Alright, ladies and gentleman, after a bit of a wait, here is letter four that I sent home to my parents from Boot Camp. If you haven’t been following along in the series, you can find Letter One here.
IN this letter, the platoon is fifteen days into training and getting into a routine. This early the focus is on getting everyone to work as a unit, so rote punishments for everyone when one person fucks up is the norm. Also, drill. Tons and tons and tons of drill. That M16 starts to feel real familiar in your hands, and it’s a bit easier to control as well. Dinky little seven pound rifle becomes very heavy when you’re carrying it at attention for three hours straight.
At this point in recruit training, you don’t know your fellow recruits very well, and you’re not sure who is going to make it through, so you keep a certain distance from them, emotionally. Not to mention the regular physical punishments doled out for other recruits and….well you get the picture.
Anyway. Back to the letter. Sometimes you’ll notice I ramble about one thing and then talk about it past tense in another paragraph—that’s because it oftentimes took more than one day to write a letter. Like, you’d bust out letter writing gear during Senior Drill Instructor time at night but someone would get in trouble and now you’re getting hazed instead of letter writing. Or, you get caught sneaking a letter when you’re waiting in dental and the DI makes you stand at attention and recite the other recruits through recruit knowledge.
I also was really enjoying being there. Check it out!
Transcript is below the photos.
Dear Mom and Dad,
I got your letter today, it certainly helped my morale a bit. I had a piece of cake for my birthday, so laugh it up. It’s nice to hear you gave my address to everyone, things have been kind of lonely.
I know Mother’s Day is May 9, but I don’t know if I can send you anything.
Thank you for giving my address to everyone, I didn’t think any of my friends would want to write. It will help to keep me motivated.
The martial arts program is really a lot of fun. We do body hardening, which is just 50 hard strikes to one part of the body so you get used to getting hit. No one here knows that I learned TaeKwonDo and Hapkido, so when it comes to kicks, they really get it. I need to work on my punches more. We also do pad drills to work on endurance.
The obstacle course is fun, I have no trouble making it up the rope at the end anymore. This week we do more MCMAP, next week is pugil sticks, MCMAP, running, sprints, then the same next week until Initial Drill. That’s basically a drill competition (like drum corps but easier). Then the next week we swim and go to Camp P[endleton] Saturday the 8th.
Today is excruciatingly boring. I’m sitting here at dental. I have two appts today, one at 1045 and one at 1445 and I’ve been here since 0630. It’s very hard to stay awake while sitting in the same spot for 8 hours. The dental care is very good, after today my teeth will be perfectly fixed.
We’re supposed to take a PFT ( Physical Fitness Test) soon, so hopefully the weak and chubby kids will get sent to PCP. (Physical Conditioning Platoon—or more colloquially, Pork Chop Platoon)
It may sound rude to want to get rid of the slow, weak, and fat people, but there are certain folks you don’t want watching your back in a high risk situation.
I hear from other recruits we may get another grouping of shots in the ass. They call them “jelly shots” because the liquid gels and you have to massage it by rolling around (on your ass) otherwise it hurts a lot. I think waiting in line for something like that is more mentally challenging than anything else here.
Everything seems so unrealistic at times, I can’t believe I’m really here. With jets going off at the airport, people yelling, everyone marching around with rifles, it’s really incredible. Seeing a platoon come charging in when you’ve been gone at dental all day is really powerful. It lets you know the training here really works.
Our Senior Drill Instructor really takes care of us, no one else in our company got a phone call yesterday. If we keep putting out we’ll probably get a few more.
Well that’s about all I have right now, please tell everyone I’m doing well and staying hard, and I’ll see them all on that parade deck.
—Please check on getting me included on your insurance policy after May 1, I’d like to be able to drive when I get back.
Keep writing, love,