Sunday, September 06, 2009

Work Ups























The whole pre-mobilization thing is kind of an interesting experience. We are now on active duty on state orders preparing to depart to our MOB station. This is somewhat new to me as for my last deployment we were only on state orders for a couple of days. Since then Arizona has developed a pre-mob team whose job it is to provide the training required by 1st Army for deploying troops. In theory this means that we won't have to do these particular briefings and tasks at Ft Sill, but frankly I'll believe that when I see it. That being said I have very little in the way of criticism for the training team. They're currently working Aviation, Military Police, Engineering and Administrative units all of which have their own specific requirements. They've clearly worked to provide us training in areas useful to our mission while acknowledging that some of the required tasks have little application for us. The training actually started the weekend before our activation with a three day "Combat Life Saver" course. This is an advanced first aid course that I had before the last deployment, but was happy to get again. (It requires annual certification to remain current.) The course has been adjusted continuously as dictated by the current situation and covers initial first aid, assessing and stabilizing the injured soldier up to and including starting an IV. The last time I took this course there was more emphasis on chemical agent treatment since that was a current threat at the time. While it made for a long weekend, it was a good class and well presented. The following Saturday we began our active duty with a day of last minute finance briefings, administrative processing and generally practiced standing in line. Complain as I do about the admin stuff (see my last post) it was actually pretty painless. That Sunday we began three days of classroom briefings and training. Twelve hour days of briefings causes more fatigue than you would expect. Still, we were in nice, air conditioned facilities... Thursday morning at 4:30 found us at our facility drawing our personal weapons and protective masks for a few days of field training and qualifications. Thursday and Friday morning was spent at the Florence Military Reservation near Phoenix qualifying with the M9 pistol, zeroing the M4 carbine, familiarization training for the M-2, M-240 and M-249 machine guns and several training lanes covering employment of grenades, Claymore mines, individual movement and IED recognition and response. Friday afternoon we moved up to the Flagstaff area for M-4 qualification (day, night and with gas masks). There were also classes on the Chemical Protective suits and a class on combatives, however our command decided that air crew would skip that due to the possibility of injury. Our aviation medical staff take their jobs very seriously and we've had people taken off flight status for seemingly minor injuries and conditions. For those not familiar with military jargon combatives is what used to be called hand to hand combat and consists of beating the daylights out of each other. It's a good workout, fun, and I usually recover in a week or so, but as much as I enjoy it I can understand the commands position on the subject.
Hat tip to FuzzyBear Lioness for the timely YouTube pointer...

An aside to all the weapons qual is that someone somewhere has decided that the crew chief and gunner in a UH 60 must be under gunned with only a .30 caliber machine gun and a 9mm pistol, and that we needed an M-4 for protection. Right. So now I carry get to carry 36 pound of weapons, plus ammo, plus all my other gear in the event of a forced landing. I guess they want us to stay put...

3 comments:

Homefront Six said...

You mean you can't hump all of that? C'mon now! I'm kidding. That's a lot of gear to schlep around. Sheesh! Looking good though!

MissBirdlegs in AL said...

Missing you at Lex's place & here. Hope all is well.

Pogue said...

Thanks! We're at our mob station now and I haven't had net access except for my phone until yesterday. Things are going well, and I hope to get an update up in the next couple days.