Well, Bravo Company is coming up on its last week of training at the School of Infantry. The last couple of weeks have been full of nonstop high speed training, basically we have had warfighting shoved down our throats everyday since my last post.
Alot has happened since I was on here writing last. We split the company up by infantry specialty around week 3. I chose to train with the 0311's, your basic rifleman. Essentially my job is what you would typically think of when you imagine an infantryman. There are two platoons of 0311s, I'm the guide for 2nd Platoon, so I'm in charge of about 95 Marines right now. It's kind of like baby sitting, but in the end its rewarding. The third platoon is made up of the other infantry specialties- mortarmen, assaultmen and machinegunners.
The life of an 0311 pretty much exists in the field. We hike all day, go to ranges, practice squad assaults, patrolling, ambushes, etc, and then we sleep under the stars. There have been plenty of nights where we have woken up with a layer of ice on our sleeping bags, or puddles of mud under them, but that's what makes it great.
This past week we began training for urban warfare, or MOUT as the Marines call it, Military Operations in Urban Terrain. We headed out to a mock town and practiced house to house fighting and room clearing techniques, it was pretty sweet. Kind of felt like you were on SWAT. This next week we have a culmination training exercise where we'll spend 3 days at MOUT town pulling everything we've learned all together.
Some crazy stuff has happened during training though. About three weeks ago we were out in the field, waiting for it to get dark to do some assaults at night. Naturally we had some time to waste, so our instructors did what any trained killers would do, they organized a bull in the ring fight. Two platoons made a giant circle and Marines were allowed to go to the center and call out anyone they wanted for a no-holds barred ground fight. I was just sitting there waiting, because, as the guide, I knew EVERYONE wanted to call me out. Turns out Mikael, a kid I had in my platoon at boot camp, walks to the center and calls me out. Well it turns out that Mikael teaches martial arts techniques to police officers back in his hometown. We started the fight and initially I was beating him on brute strength, it went back and forth for a while, with him getting me in various choke holds and me reversing him and trying to beat him mercilessly. Eventually, he worked his way behind me and put me in a rear naked choke, but I had one of his arms locked out in an arm bar. Turned into a "can he choke me out before I rip his arm off" type thing, I mean, who hasn't seen that one before? Well, eventually I passed out and came to a couple of seconds later to hear everyone cheering him on. Haha, real freakin' funny I know. I got bonus points for passing out before tapping out though. The other crazy thing involves the wildlife. Camp Pendleton has a bit of a rattlesnake problem. I hadn't really encountered it until I was getting ready to set my pack down on the ground about 2 weeks ago and realized I was setting it on a rattler. Long story short, my instructore took my rifle and shot it with a blank. Now, you may be thinking, a blank? Well it creates enough air pressure to rip a rattlesnake head in half, which is pretty freaking cool to see.
Well, graduation is in a week and a half. Unless I screw up big time, I'll be graduating as the platoon honorman. I still don't know where I'm getting shipped to for a permanent duty station, but I hope I stay put in Camp Pendleton. There's a chance they'll throw me in the middle of the desert at 29 Palms, or in North Carolina at Camp Lejeune. I'll be sure to let you know.