Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Week 3 Humpday

Another week has passed since I last posted, but not much has happened in training. No new pictures to post.

After I finished CLS (Combat LifeSaver), I moved into 3 days of Advanced Med. It was 2 days of powerpoint, and 1 day of trauma lanes validation. In the morning, we had individual testing on the mannequins which consisted of placing 2 thigh tourniquets, a chest seal over a sucking chest wound and needle decompression, starting an IV which fails so progress to I/O in the sternum, and airway management with a combitube which also fails, so then an emergency cricothyroiodectomy is performed. This of course is performed in the dark with full battle rattle, a headlamp and simulated wartime conditions in under 15 minutes. 

The afternoon broke us up into 8 man teams. We went outside in the mud and rain with full battle rattle and paintball guns. We had to rescue (3) 180 pound mannequins out of a "burning humvee" with only 1 folding stretcher and 1 SKED stretcher (like a plastic sled to drag a patient).  We had to perform multiple interventions and drag them all over the "trauma lanes" full of obstacles. It wasn't as much fun when we did it, but the instructors video taped it and we watched it as a class and had some laughs. 

The rest of the week is basic commo class, which is powerpoint lectures followed with hands on training with the radios. We have some time off this weekend (Fri/Sat/Sun) because division has not gotten any DUI's. Next week the fun begins with each team receiving 4 humvees and the crew served weapons which we will qualify on. Nothing like a good day of shooting the big boys out on the range. I will try to post some pictures next week out on the range.....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Week 2 Hump Day

Here it is hump day of Week 2 of Combat Advisor Training. This is me in full battle rattle prior to HMMVEE training today. This is awesome gear to wear in the Kansas heat. In the few weeks that I have been here, I have already gone through all four seasons. They day after I got off the plane, it snowed. Today was upper 80's. 

So, let me catch you up on the training. Last week was the continuation of death by powerpoint. We finished our lectures on Saturday and had Sunday off. We got together as our team and had a steak barbeque. 

Monday was a day of IED training. We spent the morning in class/lectures learning all about IED's then spent the afternoon in the field practicing what we learned. 

Tuesday was HMMVEE driver training. We drew our weapons early Tuesday morning, then hiked out to the driver training course (only about a mile) in full battle rattle. We spent the afternoon learning how to drive and practiced sitting in all the various positions as we took turns driving. We also did the HEAT trainer. It is a mock up of a HMMVEE wear 4 personnel get in it in full battle rattle. Then, we do a complete 360 degree rotation, then another 180 degrees. We are upside down and are required to escape. It is as easy as opening up the armored door, undoing the seat belt, then rolling out the door. It was fun with lots of laughs. In my group, I was sitting in the left rear seat. I was the first one out, then the driver got out. The 2 on the right side couldn't get out. I tried to help them out by going around to their door, but they were combat locked. You can't open them from the outside. They ended up getting "rescued" by the instructors. It was still fun.

We broke for supper, then went back to HMMVEE training after dark. We all had a chance to drive with night vision googles on. Another first for me. That is what makes this training so interesting and fun. It is all new experiences.

Wednesday was another day of driving. We did small mounted combat patrols. We went out in 4 HMMVEE's at a time. I was the gunner, getting the fresh air. Another day of fun training....

Tomorrow is back to death by powerpoint. We start a 3 day class on Combat Life Saver. It is basic buddy first aid. I hope our team of Navy Doctors, Nurses, MSC and corpsmen can get through it......

Monday, April 13, 2009

Camp Funston

On Thursday, I had the welcome to Camp Funston and 40 man open bay barracks. My 25 man Navy Team has been scattered throughout the different barracks. In fact, we are in 5 different barracks. Nothing like Team Building Army style. In my barracks, we have 10 Navy in 5 sets of bunks in the middle of the bay. We are sandwiched inbetween the Tennessee National Guard and another Army unit. (I can't remember where they are from).

Thursday was a complete cluster. We checked out of the barracks at 0600, then had weapons draw around 0800. The Navy went first. We each have the latest M-4 (newer version of the M-16) with a collapsible stock and new scope. We were also issued a M-9 (9mm pistol). We hung around until almost 1400 before we came to Camp Funston. We had  a brief, then moved into the barracks and turned in our weapons to the armory. We won't see them again for a few weeks. I have been issued a total of 3 seabags of gear and a full rucksack plus a seabag of my own personal gear. Good thing we are traveling light.

Friday was half a day of lectures, then off Sat & Sun. 

I am attending a 60 day course entitled Afghanistan Combat Advisor Development Course. This course will enable us to be a Foreign Security Force Advisor and a member of an Embedded Training Team (ETT). We spend the rest of our time here learning basic Dari (the Afghan language) and various aspects of the Afghan culture ontop of Army training. As I progress through the course, I will give updates on what I am learning. This week is an hour of Dari, followed by powerpoint presentations and discussions.

