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Wednesday Afternoon

posted Mar 31, 2016, 7:14 PM by Bryan Brito   [ updated Mar 31, 2016, 7:20 PM ]
After the morning briefing drill instructor attempted to teach these educators  to March.  (Recruits learn quickly not to refer to themselves, they are no longer individuals, but part of a team) these educators failed miserably.  You might not think matching is a big deal, but it is very difficult to walk in cadence and sync with 40 people, marching with those people proved almost impossible.  Then you add to the mix the need to shout whatever drill instructor says, and just found myself tripping over my own feet.
We got to see the incredibly close quarters in which recruits live and heard the new drill instructor speech. 
Lunch time with a recruit.
We marched from the barracks to chow hall, if you could Call it marching.  Our inability to get it right meant that we did a lot of running. I have honestly not run like this, perhaps ever. 
We were finally allowed into the chow hall where we had a much needed meal.  The was no waste here all were hungry and the food was good, but the real highlight was visiting with a recruit. The young man I met was in his second phase of training and very anxious to hear news of the world outside.  He told us about the girl back home, to whom he writes every week.  He also told us the he comes from a long line of Marines.  This was the first meal he had had in weeks where he had more than 2 minutes to eat.  He was not quite sure what to do with himself.  
In return for listening to him talk to us all about his hopes, dreams  and experiences, we told him about the presidential race, the latest TV shows, and who won the battle between batman and superman.
Afternoon comes late when you begin your day at 4:30.
We went from chow to the weapons training center.  Marines begin their training in a simulator.  You learn to shoot a realistic m16 at a simulator screen trying to hit targets that are various distances from the shooter.  All marines must pass the marksman test in order to become Marines.  I did pretty good in the simulator, hitting all of my targets. 
We next moved to the out door course where we began to shoot real m16s.  While the weight of the gun was the same it was here that the similarities ended.  
While not the same as a shotgun, the m16 has quite a kick.  Additionally a condition that is not present in the simulator is the wind.   It is easy to hit a target in perfect conditions, but real life is very different.  Out of 10 shots, I only managed to hit the target 6 times.  I was still quite proud of myself.  However in my next attempt the gun was switched to full automatic.  At this setting the kick was incredible, and out of 10 shots I managed to hit the target once.  Nevertheless the power of shooting a real "machine gun" was really awesome.  Finally for my last attempt I laying down, here the control was much higher, and I managed a personal best of 8 targets. 
Departing the range we went to the marine aquatic center where we learned how Marines learn to conquer the water.  Each marine must be able to swim 25 yards above water and another 25 under water.  It seems easy but nothing in the marines is ever easy.  they must also be able to swim in full gear.  One sergeant kindly showed me what this meant  by helping me put on a 50 lb. Kevlar vest, and an 80 lb. pack and a 10 lb. helmet.  With all of this equipment on the average Marine weighs between 3 and 4 hundred lbs. in the water.  At this weight they must be able to swim--I could barely walk much less swim. 
We then moved to the Marine Air Command and learned about Marine Aviation.  The highlight of this visit was a walk among the f18s.  These planes are nothing short of incredible. 
We finished the day at the Officers Club with a wonderful dinner we actually sat and enjoyed and then we went to the Santini room, and you will have to wait for my return to learn about the Santini room.