Kilroy Joins the Army – Part XVI – FTC

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My friend and fellow Not Operator author, Kilroy, said he was joining the US Army last year. We realized that his experiences would make for an interesting read, especially when there are so few online writings about what it is like, emotionally and physically, to experience modern basic training and beyond. He agreed to keep a journal of his time, and that we would publish it to Not Operator.

Kilroy tends to write his personal journals with pretty purple prose, so with his permission, I’ll be editing and paraphrasing his journal a bit to make it an easier read, with the help of my other friend and fellow Not Operator author, Michael. I’ll also be adding comments of my own in bold brackets [like this] to provide some extra context when necessary. If there’s large enough demand for it, we will post the full, unedited, version of Kilroy’s journal. To avoid making Kilroy’s experiences one giant wall-o-text, the journal will be broken up into an ongoing series of articles where it makes sense to do so. Plus, with Kilroy still in the Army, the journal is far from complete.

All entries in the Kilroy Joins the Army Series can be found here.

Without further ado, welcome to Kilroy Joins the Army – Part XVI – FTC.

 

Day 123

I’m up at midnight yet again, pulling a CQ shift. Just waiting for it to be over.

Today they did an inspection of our personal items and lockers, checking to see if we had contraband in our possession. My personal notebooks received extra inspection; the senior drill sergeant read the rough draft of my letter to the commander concerning the mass punishment of the company. [Kilroy drafted a letter to the commander in response to the company having had their personal books taken away. He didn’t send it since they ended up giving them back their stuff]. The reactions on his face were amusing, shifting between states of surprise and shock. Now they know that there’s someone who is taking note of their own policy memos and actions with a higher level of detail.

Day 124

Our exercise today was conducted with 2nd platoon; it was the first time we had Pool PT. My swimming form has slipped some since high school, but even with my injury I still do pretty well in the water.

All of us are looking forward to the few days we will have off for Christmas leave.

Day 125

It’s Wii Wednesday again and I had my first physical therapy clinic session today. I’m actually drained for once, physically. The variety of exercises I did yesterday have left me pretty sore and tired.

Day 126

Someone hired me to write something that compares Alice in Wonderland to being in the Army.

Day 127

Things are different today. We’ve been shuttled out to the Joe E. Mann center to purchase our flights home. Thankfully the military system has better pricing this time around; I’m flying out in the morning for less than I thought I would be paying.

The cost of taking a shuttle from base to the airport and from the airport to my house, and all of that back again, will rack up expenses, but thankfully my savings continue to build in the meantime.

Day 128

This is the final Saturday before my leave begins. Meanwhile, I’m working a shift of staff duty for four hours of the morning.

A point of interest: we had a SHARP investigation occur. [SHARP stands for Sexual Harassment/Assault Response & Prevention].

There was an FOB Chinese guy in the barracks who had been taking a bunch of notes on how he was being harassed by another trainee. That night, the trainee who was doing the harassing did something that sent the Chinese guy over the edge.

Consequently, the Chinese guy reported him to the EO/SHARP representative, which caused the investigation to take place. They took the accused and moved him out of the building.

I was questioned, along with other witnesses, by the battalion SHARP representative about the various incidents that were reported. The ones I witnessed were the accused helicoptering his penis at the Chinese guy in the locker rooms during Pool PT.

The next day I was interviewed again by a 1LT that had been pulled in to be the investigating officer.

A week later, the 1LT came back and told me that the accused had accused me of lying in my statement, so I had to fill out more forms reasserting my statements.

Since there was such a large body of evidence against the accused trainee, they ruled against him and that was the end of it with regards to my involvement.

Day 129

The cold has reached a new extreme; a chill swept through that barracks that was so cold that it woke us all up.

We’ve been given our phones back and offered the chance to come to a Christmas concert. Like a fool, I accepted the offer for a change of pace. Luckily, the actual concert was a bit of a treat. With a performance by the 282nd band, the higher ups wished us a good leave and sent us on our way.

Day 130

Most people are preparing themselves for the upcoming break with checks of uniform and luggage. They tell us that we need to take an assault pack, but since we haven’t been issued one we must buy our own. However, some of the DS staff claim that our bags may be appropriate. The entire affair is a mess, like most military issues, making personal management an impossible affair.

I had my first spin class today – for those that don’t know, it’s a cardio workout that involves stationary bikes being led by one of the cadre staff. It was hosted in a racquetball room with the lights turned down and music blaring under the hypnotic flashing of dance lights. In all, it was an enjoyable experience but intense in its own strange way.

Day 131

It’s been an aggravating day, mostly with regards to miscommunication.

After morning PT, we were forced to wait behind a company that was still processing through because of some issue. That delay rolled us into being late for more appointments, but before I could even go to those, someone informed me that my CQ shift had been swapped.

Back at the company, someone informed me that someone else would relieve our shift so we could go attend our appointments. After heading over to the therapy center, we found no one waiting and had to go to battalion HQ to see if the briefing was still happening.

As soon as we got to battalion HQ, the student leadership told us to go back to therapy and come back in an hour. An hour later, we were back at battalion HQ and we were told we needed to wait for 30 minutes prior to going to a briefing concerning our leave.

Some bureaucratic craziness has changed our dress for leave into dress uniforms, something I consider to be obnoxious. Setting up the uniforms has been its own kind of a pain, mostly concerned with getting little shiny bits aligned with arbitrary dimensions.

Day 132

A Wii Wednesday, though a bit different from the rest. Since much of the staff is winding down for the upcoming break, many of the previously hurt people rejoined us for our usual cardio goofiness.

Day 133

Break is so close I can almost taste it. Our scheduling has become different, with more people joining the injury platoon for morning PT. My follow up at orthopedics brings good news and progress. I hope to be better healed come the new year so I can drag myself out of this hole. Our bay has begun accepting additional people now with more to come as the day wears on.

Day 134

Operations have already begun shutting down. Those who were leaving by personal vehicle are gone by noon. In their absence, the rest of us are organized into different ‘chalks’ scheduling our departure.

We are reshuffled from a mass formation and dragged into the barracks I was previously staying in, landing me on the far side of the room from where I was before.

During the organizational formation I took a knee to relieve discomfort in my hip only to be called out by a 1SG , and then I was accosted by a SSG regarding a profile they insisted was expired. [The profile in this case refers to Kilroy’s medical profile which determines what he’s able to do physically].

Despite my protests, they told me to stand, but acquiesced a few moments later when one of the staff from FTC told them about my condition.

Day 135

Finally, it’s the day we head home for break.

We are double checked and put in a room to wait for our bus rides out to our travel hubs.

The hub itself is within the main gym at the Solomon Center, where there’s a massive logistical planning effort to slowly trickle us all out to coach lines to our respective destinations.

My airport ends up being an hour and a half away in North Carolina. The flight leaves me with the time to suck down and enjoy the first coffee I’ve had in a month, while trying to avoid the dog and pony show of the USO filming the festivities.

I seem to have adjusted to the military sleep scheduling once more, barely sleeping during the night and barely sleeping on the flight home. Maybe I’m simply anxious to get out of my dress uniform and be home.

 

This ends Kilroy Joins the Army – Part XVI – FTC. Next we’ll wrap up with Kilroy’s time in the Fitness Training Company. It will be a bit different from previous articles in that it won’t be a continuous block of days, but rather a series of highlights from his next few months in FTC. Stay tuned for Kilroy Joins the Army – Part XVII – FTC.

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