Today we went for our first walkabout on Camp Funston in pt gear and IBA (Individual Body Armor). It was a short 3 mile walk. We will continue to build up our conditioning and progress to full battle rattle.

This should be an interesting 2 months.....

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Big Red 1

So, here I am at Fort Riley starting to get ready for more training. I arrived here on Sat after a 3 hour flight from San Diego. I had the rest of Sat off and Sunday off. We started drawing gear on Monday. It will be a 3 day evolution. There are 25 Navy personnel here, and over 200 Air Force in our class. My team consists of doctors, nurses and MSC (Medical Service Corp - lab, pharmacy, hospital administration and others). It is all Officers.

The routine during the inprocessing is lots of hurry up and wait with lots of downtime. I have been to the gym on Mon & Tue during the normal work day due to all the downtime between sessions. I know that won't continue as we get further along in the training cycle.

Currently, I am living in a 2 man room. We have a common entrance and shared bathroom, but separate rooms. Each room has a bed, locker and desk. Later on this week, we will move into 40 man open bay berthing with bunk beds (don't be jealous).

Kansas weather has been interesting. When I got here on Saturday, it was almost 70 but very windy. Of course it got down below freezing and snowed on Sunday (didn't stick). The wind was still blowing up to 40mph and only in the low 30's. If you remember from my previous posts, we could only bring 1 seabag. In the 1 seabag is no warm clothes. We wear regular clothes here after the work day. I have 1 pair of jeans and 1 long sleeve shirt. No room for anything else. I did wear the Navy PT sweatshirt to try and stay warm on the walk to the chow hall. Oh, I can't say chow hall anymore. Now that I am on an Army base, it is the DFAC (dining facility). It has been down in the teens at night. It warmed up into the upper 50's today and will be warmer the rest of the week. Of course we will be issued the cold weather gear tomorrow after it warms up.

Sorry for not posting any new pictures. I will after I have all my gear. I will have 4 seabags of gear including IBA (Individual Body Armor). 

Look at Dave and Anne's blogs for comparison (under links). They have 3 weeks of training and I have over 60 days. As I progress through the training, I will post some of the various evolutions and training regimens.....

Friday, April 3, 2009

Goodbye San Diego and DCU's

This is me, Dave and Ann in DCU, BDU, and Digital Desert Uniforms. This is the last time we will wear them . We have now been issued the Army ACU. We took the picture in ACU's after our last muster today at 1500. They put out our flight requirements for tomorrow (Saturday). 

When we were issued the uniforms, they gave us 4 complete uniforms, 2 sets of boots, and enough crap to almost fill a sea bag. What they forgot to tell us, is we are only allowed to leave here tomorrow with 1 sea bag. So, everything I had already brought in my sea bag had to be condensed into 1 seabag. Needless to say, I shipped 2 boxes back to Diane today via UPS. She will ship it to me once I get settled at Fort Riley.

Tomorrow is the flight to Fort Riley. I will check out of my room and take my seabag to the truck. We will be flying NALO (military flight). It should be another long day.

I need to finish condensing and packing my seabag. I will post again from Fort Riley....

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Deployment has begun...

I am now in sunny San Diego at NMPS processing for my upcoming IA (Individual Augmente) deployment to Afghanistan. I will be relieving a Navy Perioperative Nurse serving with the Army in Kabul. I left Hampden on 29 Mar at 0500 EST. I flew from Bangor to Philly to Phoenix to San Diego. I got to the base around 1600 PST so it was a 14 hour trip. The inprocessing began as soon as I arrived with medical screening. It took 2 hours to finish medical and get a room in the CBH (Combined Bachelor Housing). 

Monday was a fun-filled day of processing, uniform fitting, and lectures/powerpoint presentations in the auditorium. There are about 200 sailors of all ranks here getting ready to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan. We started at 0600 and finished around 1600. I ran into 2 other Perioperative nurses I know, Dave Davis who was with me in Portsmouth, and Ann Ashton currently serving with me at Camp Lejeune.

Tuesday was another fun-filled day of medical processing. Eventhough I had already done multiple medical processing in Camp Lejeune, I had to be rescreened for everything. I ended up getting Tdap and MCG vaccinations and spending 5 minutes with an IDC for final processing. This of course took 6 hours of waiting for 10 minutes of processing. When I finished for the day, Ann, Dave and I took the train to historic downtown San Diego for some authentic Mexican food.  

Wednesday was a catch up day for all the personnel who didn't complete the screening on Tuesday. It was an off day for me. I had to muster at 0800, but had the rest of the day off. Nothing big on Wednesday except for starting this blog.....