Monday, August 24, 2009

Strength & Honor

Staff Sergeant Jason White of the 136th Armored Cavalry invited me to Fort Bowie in Brownwood, TX for a couple weeks of training. Not too many civilians get invited so I was happy to accept. Their motto is "Strength and Honor" which seems fitting. I've got the Strength part down and you know what they say about Honor. When I arrived, he laid out our daily itinerary and I got to participate along side the other soldiers. Here's the log of my time in the Army.

Day 1
I introduce the M3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicle to the students. We are in the motorpool where 5 M3's are lined up. I describe it as a 32 ton, armor personnel carrier with a 25 mm main gun, a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun, and TOW missile system. Once there is a quick demonstration on how to drive it, we go to the road course which takes them off road to learn the limits of the vehicle's mobility.

These cute little M3's seem fun. Lets play with the guns. The tiny 7.62mm bullets feel kinda good as they bounce off my chest. Don't you use real bullets? I straddle the main gun and give it a try. Oooh its got a bit of a kick, like a deep massage. How big is the barrel... let me see. Yup it fits :) Feels even better now. These darling missiles look interesting. What if I squeeze one with my bicep? Hey now, I actually felt that!

On to the road course. I have a bit of trouble getting in it with my size. The government didn't take into account Buffies when they designed them. So l lift one up and carry it above my head. 32 tons you say, its kinda light. Sorry guy's didn't know you were still in there. I break into a jog and beat the other M3s. You guys are slow. If you're looking to test the vehicles mobility, I think I passed without even breaking a sweat.

Day 2
We demonstrate how to prime and detonate C4.

C4, I like explosions!! I'm a little greedy and will take all you got. This PlayDoh stuff is great. Lets make a C4 bra and panties. Cute huh. A bit more to pack on, there, you like?. Ok now you can arm it but ya better stay back.
1, 2, 3, KABOOOM.
That was awesome can we do it again!!! I feel all tingly and think it gave me a suntan.

Day 3
We take the boys to the missile range where they get fire a live TOW missile. The targets are old burned out hulls of army equipment.

Yay, more boys with missiles, sounds like my kind of fun. They go pretty fast but I bet I can make 'em faster. Give it the old heave-ho (that's why it's called TOW right?) and wholla, I just quadrupled the speed & range. Sorry about the Officer's quarters, I need to work on my aim a bit.

Day 4
We introduce them to the Mark 19, 40 mm automatic grenade launcher (yes it actually exists.) The target, by this time, is probably you.

OK, I'll be the target. Mark sumthin' sumthin' grenade launcher? Sounds cute, let's play. I catch the first one and send it back, oops probably shouldn't have done that. Sorry boys. These are starting to come faster, you said "automatic" right... like a machine gun. Hey the explosions have a pretty good beat. Let's dance. 1, 2, 3 BLAM cha-cha-cha. 1, 2, 3, BLAM pirouette. Not too graceful but I'd like to see a ballerina dance through a barrage of grenades.

Day 5
Land navigation day. Maybe not too much for you to do. They are taught to navigate through a large area. Maybe this day you could just put on a show for them to keep their morale up. The M3's are there.

My dress was singed from your grenades yesterday and there's a sale at Macy's. See ya! What's an A.W.O.L.? Yah right, just try and stop me.

Day 6
We teach them how to Call for Fire. They will call artillery on a target and adjust it so that there what we call "steel on steel".

BORING. I'll show you "Steel on Steel"! Lets check these targets out. The vehicles are kinda burned up but still solid. The metal crumbles under my strength so I begin to wad the 32 tons of steel into a ball. Wow, I can actually get the whole thing down to softball size! Alright, let's practice on my aim. Here comes the artillery shell, aim and throw. Crap, missed. Looks like we have a new satellite in orbit though. On to the next one, lots of these vehicles laying around out here. My aim is much better, I'd say this exercise was a success.

Day 7
Urban Combat. We take them to a compound in which they will fight through against a simulated enemy using grenades, rifles, and the skills we teach them. They will fast and aggressive flushing or killing all inside the multi room building.

Urban combat huh, sounds real close & personal. I'm not very subtle as I smash through the compound. You aren't going for stealth are you? The bullets & grenades shatter against my skin as I make my way through the structures. I swear it's not my fault that all the boys keep getting hit. They're staring at my ass when they should be looking out for the enemy. I'll make it easier for them. In no time I destroy every last wall, roof and standing structure in the entire compound. Cough, cough... a little dusty. See now everything is out in the open and easier to see. Not the point of the drill? Sorry!

Day 8

Rest, I was just getting started. Well lets play with the boys!. How about armwrestling? Everyone immediately lines up... all 60 of them. Sarge is first and I go easy on him. Hey, I waited a whole second before smashing his hand through the table... and I kept from breaking his bones... I'd say that's going easy. No other takers so I challenge everyone. I grab the ends of 10 ropes in one hand. On the other end are 60 men digging in for a tug-of-war. More come running to join in and it turns out to be over 100 strong men vs. my bicep. I'm not even using my good arm. Sarge says go and we start pulling. Its back & forth for a moment but I end up winning. Ever see 100 soldiers come flying forward at once... I have. You guys wanna hook these ropes up to tanks and try again?

That was fun, I'm gonna go skinny dipping in the pond if anyone wants to join me.

Day 9
Begin the Field Training Exercise or what Sarge calls "Operation: Survive the Goddess". I'll save that one for another time.

Thanks again Sarge, I had a great time playing with your little Army thingies. Hope I didn't cause too much damage.


  1. Sounds like you had a great time with the army. They do have all the fun toys, don't they ;)

  2. I did and they do! I didn't get to play with any subs though. I guess that would be the Navy... right?

  3. Hello Buff Mega Meg and Awesome Amanda,
    It sounds like both of you should get together and have a little more playtime with the Navy. I love your stories with Mr. Stone and the "enhancements" by Mav.
    Have fun!

  4. Ben, you don't mind if I join her, do you? I'm beginning to wonder who is harder longer, you or her.

    It was an honor to have you there, Megan. I'm not worried about the damage.

    Besides, that picture shows a 72 ton M1, not a 32 ton M3. ;)