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Mil Ball.

The Military Ball is basically prom for cadets. It is a chance to dress up, have a good time, reflect on the year, and send off the ms4’s (seniors) as they get commissioned to their specific Army regiments. At the Mil Ball, all the Cadets dress up in their class A’s or ASU’s. The Mil Ball is basically a three part event; a dinner, an awards ceremony, and an entertainment portion (usually a dance or comedian).

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Appreciating what you have.

 

rucksack

When out in the field, you really learn to appreciate the things that many people take for granted. Things like, showers, beds, hot food, cell phones, sleep, etc. Being out in the field and living off of nothing more than just what you can carry on your back really teaches you to appreciate the little things in daily life. I can only imagine what it feels like to be deployed for 6 months to a year at a time! You would be surprised how well off you could be though if you learn to consolidate. Showers turn in to baby wipes, 8 hours o sleep turns into 4, beds turn into sleep systems (sleeping bags and a foam mat), daily water supply turns into 2 canteens, daily meals turn into MRE’s (meals ready to eat), and your closet turns into a rucksack (large backpack).

Priorities. Decisions. Outcomes.

Today, I was placed in a certain situation where I had to make a choice. I was running late to a class this morning in which I was supposed to be taking an exam in. I hadn’t studied quite as much as I’d have liked to either. I was approached with two choices. I could, A, go to class on time but be unprepared for the exam or I could, B, study for a little bit and be late to class but be more confident in my knowledge of the material. So, I made my decision. I decided that on timeliness was not as important as a good exam grade. I ended up receiving an A on the test! This was just a prime example of how prioritizing can help you in the long run. By acting on a decision, backed up by logic and importance, you can be very successful. The key to life’s success, in my eyes, is setting your priorities in the correct order. Once you master this, everything else in life is easy.

Meeting New People.

At JFTX (Joint Field Training Exercise), I met many new Cadets. When training out in the field with people, it is a lot different than just meeting someone here on campus or in the streets. When you train with anyone, you develop a bond. These bonds develop as you train together, take care of each other, share food, share water, share equipment, and just share the experience. With the whole tick scenario that I talked about in my last blog called “Aggravation.”, that bonded many of us more than most things could have. We were all out there, sharing the agony and for me, facing one of my greatest fears. ROTC is great in that aspect because when you’re out there in the woods, it’s just you and them. No matter what color, what gender, you all wear the same uniform, and share the same experience.

Aggravation.

Last weekend, I, along with many other Cadets, felt extreme aggravation. While at JFTX (Joint Field Training Exercise), I was on a patrol lane. In a patrol lane, we go through certain scenarios that require organization and leadership amongst a platoon. We are given certain objectives that we must complete to work towards the mission. While out in the field, it was about 65 degrees out. Without a ruck, rifle, boots, long pants, and long sleeves, it would be quite comfortable. Not only were we getting pretty hot, but there was one thing that aggravated me the most. One thing that really got to me. One thing that wanted to make me crawl out of my skin. Before I tell you what bothered me the most, let me ask you something. What grosses you out the most? Well, the thing that makes my skin crawl the most in this world are ticks. Ticks are the most creepy thing ever. One every now and then isn’t the end of the world, but no, there had to be hundreds… My buddy and I were watching in horror as they were crawling all over us. It was like some bad dream that never ended. Every time we had to lay down to pull security (aim rifle down range while laying down, all creating 360 degrees of protection for the inside circle) We were feeling them crawl inside our ACU’s and boots. I will always remember this day. As we were laying there, I could hear them fall down on top of my helmet. It sounded like rain! Everyone had bites and bumps all over us from this day. The thing that aggravated me the most is that we had to continue training even though we were all covered in ticks. I understand that training is important, but I just wanted to drop everything and run. We all did. Could you blame us?

Cleaning a rifle.

When you get done in the field using your rifle, you need to clean it. At JFTS (Joint Field Training Exercise), when we were finished on the last day, we all sat around and cleaned out our m16’s and m4’s. While cleaning the rifles, every little thing is inspected, so you’d better do a good job or else you will be out there for quite a while. There is a specific part that gives everyone hell during the cleaning process. This little pain in the ass is called the “star chamber”. The star chamber often collects much of the gun shot residue from the gun powder when fired. This piece is difficult to clean because is it such a small compartment and it has many little grooves that need to be cleaned out. I usually take a pipe-cleaner, bend it in half, twist it so that it has a less flexible bend, then create a fish-hook kind of shape with it. With this “hook rod”, I call it, you can easily clean out the star chamber because it allows you to reach up under the lip of the chamber itself along with the tiny grooves that the bolt rests against.

Being Precise.

Being precise is an important part of life. When talking to people, you want to get the message across clearly. When making calculations, you want to be as close as possible to the correct amount. Precision relates to land navigation in ROTC. When plotting points (using a protractor and map to identify points on a map when given coordinates), it is very important to be precise. If you do not plot your points precisely, you could be off on your distances and directions by a large amount. Simple things like not adding/subtracting the magnetic angle to the gird angle, making too large of a pencil mark on the map, or using the protractor incorrectly could distort your sense of direction immensely.