NEWEST STUFF IS AT THE TOP
My work here is done and now it's time for bigger and better things. I'm leaving Fort Knox this afternoon and driving to Fort Benning for the next 2 and a half months.
If you have any questions about where I'll be or what I'll be doing, please refer to the Ranger Training Brigade Website.
My mailing address down there is not known yet, but as soon as I get it to Erika she'll post it up here. I'd greatly appreciate a letter or two if you get the time.
Rangers Lead The Way!
Happy Friday the 13th.
Speaking of Jason... My good buddy Mr. Hillman is in Kuwait now and stationed at the same camp as my mother. They're both safe and sound in Kuwait and I'm looking forward to seeing them when I get there someday.
Speaking of my mother... She's moving up in the world and now has a job at the highest levels of command in the Iraqi area of operations (AO). She's the head mamma-jamma in charge of a lot of logistical stuff, but I can't give too many details. To use a somewhat amusing phrase, "It's on a need-to-know basis and you don't need to know."
Total expenditure thus far for the Ranger School packing list? $700-something dollars. Ridiculous.
Yesterday the 6 of us from my OBC class headed to Ft. Benning next Friday had a meeting with our Regimental Commander, Colonel Alexander. He just wanted to impart his thoughts about the school and tell a few stories from when he went through in 1981. He also gave each of us Ranger tabs to pin on the inside of our hats for motivation throughout the school.
He had some pretty amusing vignettes (I'm smart now. Look it up if you don't know the definition) to share and his overall message was twofold:
1. Don't quit.
2. Make 'em cart you out.
The first part is pretty obvious, but the second took some explaining. What he meant was don't let them get rid of you. If you're hurt, keep going. If you're injured, keep going. If you're in pain, keep going. When you leave the Ranger Training Brigade you'd better be in one of two conditions: Sportin' a tab on your left shoulder or being carted out on a stretcher because they wouldn't let you continue.
There you have it.
Goonies Never Say Die.
We're headed out for our field training exercise (FTX) for Scout Leaders Course (SLC) tomorrow and even though it's snowing outside right now I'm pumped about it. I've heard it's gonna suck just a lotta bit, but we'll learn a lot and be that much cooler and tougher when we graduate next Friday. Basically we'll be doing continuous operations for 5 days straight, getting 2 hours of sleep a night (at most), acting all super sneaky and ninja-like, and trying to conduct recon missions successfully without being compromised. Too easy.
That's all for now.
I sure wish she lived closer than an 8 hour drive away, but it was great to see the girl again this weekend. All you people whose significant others live in the same city as you don't even know how lucky you have it. Buttheads...
Erika drove up here on Saturday so we could spend my last weekend as a free man before Ranger school together. I would have driven down there, but I had mandatory study hall for Scout Leaders Course on Sunday morning so it wouldn't have worked and she had Monday off soooo... She made the trek up here.
We went to a comedy club in Louisville Saturday night and did absolutely nothing on Sunday. It was great just hanging out and watching NFL playoff games all day and then I made us dinner that night. Even with my midget-sized kitchen I did a DAMN good job, too.
Scout Leaders Course is moving right along and we're already almost half done. We leave for the field this Saturday and when we come back we'll be done. It's really that short of a school. So there ya have it.
I'm addicted to the show America's Funniest Home Videos. When they stick me in the retirement home in like 900 years I want every single episode that ever aired on TV so I can laugh the live long days away.
Reason numbers 17,839 and 17,840 to move into a house instead of an apartment complex:
Remember the movie Ghostbusters?
You know the scene near the beginning where Dana Barrett is walking back to her apartment and she's creeping down the hall on tip-toe trying to be as quiet as possible? You can hear the noise of a loud party coming from her neighbor's place, but all of a sudden the door opens and out comes Louis Tully, the annoying neighbor who loves to talk and never shuts up. He invites her to the party and is just trying to be pleasant and talk to her, but she literally has to slam the door in his face to make him go away.
The kid next door to me here at Ft. Knox is EXACTLY like that. My other neighbor and good buddy Rory and I literally tiptoe past this kid's door when we leave for class or come back in the evening because if he hears us he'll come flying out of his room and start talking a mile a minute about whatever is on his mind at that particular moment.
