Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fallen Zoomie

Things are heating up in Afghanistan, like they normally do during the summer months. Recently first female USAFA grad was killed in Afghanistan by an IED. She graduated in 2006.

Today we are in the middle of another exercise. I'm out on a mission today to evaluate a project site. I will post some pictures if anything interesting happens.

Tomorrow evening Scott will pin on Captain! I'm so excited and happy for him. He is more than ready and will do a great job.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Fun with CLS

Yesterday we finished combat lifesaver (CLS) class. It was really good information on how to save our buddies in the field if something bad should happen to them. As you can see from the pictures below, we had a lot of fun with the class.

Yes, he's using a knife to stabilize a fracture.
We have also integrated with our civilians on the team. We have two USAID reps and one state department rep. They have unbelievable backgrounds and are interesting to talk to.
Below is a picture of me on a mine resistant anti0ambush (MRAP) vehicle. We will have these in country and they are good stuff!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Army Trains, the Air Force Teaches

So the past several days have been busy. We've been playing with crew served weapons and doing convoy training. We weren't able to use live rounds during the convoy as a result of the below picture. It's a shame that the first time will be in country. In the above picture Adam, our intel officer, puts together a 240B heavy machine gun.

In this picture, our PRT doctor takes some much needed rest from training.
Today we've been working on our combat lifesaver (CLS) certification. It's mostly care under fire and tactical field care...applying a tourniquet, opening an airway and bandaging a sucking chest wound. I put an IV in Melissa, but it took me two tries. Afterwards, she tried to put an IV in me, but went through my vein (I did the same thing to her, so it's only fair). And then my veins were declared unusable by the instructor and she put an IV in someone else. I will post pictures soon!
Tomorrow is our last day of CLS and then we'll be doing land navigation. It's hard to believe that we only have three weeks left in our training.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Stress Shoot

We just finished our stress shoot today. It was hot, humid and there was little cloud cover. We had to run around and low crawl with our body armor on and after we were hot, sweaty and breathing hard we had to shoot. We shot 40 rounds from different positions and and only 11 of my rounds hit the target. But from what the instructor said, anything over 10 is "expert". I'm spent! I lost my voice and an hour later my heart beat is still not back to normal. It was fun though.

This evening we have a BBQ with the PRT, which is excellent. We need down time together to socialize. I just wish I could have a cold beer!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


It seems like our PRT is falling apart. Aunt Margie commented that she wonders what will happen next and I'm right there with her wondering. The staff can't get along with each other and we've had some major blow-ups at each other. On top of that, our security forces element may lose some key leaders of the team to injuries that would render us non-mission capable. The leadership is working hard to resolve these issues, it just doesn't seem like other PRTs have the issues we have. Sure, the other PRTs have things they need to work through, but their problems are not as severe.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I Want My Desk Back

Yesterday was a hard day of training. After running through tick infested woods and throwing myself down on the ground in mud, water and allergy-inducing grass I had just about enough. I miss my desk! I miss receiving classroom instruction indoors. JLo asked me how I like the "grunt world." Yesterday was my breaking point. But today things were better. We did some classroom instruction on convoys and then tomorrow we'll be actually rolling out in the vehicles.

We also did HUMVEE rollover training. I was not able to participate because of my neck injury. It looked like fun though. Scott was really worried about me going through the training, so I know that made him happy.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Other Side of Camp Atterbury

The past several days have been very busy. We learned essential Army tasks like setting up a Claymore mine and throwing hand grenades. The Army guys couldn't believe that we've never touched or heard of Claymore mines before. Throwing hand grenades was fun, but anti climatic since they were duds.

Then we went to the field. It was not the Army's version of the "field" from what I've been told. We lived in tents but they were nice and all our amenities were nice too. We had great training out there! We manned the entry control point (ECP) to the contingency operation location (COL) and I got to search all the females coming on post. We also learned how to clear a room and building, which is fun in training and terrifying in real life. We also learned about improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and drove an IED lane where we were trying to spot them. We did pretty well but I got blown up by one on a foot patrol.
Now I am back at Camp Atterbury proper. Scott and I were in the field at the same time, so we got to see each other. He'll be back tomorrow night. Our dates for leave at the end of the training have been confirmed and we are spending it in San Francisco. We even get to celebrate our anniversary together while we are there!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Life in the TOC

Yesterday we finished a three day Command Post Exercise (CPX). All of our time was spend in the tactical operations center (TOC). It's the "brain" of our PRT. The engineer function doesn't have too much to contribute in planning the missions outside the wire, but nevertheless mission planning is an interesting process to watch and partake in. This morning we completed a five mile road march in the rain. It wasn't too bad, but I'm not looking forward to our seven mile road march, whenever that may be.

Soon we will be "going to the field" as the Army likes to call it. I call it camping on crack. We'll be living at a make shift forward operating base (FOB) for five days where we'll have to respond to different scenarios. It sounds like fun. I'm just exausted and need more sleep. That's probably the hardest part about CST. I'm used to going to bed whenever I want (sometimes 8pm) and here it's hard to stay awake.

Monday, May 4, 2009

All's Well that Ends Well

The past several days have been busy. We started qualification for our weapons. We qualified on the 9MM and M4. The 9MM was a lot of fun. The Army uses pop up targets and when you successfully shoot the target, it falls down. The below picture shows a guy shooting a pop-up target.
The M4 qualification was disastrous. There were too many people trying to use the range and there was a huge back-up. I tried to qualifying three times before I actually made it because I was either shooting at the wrong targets or my weapon malfunctioned because I put it together incorrectly. At least I know I'll never make that mistake again! When I finally qualified, I ended up shooting expert (36 out of 40 targets hit) but I was exhausted at the end of the day. We also had to fire in our gas mask and at night (limited visibility). It was fun, but let's just say I'm glad we have the day off!
I managed to get a warrior picture of myself wearing all my gear. An extra 55 pounds of "stuff" that may save my life one day.