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Mike's Adventures in Field Training

Part 5 - Survival

Survival is the one thing that is a complete joke.  They give you like three meals ready to eat (MREs), some vegetables, and like a side of beef for the flight.  You are expected to survive across the other side of the base for three days.  It's not much of a survival.

During the first day, they showed us how to construct fires and use a signal mirror and that kind of stuff.  Then they left us for the night.  This was the first time that we were all allowed to hang out together unsupervised, so we finally got a chance to get to talk and know one another.

One of the guys in my flight woofed down all of his MREs in the first few hours we were out there.  I, on the the other hand, conserved mine.  I mean - c'mon, I can go for three days without food.

The first night we were going to sneak over to the other flight's encampment and steal their guidon (flag), but in the end we decided not to.  Good thing, because later that night, the instructors came back and we lit magnesium flares, which was pretty cool.

So, on day 2, we were free to do whatever we wanted.  We were told, though, to be trying to survive, and that if we weren't, the instructors would make life hell for us.  So, we all went out to go catch food.

We were told that we could take a piece of stick and tie it on a string, and a fish might come along and swallow it.  So, I got a piece of string and a stick and stood in a stream.  I stood out there all day, and people made fun of me, because no one believed I would catch anything.  I didn't think I would either, but I was doing something, and if I didn't catch anything, at least I still had an MRE left..  Finally, around 3 PM, I caught a fish - a big old foot long trout.  So, I built a fire and cooked it up.  Also, while I was out fishing, I collected about a dozen fresh water mussels.  So, I boiled those up and ate them also.

After dinner, I went back to the stream, and someone from the base was collecting water samples.  I asked him what the water was like, and he told me there were high levels of mercury.  He recommended I only eat one trout OR three mussels.  Oops.

Later on night 2, our flight snuck into the other camp and stole their guidon.  It's a big pride thing, as you are supposed to even sleep with your guidon to prevent it from being stolen.  Usually, however, it's usually the CTOs who steal your guidon, so the other camp never expected it.

But, alas the next day our three days in paradise were over as we were put back on the bus and taken back to the barracks.  The training staff made us return the guidon (those bastards!) and I ate my last MRE on the ride home.

Next: Part 6 - My leadership