Sabado, Hunyo 2, 2007

Dear Diary, pt II

Weeks 4-6 were devoted to basic rifle marksmanship, the purpose of which is to take trainees, some of whom have never touched a weapon before their issued M16 and get all their information about firearms from Hollywood, and train them to reliably hit a human form at any distance up to 300 meters. It is remarkably boring, since 90% of the training takes place up in the bays, balancing dimes on a cleaning rod stuck out of your weapon’s muzzle and trying to pull the trigger without the dime falling off.

The culmination of all this is the rifle qualification shoot. There are 40 pop-up targets to engage at ranges from 50 to 300 meters away, with 23 hits being the minimum required to pass. Some of us shoot pretty well, others not so well. I scored 35 hits, a decent record but nothing to brag about. If you don’t make the cut the first time, you will shoot again. And again, and again, until you pass. At the end of the day, everyone will have passed (although it is worth noting that after a given loser gets to about his seventh or eighth re-try, a Drill Sergeant will go out and shoot in the lane next to him, and the trainee’s targets mysteriously start going down)

And that’s really about all that there is to weeks 4, 5, and 6.

One thing worth noting was our trip to the National Infantry Museum. If you are ever in the Columbus/FT Benning area and have some time, the NIM is a fascinating place to spend a few hours (assuming that you are interested). They have a huge collection of original artifacts of the infantryman’s trade, going back to swords used by the Spanish Conquistadors, personal letters from Revolutionary-war generals, and captured Nazi ceremonial daggers. Not just copies, the originals. Outside the museum are parked armored vehicles and artillery pieces, including a massive Iraqi howitzer captured during Desert Storm. It is definitely worth visiting.

It was during this portion of the training that the Drill Sergeants started backing off of us, and expecting more from us to make up the slack. Of course the platoon failed at first. The Army does it’s training in sort of a crawl-walk-run manner, and we were still crawling at that point.

Anyhow, that concludes this section. More to come later.

Linggo, Mayo 27, 2007

Dear Diary...

I suppose that I should post up some sort of story about what I've been doing for the last fourteen weeks. So here we go:

Day one is known as the 'shark attack'. The reception battalion where we had been staying for the last ten days is a fairly laid-back place, with very little to do and not much supervision from the Drill Sergeants. But the moment that thee change of command ceremony is over, the new DSs morph into screaming, micromanaging assholes. We held our bags on the front of our chests and over our heads until we were all loaded onto the bus, and then again once we got off at our barracks. We were rushed up into our bay, where it was put out in vivid detail what would happen if we failed to keep it clean.

I don't remember a whole lot about the first three weeks. It was a lot of classroom time, getting us used to the place and putting out information we may or may not have needed but had to be put out. We learned our drills and ceremonies, and various other odds and ends.

We were issued our weapons sometime in the first week, along with ten rounds of blank ammunition and stern warnings about what would happen if we lost a single round. We carried our weapons with us everywhere, in the classroom, in the chowhall, on our marches hither and yon. They were locked up at night, but that was the only time we did not have them on us. Even then, we had to have the locked racks under guard all night.

My first impression with the M16A4 rifle was rather poor, though I learned to trust it as time went on. It was very unlike the bolt-action rifles I had been used to before I came in. I thought it was too heavy (I grew accustomed to the weight), too unreliable (I found it to function just fine when cared for), and too inaccurate (it is plenty accurate for the infantryman's needs). Over time, though, I learned to trust my weapon as we went through the mud and sand and rain.

We had our gas chamber experience, not a fun time. I got to go through twice, and while I had my mask on for most of the first run, I had nothing but my weapon on the second. I had to stand in the room, breathing CS gas while everybody filed in, and then state my name, rank, and social security number to the masked DS before I could leave. All with my lungs burning, eyes watering, and sinuses trying to drown the earth in snot. You truly do choke the words out. And the gas wasn't even full strength.

We really didn't do much in the way of fun the first three weeks. We went through first aid, IED classes, land navigation, and WMD survival training, which was all fine and good, but nothing that really gripped our enthusiasm.

Sabado, Mayo 26, 2007

I'm back!

I graduated from OSUT yesterday, so yay for that. It's been a wild ride, from the gas chamber to the AT4 rocket launcher to house storming. It hasn't always been fun, but the experience has been great. I should be able to update this more often now that I have my computer back. Anyhow, there is more to come about the last 14 weeks. When I feel like it.

