Moving on from Ft. Sill

I’ve officially made it to Fort Carson! I’m sitting in a real house with a couch and bed instead of an apartment with neither of those.

It’s been a good time since the last time I posted: I went to Austin, TX (because who knows when I’ll be in Texas next); I did some last-minute adventures around FT Sill; I graduated FA CCC; I drove ten hours with my cat.

museofweird.JPG

In Austin, Matt and I celebrated the fourth of July weekend by watching fireworks from the rooftop of the library. It sounds lame, but it had unrestricted views of the show, BBQ, and alcohol soooo what could be bad? We ended up kayaking a bit and even checked out the Museum of the Weird which had a man who could conduct electricity through his body. I don’t know how to say it more exciting than factual because it was wild. I believe it was real. If you touched a light-bulb to him, it lit up! When touching him, it felt like brushing up against a light electric fence.

Arguably weirder though was the Yeti Cooler Flagship Store. We noticed a lot of crowds and wondered how all these people could be spending the 300 dollars to own a little cooler. It’s then we realized that half of the store was a bar and after getting a drink, you could sit on the various coolers around the store and enjoy it.

It was so…. Upper-middle-class millennial culture in one spot. It’s hard to explain, but Matt and I were truly blown away by how absurd it all was.

I guess that’s Austin for you?

The Tuesday following Austin, I had my final exam in FA CCC.

My section in FA CCC

My section in FA CCC

It was a four-hour essay based test. We got to use open notes and open publications though so I just had to write fast to get the information on paper but finding and knowing the material wasn’t hard. I guess that’s one thing that’s funny about the Army - you can figure out 98 percent of your job if you can find the right publication, so I guess it was a good test in that sense. Overall, I am not sure how vital CCC was for my development. I do think I needed something since I needed to learn the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP and for non-Army people, it’s this step action drill you use at BN and above to figure out how you want to do an operation). I do feel like it could’ve been condensed or taught online, but I am happy I got to meet so many new people and see my peers. When you’re at a unit, there aren’t many people of your same rank. To be with 14 in my squad alone and then 51 in the class, that was a good time! Also, getting to meet so many many people was a great chance to network and learn a bit of stuff that happened outside of Polk.

I am super excited to start working at a unit again. Right now, the rumor is that I will be going to a SBCT here at Carson. For artillery, I’ll be working with the same piece I worked on as an XO at Polk, the M777. The people I’m supporting won’t be light infantry though; it’ll be the heavy world.

I’m glad I can get the other side of the Army spectrum.

On the domestic front, I’m happy to be living with Matt again and to have a real house. It’s fun to own a home and to have a yard! I didn’t realize I was such a yard person until I got one. I like to sit on my patio and dig holes and plant things if I want without worrying about lease agreements and other people. One con that we have already run into is WALLPAPER. Usually, on shows like TLC where people buy houses, I judge people who say they don’t like a home because of the wall color. Surely you could fix it later! I scream at the TV. Well, after removing a room of wallpaper and having two more rooms left to remove, I completely understand.

Also, I will never buy wallpaper in my life, no matter how cute, and easy Anthropologie makes it look.

Drinking and Drawing

I’ve been drinking a lot more than I used to lately. I am not sure about the official scientific roll-up of all the effects of drinking, but I do know that it’s more calories than when I don’t consume alcohol and that my body feels weird the next day. I also know that while about two months ago, one beer was able to make me feel toasty, it now takes me way too much.

I would like to stop, but at the same time, I do enjoy the friendship that results from going out and sharing a drink. Of course, the obvious answer is that you don’t have to drink to have fun… but there is something about letting loose and just dancing for no reason on the streets.

I feel like quitting alcohol isn’t something that I want to do, but I do what to do it in moderation, and I want to figure out what precisely that means.

The good news though is that I received my Request for Orders (RFO) which for nonmilitary types, that is an order from the Army to give a warning to other people in the Army that I will be incoming personnel. So, it’s not genuinely official, but it’s the paper that allows the official paperwork to be written up and to alert my new unit that I am coming.

I got Fort Carson, Colorado! I won’t officially say I am there until I am physically in processing. There’re always these crazy stories that get told how so-and-so’s friend thought they were going somewhere and as they were driving across the expanse of Texas, they got a call that said orders changed, you’re going to Korea in two weeks.

If I had to bet poker chips on me going to Carson though, I would go all in. My husband is already there, and the Army does try their best with keeping military to military spouses together. My dwell time is still under a year as well. People with 55 months or higher of dwell time… it seems those people have less of a chance of getting precisely the post they want.

I’m still lifting and working out. I could always do better at that front. It’s hard not to get down on myself for not going every single day and running every day but at the same time, rest days are real. I remember when I did this team called Ranger Challenge at Fordham. We used to work out soooo hard that we started to get worse and worse at everything we did, much to the chagrin of the cadet in charge. Easter break then happened, and since I went to a Catholic School, we got a pretty long time off. I will never forget the feeling we got on the first workout back from break – I think we all shaved about 5 min off our run times for the lap we usually tried to complete around the Bronx. It was merely a testament to how vital recovery time is for the muscles. It seems I am saying that story as a crutch, which in some ways it might be, but I also know my body. I’d like to amp it up in a way that’s reasonable to keep me happy.

