Monday, September 23, 2013

Red Phase coming to an end

As the Red Phase comes to a close with the Caldwell March, I’ve come to understand and integrate myself with the Corp of Cadets over this past month. I look back at what I have done, the mistakes I have made, the friendships I have made, and how my journey at Virginia Tech has been playing out so far. This new environment has taught me that not everything is as it seems, that everything I have learned should’ve been thrown out the window a long time ago, and that freshmen year can be a real torture chamber. As this progresses to White Phase, nothing will really change, but we will get some privileges such as hair privilege, backpack privilege, or maybe even headphone privilege. These privileges are something that civilians and upperclassmen cadets take for granted, while underclassmen cadets are stuck with almost nothing. As this year slowly gets better, the more responsibilities we have, and that means the more my buds and I have to look out for each other. This also means that things will get more relaxed and we will be able to do whatever we want without having someone constantly harping on us on how to do things and what to do at the current moment. The football games have been something else, I have never experienced anything like that until I came to Virginia Tech. Especially being in the Corp of Cadets crowd, and we do push on each other’s shoulders for peet’s sake! Have any of you tried to do push-ups in the pouring rain as hard as a typhoon, it really isn’t as fun as you would think. The classes are a lot different from High School just by the fact of the sheer amount of people in each classroom setting. The workload isn’t quite as bad as a freshmen, but the Corp helps us by making mandatory study times from seven to eleven at night. The only problem with this mandatory study time is that the Cadre will walk in at any random time and make us do something stupid or just distract us from our work. The easiest way to solve this is to go to the library, which is a lot safer and quieter than being around upperclassmen cadets. This has been your live reporter Knight getting these facts right from the source, see you all next week!

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Tortured Souls

After ratlining (single file) back into Brodie Hall and getting yelled at while running up the stairs, we lined up on the 5th deck and stood at attention for more than thirty minutes to an hour with sweat dripping down our backs, and all the while, we had cadre in our faces yelling at us for the smallest details that we didn't even recognize we were doing wrong. Finally the Highest ranking officer told the cadre sergeants to stand down, which then brought another thirty minutes of standing while the officer gave his speech. By this time, all of our legs were burning from standing so long that we started to fidget, the cadre wouldn't have any of that though, and they started hounding us for moving our legs to get better control of our bodies. He finally finished, and we headed off to our rooms to get ready for the next day by organizing our things, making our beds, shining shoes, and ironing shirts. At around eleven or so, they came into our rooms and told us to get ready for bed, so we changed into PT gear, got underneath our covers in the position of attention, the lights were turned off, and a hard door slam was our only good night.

For the next few days though, we roughly did the same thing, while learning new material almost every day as my buds and I learned how the system worked, we still had no clue what went on half the time. The days are a little hazy, because they went by so quickly, but waking up was probably at around five a.m. and they woke us up by banging down the door, screaming at us to get up and get changed into whatever the uniform of the day was, all the while rushing us to get done in about one to two minutes. We would then line up and get talked to for about twenty minutes, go outside to formation, eat breakfast, go somewhere to learn more about how to drill and the different types of drills, ate lunch, went back to drilling some more, ate dinner, even more training, and then started to get ready for the next day. This was sometimes broken up by a meeting on things such as why we joined the corp, how to be a good leader, sexual harassment in the actual military and why it looks bad on not just the military, but corp members everywhere, and finally, how the year would play out. That week was pure torture, but most of us made it through and survived, a few of our buds have dropped out because it was either too hard for them, they didn't want to go through the stress of the Corp of Cadets anymore, or they had other "important" things to attend to. The problem with people dropping is that they already went through the hardest week, and the Corp only gets easier (to an extent) from that week forward. All in all, the week was harsh, but the fact that we survived that week shows others that we are not like the average Joes on campus, we are lifelong buddies, we know how to take a punishment and learn from it, and we strive to be the best there is to help protect, preserve, and defend this nation. This is your live New Cadet Week reporter signing off. ‘Murika!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Dinner of Death

