Three weeks to go...
The cycle is winding down, we have a week of CI ranges, Victory Forge, and then a final week of Pre-Graduation rehearsals and stuff before Family Day and Graduation. The cycle has been really hectic and even more time consuming than usual being in Echo Company, but the soldiers are doing well and I have to say that with few exceptions, I'm pretty satisfied with the way my platoon is performing.
If we have a weak point, it is our run times. I have a few Privates who will struggle to pass the APFT. I think just about everybody will make it eventually, but it is the worst I've seen in a long time, if no ever. We are doing the new standardized PT program, and since I don't have anything nice to say about it, I won't say anything at all. In addition to the things which must not be said, our training schedule knocked a few run days out of an already lean PT program, so the scores just aren't where they should be. Overall, I have to take full responsibility though. Due to the diabolical SC heat, I haven't been pushing remedial running PT in the afternoons as often as I should. There is a fine balance to be found between taking care of soldiers (as in not killing any from heat stroke) and pushing them to, but not past, their physical limits. With the worst of the summer over though (by then), next cycle should be much better.
PVT P. got a chance to shoot a live AT4 yesterday and (of course) scored a direct hit. That Private has not let me down yet. She shot expert, has perfect discipline, leads the platoon (and almost the company) in PT score, does far more pushups and situps than most of the males, will most likely be the Platoon Guide during VF (She still would be but I had to fire her just so I could rotate someone else in... she was apparently never going to give me a real reason) and if she would just hurry up and max out her run she would jump up to about a 355 on the extended scale for the APFT.
While PVT P. is leading the way, I have several, at least 5 or 6, who are right behind her. Most of them are split options, still in high school, and 17 years old. By definition, most if not all split-ops are in the reserve or national guard. Many of them will go active when they graduate from High school. I only have about 10% of my platoon who are active duty. Probably around 40 of them are 17 years old. Relatively speaking, for a group as young as this, I haven't had the discipline problems that I expected when we began. Some of them are immature, but I have enough natural leaders in the group that it balances them out and tends to keep them in line somewhat.
We shoot Anzio Range on Monday. It's a defensive live-fire range and a good one for the soldiers. It is kind of a smoker for the Drill Sergeants though, and then we bivouac that night before going to the Hand Grenade range the next day. One interesting thing about this night in the woods will be that we are finally getting away from the shelter half piece. In ten years in the army, I have only used shelter halves once. I've never understood why we spend so much time in basic training doing something they will never do again, and I guess someone up the food chain finally wondered the same thing. So now the soldiers will start getting better training in fieldcraft, starting with using actual poncho "hooches".
There's not much point to this whole post except that I'm getting out of the habit of writing and I need to keep putting something out there so I don't get distracted completely.
Now though, I'm off to Lowes to figure out how we are going to remodel our kitchen. We have an ancient Jenn Air stove in our kitchen that finally stopped working a few nights ago. Since I want to replace it anyway, we are thinking about doing all the cabinets, countertops etc... so that'll be fun. ( <---- sarcasm)