Saturday, October 28, 2006

Letter dated 10-24-06

Hey family,
Things are still chugging along here. Actually, time goes on, but we're not doing a ton. Its said that in 3rd phase it can get dull, and I guess its true. Right now we/I just finihsed my (what seems like) 100th practice test this week. We do that and clean the house a lot. Its not so stressful, though, so its okay.
We finally got mail last night but only got through 2/3 of it. There were two huge mailbags full of stuff and we didn't have time for both. Hopefully the rest will come tonight. I read all the letters from home I got but I figure some were skipped. Its okay tho. I still love reading whatever I get. I'm gonna read the other letters I got tonight so I won't be writing any letters. So I only have whatever time is left for this test. So it might get cut short anytime.
Swim week started today. I already made 4th class, and I passed 3rd class tonday. 2nd class will be tomorrow I guess, and you can't get 1st class in bootcamp. Today we swam with flakjackets, helmets, a weapon, and a pack. The pack floats, though, so it was a lot easier than you'd think. The hard stuff is tomorrow. I heard we swim 50 yards/meters with no pack, but all the rest. (I forgot to mention the camies and boots too). You only need 4th class to pass bootcamp, but it'd be nice to get 2nd.
Also today we got issued our service uniforms. The dressy ones we wear for graduation. Half the things will be getting tailored or dry cleaned (we don't have to press our clothes anymore) for the next few weeks, but it was cool to see what we'd be getting. They measured us in this machine that used lasers to copy our bodies onto the computer and we got our measurements from that. It was pretty cool, but didn't really save too much time (there being only one.). Then it took the whole morning for us to get all our stuff. Just one of those instances where it feels like we're wasting time here.
But one thing that has given me joy ever since the crucible is chow. Food makes me happy. And its been real good too. Actually, we all know in our brains that its crap, but everyone has been so hungry that it tastes great. Its a big part of our lives here so I just thought I'd share. Anyway, time to go. Keep writing. Love, Jared

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Post-Crucible letter...Finally!

Letter dated 10-22-06
Hey family,
Well crucibles over. I made it. And despite my own serious doubt, I made it up the reaper without falling behind. Which meant I got to eat the warriors breakfast. They basically made up this real good food (flavored stuff) and left us alone for an hour to eat as much as we wanted. They had cake, cinnamon rolls, steaks (sorta), fried rice, and all other normal breakfast foods. They gave us an hour, but we found out that we’ve forgotten how to sit back and enjoy food. It was a little easier after the first 15 min. of gluttony though. About 1/3 of the platoon went and threw up afterwards. After getting 4 MREs for 2 1/2 days of nonstop moving it was easy to overdo it I guess.

The crucible started Wed. morning after camping in the freezing weather. Luckily we missed the wet nights. I can’t imagine how miserable that would be. As soon as we woke up we started moving. For those two days we nonstop “humped” from stations spread all throughout the hills. Probably about a 6 mile radius. The stations varied from obstacles you might do at camp to running ammo cans up and down hills. We never had time set aside to eat. Whenever we had a minute we ate a cracker or whatever, which was okay, cause that spread our meals out more. We were responsible for rationing them and I’m pretty proud of how I did it. I was never so hungry it made me weak, and I had a whole MRE left over for the night before the reaper hike. I probably had the most food left. Some guys had food stolen (I put mine in my sleeping bag at night) but most ate all theirs by then. I wanted to save the cookies and dried cranberries for the morning before the hike, but we were made to eat it all.

The next morning we took off immediately after waking up. We carried all our stuff and rifle. Not an easy load. The hike was 10 miles with the reaper in between. We got a break at 2 ½ miles and right before the reaper. On that break they gave us a cup of Gatorade and an apple. (BTW, I’ve gotten used to eating apple cores and orange peels.) Then we ascended. The reaper was ½ mile up and was sorta graduated. When we got up top we could see the Pacific and the latter part of the sunrise. We were all in a good mood. Everyone was feeling like we were done, and in a sense we were done with the reaper at least, but we had 5 mi. left. We didn’t get any breaks on the 2nd half. But no one dropped out and only a couple didn’t make it to the breakfast. So our Sr. DI was pretty happy. Oh yeah, the first half of the hike was in the dark and one of the coolest things about it was there was a meteor shower. So when we weren’t looking at the ground for loose rocks and potholes we’d see how many shooting stars we could see. It was kinda comforting. I’m sure that morning everyone had the same wishes. But we all made it. Now I’m not too worried about anything that’s left. We have swim week, the physical test, final drill, and knowledge test left. And I’m feeling confident about all of them. So in my mind Nov. 17th isn’t questionable anymore. It’s a good feeling. Anyway, now that we’re back down south, we’re in the doghouse. We figure it was a setup. The Sr. DI snuck in and no one saw him to call attention on deck, so now we’re dressed like first phasers (we’re 3rd ((seniors of the bunch))) and have to be extra good. I guess its just to let us know we’re not done yet and they still have us in their clutches. The only thing that I’m upset about is we haven’t gotten mail yet. Its been about a week and a half I think. So I’m expecting boatloads of letters. J It still might be a couple of days depending on how long the DIs keep it up

