Sunday, July 30, 2006

Training.....Completed

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.

26 comments:

MissBirdlegs in AL said...

Wow! Congratulations! Good for you! Have missed your posts, but am delighted at your success. Do we call you "skinny" now?

Carol said...

Mr. Fay,

You were missed! Gotta say that cammo makes you look kinda sexy too - LOL! So glad to hear your training was successful - I know this is a significant milestone for you. Best Wishes and glad to see you back among the "living" again. Am always so honored to read your posts.

Cheers,
Carol

Collette said...

Congratulations on your achievement, Mr. Fay. Hard work paid off in a big way for you.

Anonymous said...

Big toothy grin, second on the right, next to the last row.

V. Schroeder said...

Congrats!!!!

Bag Blog said...

Heat, chiggars, ticks - after living in OK, I am sure that was just a walk in the park for you. We have known for a long time that you can draw and paint. Now we know you are in great physical shape and you are academically intelligent, but can you dance?

Congratulations and it is good to have you back blogging.

AnonymousOpinion said...

Welcome back WO!

mdfay said...

Anonymous, sorry, that's not me.
Bag Blog, sorry, I can't dance.

Kristopher Battles said...

Congratulations!

I hope you will let me PT with you so I can get my rear in better shape, too!

I'll see you, soon, sir.

In the photo, are you third from the left on the front row?

mdfay said...

Sergeant Battles wins the stuffed animal...third from the left on the front row it is.

Kristopher Battles said...

It's from being a portraitist--

Facial recognition is one benefit.
Besides, your prominent Puller-like jaw is recognizable almost anywhere!

Rob W said...

Congrats. You seem to have covered the physical and mental completely.

Flag Gazer said...

Mike!
Good to see your are back - better to see that you did so well!! Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Okay, I was incorret, but have you ever noticed how you favor Teddy Roosevelt?

http://edbatista.typepad.com/edbatista/images/2006/01/Teddy_Roosevelt.JPG

mdfay said...

Chesty Puller? Teddy Rossevelt? Yikes...I used to be told I looked like either Eric Estrada from the TV series CHIPS, or the daytime soap opera character Beau Brady of the Beau and Hope coupling (when I had a beard). I really appreciate all of you stopping by.

Anonymous said...

Oh Mike! I didn't mean to offend with the Teddy comment. I've always found TR to be one of the sexiest men of all time. I fell in love with him during my second semester of college history. Always thought I was born too late because I would have given Alice a run for her money.

Won't be browsing for a while, going south for the next few years I hope you're still around when I emerge from the pole.

Shawn Lee said...

Congratulations Mr. Fay!

Enjoy your posts, and am glad to see hard work pay off.

Beth* A. said...

Mike Fay you look leaner and stronger and happier than ever!

Major Congrats on how well you did in the W0 course! Do you get to breathe for a bit now, or are you off to fight dragons somewhere as an encore?

WOOt!, WO1 Mike D. Fay! Just, WOOt!

Buck Pennington said...

Congrats Mr. Fay, and it's good to see ya back in the 'sphere!

And...apropos of nothing...Basic in 1975? That's not a typo? I'm even MORE impressed!

mdfay said...

Anonymous, I'm not offended by the TR comparison.
Buck, yes, I went to boot camp the summer and fall of 1975 at the ripe old age of 22.

Laurie said...

Welcome back! Your faithful readers had no doubt of your success.

Anonymous said...

Good job dude...Bass

Lil Toni said...

Congrats, Sugah!!!
I wuz wonderin' where you went.

Lily said...

Congratulations -- that's PDC -- pretty darn cool!

GunnNutt said...

I'll add my very late congratulations! And thanks for continuing to blog as well :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations WO Fay!! I love your comment about old dogs and news tricks - I too have hope!!

Let me say how much I appreciate the insights your blog brings to an enthusiastic audience. I understand why you took the academic honors - it shows on the blog too!!