Monday, November 22, 2010

Waterproof sketches from FTX

I drew this while manning Known Point 1 on the night land nav course, laughing with some of the other delinquents who pass for MSIVs about being tired, sitting next to a smelly swamp, and spilling chem light juice.

Touring the STX lanes I planned and glowing with pride as I watched a squad leader brief the mission I created. That warm and fuzzy wore off as soon I realized that I forgot to give objective coordinates to one of the evaluators ... whoops!

The jewel of my STX rotation: A FRAGO mission that ended in a negotiation with a local commander over the release of a downed American pilot accused of bombing his village. This was inspired by the fenced-in "cage" I discovered in the middle of the woods during my recon. The shovel was a nice touch that my OPFOR came up with on his own. And if you're wondering what the consequences of being an unpopular MSIV are, there aren't many - but I can assign you to stay in a cage for four hours of STX.

I went with the (real, not cadet) BN Sergeant Major to bring some hot meals back to the guys left guarding equipment at the TOC. We couldn't stop laughing when we realized how completely we'd dicked them over. The SGM consoled them that at least we'd brought a big container of coffee. I asked him if we'd remembered to bring any cups - and he burst out laughing again. The captain and LT who had been waiting in the cold for their dinner were not as entertained. Whoops!

I told the PL to devise some passwords for his patrol base so the cadets could challenge anyone trying to get in. I gave him some time, then tried to sneak in and test his security - suffice to say he got a very exasperated lesson in password design.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Crazy Eyes

The nickname stuck until graduation. And I'd like to posit for the record that nobody other than this one E-6 has ever noticed something wrong with the alignment of my eyes.


In other news, FTX coming up - except this time I'm the mastermind behind the STX lanes instead of the squad leader scrabbling my way through one of them. This is my last hurrah as S-3. After that, some other poor bastard gets the post and I get to relax as ... no, in all likelihood I'll get even more responsibility next semester. Yes, it's great to be in charge, just less great when I know that the guy in charge of the battalion gets commissioned just the same as the guy in charge of the newsletter.

Years ago, I met a distant relative while celebrating passover in Tel Aviv. He was a fat, jowly old jew, not so uncommon in the circles I run in, who came to my attention when someone mentioned he had fought in FIVE wars. He fought around Europe for the British in WWII, then came to Israel in time for the 1948 War of Independence, and stayed through the Suez War, Six-Day War, Yom Kippur War, and first Lebanon War. Awestruck, I asked him what rank he had ascended to after so many wars. "I was a buck private the whole time," he told me. "Why not? [in socialist Israel's army] Everyone gets paid the same!"