No, Ryan, we don't care about the "crazy and hilarious" infomercial you just saw on TV or how you almost bought a new Ron Popeil food dehydrater.
Oh, and as for reason number 17,840 to live in a house instead of an apartment complex?
A.K.A: The noise made from someone running on the treadmill in the "fitness center" beneath my room. Usually between the house of midnight and two in the morning. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to have them change it up with the sound of some girly-boy using the weight machines down there and dropping the stack of weights instead of slowly lowering it back down. Ka-THUNK!!!
But it's all good. It's not that bad here and soon enough I'll be in Iraq wishing I were back here.
In other news, I came across this picture today and found it rather amusing.
Headin' north for the winter.
Congrats to my sister Sarah for her new job in the upper levels of the Wal-Mart corporation. That's right, the girl who once used to go off on tirades about how Wal-Mart is "taking over the world one mom n pop store at a time" has turned to the dark side of her own free will.
That's all for now.
Time for a life lesson...
In the past few weeks I've been trying to get in shape the best I could, despite the Christmas holiday circumstances, so that I won't be bounced out of Ranger school for being a slow and weak fat-body.
In the process, I learned some stuff about running that I thought I would share.
1. If you do nothing but sit around Christmas Day and eat lots of food and snacks and cookies and drink nothing but beer and wine, do not go running the day after. Oh, especially if it's only one hour after your sister and girlfriend made homemade and super-delicious Belgian waffles for breakfast of which you had 4. Not smart. You'll have lots of pain and suffering and look like a girly-boy when you're walking the last half mile back home.
2. At mandatory PT with your Scout Leaders Course class, do not, under any circumstances, feel sorry for yourself and wear black boot socks with your PT uniform instead of the required white athletic socks to keep your feet warm when it's cold outside.
The commander will show up and tell you to get ready for a long run and then tell you to strip down to your PT shorts. You'll have no option but to take off the socks before anyone but your buddies, who think it's hilarious that you're the only one with black boot socks instead of white socks, sees you with them on and hope that the instructors just think you're wearing really short ankle socks.
Inevitably, during the run, your feet will start to get extremely uncomfortable, but you'll think to yourself "I'm a tough guy and I can handle this." You'll keep telling yourself "it's not that bad" until you finish the run and have a chance to get a good look at your shoes.
Don't be surprised if they have a lot more blood-red coloring in them afterward than you remember seeing before.
5.5 miles with no socks on? Never again.
So, yeah. That was, as the cartoon guys on the Guinness commercial say, "BRILLIANT!!!"
But you know what? Out of twenty-nine people in the original formation, I was one of eleven remaining at the end.
Scout Leaders Course is going pretty well, but it's no cakewalk. I can't really talk about what they're teaching us because "they" could use it against our troops in Iraq so just know that I'm learning all kinds of cool stuff and I'm really looking forward to doing it all in the Army.
That's all. Best of luck to the guys headed back to Ranger school this weekend. Braden, Chris, Mike, and Marshall.
Goonies Never Say Die.
-Tom "No Socks" Martin
"Dude, we're in the middle of backwoods nowhere Kentucky on a completely random, nameless, and single-lane road and we're chasing a tornado."
That's what my buddy Stuart and I did this afternoon. Using the Magellan GPS my parents got me for graduation, listening to the radio for updates, and following where the dark clouds were in the sky, we tried our best to find a tornado.
Yeah, not the brightest thing to do, but I'm immortal, remember? Anyway, all we found was a TON of rain and lightning, but it was a blast.
Here are some pictures from Christmas Break in North Carolina and San Antonio with Erika.
At the grandparent's house in NC.
Christmas morning at the Martin house. Mom will be there next year when she gets back from Kuwait.
Erika and I went exploring in San Antonio and found two of the old Spanish church missions that helped found the city.
The entrance to the chapel.
The grindstone they used back then which is still in use today.
Pictures from New Year's in Cincinnati are coming soon.
Here's one more from when we were working with the SORO team as "Iraqi" antagonists to the students going through OBC in the classes behind us.
The SORO Blackbirds.
Brendan "Mohammed" Wentz, Jordan "Achmed" Earley, Stuart "Abdul" Sparker, Thomas "Fareeq" Martin, and Song "Ibrahim" Yi.
West Point Archives
October 1-18 2005
October 19-31 2005