Sunday, October 4, 2009

Warrior Blog

For those of you who knew me in high school, this may seem a bit out of character for me. This whole military thing. I've always been skinny, geeky, back of the pack in sports, and just generally not what one would think of when thinking of "soldier."

This experience may be difficult for me to relay to some people on a face to face basis, so I am cross posting a... smei-blog that I have written for the National Guard Forums. My original idea behind posting these there was to help out those who came after me, give them a little insight as to what they should expect when they go to their first drill weekend at an RSD (recruit sustainment detachment). The idea of the RSD is to prepare new warriors for basic training, it gives us guard soldiers a leg up on Regular Army recruits (who go to the same BCT as we do). Instead of worrying about the small things like PT, cadence, etc. We can instantly step up in to leadership roles, and be high speed right off the bat.

Anyway, I have been to two drill weekends, the most recent one being this weekend. After each, I have posted a summary of these drills. I have decided to post them here to give my family and friends some insight in to my military experience.

As a side note, the SFC that runs Det. 11 made it a point to find out who I was while we were doing the AAR today. Just a moment of recognition as he was talking about warrior knowledge resources online. It was surprising to know that not only new recruits are reading my words, but the NCO's as well.

First weekend, which came about a few days after my final enlistment contract was finished and I was sworn in at MEPS (military entrance processing station), Sept 12-13:

I don't really want to start another thread on this, even though I probably should, but I just got back from Det. 11 in Noblesville, IN. Well, this being my first drill, I want to start off by saying...


It was a fun weekend, already can't wait for next month. The atmosphere was very welcoming for the handful of red phase people that were there. Right off the bat, I forgot about being nervous, and not knowing what the **** I was doing. Everyone of rank made sure that we were squared away, and ready to start learning. We went through an intro class, and got issued some equipment for the weekend (PT uniforms and water bottles etc.).

Shortly after that, we fell in to formation with the rest of the RSP warriors and had a Beret ceremony for the guys that just got back from basic. It felt very cool to be a part of that, even though it might not be a big deal to some people.

The rest of the day was spent going over moving in formation, cadence, falling in by squad, proper technique for facing etc. We got time to talk about the specifics of BCT, and hear stories, get suggestions, ask questions. Getting the first hand info in a relaxed atmosphere made me less nervous about BCT. In fact, I think its worth mentioning that the whole weekend there wasn't tons of pressure to get things perfect right away, it was all about learning the basics so we can practice them before we "get down range." All of which gives us, as guard members, an edge at basic. I am really surprised that the other branches don't have RSP programs, I would have thought that at least the Active Army would.

Chow was good, to my surprise. We had pizza for lunch the first day, Golden Corral for dinner and the best (and biggest) breakfast I have had in a while (eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, toast). Just when I thought chow couldn't get any better, our lunch on the second day was pulled pork. An excellent meal to top off an excellent weekend.

The pain... I was a little worried about how much we would get smoked. Really, they were light. A few people did get did get dropped a few times, for a handful of push ups. We got dropped as a whole group a few times for not knowing things that had been taught repeatedly over the past few months (which sucks for me, I just got there lol). There were issues twice about not using chain of command, and that pissed of the sergeants more than anything. And, we got ourselves a hydration formation, full to empty bottles (most of us had quart bottles) twice. It was a pain, but it wasn't that bad, despite getting up to evacuate the water three times during the night. We did have one guy that couldn't keep the water down, which was funny as he11 considering the latrine was 20 feet away and he just stood there and puked all over the drill floor lol.

All in all, it was good times. I really feel like I am a part of something, and I haven't even gone anywhere yet. Knowing IET PT, moving and formation, chain of command, and just getting integrated in to the system makes me feel like I will be seriously squared away to go down range. I can't wait to volunteer to take a squad leader position.

I reserve the right to add more later if I want to. Heck, I might as well post about each RSP as they happen. Shipping after the first of the year means I'll put up three more of these. Hope they help!



Pt.2 second Drill weekend, October 3-4, yesterday and today:

I was debating weather or not to post again after my second drill. I figured, why the heck not, more info can only help newer people, and that's the whole reason for this right? And with the 120 day cutoff coming down, it makes me think the whole program is becoming more standardized, which would make my monthly updates more applicable.

