Thanks for checking in!

I started this blog to keep in touch with my family and friends during my time attending Commissioned Officer Training (COT) and the Judge Advocate Staff Officer Course (JASOC) at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. Now I'm done with training and back in the "real" world, but I'll keep updating this blog with any interesting developments from my JAG career.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Day 2: Welcome to the Military

Today was a whole lot more of administrative red tape with a heavy dose of in-your-face instruction on the courtesies we are required to extend to the training staff and any other higher-ranking officers.  We have to salute (if outside), give the greeting of the day (“good morning” from 0000 to 1159, “good afternoon” from 1200 to 1659, and “good evening” from 1700 to 2359), and start every sentence with “sir” or “ma’am” unless we are either (a) answering a yes-or-no question, or (b) closing a conversation with them by asking “will that be all, sir/ma’am?”  I’ve said “sir” and “ma’am” more times in two days than in my entire life before arriving at Maxwell.
The most interesting thing to report about today was that the entire base was conducting a security exercise that tested the base’s ability to respond to a threat like the U.S. Army Major who killed 12 people and wounded 30 others in a November 2009 shooting spree at Fort Hood.  The exercise had nothing to do with our training, but we happened to be in the middle of a urine sample collection (for drug testing) when the entire base went on lockdown mode.  All 130+ COT trainees were in a small conference room, taking turns going to the restroom with enlisted personnel who would watch us “give” the sample.  About twenty-five trainees (me included), had been unable to do the deed the first time around (must have been stage fright), so we had spent about 30-45 minutes “hydrating”—aka, consuming the entire contents of our camelbaks (which we are required to wear everywhere until instructed otherwise), then refilling them with more water and drinking that as well.
I finally got the job done.  But there were still about twenty people in line to give samples when a security officer for the base came in and put the room on lockdown, meaning nobody could leave the room—including the go to the restroom.  I felt horrible for them.  After about twenty minutes one of them screwed up the courage to ask to be let out of the room.  The security officer told her she couldn’t.  He then got behind the podium and said I understand that some of you need to use the restroom.  I’m sorry, but you can’t.  We’re on lockdown and nobody leaves this room until the exercise is over.  You need to hold it.  Welcome to the military.  Oh, it was excruciating watching those poor people hold it for almost an hour!  Thankfully, everyone made it through with their dignity intact.
Welcome to the military.  No bathroom breaks for you.

I also got my uniforms today.  Tomorrow is our first day in the Airman Battle Uniform (ABU).  I’ll try to get a photo to post soon.  Still no PT (physical training) on the schedule, which is disappointing.  I'm starting to think I may end up gaining weight here.

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