Sunday, October 23, 2005

National Guard: Week 1

Well, my first weekend as a citizen-soldier is now complete. For any readers who might be interested, here's a brief recap:

To begin with, I should explain that my training was part of something called the Recruit Sustainment Program (RSP). This is for new and recent enlistees in the Guard who have not yet completed all of their required training. You do not get to join your assigned unit until you complete basic training as well as Advanced Individual Training (AIT). The purpose of RSP training is to prepare you for basic and AIT.

Saturday began with a physical training (PT) session. When you first go to basic training, you have to pass a PT test in order to proceed from the reception area and begin your training. Men are required to do 13 pushups in a minute, 17 situps, and run a mile in 8 and a half minutes. The purpose of yesterday's PT was to see if us first-timers were up to this standard.

In my case, I can happily report that my 38 year old body is indeed ready. I managed to do 26 pushups and 28 situps. The highlight was the mile run, which I did in 6 minutes and 49 seconds, beating out most of my much younger comrades. The rest of the day consisted of classes and practicing drill. I still need some work on my drill techniques, but I have time to get those in order.

Today was paintball day. They took us to a paintball range and had us go at it in the woods. This was a new experience for me, and it was pretty fun. It was also a good training opportunity, teaching some basic principles of tactical maneuver and how to employ cover, lessons I learned the hard way.

Overall, the weekend was a good experience. It was interesting and fun, and I learned a lot. I am the oldest non-NCO there, but I never really felt uncomfortable. I got along quite well with recruits and sergeants alike. I still have two more weekend sessions before I leave for basic and advanced individual training in January. As noted above, I'm not really worried about the physical requirements, as I've busted my read end the last several months getting in shape. It's more the various aspects of learning how to be a soldier that concern me, having to master all the details of an entirely new skill set. I'm confident that I can do it, though, and looking forward to the challenge.


Blogger mdoneil said...

Way to go HL! I have until 46.5 to join the Airforce as a nurse. As soon as I can do a seven minute mile (without my car) I'm signing up.

11:41 PM  
Anonymous B. Hinson said...

Hoouah! As a fellow 38-year-old, I applaud you for your intent and your service (not to mention being in MUCH better shape than I am!) Good luck, and keep your head down!

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When are you off to Iraq, to spread freedom, and stop the terror?

Go Joe!

2:06 PM  
Blogger Ellen said...

Hi! I am graduating with my MLIS next month and I'm thinking of joining the reserves. I live in Oregon and I'm not sure what branch of the reserves to join, or whether to join the National guard. I stumbled upon your blog doing what librarians do - research! I like what you write and I have enjoyed reading about your experiences. What opportunities are there for MLIS grads in the military? My email address is Thank you for any help you can give.

2:06 PM  

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