Where's Miko? Post to the comment section if you figure out which one is yours truly.
Friday morning I, along with 34 other Marine reserve warrant officers, graduated from our two week Reserve Warrant Officer Basic Course. My butt is officially kicked as a result of the two most intense weeks of training since boot camp on Parris Island in 1975.
Regular Marine warrant officers undergo a three month course, and all second lieutenants endure a 6 month indoctrination in all things lean and green. My hat is off to them. The training takes place at The Basic School (yes, that's its offical name) aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico's Camp Barrett.
TBS is also the primary incubation site for all major species of ticks and chiggers known to mankind, and during the summer months becomes the US military's Indian subcontinent experimental simulation laboratory. Between the removal of blood by various parasites and the loss of many gallons exercise induced sweat I've lost about 20 pounds. We had as neighbors in the barracks a company of British Royal Marines who trek here annually to train in the challenging heat and humidity of the oak and hickory forests of Virginia.
As I said, our course was only two weeks. Due to monetary constraints, reserve WOs can only attend TBS during their two week summer AT (active-duty for training). The result, only the most demanding parts of the 3 month course are focused on. Think of a fire hose being placed in your mouth and then turned on full throttle....that was our two weeks.
Our course of training focused on a core set of essential field leadership skills. We learned and put into practice operational order writing with the attendent practical patrol leading exercises through the wilds of Quantico. "Call for fire" and "land navigation" were taught with hands-on and written tests. Hand grenades were thrown and very dangerous live fire "SAW rushes" conducted. SAW (squad automatic weapon) rushes were a literal rush. A dozen of us would get in a prone position on line, squeeze off rounds, get up, dash 10 meters, drop, squeeze off live rounds again, get up, dash again....you get the picture. And all the while trying to stay conscious of the Marines to the right and left, and staying out of their avenues of fire...fun with a capital F. Boodowdow baby! Our days started with "combat hardening" PT sessions commencing at 0530 and ended, after studying for next-day exams and performing gear preparation, about midnight.
That's me in the left foreground with the big stupid cammied face grin. The terrain model was created by my fire team.
How did I do....I'm proud to say this old devildog kicked butt and took names. I scored a first class on the physical fitness test and was the class honor graduate for academics. OORAH! You can teach an old dog new tricks. More than that, this training has blessed me with deeper understanding of many of the events and evolutions I've seen and participated in out in the field. It also has granted me a basic skill set that in a pinch will allow me to confidently call in fire support, and/or lead Marines hopefully out of a tight spot or two.