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.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

JASOC Week 1: It's Not The Heat, It's The Humidity

The first week of JASOC has been brutal, at least in terms of the weather.  I checked the weather report before catching my flight from L.A., so I knew that I was in store for 95 degrees and thunderstorms pretty much every day.  I knew that, but I didn't understand it.  That kind of weather is something you can't understand until you experience it.  When it's 95 degrees in L.A., there's not a cloud in sight.  Here, 95 degrees often looks like this:

Those rainclouds seem to be ever present, and I quickly came to understand what 95 degrees with a chance of rain feels like.  We did a Physical Fitness (PF) baseline test our second day of JASOC.  As you may recall from my COT posts, the Air Force PF Test has four components:  1) your body-mass-index (BMI) measurement; 2) the number of situps you can do in a minute; 3) the number of pushups you can do in a minute; and 4) your time on a 1.5-mile run.  We did our baseline test as a group at 7:00 am.  It was already probably 85 degrees.  We skipped the BMI measurement since it was just a baseline test and doesn't really count, and I skipped the pushups because I had shoulder surgery on June 15 and I'm still recovering.  The situps were fine (I maxed those out).  But the run was absolutely brutal.  Part of it was that I can't really run well while trying to keep the left side of my body as still as possible to protect my bum shoulder, but that was really only a small part.  I got about a lap into the six-lap run and I felt like I was running on a treadmill inside a sauna.  I've never been a smoker but I imagine smoking feels a lot like running in that air.  My final time for the run was over 14 minutes.  By comparison, my last 1.5-mile run during COT, when I scored over a 95 (of 100), was under 11 minutes.

I wasn't the only one in the class who suffered that morning.  As a class, our average score was around 83.  The instructors showed us a graphic a few days after the baseline that compared our scores to those in the last class.  It was pitiful.  The class average for the last class was around 95.  Of course, there are a lot of factors explaining this difference in scores, including the weather (the last class, which ran from mid-February to mid-April, apparently enjoyed great weather), the three-month layoff for a lot of us between COT and JASOC, and the fact that this class is a rarity because almost half of the class is reservists, like me, who tend to be in worse shape than the active-duty folks.  Still, an 83% class average is pretty embarrassing.  I plan on doing a lot of running in addition to rehabbing my shoulder so that I can help bring up the class average before we graduate.

But enough about the glorious failure of our JASOC class when it comes to athletics.  The substance of JASOC for the first week was really interesting.  JASOC is structured in three parts.  The first three weeks are focused on civil law, the next three on military justice, and the last part of the class focuses on operations and international law.  We covered a lot of civil law topics this first week, including wills, private organizations (what authority organizations need to conduct activities on base), ethics and leadership, quality force management (the different tools that commanders can use to manage their subordinates), legal assistance (helping airmen with consumer or family-law issues).  Next week we get to some of the more employment-related topics, such as administrative discharges, that I'm more interested in.  And we'll get to take a trip to Florida to see the operations at Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field, where the Air Force Special Operations Command (i.e., the Air Force special forces) is located. 

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