Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Summer Plans

I'm leaving today to try and relax and learn some Arabic without thinking about the increasingly difficult Army tasks ahead of me.

Warrior Forge is not meant to be very hard, but it looks like it could be a schlep. It's a big camp where we take a PT test, do land nav, and get assessed on leading each other in the "field" (STX lanes) and in garrison (frantically sprinting around a tent city trying to find your subordinates/superior concerning the new order about which pocket pencils must be kept in). Every cadet does it, it lasts a month, and there's no glory in graduating. My rating there will determine about 30% of the national ranking (Order of Merit List/OML) that determines what branch I get. That's a big proportion, but considering that the rest of the OML is based on my grades and my past performance in ROTC, I already know that I'm on track to get what I want (not 100% sure what that's going to be, though).

After that ... something more difficult, badass, and impressive that I will post about in late August when I'm finished.

Land Nav

LAND NAV: A battle of wits between man a man and a US Army map from 1930: "I've plotted it out and If I just go a little further that way at a 40 degree azimuth, I should hit my point - whoops, forgot the G-M angle (difference between north on the map and the direction your compass actually points), it should have been 50 degrees. Oh well, but looking at the map, it should be sitting right between these two hills - wait, 70 years of natural erosion has turned this spot into a river - oh! I see it! Just barely, but I see it! Thank god I don't have to do this at night."

NIGHT LAND NAV: An exciting game of fortune where, guided by the illusion of a pace count, you pick a spot from which to traipse blindly into the forest. Will you walk into your point? It's possible! Don't worry, you've been issued a fantastic MX-991 elbow flashlight that we've had lying around since Israel sent it back to us after the Suez War. It can "illuminate" one square foot, which is all you'll need since that's the exact size of a land nav point! Also, watch out for the bats, deer and bears!

As my drawing suggests, I'm actually pretty good at day land nav, owing mainly to my ability to run like an idiot the whole time and not mind tearing up my feet. Night land nav... Again, I'll refer you to the comic.