Seventy-ninth Entry. Eat, violence, stars. Yup.
25 Sep 03 | 2033 - Thursday
Early wake-up. Early run-it was as great as ever. My breakfast today was the biggest meal I've had since I've been here. It was more than I've eaten in all 3 meals some days. Pears, Golden Grahams, a bran muffin, a biscuit, eggs, hashbrowns, French toast, a glass of milk, and a can of apple juice. It was good. Real good.
We got bused to the ranges. Firing an M16 is so violent. You can small the smoke, feel the kick, and hear the roaring boom of the round being fired. It's violent and yet relaxing.
Squeeze the trigger and smell the grass. The sun is warm on your hands and face. The hand guards are still hot from the last round. Your breathing stops and you can hear, as well as feel, your own pulse. The steady rhythm of life. Your ribs are tender against the concrete walls, and your entire body is wet with the sweat of anticipation. In that instant, all of life takes a pause; the entire world is at a halt, and the round fires out the chamber and whirls through the barrel and rips apart the delicate fabric of time and space...leaving a ripple of demolition spreading violently throughout all of existence.
It took me approximately 72 rounds to group and zero my M16A2 rifle. It was a long process. Most grouped and zeroed in half that. Hell, a few did both in a matter of 12 rounds-the bare minimum. I'm glad that it took me so long, though. I found so many things wrong with my position and the series of motions I went through before releasing the round. It's all going to help a lot when we go to qualify.
After that, a camping trip. I was partnered up with Thaddeus Duckworth from Soligen (however spelled), AL. We had to pack a shit load of crap into my duffle bag.
*2 shelter halves
*2 wet-weather bags with a sleeping bag in each
*2 pairs of combat boots
*2 pairs of BDU's
*2 PT mats
*4 brown T-shirts
*6 pairs of black, wool socks
*4 pairs of underwear.
That's just the duffle bag. We had shoe shinning kits, personal hygiene bags, flashlights, water, E-tools (folding shovels), and other stuff on/in our rucksack and LBE (Load Bearing Equipment). It was all a task, but it was fun.
I liked the fact that I slept in the wilderness. Tall trees with skinny trunks, and all the leaves only in the uppermost canopy-50 feet overhead. The ground was flat and not disturbed by shrubs. The moon was bright, but the stars were even brighter. I could see so many stars! All of them so beautiful!
Lately, I haven't been looking at stars as stars in our sky with no thought of the distance between Earth and that gleaming orb of light. I've been thinking of all the distance from point A and point B, and how amazing it is that at point A, we can see point B. Heh, I can see something that is light years away, but yet I have trouble seeing a target 25 meters away scaled to 250 meters away. Life.
At any rate, I'm glad we used the latrine after the most fun shift of fireguard I've ever had. It was at an open field where the stars were even more visible. To the left and right, the horizon was bright with the lights of civilization, but overhead...directly overhead...It was jet black with the stars as illuminous as can be. Pinholes in an opaque paper. I don't know how to describe it so that its beauty can be relayed to words even slightly, but I don't think it's all that possible.
It was a good day. A great night. I hope my two nights at Victory Forge are the same. Or better.
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Flashes of High School
Summer of Change
No Brass, No ammo
Lost in Translation
And that's that.
To write them.
Heart vs mind.