RSP Drill, second weekend:

Since I had been here before, and spent some time getting paperwork squared away the day before, walking in to the armory was much less nerve wracking than last time. And, this time around, I'm not going to be drying off after a shower with a civ. t-shirt. I am more prepared for what is about to come down the pipeline at us. Which is what the whole program is about, right?

Instead of a play by play like I did last time, I just want to throw out an general overview of how this month was different that last. We had about the same amount of people, maybe 5-10 more warriors, and a handful more cadre. It seemed like any more people than that, and it would be too much.

Right off the bat, we did a PT test. Red and white phase did the 1-1-1 and green phase did the 2-2-2. The whole thing seemed to run smooth, and I was able to hook up with a battle buddy, about the same age and conditioning level as myself, and we paced together for the run. To our surprise, we both had increased our 1 mile run time quite a bit. So that was a really good start to the weekend.

We had quite a bit of PT, weather it was getting smoked, learning the basic exercises, movement relay, or station based group exercises. I will admit, I got broke off. But it wasn't a bad thing, I would have done more if they asked, and I look forward to doing it next time. Yeah, it hurt at times, but that is what this whole process is about. Get our video game playin, couch potato a$$es ready for basic. HOOAH!

I really like the emphasis on the AAR at the end of the day. While quite a few guys want to play paint ball all the time (which would be fun, don't get me wrong here), it was nice to be able for some of us to ask for things like land nav or weapons familiarization classes. While the PT on a regular basis, and DnC for a few hours here and there will help us, it would be nice to have a leg up on those skills that we have less time to learn, but may be just as important. I only wish I knew what other skills I will need to learn at basic are, or if I could learn some of the extra skills that infantry or medics learn. But I digress.

Yet again, the NCO staff and cadre do an excellent job of preparing us for basic, yet still do it in a fun and less stressful manor. They all want to bend over backwards for us to get us squared away, but have no problems breaking us off with smokings if that is what we need. I think I lucked out as far at RSD's go, even though I haven't ever been to another one. At this point, there's no way I would go to another Det anyway.

Hopefully my monthly summary will be helpful to some new folks out there. If you are a new enlist in Indy, hope you get assigned to Det 11.



Keep in mind this was cross posted from a forum. By all means, questions, comments etc. I like talking about my experience and life decisions with people, even if you don't like the military at all.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

shoulda, woulda

I realize that I should have been blogging my progress when I started working out a month ago. I have made some decent leaps and bounds with my health, mostly based on my ability to run and do push ups (considering that's what I get to do a lot of in BCT). Overall, I feel better, and I've lost a bit of flab. Really, right now, my goal is to get in to a good position to survive basic, and maybe push myself to get the APFT badge (which is going to be a big push from here).

68 push ups in 2 minutes, 73 sit ups in 2 minutes, and a 2 mile run in 14:12 are the minimums to get the badge. I'm on a good track to hit the push up goal, I'm almost at the sit up number now so that should be fine, but the run... ugh. It took me a couple weeks of running before I could get under 20 minutes on the 2 mile, which is really bad. Today I ran a 1 mile, to see where I was, and I got 9:18 but I know I can do better. I thought I was supposed to be at 17:00 for 2 miles to graduate basic, but I just saw 17:54 and I think I saw a different number when I looked at a chart based on age, so I have no idea where I need to be. I just know I need to do better. If I can hit a 7 minute mile before I ship, I will be happy.

I have been up in the air on my weight. I am about 10+ pounds below the max after a month of working out. I haven't changed my diet much, I am eating fairly healthy but since my activity level increased, my food intake increased. So, I haven't lost much overall weight during this whole process, but I know I have lost fat and put on muscle. Recently I have been trying to decide weather I should try to set myself a weight goal, to loose a bit more, or not worry about it and just focus on muscle building.

Oh well, I have a few months. I think I have a good routine going, I'll just keep going and see what happens.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Calm

I am in the calm before the storm. I had a mini storm this week, and it felt like I had a ton to get done. But it was really only about 48 hours worth of foreshadowing.

Since I have been on facebook, I have not done any blogging. I think that facebook satisfies my temporary need to announce my momentary feelings. Good and bad I guess. I think I really need to write something full length though, to clear my head, to more clearly see what I am thinking, to more truly identify what I am feeling.

