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Rickpops’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 10 Jun 2007

Location: USA

MapJust finished up my first week here and it was tougher than I thought....First day we were issued about 120 pounds worth of gear, about 60 pounds that we need to wear! Its hot in Columbia South Carolina, which is were I'm located right now, at an Army base, Fort Jackson. We have about 70 Navy guys going through army training for two weeks, and it is a lesson in patience.

The Drill Sgts are great, love to give navy guys a hard time (your platoon sits on the left side of the classroom, and dont give me any of your port/starboard crap!!) but they can take what they dish out too. I already had a lot of respect for the military on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, but even more now that i am wearing all the gear and doing some of the drills that they do on a regular basis.

It is amazing how your body acclimates to new conditions, we felt like turtles the first day wearing all the armor, by the end of the week we just felt a little slow...Its almost like going through football practice, just walking in all the gear is difficult, add to it holding a weapon, and if you have to run or do something which requires drastic body movements, it wears you down something fierce. The temperature is hot, around 90-100degrees, the humidity is high, but its only good training to get ready for life in Iraq.

The other navy personnel are upbeat, we have one air force major who maintains a good sense of humor also, and overall it has been a positive week.

I miss everyone back home already, we live in the barracks, small beds and group showers, but that is two steps up from living in tents with sand and critters crawling in, so I'm not complaining. The training should be interesting next week, more weapons shooting and gas mask wearing, I think this is a great change of pace for the next six months but I dont know how these people do it for twenty years.

I will try to get some photos up next week, hopefully this is easier for people to keep updated and i dont fill up your email box. Thank you for all the good wishes and prayers before i left, and look forward to seeing everyone in 2008.