But in the meantime I’m realizing I’m thankful for a lot of things I wasn’t before, mainly the food. Nothings changed down south, but today’s breakfast, though rushed, was very good. Food makes me happy. I think there’s still a chance of getting double rations here, cause during a nighttime inspection the Sr. DI asked if I was a double rat (I had asked about it earlier and was denied it before anything was considered). I’ve lost bout 20-25 lbs., and some people got it for losing 10 lbs. when they were built like me. So I’m hoping for it. Honestly I don’t need it, but it’s a luxury I’m working to get.

Letsee, my health is back to 99.5%, minus soreness from the hikes, moral is real good, I’m able to ignore the DI’s power…whatever (we had our stuff dumped yesterday) and I’m in a good mood so it’s a good report home.

Have you guys bought tickets yet? I still haven’t gotten my orders yet so I don’t know when I’ll need to be back. I’m also not sure about recruiting assistance. I’m not sure how to get it to begin with, and after the things I’ve heard about a possible Christmas break, I don’t know if I want it anyway. But if you could talk more with the recruiter about it that’d be nice. I don’t know how much info they’d have, but any little bit would be good. I guess I’ll just have to buy a ticket back when I know. I do know MCT will be at Pendleton, and they have free shuttles from the airport, so that much is certain. Hopefully we’ll get a class in not too long. We’ll keep each other posted I guess. Well, that’s all for now I can think of to report. Hope things are going well there. Can’t wait to be home. Love, Jared

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Platoon Video

If you would like to see Jared's platoon click here. Unfortunately the link does not work correctly with Firefox, so you must use Internet Explorer.

Jared is in the second row from the back, 12th person from the right.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Recent Letter

Hi all,
The delay in communication with Jared is proving to be frusterating. We got the following letters when we knew that the Crucible week was nearing its end, but haven't heard from him since. Continuing on the theme that no news is good news, we believe that he passed with no injuries, but hope to hear something more definite about how it went this week.

This next week they begin water training. Continued prayers are always appreciated! Thanks.

Letter dated Oct. 14, 2006
Hey family,
I got home from field week yesterday. It was an experience. I didn't know CA got so cold. But it gets cold. We slept in tents every night (cept the last one--slept under the stars) and we had to sleep in skivvies (undies and t-shirt). Luckily the sleeping bags were nice and warm, but any air inside was uncomfortable. Probably the most intersting thing we did was the gas chamber. Its just like you hear it described. They give you masks to show you how you should be able to breathe, then you learn whats not supposed to happen. It got painful. Its cool to think back and know I did it, though. Other than that, we did tactical rifle range and a lot of hiking. I'm not so good at the hikes. I'm pretty worried about the "reaper" hike during the crucible (next week). I'm trying to keep a positive outlook. Fingers are crossed.

Anyway, I got a real good sleep last night. The plastic mattress is far superior to the dirt. It was good to eat something besides MRE's for breakfast. Although I do really like MREs. Its just weird to have chicken enchiladas at 5 am. Another thing we can be thankful for, the night we got back to sleep inside, it rained. Everything was mud and puddles this morning. We just missed it. It rained for a couple minutes during MCMAP training too. Thats the first time its rained here. It was weird to feel it on my shaved head.

As far as my health, I'm getting pretty much back to normal. I'll cough a little after a run or something, but other than that I'm pretty good. Finally. BTW, I'm doing firewatch now, its about 3 am. So I got a chance to read letters from field week. I only got 1 from Mom, and all of a sudden she was in MN! Kinda threw me for a loop. I guess she has a sale or something. It was weird to start reading the letter and she says, "I'm writing this while Gma is in the shower." Twas humorous.

I've definitely decided that since my first meal won't be at home but at a restaurant, I want to go for pizza. Just FYI. We're all still dreaming of food here. When we got our MRE's ready for the field, we took the extra stuff out. Candy and stuff included. I got M&M's in mine. We were supposed to give them up, but I hid them away. I'm gonna eat them tonight with my rackmate Thatcher. He's a good guy. While I was sick he'd get up and do stuff for me so I could sleep at night. Anyway he deserves some. Don't worry, I'll be careful eating and disposing of the package. Just be happy I get a little treat, and we'll never speak of it again. :-) Miss you, love you, can't wait to be home. Jared

