Monday, March 22, 2010

which one is the dummy?

This past week can best be summed up by saying that days were long, but the week went by quick.

The first half of the week was spent learning about several of the different communication radios in the Army inventory. Any idiot can figure out how to push a button, and talk into a microphone, the challenge was learning how to program the radios to be able to actually talk to some else. In order to provide secure communications Army radios have the capability to jump between several different frequencies each second, which is actually quite amazing. From my aviation background I have worked with variations of some of the radios, plus I have had more hands on time than some of the other guys. So most of the training was not that difficult for me.

The second half of the week was spent going through Combat Life-saver Training, basically first aid training. Once again, not that tough as far as Army training goes. The Army's basic philosophy is that if your buddy is wounded in combat and the bad guy is still shooting at you, then shoot back first. Once you can get your buddy to a safe area, before buddy first aid, get them stabilized and call in help to get them to a field medical hospital. In order to control severe bleeding the use of a Tourniquet was really pushed. It was surprising to learn that a TQ can be left on the arm or leg for between four to six hours without causing major damage. The patient most likely will require some surgery, but they probably should retain use of the appendage. I can recall from my Boy Scout days first aid training that putting a TQ on that limb was as good as gone, and should only be used as a last resort. It is amazing how medical technology has advanced.

In the evenings this week, we continued with our training on 'Dari', the predominate language spoken in our region of Afghanistan. Saturday morning, I got to attempt to try and put some of my language training to use. I was involved with what our trainers call a 'Leader's Engagement' in which I had to work with an interpretor and speak with a fictional Afghan leader. It was a great learning experience, however I dinged by the evaluator that he felt I should have used some more Dari conversational greetings that we have learned thus far. Learning Dari is so foreign, it is tough to pick up. I've learned a few conversational phrases in German, Spanish, and French and felt those came relatively easy simply because those words are often heard throughout our culture. Other than the clip of a 'crazed terrorist' in a movie, I can not ever remember hearing Dari words or phrases in my normal life.

One thing that is starting to concern me is my frustration with meals provided at the local Dining Facility. I can not ever remember ever really having any major complaints about Army food, that it is gross, disgusting, or makes me sick. None of those are the issue here, just I am already finding that the menu selections provided are not that exciting. Too often I am walking straight for the short order line, skipping the main line supposedly healthier selections, and ordering a hamburger or a slice of pizza. One of my goals is to try and eat healthier, and hopefully shed a few pounds during this deployment. I just can't bring myself to eat chicken (which is offered in some variety in almost every meal) or some version of a casserole everyday.

This week I get to look forward to going through up armored driver's training. Basically the up armored vehicles are heavier than a regular vehicle, which means they take longer to accelerate and longer to stop. Some how the Army will figure out a way in which to make it a three day class, for something that could be familiarized in a half a day. Alas though that is part of the fun of being in the Army.

I look forward to reading comments from any who might actually be reading my writings. I'm hoping to improve on my writing, and writing style over the next year. Any thoughts, questions, or feedback is appreciated.

Till next time, have a great week.


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