Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Bathing? Who needs bathing?

My last eleven days have been at Camp Bullis, Texas in Officer Basic Field Training. I can only try to guess the ways I have been changed during those days. I have become more aware of my own capabilities. I have begun to form friendships with colleagues with whom I will probably work many years hence and I have begun to be formed into a soldier. Our average day started with a formation at about 500 and ended somewhere around 1930. The days were hot and nights short during those eleven days and we took only one shower. I probably sweated more than I have in the past three months.

I wrote a couple of weeks back about some of the negative effects that I think med school has had on me. But I think OBC has been a good antidote for some of those problems. Army discipline doesn't give you time to be self-centered. You are focused on following orders, having the right equipment, being at the right place at the right time and perhaps most importantly, watching out for your battle-buddies.

We did way too many things during our field training experience to write about here. They were eleven days that felt like a couple of months. Some of the highlights for me included some of the leadership exercises, becoming familiar with the M16 rifle and MOUT - which is similar to paintball except you're using your M16 using rounds made of wax.

One line of our "Soldier's Creed" reads, "I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my Warrior tasks and drills." This field training has begun to make those words a reality for us. When I joined the army I thought I would serve my required time and then get out but after the last couple of weeks I've realized that I probably wouldn't mind staying in longer term. That decision is a long way off but the experience here has been a good one.