I am joining the Army National Guard. It's something I really need to do. My life situation, combined with the current economy, puts me in a position where I can really justify that I am not doing it for selfish reasons. But as an underlying reason, I really need to do this for me. Yes, I am getting job training in a position that will help me with a civillian career in the long run. Yes, I am getting my tuition paid for, and will be getting paid to go to school (on top of monthly drill pay). Yes, I am getting enough bonus money that will allow us to put down a sizable downpayment to buy a house next year. Yes, this is also part of some greater, self serving, "man quest" thing (a term I recently came up with).

Wednesday I took the ASVAB in the evening, stayed at a hotel that night, got up at 4am to get on a bus with other applicants to process at MEPS. After taking longer that it was supposed to, I didn't get to finish processing and had to head home. The next day I had to register my car, then head to a health clinic so I could get screened for a seasonal county job. Yeah, it was a busy couple of days.

Now I have two days off before I start a seasonal county job (I also have to finish processing next week at MEPS). After two months of working, maybe a little more, I will ship to boot camp. Fortunately I will have the hollidays off before going to my training school for my ARNG job. So, yeah, this two days is the calm. The next 6+ months is the storm. Maybe longer, as I am hoping to roll right in to the seasonal job after I get back from training next year.

So, now I sit here thinking about my "man quest" that has lasted for some years. I don't know if what I originally saw as the quest is actually the quest (hunting, YOSE bear team, SCA fighting, fire academy, fighting forest fires etc.), or if that is just on the surface of the real quest (being a husband, father, son, brother, friend, homeowner etc.).

The first few hours of MEPS made me nervous, but then, I was surrounded by nervous 18-19 year olds. I really became comfortable with the structure of it all, and I was really able to relax. Once I got though medical (which took a lot longer than it was supposed to), the rest of the day was simple. I know, its not a good sample of what I will see in boot camp, but I am really looking forward to it. It will be a challenge on many levels. Will I be able to rise to the challenge as a man, physically? Will I be able to make my wife and son proud by making it to the finish line with honor? Will I be able to stand tall when I come home for Christmas?

Yes, I believe I will. I will succeed in my journey of self discovery.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


It's not free. It costs me a weekly fee, and we just started this week. Yes, the boy is in daycare two days a week right now, mostly so he can get more social interaction with kids his age. That and I could use the free time.

With this new found free time, I am hoping to work on my health and review old subjects so I can take some placement tests. School is on the horizon (along with some other stuff) and I need to get in to the swing. This time around its going to be full time, it has to be. No more messing around with classes that don't get me closer to graduation.

On a last note, I have been rather introspective recently. A lot in the news has me thinking about the subject of freedom, and how lucky I am to be able to still go back to school at this age (while caring for a child). With the 4th right around the corner, I am reminded that while I may not always agree with Government/Political/Military actions, overall they have gotten us to where we are. I am happy that I will be free to share the "boom and sparkle" of this weekends celebration.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Good Times

There are times when "tribute bands" make me feel old. I am not old by any stretch, despite the bits of grey in my hair. But hearing songs that I grew up with brings back a lot of memories. Junior high, when grunge was all the rage, and I wore a flannel shirt as a belt with my band shirt and torn jeans. Seattle was the holy land.

So, when I got to see Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam cover bands last night, I was instantly transported to that time in my life. For a little bit, I didn't care that most of these memories are over 15 years old, I was just happy to be singing along to songs like "Would" and "Spoon Man." I got quite a bit of enjoyment out of it.

It wasn't until the last set, when the Pearl Jam cover band was playing, that I looked around a little bit more. Here I am, stoked to be standing in a sea of polo shirt mutherfuckers, high fives all around when the band plays post era songs. The bands did a great job of capturing the sound and feel of Seattle Dirt Rock, but in that instant, it was all spoiled. With the last set not halfway done, I have to get the fuck out...

No more of that. I'll remember those days by listening to the good stuff by myself, where I don't have to be surrounded by "four popped collar cool" bromosexuals. To me, seeing a jetta with a DMB sticker is kinda like older generations seeing a caddy with a Dead sticker, I shake my head in mourning of a lost era.

Time for some Mad Season...

Friday, June 26, 2009


This is post haircut, doing the scary face.