As we Dragged back into Brodie Hall, we lined up on the 5th deck as tight as sardines and got “chewed out” for things such as: Gazing (looking around), Not standing bolt straight as a 2X4 at attention, not having our shoes shined, not having a face that looks like you are spacing off and general other things that were all pointed out while getting yelled at by multiple people not but 2 feet away from your face. After what felt like eternity of standing at attention in the sweltering hot deck, because there is no air conditioning, we finally moved out to go to chow. For chow, we drag outside and form up outside of Brodie, and head out in formation lines to Turner Place. Once we reached our destination, we filed in one line at a time, and went through the process of thanking the “magical orb of sanitation”, asking for food, and then was told where to sit. The trick is, we couldn't sit until all our buds were at the table and the correct verbage was called out by one of our buds. An example is if I was to ask if we could sit down at the table, I would left or right face to see who the highest ranking officer is and shout at the top of my lungs “Cadet [Insert Rank] [Insert name], New Cadet Knight Deaven James, Training Company 1-2, Requests permission for my buds and I to come aboard!” The Highest ranking would then reply, “Eye, come aboard!” or “No you may not come aboard my ship, sound off!”

Once we boarded the ship (table), we were to sit 6 inches off the front of the chair and sit at attention while eating. We also couldn't look around and talk with our buds while eating, we had to have poker faces staring straight forward or else we were “gazing”, and on top of that, we only had ten minutes to eat everything we had off of our plates (that’s not a lot of time to eat). I couldn't tell you how many times I had to just shovel food in my mouth just for the sake of not starving till the next meal. Once that was over, we would stop eating, consolidate all our trays and food, no matter how much was left and dump it all in trash cans at the end of our tables. We then filed back to our seats and someone, say me, would ask “Cadet [Insert Rank] [Insert name], New Cadet Knight Deaven James, Training Company 1-2, Request permission for my buds and I to come ashore?!” The Ranking officer would reply with “Eye, get off my ship!” We would file out, form up and get ready to head back to Brodie. Stay tuned to find out what happens when we return to Brodie, the fun has only begun.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Beginning of the End

As a civilian, I took everything I had for granted and my time during New Cadet Week taught me that life is hell, but you learn to life with it. During this week of basic training, I learned a few things about myself that I probably would've never known unless I joined the Corp of Cadets. One, I lacked the discipline that I needed to become a military officer. Two, I was so much weaker mentally, physically, and emotionally than I had originally thought. Three, I learned that life isn't all about games, and that you have to work really hard to get maybe a few minutes out of the day to rest, relax, and think about what just happened. Four, I needed to learn to come out of my shell and stop working as an individual all the time, I needed to start working as a team with my buds. These invaluable lessons will be forever engraved into my mind and won’t be easily forgotten. The real part of this awfully dreaded beginning of my life began on August 17th, 2013.
I didn't sleep very well the night of the 16th, which would become the last real night of me being individualistic and sheltered. As the night progressed, random thoughts kept popping in my head about what to expect out of this new week, let alone my new military life. I kept tossing and turning and finally fell asleep somewhere in the early hours of the morning and woke up to my brother shaking me like a ragdoll. I got up, very tired, and decided to start my day with a nice, hot, relaxing shower that I realized later on was the best shower I had taken before entering the Corp of Cadets. After packing my things and some early tears from my mom in the hotel room, we hit the road and showed up at Brodie Hall, which was the drop-off point for our belongings. I was then told to go to Torgerson Hall to start the transformation process of becoming a new cadet, with my pops, mom, and brother unpacking my things at the car. Tears were streaming down her face as her son was walking away, going to start a new life, she couldn't have been more proud of what I was doing that day. Inside Torgerson Hall, I was directed to where I was supposed to go, waited in lines, took some tests, and received some “essential materials” for New Cadet Week. This was only the beginning of what was to become the best, worst week of my life to ever have been experienced in my lifetime.
I finally met up with my parents with my “Highspeed” haircut and started unpacking the room and my belongings. After an hour of clutter and mess, we finally got the room set, we then decided to have the last supper at D2 dining facility. I walked back to my room with my parents, told them goodbye and started training immediately after that to show our parents what we could learn in a few hours. After some hours of training, we went outside of Brodie Hall and formed up, performed a few of the actions we learned, and then dragged back into Brodie without being able to say goodbye to our parents. As I was dragging into Brodie, I had one last look at my parents and my brother and saw my pops proud face, my mom’s crying face, and my brother playing his DSI. Stay tuned for the next blog on how I survived New Cadet Week.