26 September 2007

BOLC II - The lazyness wrap up.

So the pace of BOLC II accelerated quickly and my hopes and dreams of keeping an accurate record of what we did fell away as training time got longer and longer. I will try and recap now, after the fact, the key points of each week after I last posted.

Qualification week: This was one week that was new to almost no one and simply went slow. Be prepared to qualify with an IBA on. It adds heat and makes it much harder to get the weapon in the pocket of your shoulder. Other wise this shouldn't be to new to any one who as come out of ROTC or west point. The biggest difference was using the CCO. They are not hard but it takes a little bit of getting used to. I was having trouble but found that when I went back to basics and put my nose on the charging handle and closed one eye, my shot groups tightened right up and I zeroed quickly. Also night fire is cool. You get about 30 rounds to shoot so you can only really get used to the concept but it is fun to be able to just point and shoot fire from the hip.

MOUT, is a good a time as you make it. I enjoy it because it is a constant puzzle to determine the best way to move from room to room safely. It seems very easy when you have a square room with no windows, doors or closets. If you add anything more it starts getting more complicated. This is especially true when there is dead space in the room (think L shaped rooms). This was also the first time that our cadre (this was our platoon only) took us out to do a night mission. Platoon attack under night vision. Its harder then you would think, especially when you don't have radios. At the end of the week we got to go in to the shoot house with simunitions and actually fire at targets. I never did any force on force with the simunitions. There was a competition between platoons but that was only one fire team from each platoon.

Mounted Operations were pretty cool. I can say that it works for the most part like a movement to contact lane. Biggest thing you have to get used to is that mounted land navigation works a lot different then on foot. It is harder to figure out where you are when things are moving at 25 miles an hour. Best thing to be prepared for in advance would be to be familiar with IED/UXO reaction drills and reports.

Culmination week. This experience varied greatly from platoon to platoon and even more between companies. Some people like my platoon worked very hard. We would do a mission, including all of the prep, rehearsals and actions on. Get back and get a "follow on mission" where we would have about 30 minutes to prep.

Also included in this week was the 10 mile road march. My platoon did at 5 mile movement, an attack on an objective and a 5 mile movement back. We LDed out of the FOB at 2115 and I crawled into bed at 0530. It was long, hot and sweaty. My neck was the worst part of it. Between the pulling my shoulders down and my nods pulling my kevlar forward it was quite uncomfortable. Weight standard was 25 percent of your weight in a ruck. In most cases that was your IBA plus some water in a camel back.

We also got to play a little bit of OPFOR this week. Anyone who is inbound to this should make sure that you are comfortable with platoon attacks and ambushes, that is how most of your time gets spent. I really can't tell you how much your going to work because there is a huge difference depending on what platoon you are in. I worked hard, the 5th platoon people worked hard but no one else really seemed to.

Week 7 is out processing, and weapon cleaning. Quite and boring, a very nice change.

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