Pre-cut, hard to see, but after playing for a bit it was easy to give him the Don King look.

He would have you believe that the back deck is prison.

And here we have the uber tracks. Life has been all about trains since we got here. I'm so tired of watching Thomas movies...

We took a trip to the children's museum the other day. It is five floors of fun, minus the second floor being closed while they finish the King Tut exhibit. We got a year long family pass, so I'm looking forward to seeing the stuff from Egypt. It is really draining for all of us, with so much to see and do, and he wants to see it all. Dinos, Star Wars, Trains, Merry Go Round and tons of hands on science displays. I have some pics that I'll put up after I get them over from the laptop.

There's a lot in store for the future, stay tuned.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lemme Show Ya...

This is the boy's first boat ride, he was very excited to be out on the water. I'd say boats are now his second favorite thing next to trains. Yeah, he's a boy.

This play set we got used, and spent the weekend moving it from next door. It is huge. What you don't see is the rock climbing wall on the back side, and the fresh coat of stain that I put on it. He loves it, and yes, that is the lake in the background.

Not quite the super slide in the last pic, but this one is at the nearby mall. We have been making visits here several times a week so he can bully other kids. Its a nice playground, the only thing I would change would be to make the walls ten feet high.

Our integration to Indianer has been a success. Yee haw... *ptoo*

I have more, but why not spread it out. Maybe that way I can post more during the week. The kid is also running around chanting the poo poo song, so I think its time to go...


Saturday, June 6, 2009


Finally got the internet up in our room upstairs. Really it only took like... a few minutes, but with the amount of free time I have had to work on it in the past month, one little glitch made troubleshooting take the whole month. Anyway, I've got a few pics on my phone since we've been here, gonna get them up soon. Just not yet...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Journey

This is not in reference to the move.

I have been thinking a lot about my personal journey through the SCA over the past year. Where I began, what my goals were, and why I have a desire to fight. I can only imagine that the journey begins the same for most people. A desire to be a skilled fighter, win tournaments, known as a force to be reckoned with. There was a motivation to be the best. To hang with the big dogs.

Several things changed my motivation, my reason for being armored on the field. The more I played over the past year, the more I came to realize that I was beginning to discover the virtues of chivalry. With having a son, and wanting to be an example that he can learn from, a lot of my mundane values changed as well. Not changed really, I guess you could say I prioritized my values and motivations. Prowess is something that can be achieved by the vast majority of people. Especially in a game filled with weekend warriors. I saw a newer fighter (less than a year in armor) win a coronet. Now, I don't know him personally, but I can only assume that it was because he fought all the time, and trained as much as he could. That kind of makes it a no brainer.

There's more than that though. If I wanted to be a part of a sport just to win, I could have picked something more suited to those goals. Team sports, with obvious point scoring methods. But that isn't why I have always been drawn to "sword fighting" honestly. I like learning about history, and the more I research, the more I want to know. Especially when it comes to studying and contemplating things like chivalric virtues (and seeing them before they were called "chivalric virtues"). So now I am drawn in to a further subculture of geekness by applying the concept of these virtues to every day life.

The most fun I have had has been at informal gatherings of fighters. When we get together as friends with similar interest in history, and beat each other with sticks. Inside the SCA is a sporting ruleset that is specific to the SCA, which in all honesty doesn't seem to be a direct simulation of the actual combat that existed in history. I mean, we try, we have fun, and that is all that matters really. But things like studying history, and making reproductions of actual archaeological finds, or applying the varoius warrior codes to every day life... these are things that exist outside the game.

I guess what I am getting at, is that while I want to take part in the SCA world, I recognize that really where my interest lies is in things that are autonomous from that group. And really, my goals are not so much being a skilled SCA fighter, but experiencing the reality of mideval concepts and culture. I can learn prowess anywhere, I just have to take the time to do it. I am no longer interested in a static goal. Rather, I began a journey of self discovery within the concept of meieval society. I realize now that my goal is not "be more skilled at fighting than the next guy," its more "become a better man while sharing that journey with those around me."

Physically, there are many things I want to try. Different fighting styles, new games, living history groups, modern crazy ass sports, historical hunting trips, and the list goes on. All I really have to do for all that is to get in shape for it.

Traveling the path of virtue will always be in my heart, no matter where I go or what I do.