Sabado, Pebrero 3, 2007

Vacation (of a sort)

Well, I don't leave for a couple days, but I will be busy enough until then that I can more or less guarantee that I won't be posting anything during that period. So I may as well churn out my vacation message now.

For any new readers, I'm at Army OSUT (Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training mashed into one) and then Airborne School. I'll be there until late June, at which point I should be able to resume posting for at least a short while. Then I'm off to the Ranger Indoctrination Program.

For any friends, my cell number will probably still be active, but it won't be connecting to me. I'll post a new number when/if I get one.

So don't look for any posts in the near future. And now I will bid you adieu and farewell (for a while).

Huwebes, Enero 25, 2007

Stuff that pisses me off, Vol 2

The whole 'God hates fags' movement.

Note to readers: this post is from a protestant christian view.

Come on, we've all seen them. Either live or on the internet, there is a faction of christianity which insists on trumpeting (at every possible opportunity) the idea that homosexuals are a unique set of humans, outside of God's love. In fact, not just outside of His love, but in that set of things which He actively hates.


The reason these guys annoy the living crap out of me is not so much that they are flat out wrong, it that they are claiming to represent Christ. The world can generally recognize bigoted hate when it sees it, and by hitching their own shit to God's name, they pollute Him in the eyes of everyone. Idiots I can tolerate. Idiots actively slandering the Living God by His own name is another thing entirely.

Some might take offense to my accusation of idiocy. Well, let's analyze the 'God hates fags' argument from a christian position.

The central premise is that homosexuals are a special group of sinners, fundamentally different form any other type of sinner. I would challenge anyone to provide biblical support for this argument. It just ain't there. Sin is sin, full stop. There is no special super-sin that will make you the single object of divine wrath. And even on logical grounds, if there was such a super-sin, who on earth would say it was homosexuality? Since when is consensually boinking another guy worse than, say, cutting his throat?

The second premise is that God hates people. To this I would ask the question "if God hates fags, why did he die for them?"

John 3:16. Probably the most memorized verse in the bible: "for God so loved the world, that He sent His only Son to die yada yada yada... Emphasis on the 'loved' part. God sent His Son to die out of love, to pay for the sins of the human race. God hates the sin, not the sinner. These 'God hates fags' idiots are slandering His character.

So it being proven that the claim 'God hates fags' is devoid of biblical support and in fact a lie with regards to the nature of God, why is it used?

We know right off the bat that these guys don't believe that God is interested in helping gay people. It says so right on their sign. We also know, due to the offensive slur used and the general abrasive tone, that they themselves don't give a damn about them either. So if they aren't there for God and they don't care about the people they are "reaching out to," then who is left for them to care about?


I am left to conclude that the 'God hates fags' crowd is either holding to some sort of 'God-only-helps-the perfect' doctrine, or is simply whoring for attention.

I'm inclined to think the latter.

Huwebes, Enero 11, 2007

I, ****** * *****,

do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

And thus does your humble scribe become PFC Morin, United States Army. I leave for Basic Training at Fort Benning, Georgia, on 20070206, at which point I there will be no further updates until at least 20070520.

Miyerkules, Enero 10, 2007


From: Bin Laden, Osama []
Sent: Monday, November 19, 2001 8:17 AM
To: Cavemates
Subject: The Cave

Hi guys. We've all been putting in long hours but we've really come together as a group and I love that. Big thanks to Omar for putting up the poster that says "There is no I in team" as well as the one that says "Hang In There, Baby." That cat is hilarious. However, while we are fighting a jihad, we can't forget to take care of the cave. And frankly I have a few concerns.

First of all, while it's good to be concerned about cruise missiles, we should be even more concerned about the scorpions in our cave. Hey, you don't want to be stung and neither do I, so we need to sweep the cave daily. I've posted a sign-up sheet near the main cave opening.

Second, it's not often I make a video address but when I do, I'm trying to scare the most powerful country on earth, okay? That means that while we're taping, please do not ride your razor scooter in the background. Just while we're taping. Thanks.

Third point, and this is a touchy one. As you know, by edict, we're not supposed to shave our beards. But I need everyone to just think hygiene, especially after mealtime. We're all in this together.

Fourth: food. I bought a box of Cheez-Its recently, clearly wrote "Osama" on the front, and put it on the top shelf. Today, my Cheez-Its were gone. Consideration. That's all I'm saying.

Finally, we've heard that there may be American soldiers in disguise trying to infiltrate our ranks. I want to set up patrols to look for them. First patrol will be Omar, Muhammed, Abdul, Akbar, and Richard.

Love you lots.