I am definitely seeing some results.

Remember, I first started lifting at 95 lbs as my one rep max. This last Friday I was able to do the prescribed weight (no scaling) for our group workout. It was 100 reps of 135 lbs straight bar lift split between four people. I was able to contribute 20 reps which, if you do the math, is a little short and I did have to break it up between the other exercises we had to complete, but I was happy I didn’t have to ask for a different weight bar and set up a smaller weight rack.

We got peer evals back, and we got to read what people thought were our strengths and weaknesses as well as being able to see how people ranked us numerically.

Only two people mentioned my physical strength as a weakness, which is nice as I know that it is, but if it weren’t a writable weakness for all 15 members of my small group, I’d constitute that as a win… It is something I’m aware of though.

The most common comments were related to my sensitivity. While a lot simply commented ‘too sensitive’ I did get some that said I ‘cared too much about CCC’ which made me laugh. I know that I take a lot of things to heart and then act out weirdly sometimes, and that is something I will forever have to work on and be aware of, but I don’t feel too bad for caring too much about my TRADOC. I do care a lot about everything, and I take pride in that. I just need to stay calm when things start ‘being wild.’

One person wrote that my weakness was simply, ‘light infantry’ and that made me laugh out loud but noted: when we learned about a breach being wide enough to get a tank battalion through, I did have to adjust my COA sketch because I was not ready to support that, among other mistakes I’ve made in class. This is my saga.

At the end of the day, I’m thankful for getting to befriend so many people. I’m also very excited to move out to be a captain in FORSCOM and to being in a unit again. Plus, living with my husband again will be a plus. I believe last month was the official mark for two years apart.

Writing Again

aerial.JPG

Apparently, I can’t write for shit. Writing essays is a perishable skill. These last two weeks or so, we have had to turn in four different writing projects. The first one I didn’t do horribly, but it was an information memo where you are supposed to sum up information for your commander. AKA it needs to be succinct and save your commander from having to read the long paper/research you personally had to do. I am a wordy person so while I kept it at only a page, I was the opposite of concise. The next paper was a persuasive one, and we had to argue if towed artillery was still relevant in today’s fight. Today’s fight was defined as a fight that is moving away from COIN (counter-insurgency) and into multi-domain large scale combat.

Being from the world of light artillery/light infantry I argued that towed artillery is relevant.

I got smacked down on that paper.

hamburger book.jpg

The next paper, a 7 pager I did in one sitting after doing research for three days, I actually feel will be okay. It was an analysis of a commander’s mission command during a specific battle. I got LTC Honeycutt during Hamburger Hill. I actually really enjoyed reading about him and found Hamburger Hill to be impressive. Plus, this paper was in the standard thesis style paper I am used to writing from college, so I didn’t have to count syllables or words the way you’re supposed to for information memos.

I did get a little frustrated this week though because one of the instructors, not mine, walked into the class and told us how company FSOs were irrelevant and that nothing in BOLC was useful for fire support.

Literally, everything I did as an FSO I used in BOLC. So, it made me feel like he was invalidating my fire support time which, while it wasn’t my favorite and was hard, I felt was successful.

I need to learn to stop being sensitive and that no one can know the path I walked. The officer who spoke to us was from Carson. This is a little nerve racking since that is where I want to go. One thing I have learned though is how much I don’t know about heavy artillery or heavy infantry.

We were talking about how to conduct a breach, and while the principles of breeching were the same between light and heavy, it was wild in the difference of scale. In heavy, they have to plan to get at least four tanks/large vehicles through at once which drastically changes how and what assets are blowing the hole. For light, we just have to make it big enough to walk some people through.

So, I’m trying to keep an open mind.

On the friend front, it’s going amazingly.

I’ve said this before, and I will repeat it, Polk sucks because with only one brigade and thus only one artillery battalion, friend selection is hard. Even if you loved every single person you met, there’s still only a small amount of people to hang out with. Here, it’s swarming with captains who just want to hang out! It’s cool getting to expand my social group and try out different things.

They also all are in pretty good shape and inspire me to get healthier and stronger. I’ve been lifting a lot more than I’ve ever lifted before in my entire life. Of course, I’m still not at the running level I was before I got injured. With the weather getting nice, I will start running again.

 

Currently Reading: Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War By Karl Marlantes

Currently Listening To: Billy Eilish

ACFT Stats:

  • 3 Rep Max Deadlift Hexbar: 150 lbs

  • Standing Power Throw: 4.8

  • Hand Release Pushups: 11

  • Sprint-Drag-Carry: 2:32

  • Leg Tuck: 1 2 Mile Run: 16:10