Thursday, October 29, 2009

Crucible Journal (part 4)

The following is a portion of a journal a recruit kept while at bootcamp on Parris Island as he embarked on the Crucible and became a United States Marine.

THURSDAY - Parris Island Boot Camp - CRUCIBLE continued

Dear Journal,

One of the Warrior Station obstacles is built around an enemy-mined rope bridge called the "Two Line Bridge." It is just two very long ropes, basically, that wobbles…and impossible to cross when two are on it. So, as a team we determined it was best to cross it one by one. But we are timed…so we had to move quickly. We had to cross with all our gear on, carrying those heavy ammunition boxes! When we were finally forging on and were well on our way, we lost one of the guys.

"If one fails …We all fail."

So, I was the last person on the bridge and I just couldn't leave him there. He was either going to have to start over from the beginning of the rope, or I could help him. So, I let go of the rope with one hand and kept a good strong grip with my other. I extended my hand out towards my fellow Recruit. He grabbed my arm and I pulled with all my might to get his hand back up to the rope. "Lord, I can't pull any harder. I know I'm going to drop him. Please give me strength." And, just when I thought the rest of the team had moved on ahead of us….through my clinched eyes I heard rounds of "Come on Man!… You've got him!… Pull- Pull!… You're almost there!" My team had come back to encourage me! And then…somehow…he was safely holding on to the rope. Everyone was shoulder bumping me after. It felt like this was real-life! Like I really did save someone…Wait! I really did!! My Crucible Leader said, "You did, you saved a Recruit from failing this. Well done!" I tell you NOTHING feels like this. No matter what you do to make yourself happy, new cars, watching a game, hunting… none of what you do for yourself compares to the feeling of helping another human being! NOTHING! Maybe, I CAN do this after all! I WANT to do this!! Man, I know Mom and Dad would be so proud of me! I wonder what they are doing right now?

At another Station called Cpl. Day's Defense, we had to run into firing positions and engage pop-up targets in and around a building with 10-rounds in two magazines. We only had about a minute to fire. That was cool! If I wasn't so tired, I would have wanted to stay there all day! Afterwards, we humped back to the huts and chilled until 2100. At 2100 we stepped out for a re-supply hump. Each squad had to carry 2 large ammo cans and 4 small ammo cans …again filled with concrete for 2.5 miles! I could not believe this! After all we had done today they "told" us that our huts had been stripped so we had to re-supply. That was the last obstacle for the day. So we humped back to the supply station. We are getting grouchy now and short with each other. It was so dark and we couldn't see 2 feet in front of us. The DI's said the last 2 companies did this run in 2.25 and 2.3 hours. I don't know our time yet, but I know we did it in better than 2.0 hours!

I guess you are wondering how I am doing with my 2.5 MRE's! Well, we are responsible for rationing them out ourselves. So, today I ate 2 of my 3 cracker packages with peanut butter and grape jelly. I also ate my peanuts, pound cake, and beverage powder. The beverage powder is like PowerAde. We just had to pour it in our mouth and swish it around inside our mouth with some water. We couldn't put anything into our canteens but water. We also have 2 coffee packets…same deal…pour in mouth…swish with canteen water. My plan was to eat as light as possible today, saving the most of the MRE's for tomorrow. I just made sure I hydrated a lot.

When we got back, we had to sit and wait for 0000 (midnight) to come around… before they would let us go to sleep! I held my eyes open somehow, but inside I was already sleeping.

More tomorrow…"

1 comment:

Lori said...

WOW! That is powerful stuff!