I'm sort of glad I didn't update this journal while I was spending time in Rear-detachment (while the rest of my unit was training). It would have been an uneventful post with a complaining tone because of the seeming lack of urgency in processing us new guys. Well we eventually got issued our rucksacks and gear and joined the rest of the unit down in Fort Polk on the 17th. Sarah was in Texas from the 13th until the 17th, so our time together was cut short a few hours by my departure, but it was a great visit nonetheless. We went to the 1st Cavalry Division museum on-post and watched all three Jurassic Park movies.
Upon arriving in Lousiana, I did a bit more in-processing and finally moved into the CHU (combat housing unit) with the rest of my platoon and squad. I arrived just in time to join the sustained force-on-force part of the training cycle. That means that there are actors and insurgents living in "villages" around the base 24 hours a day and we must maintain securtity and mission cycles as if we were in-country (wearing our laser-tag gear at all times). Our mission mostly consisted of route clearance, driving slowly in convoys looking for IEDs. I spent all of my time with my squad leader riding in the Buffalo. One night, however, the forward operating base we were living on was attacked by insurgents and we had to sweap back through the base to establish security. It was pretty exciting, since the alarm went off after everyone had gone to bed and everyone was scrambling with weapons and ammo. 2 F-15s did some close flyovers to drop flares and illuminate the night. After securing the front gate, my job was the personal security of Captain Stevens. Amusingly, our senior enlisted in the company is First Sergeant Rogers. I'm sure some of you got that without the hyperlinks. Another awesome name belongs to the training master in charge of critiquing our mission preparation and execution. His name, no lie, was Captain Blizzard and he totally lived up to the title.
All of this training was to simulate living and working in Iraq, for which we should be deploying in May. I'll have more to post later (and can answer any questions you might have), including a bunch of beer reviews from the past month.