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Mike's Adventures in Field Training

Part 8 - Final Evaluation

At the end of field training, everyone gets together and the rules are all relaxed.  The FTOs call each cadet in and debriefs them.  They tell you what you did good, what you did bad, and how you can improve yourself.

Yep - it sure is butts only!
A relaxing moment at the end of training.

So, my FTO calls me in and gives me my final debrief.  She told me I did a decent job.  She didn't really think I did a great job as a leader, but she said I didn't really do a poor one either.  She told me that I had a tendency to not speak my mind, to go with the will of the people, and not do so much what I believed, but rather went with what the team wanted.  The biggest area that she thought I needed to improve on, though, was "taking chances."

I told her I didn't understand; I took a lot of chances.  In fact, I took more chances than I ever expected I would take.  She told me I was "risk averse."  Again, I asked her to clarify.  She told me that I liked to play it safe, since I never snuck out of my room or did anything that challenged the rules.  I replied that I was up every night.  I took plenty of risks.  I told her I put up the posters and the dirty socks; how did she think those showed up?

She replied that she thought I was risk averse because I never showed up in the daily incident reports.  It seemed that nearly everyone else on one occasion or another had been busted for being up during the night.  My name never appeared after we got caught talking on night three.

I replied that I learned my lesson, but I learned it too well.  I didn't stop being up at night, but rather I found better ways to hide myself so that I wouldn't get caught.

Her reply to me?  That maybe I should have gotten caught.  She said that without my getting caught, there was no record that I was taking risks, even though others in my flight corroborated my story.

But the worst part?  One of the CTOs came to me later and asked where I was hiding.  The CTO said that he swore he saw me that night we almost got caught, and he demanded I tell him where I was hiding.  I told him I would if he could convince the FTO that I was the one who was up sneaking around, but he said he couldn't do that, as all of the evaluations were final and so it wouldn't make any difference.  So, I never did tell him.  Better for him to think I was magic.

In the end, field training was fun, although I am still a little torqued off about my final evaluation. 

Oh, and you may be wondering why my roommate quitting was the best thing that happened to us.  Well, you may remember that we used his footlocker to hide our stuff in.  The other thing was that we had to make our beds to very strict standards.  Because our room could be inspected at any time, we had to make sure that they weren't wrinkled, so that meant that during the day, we didn't sit on the bed or dare lay down on it.  There were a few times, though, that we had some extra time, like a free ten minutes after lunch.

Since we didn't have to make the extra bed in our room, we had an extra bunk that we could take cat naps on during the day.  Since I was up nearly every night, the extra bunk allowed me to take cat naps during the day on the bed whenever I had a few extra moments free.

So, there you go - the highlights of my field training experience.  Ok, so maybe it was pretty easy.  Looking back, it was more like Survivor than basic training.  I had a fun time, but I don't know if I would do it again.  I mean, I figured out how to play the game, so it's not really much of a challenge any more, except next time, maybe I'll let them catch me sometime... then again, maybe not...

'So, you just completed field training.  What are you going   to do now?'  I'm going to Disneyworld!
A "thumb's up" after being done.

I highly recommend ROTC if you are interested in going into the military.  I had a lot of fun with it, but remember that in the real military, it is nothing like ROTC.  You don't have uniform inspections, you don't have to march around everywhere, and you don't have to do physical training all the time (well, not like you do in ROTC).  However, the stress you experience is the one thing that will be constant.  If you can handle a drill sergeant in your face screaming at you to prove he is a man, then you have a good base to handle really stressful situations, such as getting a computer system back on-line during high alert while wearing chemical warfare gear.  It may seem like hell at the time, but trust me - things can and will get much more stressful.  But learning to handle it is one of the most important and valuable lessons you can learn, and it's one lesson you can't learn from a book.

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