Undated letter, probably written the 15th or 16th
Hey family,
Its the night before the crucible. I figured I'd write quickly cuz there won't be any mail after tonight till Sat., I think. And I like writing home anyway. It makes me feel like I'm there. So far since Sunday its been real slow. We haven't really done anything to speak of. I think they were saving us/our energy for the crucible, but a ton of people got caught with food and two people got caught with forged double rations tags. So we're in the doghouse pretty much. We haven't had a full meal...cept for breakfast, for a couple days. Oh well, I guess that prepares us for the crucible, right? I'm not sure the exact count but we have 4 MRE's for a little over 4 mealtimes. {I think he may have meant 4 days, from other things I've read} So we have to decide waht and when we're gonna eat. I'm real nervous about the reaper hike. If you fall out/behind your platoon, you don't go to the warriors breakfast. And if you fall out/can't go on, you get dropped. I should be able to make it. I'm just paranoid I guess. Well, I need to go. I won't be getting much sleep these next days. Love you, miss you. Jared

Monday, October 16, 2006

Letter dated 10-8-06, Received 10-14-06

This delay in receiving info from Jared is getting really old! By the time we received the following letter, field week was over and done with, and he's on to the Crucible. Nevertheless, any letter in his handwriting is treasured! Please continue to pray for his health, especially during this very intensive and critical week. Thanks. Lisa

Hey family,
Well, next week is field week and I doubt I'll be able to send or receive mail. I don't know a ton about whats gonna happen, but we'll be living outside, in the dirt, and cold. It will be cold. I'm not really looking forward to it. It will be hard. I'm pretty tired to start out with anyway. We had the 8 mile hike yesterday. It was unpleasant. It was hard. I'm real sore today and my legs feel shot. Luckily my cough got a little better just in time, and after the hike (it was in the morning) I got my appetite back finally. We had a good lunch too. Hamburgers. I ladeled on the ketchup, and piled about 6" of pickles, tomatoes, and onions. It was great. It'll be MRE's for the rest of the week. Ugg. I guess I'm getting a little tired of this "summer camp".

Rifle qualification was Friday. The ranks are marksman, sharpshooter, and expert. Most people get marksman or expert cause they can shoot or can't. Well, I made sharpshooter and was VERY happy when I heard it. First of all, you get a better looking medal, and secondly, it looks better on your record for promotions. I wasn't expecting it cause I wasn't doing real well on the range. I think its cause I was always daydreaming about Adrienne, home, or food. I can't wait to go home, and I expect to have a good cinnamon roll breakfast at least once. Theres a ton of other things I'll eat too--spaced off thinking of food and the meat dad smoked the other day--Well, I guess I'm at/past the halfway point. They say it goes fast. I hope they're right. I'm ready for a game of hearts or something. I miss you guys.
Love, Jared

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Letter dated 10-1-06, Received 10-10-06

Hey family,
Just so you know I wasn't taking you up on your offer "not to worry" about not writing you. Its been crazy. I got some time to read letters here and there, and I have a little free time this Sunday morning to write. I'm still sick which stinks cause its hard for me to catch my breath. But somehow I got through the 5 mile hike yesterday so I still can keep going. I had a fever for a while, but its gone. That was real fun. But its gone.

Yes, I got to try out my M16. It was pretty cool. I didn't do so good the first time (only time till tomorrow) but I was just getting used to it I think. I'll do better. The rifle classes this week were fairly relaxed, which was good, cause the rest of the time, isn't. Twice so far we've taken everything, warbags, shoes, sheets, mattresses, warbelts, everything, all to different ends of the room, and last night right before bed, we had to chug 2 canteens. Again, not an easy feat. It was painful.

Well, its Monday and life goes on, maybe. I'm pretty sick. I can't seem to get this stuff in the lungs out. Tonight I'm gonna decide if I'm going to medical. And here, with pneumonia, its likely a death sentence. My problem is clear. But I guess I'll just have to trust the best will happen. I'm pretty worried.

On a lighter note, my rifle skills improved since last. I'll only get better at it, I'm sure.

Today we got my absolute favorite [unreadable]: a sack lunch with a meat sub, koolaid, apple, cheese crackers, teddy grahams, and cool ranch fritoes. I've been dreaming about that since processing. Well, we got about a minute into it, I got the sandwhich, koolaid, and some chips down, then a kid looks at a DI, then when the DI asked, he argued. Well, we threw the rest away and ran in U-turns for about 30 min. I was a little sad.

A few days later:
Okay, I'm gonna write this tonight. All other times get cut short. Tonights the 1st night without missions, or already being dead, so I'll write and finally get this to you. I've been dreaming of candy all day. When I get home Mom I'm taking that box of change and going to Walmart. Whimper. Well, as far as getting to medical, I was in line to sign up (right before) but I jumped out the last second. The next day after PT someone told the senior DI I was sick, so he called me over and asked how I was. I sugarcoated it a lot. And he's like, "Why don't you shower and lay down the rest of the evening." So I did. It was nice. So today I am getting better, again. Hopefully it will keep getting better. Rifle pre-qual is tomorrow. I plan on doing mediocre. I'm not great but I can hit the target. I miss you guys and am dreaming of the day you can feed me!! Love, Jared