Tales from the Inside: Week 0/1

For those that don’t know I am currently attending the Air Force Total Force Officer Training course on my way to becoming a Second Lieutenant. This was originally an email sent to a handfull of people who I felt might be intereted in my activities.  Why is this such a big deal you ask? Well asside from the obvious, and baring any catastrophic dismemberments, it will mark the culmination of a journey I began 17 years ago when I first arrieved at WPI.

So without any further delay I present for your reading enjoyment Tales From the Inside: The Jounrey’s End

15 January – 26 January

We have officially come to the end of our first week of training marking our second week here. Last week was all inprocessing and drill stuff. So just getting used to being here, and giving the non-priors a taste of the military. Far cry from basic where the intensity started before you even got off the bus. Though I guess basic and OTS have two different purposes. Still though, it’s been a little unsettling that I haven’t been getting yelled at constantly for a week straight. It was particularly unsetteling when we were pretty much left alone for the first weekend, which also happened to be a long weekend.

So what’s happened thus far?

I arrived the morning of Tuesday the 15th. We processed through, had a lovely MRE for lunch, went to the BX for anything we didn’t/weren’t able to bring, came back and began setting up or dorms. Later we went out for some drill instruction, had another lovely MRE for dinner, more dorm set-up, and that was the end of the day. The next couple days weren’t all that different, though we did get to start using the DFAC. The oddest part was having a three day weekend. Granted we weren’t really allowed to go anywhere, but we were left on our own for three days. Very unsettling.

I’ve gotten used to life here a lot quicker than I did at basic. Though I attribute most of that to having gone through basic in the first place. It probably helps that I have my computer and internet/email access. Lights out is at 2200 every night (though we can go to bed earlier if there are no more scheduled activities) and lights on is 0430. It’s actually been working well for me. Some of the non-priors seemed a little stressed out after zero week. A lot of the ‘what have I gotten myself into’ looks. A fantastic prelude to this past Tuesday morning.

This past Tuesday, the 22nd, we had what was called the ‘Blue Line Ceremony’. At 0500 we all marched out onto the parade ground, where the commander said a few words and then a blue line lit up across the field. We were told that if we wanted to commit to the training to cross the blue line. Immediately after everyone had (through there is rumor one or two did not) the yelling began. Personally I saw it coming a mile and a half away. Though I was thourghly impressed that the instructors seemed to appear as if from nowhere.

Tuesday also started the classroom portion of training. Standard lectures on leadership and problem solving. That’s the main focus of the course, so that’ll be the main focus of the lessons. There will also be some heritage and history thrown in there. Overall though it seems that most of the actual leadership development will come after the academics, when we’re out in the field.

The two big events of the week were the PT test and the Pennant Test. I was a bit nervous going into the PT test. The major difference between here and basic is that people do get sent home, and the vast majority of the time it’s for PT. This first one was just a baseline, so that wasn’t really on the table (unless someone failed so bad that they were hopeless) but I still wanted to do well. Which I did. I passed easily, so hopefully that means I’ll pass even easier when we take the final in week 6 or whenever.

The Pennant Test is a test of a flights ability to march itself. Unlike basic, after a while we are allowed to march ourselves around and the instructors and MTIs aren’t outside as much anymore. The test was on Friday, and we all felt pretty good about it. We’ll find out tomorrow whether or not we actually passed.

That’s pretty much what’s been going on these past two weeks. We have a paper due tonight, our first test is on Thursday, and there’s some kind of field exercise on Wednesday. I’ll let you all know how that goes.

Author: Jonathan Rodriguez-Lucas

I've traveled the world, but the exploration never ends. I've run marathons, but the race is far from over. I've completed life goals, but strive for more. I have questions with no answers, and answers to questions I've yet to ask.

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