Kilroy Joins the Army – Part XV – FTC


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 XV – FTC.


Day 112

Today is Thanksgiving Day. Not sure what I’m supposed to be feeling thankful for. I guess it’s good that I seem to be healing okay.

Day 113

Our day was pretty uneventful today. We wasted time by taking someone out to the hospital (I was his battle buddy), only to find out the people he needed to see didn’t come in to work because of the holiday.

Last night’s sleep was interrupted by some vivid dreams that left me feeling exhausted today.

Day 114

We’re all in a pretty bad mood today. An hour before we went to bed last night, the cadre put out a message to confiscate our personal books, magazines, etc.

This leaves me with just my writing materials and not much else. The morale of the others has fallen to an all-time low, some even saying this is their final straw and they’ve started planning their exit strategy.

Thanks to someone’s ineptitude, we’ve been assigned cleaning duties all around the company for the day. They didn’t make it clear to us why they’re having us do it, so it turned out to mostly be a tremendous waste of time. Even after finishing cleaning stuff, they told us that we were still supposed to be cleaning, so we just kept cleaning already clean things.

Day 115

This is the final Sunday of the month. Counting the weeks doesn’t really help anymore.

Since it’s a free day, the majority of people here elected to go to church services.

Sadly, instead of a long weekend break that rejuvenates the spirit, the punishments we received with no clear reason why have left us all feeling aggravated.

Everyone seems quite sullen; their entertainment taken away, people just sit around talking idly.

Day 116

My day starts at 3:00 AM with a charge of quarters shift. What an illustrious military career I’ve had thus far.

It’s not a good sign when my day-to-day life leaves me fantasizing of a future where I no longer have to live like this, considering it’s my choice to be here.

Otherwise, I continue to write, sleeping uneasily and waking to the same dulled reality I’ve come to accept, counting the days until I can go home for winter break.

I feel a certain amount of strength returning to my leg, but after the moderate usage it’s had lately, the pain response is still worrisome.

My day proceeds with more of the same, accompanying another person to the hospital to waste time.

The Alpha Company reject who I referenced earlier (National Guard girl) has given in to the Army’s desire to med-board her out. I don’t know why I’m so attached to her success, but it saddens me to see her give up. I guess it’s just depressing to see people I came in with drop out.

Day 117

The most interesting thing about the others in RHU [Reception Holding Unit] and FTC are actually the badges and tape from their BCT companies that people left on their camelbacks like the faded banners of our former masters. None of us care to remove them, and our current prison doesn’t seem to care that we still wear them.

Day 118

It’s Wii Wednesday again. That means the exercise today is fairly light and I’m glad for an easier day. Thankfully, my leg is improving noticeably; it has gotten stronger and has greater range of motion. My flexibility remains much higher than most will aspire to, so I’m not worried about that for the moment.

Today’s schedule seems off. We had an early lunch that finished before noon, and that threw us all off. Turns out they had us do everything early today so we wouldn’t run into the new recruits in Army Reception.

Later, we were herded in to fill out a series of DA Form 31s to request leave for winter break. We spent the afternoon doing more PT with the Wii.

Day 119

I’m definitely feeling like I’m in Groundhog Day; every day has the same schedule, the same food, and no variation except that we’ve lost a few of our members who are headed back to training.

Needless to say, I’m envious of the people leaving. However, even with them leaving, our ranks swell with more members, a majority of them having failed their PT tests and are here for a chance at redemption.

It’s not so much that I’ve found a rhythm here, but more so that I’ve become dulled to the life in this place.

We’ve begun to get the paperwork for our leave sorted out, logging it into the system. Our time is definitely not well spent.

Day 120

I’ve been assigned a follow up appointment with my doctor; at least it breaks the monotony here.

Those of us who want to improve and move on tend to segregate ourselves from the people who just failed and want to leave, choosing to try to focus on our own healing.

My progress is going a bit slower than I’d like. The next step will be weaning myself off the cane, and then after the winter break I’ll start working on moving around normally again.

Day 121

It’s the weekend again. I had a nonsensical dream last night where I dreamed I was in a cave fashioned into a banquet hall; the tables we sat at were made from large slabs of stone. I sat across from a bright red ogre that was somehow friendly.

We feasted and discussed something that I can’t remember. The hall was full of people, but I’m unsure what sort of folk they were. Halfway through the meal I said something, touching a central placement on the table and caused a bunch of perfectly round boulders to fall from the ceiling, striking me in the head. Someone spoke, asking “Why must he pay the price for this?” I was still conscious, but completely unable to move. More boulders fell and the dream ended, presumably in my death. Weird stuff.

Day 122

Another Sunday; a completely worthless metric to gauge my passage of time. We have don’t much of anything today. I’ve spent my time trying to connect to the internet. My service provider can’t manage to penetrate the Fallout vault that is our barracks.

Luckily, we got our books back after we complained a bunch. I finished one Jack Reacher novel and started another, and I’ve made progress in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. I’ve written very little in the past few days.

My night continues into the next day; a CQ shift to take over for the people who are taking the PT test tomorrow. The sleep I was able to get in between shifts was not fulfilling.


This ends Kilroy Joins the Army – Part XV – FTC. Next time we’ll pick up where we left off, as Kilroy continues his time in the Fitness Training Company. Stay tuned for Kilroy Joins the Army – Part XVI – FTC.