Saturday, March 31, 2007

Still here and just now getting on the net

Well... Let's see... What's been going on? My ribs feel better. I'm not sick. IBA is heavy and gets heavier when you add even more plates and shoulder protection. I now know how to do the head space and timing on an M2 .50 cal machine gun. Taking it apart and putting it back together is another story, but I'll get it soon.

We went to some ranges Tuesday morning and it turns out that I'm not a bad shot with my M9 (Berretta 9 mm pistol), but I'm not that good with the M203 grenade launcher. The good news is that you don't have to hit the bullseye with a grenade. Close will work well. We went to the ranges in our Hummers. I was in the turret all day with the .50 cal.

So... there I was, we had been running from funston to range to range to funston and back to the ranges all day. I had been in the turret standing on this plate for the gunner (this is important). On the way back to funston (and to get fuel) I heard Doc say "hey, something smells like it's burning." I couldn't smell anything because my face and most of my upper body was in the breeze. Earlier that day I had smelled some burning brakes from the hummer in front of me, so I didn't think too much about it. So... like I said, there I was, AT THE FUEL POINT. we had just filled up and moved off the actual fuel point (which had a pool of water and FUEL in it... and then it went something like this...

Doc: Umm Fire.
Me: What?
Doc: FIRE!!
Boss Man: Bail Out!!

So, I exited via the turret and slid down the rear of the hummer. We couldn't find the fire extinguisher, so Braveheart came up from his vehicle and dowsed it with white powder. We then of course found our fire extinguisher. Once we had grabbed all of our gear out of the vehicle, I climbed up top and dropped back down into the turret to clear the M2 .50 cal and completed the circuit again. A large power cable was under the gunner plate. Boss Man then yelled "Get out of there! It's on fire, you started the fire again!" I grumbled something about needing to clear the weapon (as instructed) as I used the same escape rout. More from the same fire extinguisher and then I got back up on the hummer. I stood on the roof this time and cleared the weapon. Meanwhile a swarm of senior NCOs disconnected the offending cable and all was well. Thank God for the NCO corps.

All wasn't well after all though. Upon close inspection I realized that the nob that turns on my Close Combat Optics on my M4 was broken off. Not good. It's supposed to get fixed next week. The other thing that wasn't cool was that I think I turned in one of my own 9mm magazines in at the range. So, now I only have 2 9mm mags. I'll be able to get more, it just sucks that I'm always doing stuff like that.

The rest of the week was CLS training. CLS stands for Combat Life Saver. Basically, a CLS is a guy who is trained a level above normal first aid. The training consisted of when and how to do things like tourniquets and IVs. We learned about fixing "sucking chest wounds" and how, where and when to push a catheter into the chest to mitigate the problems of a tension pneumothorax... look it up.

We all stuck each other with IV's. I took a a bag of fluid for the hell of it. I mean... hey, I already had the thing hooked up to my arm. This is good training. I hope I never have to do it on the battle field, but I probably will. So, I want to get as much practice as I can. Doc said he'd get us some IV's to nail each other with this weekend...good times.

Yesterday morning we did a 6.4 mile road march with IBA. I ruck from time to time on my own so It's not a big deal for me, but the hills here (no, Kansas is not flat like they say) are kicking my butt. Good training though and the weight is slowly coming off. I'm still about 220 lbs, but I was 225 lbs a few weeks ago, and I haven't been starving myself. I'm eating a lot. I just walk a lot... with a lot of heavy stuff on my body.

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