is “self correcting” to the extend that there are some old grid coordinates written on the post (Standard land nav white/orange triangle with numbers and a punch tool) In total I think we walked about 8,000 m using angle of attack. We got 5 points and headed to our 6th to add a margin of error (furthest 2 point) but by the time we got there we only had time for one attack and did not find it on the first try so we headed in. We end have one point bad at turn in which was a bummer but considering half the PLT did not pass.

NOTE: If you come in too early they will have you go back out to continue practicing.

Back in the bleachers it was time to wait for all of our tardy D Co LTs with the last being a cadre “save” from 3rd PLT. Back in bus to the Co area. Throw gear in the rooms and grap some quick chow. Draw weapons and conduct aiming/positioning/dry fire exercise for the rest of the afternoon in the PT field and Co Area. We wore our IBAs (w/SAPI plates) and kevlars and it was hot!! We all ended up soaked with sweat and dirty.

NOTE: Before I go any further allow me to go on a rant about student leadership and the arms room. Each BOLC II LT is issued an arms card, where as every other PLT has their LTs carry their own card (yes you can only image what that leads too! Being an LT makes you no less immune to loosing stuff then a PVT)

Our PLT armor, is an experienced prior service NCO keeps the cards and places/removes them from the weapons rack. In addition, everyday that you draw, you have to sign for your weapon on a master inventory list …But what if the only thing that changes on the sheet is the date? I’ll let you figure it out. And what if you have enough LTs to pass the weapon from the gate to the rack? –Simple but effective. We on the arms room detail get our entire PLT thru the arms room in under 5 minutes while every other D Co PLT take 20 minutes or more. Incidentally, I am permanently on the arms room detail with Nate, and Andrew, and it is a great job.

Weapons turn and change into PTs for weigh-in. I ended up good to go. We receive our APFT bring from the cadre for the next day and then off to chow. Our PLT mentor issues some homework to read and be ready to disuse tomorrow. http://www.commentarymagazine.com/cm/main/viewArticle.html?id=10856 and http://billroggio.com/archives/2007/08/task_force_warhorse.php

Tonight I need to finish my 20-30 power point class on 9-line so I can be ready to present anytime this week.


Kelly said...

Hey Perez!!
Your BLOG is GREAT! I know that it's very helpful for those who have not gone yet. When do you do your testable land nav? When do you qual with your weapon. Do you have an M4 or M16? We had M4's at Sill. You're absoultly right when you say "it's all what you put into it" If you're excited to learn, it's an excellent course to go through! Take care brotha! I hope that all is well and keep up the GREAT work.

p.s. quit getting your ass whipped by girls, I tought you better than that. ha ha :)

Ray Ackley said...

Hello LT Perez,

Did you wind up getting issued all the MOLLE gear after all? I noticed you mentioned a few times the MOLLE vest.

Ackley (MIOCS Class 50)