As everyone that was lucky enough to be in Minnesota last weekend knows–it was a TORRENTIAL DOWNPOUR Sunday morning!
We were to report to the Bloomington armory by 0730 again on Sunday and formation was again at 0800. We initially formed up into our Red Phase platoon before the 1SG dispersed us into our home platoons (First through Fourth). We were under the direction of familiar faces from the recruiting office on Sunday which was nice–always a positive to be taking direction from people you already know. The original plan was to start a nine mile ruck march at 0930, however while waiting in our platoons for that time to roll around, the rain started. And didn’t stop.
We passed the time by getting our uniforms (only the Red Phasers in Fourth PLT got our ACUs and PT-wear because I asked my recruiter ever-so-nicely and luckily…he let us!), and practicing some camouflaging techniques by painting some poor other chap’s face (my drill BFF/battle buddy Hannah and I, as well as most other girls in Fourth PLT, got out of actually having to paint our faces). At about 1030 we had our MRE lunch while still waiting to hear if we were still planning on doing the ruck march or if we would somehow get to go home…
No such luck. After moooooore waiting, Fourth PLT piled into three minivans (somehow….I still cannot figure out how 38 people fit into three vehicles but that’s neither here nor there), and drove to a nearby public trail for our march. The term ruck march is a little misleading considering (1) most of us didn’t even have rucks, and (2) somehow we got fooled into doing sprints/light jog along the way. We began with about a half a mile walk before performing some drill in which we crawled up a hillside in groups of seven while sustaining “gunfire” in the form of one recruit at the top of the hill yelling “bang bang” at the rest of us. Plot twist though: once finishing the drill and walking back down the hill, my new friend Jake and I happened across a ‘sniper’ laying in the brush RIGHT in front of us that we had NO CLUE was there. Clearly we have a lot to learn!
The only other ‘drill’ we did during the march was stopping at a crossroads in the trail and learning to pull security by lining up next to one another and yelling at the group when there was a runner or walker coming down the trail. Somehow I don’t think I particularly did that part right but, not gonna lie, it was at least partly entertaining watching civilians very awkwardly continue their run through a bunch of 20 year olds in ACUs with their arms up pretending to hold a rifle.
The rest of the march/run was uneventful but so much fun. In the moment, every time our cadre would start up a sprint again, I would dread it because I’m sweating my @$$ off in heavy ACUs and I can’t feel my left toes and how much longer is this going to go on?!?! Some females fell out of the sprints early on. Hannah and I persevered. I was smelly and sweaty and miserable. Once we got back to the armory I was ecstatic. It was the first semi-Army thing I had done all weekend and it was so much fun!
Overall my first RSP drill was a mixed bag. After Saturday my dad asked if I was ready to do that again every month for the next six years and I…was not. Saturday was long, boring, more boring, and more long. Sunday, while still dull at time because of the wait, was so much fun. I understand not all drilling weekends we’ll get to go out on nine mile ruck marches, but it was the perfect balance between challenging myself and knowing I could accomplish what we were set out to do.
And God bless Jake–I lost my waterbottle while trying to climb up that gd hill on our stomachs and was dying in the humidity and mosquitoes and runs. The saint found it on our way back and for that I am forever grateful.