23 August 2007

BOLCII Day 13: Zero cont and night fire

At CQ 0400-0500 this morning Matt and I discovered that none of the prior CQ LT had not logged their shifts, signed for the radio or performed any of the clearing duties! I couldn’t do it all so I attacked the most visible areas, the day room and computer room. I hope the other CQ shifts get there act together or will not be released at a decent time on Friday after the Co 1SG walks thru.

At 0500 it was pointless to go to bed with a 0525 wake up for a 0550 formation so I worked on my blog for a while.

Weapons draw was painful again as we waited for another platoon. Not only did they make us 20 minutes late, we completed our entire draw while the they finished up thir paperwork. A few heated words were exchanged from our leadership to a few a dear-in-the-headlights LTs from the other platoon and we moved on.

It was then marching back to Roosevelt Range for more zeroing. The heat here would prove to be a record breaker with it reaching 115 on the ranges, D Co had two separate incidences requiring an LT ambulance transport to the hospital this afternoon. Keep in mind these are healthy active young officers who have proven there physical stamina going down as heat casualties. -This heat is nothing to mess with, you must drink water!

NOTE: I have been adding packets “Replenish” a Gatorade like powder with electrolytes to my camel-bak and canteens. It has saved me on more then a few occasions!

We had a jimmy-dean for breakfast with a self-heating can of beef chicken stew. It was actually pretty good for a jimmy-dean, the key point is you have to open the top before starting the heater. LT Kwia (one of our international LTs from Liberia) accidentally ripped the tab off his stew can after starting the heater, it became very evident from the loud noises of distress coming from the can that in a few minutes it was going to explode covering 40 LTs with beef stew, LT Seitz, saved the day and took one for the team by using my gerber tool to stab a hole in the top of the can, thereby releasing the pressure and scalding his hand in the process with stew.

NOTE: Cell phone service/. In many parts of the country, cellular service providers have competition, at Ft Benning that is definitely not the case! If you want to be able to make receive calls, you need to have Verizon. If you are assigned to A or B Co’s your experience may be different as their barracks are ½ mi from C and D Co’s but I can tell you there are a lot of frustrated LTs who have Sprint or AT&T etc. They have no coverage inside the barrack and low to no signal on the ranges.

I have Verizon and I have had very good coverage. In fact I would go so far as to suggest going the thru the pain filled act of changing service providers if you want to have good coverage while you are here for BOLCII/IOBC. Walking out to the parking lot to make or receives call is not fun in this heat!

I also have the wireless data card from Verizon that I purchased at the Peach Tree mall (I-185 exit 7A) at 59.99 month unlimited is it pricy for me but so far I have been happy with the speed and the fact I can expect coverage in most parts of the country. I enable ICS on my laptop and share the connection with my room mate with a old linksys hub I brought fir just such an opportunity.

Ft Benning has allowed a private company to provide WiFi base wide, it is $45.00 a month. I have heard mixed reviews from the LTs who have purchased it.

We setup the range, including stapling target to the slithouses and placing them, putting up engineer tape to control traffic and manning the ammo point. It was nice to be doing this in the cool of the day and watch the sun come up.

LT Meredith Walton and I drew gate guard. We had the best job of all sitting under a shade tree directing foot traffic to the range and watching for VIPs. Soon enough we rotating unto the range supervising the other LTs still zeroing and making everybody obeyed the tower and nobody did anything stupid.

You could tell the difference today with our PLT running the show, iterations were much more concise and we kept things moving right along (Hint, for zero alibi shooters, just them finish THEN go onto the next iterations.)

We then bused over the “known distance qualification range” For those of you that went to basic it is the highly computerized range that records where your rounds went for each target to assist you with where to aim mass.

It proved to be so hot ad taking the PLTs in front us so long because of the water/rest breaks that the Co Cmdr called an “adjust-ex” and had us get back on the bus to the zero range which was just finishing up and to an alternate qualification event with paper target at the 25 m distance but small enough to simulate the normal distances. Our PLT came together quickly and made the new mission happen with very little guidance form the cadre, this is what I like to see and be a part of!

We got back about 1700 and had till 1950 to rest up for the night. For night fire (familiarization only, non-qualifying event) we were issued of PVS-14s (night vision monocles) for our Kevlars and PEQs (Laser designators for our M4s) and

NOTE: If you are the only person in the PLT to have an ACH helmet like I do, just use your gerber tool to bend the tabs on the mounting strap of the PVS-14 to go over the front edge of the helmet. It works just fine. Also make sure you install the strap PRIOR to formation to go to the night range even if they don’t tell you to. It will save you many frantic minutes.

The range was actually pretty cool, the 50, 75, and 100 m target were used with IR light in the 50s. You don’t look thru the CCO, just shot from the kneeling position and walk the laser right into the center mass while looking thru the PVS-14 and fire a 20-round clip.

After we got back we had to wait like an hour outside because some PLT in the D Co had an accountability issue with some gear. We all just wanted to shower and go to bed. It would be close to midnight before that happened. We are all exhausted.

NOTE: When you are marching somewhere in the middle of the night DO NOT call cadence, the D Co PLT in front of insisted on being all hooah and singing at the top of there lung as we passed barracks of sleeping Soldiers. Remember that were share a CO are with the 75th Rangers… I thought for sure they would come piling out the doors to pummel us for interrupting their sleep!

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