09 September 2010

A Day in the Life of a Dawg

Whew! It's been a long time since an update...very sorry! Life has been sort of crazy these past few weeks. Let's see...started my class at Auburn (it's going well), Brian was in garrison for 2 weeks (hooray!), my "job" started, we went to a Braves game again and to Starkville, among various other outings! So yes, life's been pretty good here at Benning! To begin...Brian was in garrison the past two weeks, which means he went to class for the day, and then came home every night! Super exciting. They got off pretty early some of the days too so Brian and I took advantage of having more time together. We mostly lazed around, but at least he was home! But this week we're back to normal...after our lovely holiday weekend, Brian went to PT Tuesday morning, which went late, rushed home, showered, changed clothes, and was out the door and won't see him again til Friday night. This week their learning about Urban Ops, setting up a patrol base at night, and doing a live fire. Urban Ops: Not totally sure, but pretty confident it has to do with urban warfare. Patrol base: Brian explained this one to me. It's a base you set up when you're out on patrol and cannot make it back to the FOB (forward operating base). It's got a pretty rigid schedule of what has to be done, and someone has to be up at all times pulling security...AKA, making sure the bad guys don't find them/overrun their camp for the night. It's a lot of rotations through weapons cleaning/maitenance, eating, "hygiene" (which equals changing your socks and "taking a shower" with a baby wipe or two...), and sleeping--well, in 1 hour increments. No thanks. So I'm betting on him being pretty tired when he gets home tomorrow!

Brian and I trekked to Atlanta two weeks ago to go to another Braves game, but this time with his parents and grandparents! Sorry, I managed to not take any pictures somehow...but we had fun! Brian and I were a little more saavy this time and packed a cooler with our own food. And of course, the Braves won!

Next on the list was another Ranger graduation, except this time I took pictures! If you ever come on a day when they're having one of these, we'll go--they're fun, and educational too!

To begin, you get a little background on the Rangers, where they were formed, and some of the major battles they've led (Normandy, for example). Then we go onto a rappeling demonstration. Brian will learn a lot of these tactics when he's in Ranger School!

This guy is hauling himself up the wall...wanted you to see how tall it was!

Next, we get a demo of C-4, which is an explosive! They blow up a building back here.

This is some type of rigging system that's used to haul things up a wall/rockface. They pulled some people up while we were there. (Soldiers, no civilians...ha!)

Ok, this is called an Australian, or Aussie, rappel, and it is TERRIFYING! I should've taken a video of it, but this man comes flying, face forward, off the top of the platform and starts to fly/run down the wall. It is so scary! Then he "shoots" at us with a gun. You know, gotta make it realistic...

Up you go!

So this is pretty awesome. They demonstrate how they can drop in/pick up soldiers into a combat zone. So first, the soldiers rappel out of this Blackhawk (thank you, Allen :) helicopter.

Next, they are picked up by a helicopter and they attach themselves to a rope. Then, the helicopter flies away, carrying their bodies hanging from a rope outside of the 'bird! It's insane! I have a picture but it won't cooperate, so I'll upload it later!

Next Demo: Squad Tactics
This is what a squad looks like; when Brian takes command over a platoon (~30-40 people) at Fort Bliss, it'll be comprised of two squads-A and B.

Next, a Ranger climbs up to this platform, which is about 1 ft. wide. He must run/walk over it, jump over that yellow Ranger block in the middle, then jump onto a rope, shimmy across, touch a Ranger tab, and then ask for permission to drop into the water. This is something Brian will have to do one of the first days he's in Ranger school!
So here's this boy running. Yep, he almost fell after he tried to be macho and jump over the yellow blocks. I think I would have great success with this...hurdle form :)

Shimmying across the rope...Once they touch the Ranger tab, they have to drop their legs and hang, and say "Permission to drop sir!"

Once permission has been granted (and they usually let him hang for a few seconds, for our enjoyment...), he drops into the water!

While dropping, he screams "Rangers lead the way!"

