Ladies and Gentlemen, over the course of the next 14 weeks, I am going to provide a day-by-day breakdown of my time as an OC/T for the National Guard unit here near Fort Stewart. They conducted their XCTC training for the year. So I will be breaking it down for your enjoyment here during ‘Hot Steele Saturdays.’
Let’s begin, shall we?
XCTC Log/Day 1:
As I arrived to the battery to load out my truck and head to the field, I realized that I am just dreading what the next two weeks holds in store. Are we going to end up needing to train these guys? Or are they actually going to be proficient in their craft and prove us all wrong? Time would answer these questions I had. But for now, I am at work.
It’s not even 0530 on 10Jun2017. I’m already sweating like a whore in church. The temperature is 70 degrees before the sun even rises with a humidity percentage of 86. Fuck, today is a great way to kick this shit show off.
Once everything is loaded out, the sun begins to rise. We have 3 vehicles heading out today. 1 of them needs to break off for the in brief at another firing point. As I approach my destination with a second vehicle following, I get the call. We already have a down vehicle. Son of a bitch. It isn’t even the official start to the first day and we are already down a truck! No worries. We can fix it. It is probably just needed a quick jump to get back at it. I send the secondary truck to recovery the broken down vic. I then carry on to my destination because one of the OC’s needs to be present. Today they begin with their convoy lane.
Now, as an artillery unit we conduct all of our certifications in tables. One of which is convoying as either a platoon or a battery (with howitzers in tow) from one place to another. We are then evaluated on our recovery abilities, actions on contact, etc. I arrive, all of their trucks are lined up for BII checks and dispatch verifications. Once checks are complete, they claim to be ready. Uh, what? Not a single howitzer was attached. They were prepared to do a convoy from one firing point to another without their fucking howitzers!
I shook my head but then informed the leadership that this was like a fire sale. Everything must go. SP was initially 0800. They got the order to march and picked everything up and go in line. The actual SP didn’t happen until 0849. Great, the first day, I have one truck down, and they can’t even be ready on time. It surely is going to be a long two weeks.
I’ll keep this next part short and sweet. They started the convoy lane and had to be recocked. Apparently if they hit an IED, they just push through…even the damaged truck. When they went through the second time, their plan was excellent. Recovery of a damaged vehicle was flawless and faster than most active duty units. They even split their battery up once contact was taken. One platoon recovered injured personnel and vehicles and rolled out while the second platoon secured the area. They weren’t really sure how to gain fire superiority but dammit, they gave it their all.
Oh look, we have another truck for us! Great. Now that this day is over, we can relax. It isn’t even lunch time. We have conducted the AAR and are now just hanging out because we have to stay out there. So we rest and chill because tomorrow we start the 2 day Battery Defense lane. It is going to be a shit show.
Now that it’s bed time, I guess I’ll go to sleep.
What the…?? Something bit me!
Screw it, I’ll see it in the morning.
The sun is up on day 2. I look at my arm where I was bit…in 3 places…they’re bubbling…shit.