Friday, June 5, 2009

Training Complete!!!

This is the last post and picture for a little while. I completed the training at Fort Riley today. The Army even gave us certificates stating that I have "Successfully completed Military Transition Team Training for Class 71."   Now it is time for some needed R & R before deploying. The Navy is flying us back to parent commands (where we are originally stationed) for a little time off before we go, then flying back here to Fort Riley. We are leaving all of our gear in our lockers. Let me recap the week...

Monday was another day on the range where each of the 2 Navy teams practiced Mounted Combat Patrol OPs. I was the gunner again and got to fire the M240. It took most of the day and that was it for Monday.

Tuesday was spent planning for our Capstone Exercise which took place on Wed. 

Wednesday was the big Capstone, which covered everything we have learned in training. It started off at 0530 as each Navy team convoyed up to a FOB (Forward Operating Base) where we linked up with an Afghan Commander and his troops. Our mission was to convoy to 3 separate towns where we had to conduct different types of meetings with the townspeople. Some of the townspeople were Anti-American. By the time we had been through all three villages, we had been attacked several different times. We returned fire and also treated the "wounded". All our ammo was blanks. We finally returned to Camp Funston around 1500 and our day was done except for cleaning the weapons. 

On a special note, the 10 Navy men in my barracks plotted an "event" on our Army brethren who share our barracks. They get up earlier than we do on most days and turn the lights on. We got up at 0200 on Thursday morning without waking up the Army. We turned on the lights, sounded several air horns, then played General Quarters over a megaphone. Once everyone was awake, we started signing the second verse of Anchors Aweigh. Once we were done singing, we turned the lights back off and went back to sleep. Most of the Army guys took it in stride and laughed about it. It was done in fun. 

On Thursday, we turned in our personal weapons to the armory, then turned in all the crewed served weapons and HMMVEEs. Of course, we hadn't cleaned the crew served to their satisfaction, so we spent another hour cleaning the weapons. We finished by lunch and had the rest of the day off to start packing. 

Today, Friday was our deployment ceremony. WE had to be there at 0730 and were done by 0830. The Army printed up programs, but left half of our team out. Each service had to sing its fight song as part of the ceremony. Of course, the Navy went last and the music wouldn't play.We sang the first verse of Anchors Aweigh anyway and ended it with "Go Navy". We weren't going to be denied signing our fight song! The rest of the day was spent finishing packing and resting. We will load a bus at 0130 on Sat morning to go to Kansas City Airport to fly back to parent commands.  

All in all, it has been a pretty good time here at Fort Riley. After a little time off, we will be ready to begin our mission mentoring and advising the Afghan National Army.

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