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Old January 13, 2020, 17:10   #39
hueyville
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FALaholic #: 74557
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Foothills of the Blueridge Mountains
Posts: 6,978
The two years I did in ROTC never missed any FTX my school held or other colleges that would let me. Both years did a two week summer camp plus a two week camp initiating students scheduled to sign contracts for MS3 which put you under contract, paid a big chunk of tuition and wore "OCS" tabs on collar. Had to sign an eight year contract with your final two years of school counting toward that leaving six years to serve. After being a declared military science minor for two years, highest ranked sophomore in our school and most schools we trained with after my two week orientation course was ruled 4F at my final physical when had sailed through my incoming pysical had to take to qualify for first summer camp.

I spent more time in the military science building than all others combined and was being allowed to take the TEC Tape video class that covered every aspect of different weapons from M16 to stinger missiles and more. Learned real fast when on a monthly weekend FTX, spring break ten day FTX and the three two week courses ROTC cadets got the worst of the worst that the Army couldn't even sell as surplus. It was common to get C-Rats in the previous 1958 date when C-Rations while looked the same and were packaged the same were actually MCIs (Meal Combat Individual) thus the 1960 and later dated C-Rats were better than the 1940 to 1958 issue C-Rats.

We seemed to always get the pre-1958 dates on our rations and remember one FTX all the comments about the food because every case carried a Pre-VE day date thus were made during WW2. Having been rock climbing since age 16 and went on my first mountaineering trip as a prep school present to myself knew all about freeze dried backpackers/climbers food. Knew that the bags they shipped in weighed three times what a zip lock baggie sized just large enough for each item to fit and sealed with a piece of duct tape. Every FTX we went on I would break open and repackage 2.5 meals per day with chess cake (Mountain House Cheese Cake) which was the best dehydrated item going.

Would even have freeze dried ice cream and such. Purchased my own Alice Pack and replaced the frame with a semi rigid aluminum and polymer frame out of a Wilderness Experience backpackers pack that was twice as comfortable as a Alice frame when weighted and only people that noticed were regular Army Non-Coms who I was suprised never said anything. Would have all my food packed under personal gear and when they would start throwing C-Rat boxes at us randomly would pull the few usable items then the rest gave away, put back in stack or hid under a bush or pile of leaves. So for 2.5 years managed to eat like a human and was very careful not to let anyone know I was eating anything other than C-Rats.

Rather than the cheap basic training boots was issued with my uniform purchased me a very well fitting pair of Corcoran Jump Boots which again the regular Army Non-Coms noticed as long as they passed inspection at beginning of exercise was never busted for wearing a good pair of boots. Carried a Randall M15 Airman combat knife on my gear and skated through ROTC eating good food that weighed less than half the other cadets loads. Knew once left ROTC that party would end but by then would be the 2nd Leuitenant all the enlisted hated and most officers looked down own and would have to buckle down and play by the rules. Have to say there were some C-Rats that if I had been forced to use would have lost quickly the heavy cans of suckage and just gone hungry living off what little edible food was in each box.

Had a great aunt that lived very close to F.D. Merrill and when they had trainees out in the field for different exercises she would literally carry the equivalent of a big families Thanksgiving meal out to the "smoke house" and the smell would draw them in like flies and she would feed all she could. Her husband had been one of the Currahee Rangers in WW2 and she felt for them. She would do the full meal after she realized they had been out in the field for several days. She gauged field training by fact she baked two pies every day of the week and would sit them one on the well house to cool. If it had been eaten and pan returned she knew Rangers Trainees were about and would bake three pies so could leave two on the well house and my great uncle still had a fresh pie with his dinner. If the pies disappeared four or five days straight then she cooked the big meal and set a table in the smoke house just before sunset and collected the dishes up the next morning.

When I was a sponsored climber by Petzl and PMI Ropes when they got the contract to upgrade the Ranger Camp from tied Swiss Seats, carabiner wrap rappel and braided green line I had to go with the local rep and train the Cadre on how to properly use the special run of black "Guru" harnesses, Figure 8 rappelling, best knots for Kenmantle ropes and how to use the Petzl self drive hand powered rock drill kit for placing bolted anchors.

This was also about the time I became the American Alpine Club and Southeastern Climbers Coalition representative that would hash out how to best utilize National Forest land climbing resources shared by the Army and civilian climbers. The Army forgot to renew their special use permit and I was smart enough to not let mine expire so legally my guided groups took precisdense over the Army's use but we built a great rapport and for over a decade any anchor placement, removal, or maintenance the Forrest Service used me to meet with the Army to discuss best use so the mountain didn't turn into a trash pit. In one weekend myself and a small crew of Rangers removed over 200 bolts and placed fifty new which ended up giving them more lanes with safer anchors and less complaints from tree huggers about the mess they had made.

Generally whenever their anchors got sketchy they would back up five feet and place a new line. Few years later would repeat till there was row after row of ratty old dangerous and fugly bolts. Taught them how to patch the holes when we pulled old bolts so cliff line always looked much nicer. Now they have a former Ranger who retired from the military and has a contract to maintain the anchors which is a great thing as every time a rotation of new Cadre came in we had to go train them on bolt placement. Interacted with them officially well over a decade and closer to two decades and made a lot of good friends. Turned out the Cadre knew about my great aunts pies and food even after she passed. Said most nights when she would put food out they would be watching to see who the smart Ranger Candidates were and often took the pies before trainees could get them.
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A time will come when people will not listen to accurate teachings. Instead, they will follow their own desires and surround themselves with teachers who tell them what they want to hear. 2 Timothy 4:3 G.W.T.
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