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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Pole to Pole, Hole to Hole

Today was spent in the field. After breakfast, we had a class in survival. Many valuable lessons were learned, but one stuck out in everyone's mind. It was about the proper technique for spooning - sharing of body warmth. The Sergeant's advice was simple and easy to remember: "Privates, if you're spooning just remember this simple rule: 'Sleep pole to pole, ... or hole to hole, ... but never pole to hole. Otherwise it can be very embarassing when you wake up in the morning'." (Think about it)

By late morning it was time to hop in our HMMWV's. I was looking forward to this! We got to push the vehicles hard, accelerating full-speed, braking hard, and maneuvering to avoid obstacles. The only thing I didn't like about this training iteration is that it ended too soon. Still, we will have plenty of opportunities to drive HMMWV's during the rest of training.

Tonight we got to combine two neat things, NVG's and HMMWV's. We got to drive in the dark, navigating with night vision goggles. One problem that NVG's have (at least the early generation we were using) is that they are monocular - you see the same picture in each eye. Depth perception suffers. To help us understand the problem, we played "catch" in the dark. We took a chem light, taped it over until you could barely see light coming out with the naked eye, then put on the NVG's and tossed it back and forth. It was hard! You have no real idea how far away the stick is as it comes toward you. My partner and I set the record for most catches, mostly be getting the stick to hit our chest and then cradling it.

Night driving itself was a rush. Three of us went out at a time, along with an instructor. Only two of us had NVG's (the instructor had a set as well). The one without night vision really had to trust in the driver - he could not see what was happening, but felt the HMMWV bumping and twisting over the road. When my turn came, I realized that you could catch turns in the road by keeping an eye on the way the treeline turned ahead of you (since the trees were cut out to follow the road). It was over too soon. I would love to do it again!


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