We had a few other demos, such as combatives and various weapons. This one is a wire that is made for decapitating someone, such as this lovely watermelon.

Whoops forgot the combatives pictures. Well, they weren't too interesting-just guys beating up on each other. Usually the loser (pictured below), gets dumped into the water. May I remind you that they do these demonstrations year-round....can you imagine being dropped into that water in January?!

Well that's all for Ranger Graduation...onto Starkville! One thing I love about the Army...on national holidays, we get not only the holiday off, but we also get a "training holiday", so we get a 4 day weekend! I'd say it's usually well deserved! So we headed to Starkville Thursday afternoon and we stayed with AC in her adorable new house! Brian wore his uniform so AC was trying parts of it on...ha!

Second Lieutenant English:
Ok, so my weekend was full of 'dawgs and real DOGS! AC and Jesse got a yellow lab...meet Maggie! She's so fun!

Friday Brian and I spent the day visiting friends and eating our favorite Starkville cuisine (Mexican food...delicious). I had breakfast with Erin at City Bagel, of course, and then AC and I went over to the Sherrards for some good quality playtime with the boys! Thankfully, Joseph still remembers who I am and we had a blast playing sports, trains, and reading--I miss them so much! And baby James is growing so much! Joseph had lots of play-plans for us, so I didn't get to see baby James too much...was too busy chasing a 2 year old around! I don't know how they do it full-time!
Friday night we went to dinner at Old Waverly (a fancy golf course in West Point) with Lindsay, Clay, and Lindsay's family. We had such a wonderful meal and it was great to catch up with her family!

Here we are again at City Bagel Saturday morning! Ha I love this place!

The girls at Anna CLEMMER'S tailgate! Yes, I know I'm not wearing white, and it was a white-out game. Here's why: A) I thought a white-out was stupid for the first game. I wanted to wear school colors! B) I really wanted a new MSU t-shirt (haven't bought one since freshman year!), and I wanted it to be charcoal gray. So yes, I rebelled. But so did Brian. He wore maroon...


Showing off their sweet tats...

Me and Linds!...and John :)

We found Stacey!

Ok, so the white out did look pretty cool. Whoops. We had tickets for the upper deck on the west side (where this picture is taken from), but some of Stacey's family friends had 50 yd. line tickets that they didn't need, and gave them to us! How awesome is that?! We sat about 30 rows up from the field-amazing! Erin sat with me and Brian and we even had chairbacks so we were super comfortable...thank you to the Brown family!
All the white you see to the left side of the stadium is the student section...AKA, the last part of the stadium to get any shade!

I've been trying to get a good picture of this for years...guess it takes sitting on the opposite side!
Ah how cute is this?! Leigh's sister got a baby bulldog! Her name is Izzy and she's 8 weeks old. Isn't she precious?!

Proof: Brian can hold a "baby".

Out on the town!

Friends! Leigh don't hate me...it's your husband's fault!

Sunday, Jon (our first college minister) got ordained at First Pres! It was a crazy fun weekend in Starkville! I was so glad we were able to be there for it! This is some of the old FPC crew!

They had a lunch honoring Jon and Bib after church--it was so fun to see all these people I've been missing!

Whew! All in all a wonderful weekend, although I now have a cold due to staying up waaay too late with friends and getting no sleep while going 90 miles an hour all weekend! It was pretty sad leaving Starkville; I think Brian and I have been in denial about our new life...ha! We both keep thinking we're going back to State for classes "in the fall" (I know, classes have already started...), but this weekend was a sore reminder that A) we aren't students there any more, and B) that we don't even LIVE there any more. So yes, I cried. Of course. But it was a very happy reunion of friends and I can't wait to do it again in a few weeks for the Georgia game.
Hannah and I started our "job" as ESL teachers today! We gave the diagnostic test of several of our Hispanic friends/students, and we start teaching on Monday-we're excited! I've also been going to a Bible study with them on Wednesdays which has been a lot of fun...lots of talking and fellowship plus Spanish practice!
Well that's all for now...thanks for sticking through this epically long post! Just for you Em :)

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