Week five started off with another long weekend. That’s probably been the most disconcerting part of training here: we get weekends and holidays ‘off’. We’re still here, we’re not allowed to really go anywhere, but no one is making us do anything. So Monday was a day off. Can’t say I did much, which was nice.
Tuesday morning we had the Commanders Challenge which consisted of a formation run around the base and various exercises at various points. It culminated in being awarded our “Prop and Wings.” It was somewhere around a seven mile run around the base. I have enjoyed the fact that we’ve done a lot more formation runs and longer runs here than we did in basic. But the big problem with formation runs is that you’re generally going at the slowest persons pace, and while I may not be the worlds fastest runner, that’s still a little slow for me. My knees are only just now feeling better.
The rest of the day was just academic briefings. The actual testable material is over, so a lot of what we have left as far as briefings go is more life in the Air Force information. On one hand, it seems like it would make more sense to make this testable rather than some of the other things, at the same time, if they’re not going to test us on it, I’m not going to complain. Our last testable academic item is the briefing on our last paper. I’m not worried about it.
Wednesday was actually really interesting. We had two two hour long panels. The first in the morning was with a group of First Sergeants who talked to us and took questions about what it is a first sergeant does and how they can help new butter bars. In the afternoon we had some Chiefs come in and do the same thing. Both were interesting and the entire class seemed to get a lot out of it. We also got a reminder of how small the Air Force is: one of the trainees here was close with one of the chiefs.
Thursday was pretty much just us doing our final briefings. Mine went just fine. In the afternoon we helped our instructor set up the EMLEX (Emergency Management Leadership Exercise) we were doing on Friday. It’s an emergency management exercise to simulate a disaster response. It’s more the kind of thing we do in the guard, but they do it here to give everyone else a little taste of it and to remind them that just because you’re active doesn’t mean that you won’t have to respond to a natural disaster in your area.
As far as EMLEX goes, it was a disaster. Our entire flight were role players, so we were pretending to be the people of Colmen, Alabama whose town had just been leveled by a tornado so we were spared a lot of the chaos. Well, I guess spared isn’t quite the right word. In fact we were causing most of the chaos. So it was a lot of fun for us, but not so much fun for everyone else on the other side who were getting frustrated that things were not going to plan…not that they really had a plan. Ultimately though the exercise showed the importance of communication. The fact that none of the different groups were communicating meant that we could turn their obvious lack of coordination against them.
Saturday afternoon we went back to the Mercy House to finish building the fence we’d started on. Though when we got there we discovered the fence had been more or less completed. There was, however, other work that had to be done:
They want to build a new pavilion so we help but up the posts that will hold up the roof. We didn’t get them all cemented in, but we got all the holes dug and the 6x6sin the holes, so the guys there who are working will be able to do most of the rest themselves. There’s only about two or three guys who work their regularly building, so hoisting those 25′ 6×6 beams would have been exceedingly difficult.
And that pretty much ends week five. Stay tuned next week for our final PT test!