There and Back Again

I got back from ROTC camp a week ago. It was fun, but I actually had a harder time being away from home than usual. I didn’t count on my daughter and wife pulling at my heart strings from thousands of miles away.

For training we did a lot of the same tasks as basic training (like marskmanship, first aid, gas chamber, etc. ), but everything is managed by the cadets. We also do ten days in the field, but that is in groups of 24 people instead of 200. It seemed like less could go wrong, even though a lot still did. One group of leaders made everybody stay on perimeter security for hours and four people pissed themselves. As a leader, you are given just enough rope to hang yourself with.

The camp is an interesting concept. Sort of an Army version of “Survivor.” Cadets are in a cut-throat competition to come out on top. The group learns to be wary of “Spotlight Rangers” (those who put on a show), and “Sharpshooters” (those that make themselves look better by making others look worse). In the end, the group prevails and individuals have a hard time. It was a good experience, but I’m glad it’s over. What makes it difficult is always being watched and evaluated, I think. I couldn’t really put my finger on it.

 Some platoons try to screw each other over, but, my platoon was pretty tight as a group. We really tried to make it as enjoyable as possible. We had our own Fourth Platoon Idol, which I believe I won with my rendition of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “A British Tar.”

The Song was inspired by these visiting British Cadets. They were a lot of fun.


My squad was especially really good friends. When you are married, you get to know one person intimately. Imagine being married to a group of twelve and everywhere you went, they went. I think I’ll be friends with these guys for a long time.


4 Responses to “There and Back Again”

  1. Ben-Again Says:

    One last thought:

    Blaine had written, ” When my unit did the training up in Fort Lewis a couple of three years ago, they had to be restrained from just killing every one of the cadets all of the time.”

    I have to say, believe me I know these kind of people. The “Oposing Force” often had missed the point entirely. First, they thought that the point of our field training was to train us in tactics. It is actually to evaluate leadership and see how the leader reacts to difficult situations.

    Second, OPFOR usually won’t recognize the fact that working on the same lane twelve hours a day for three months gives them a decided tactical advantage.

    Third, OPFOR often begin thinking they are Neo and can dodge bullets. A guy can be strolling through the kill zone on an ambush while a claymore, an AT-4, and twelve M-16s are trained on him and somehow come out unscathed. Good OPFOR should die sometimes.

    Blaine, what you heard from your unit is a bunch of Machismo bullshit. The guys that talk big didn’t really do their job right. Giving realistic training to the cadets should have been the priority, rather than “killing every one of the cadets all of the time.” The guys in your unit had to be restrained from destroying the training value of the lane.

    That’s all I had to say about that.

  2. Cornelius Says:

    I hope you’re not too upset at me about what I said. It wasn’t fair. I wasn’t there. I’m sorry. All I can do is repeat what was told me. You’re right, most of the stories I heard were some variation of straight-up “owning” the cadets. Telling a guy he’s dead doesn’t do much. The ones that I heard that were the worst were when someone makes a newby mistake like not letting their guys rotate to go pee. (There’s also the occasional guy, or several guys sometimes, on both sides that thinks putting batteries in their MILES gear is a waste of time.) I hope that the people who made those mistakes learned from them and only did it once. I’m sure your platoon did nothing of the sort. I’m glad you had a good time and I hope you don’t have a chip on your shoulder.

  3. Ben Says:

    No, I ain’t mad at you, baby. It’s this pent-up aggression from dealing with the Fort Lewis OPFOR. Arguing with them was not only fruitless but forbidden. I was just unloading my rage and you happened to be the recipient.

    So how are things with you?

  4. Cornelius Says:

    I figured something like that was going on. I’ve dealt with OPFOR before. Even if your best friend was the OPFOR, you’d think he was a jerk. Things are good. Except for I miss my M-16. Sometimes I feel like Linus when he doesn’t have his blanket. I’m going to turn in mission papers in the next three weeks or so. I hope. Also, I’m working at Domino’s. And yes, I can get you cheap(or, possibly, free) pizza. You just have to let me know and come get it yourself.

    All in all, things are ok. Not eeverything is going how I’d like, but that’s mostly due to my own inability to do what I should over what I feel like. Same reason I’ve got eight semesters and 32 credits. I do have several friends, the closet in a robot’s appartment, and a low-paying job. I envy no man!

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