Testing the waters pre Military/SOF

Juggrnaut

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Oct 10, 2020
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73
I wanted to run this across the mods as a possible informative post for people wanting to join SOF and the Military.

To clarify, I’m not trying to give advice on any selection process or a “how to” about anything Military related.

As a former wild land firefighter, I spent a lot of time in different academies, schools, trainings and fires (obviously). There is a fair bit of cross over between the two as far as training and working environments (bar the obvious differences).

I wanted to know if you mods would think it beneficial to offer aspiring folks my story as a possible route prior to joining the Military as a way to see if they may even enjoy the work you do or the path it takes to get there.

To clarify that what I mean is, if someone hates the academy, boot camp and the Military in general obviously wouldn’t be a good thing. If they hate stress under advers conditions, again, not a good thing. If they hate long hours of no sleep with heavy weight working their ass off in the middle of nowhere in dangerous conditions... not a good thing. It’s one thing to see it, another to do it.

All I would be doing is giving an idea of my time from the first academy to my last assignment, which might spark some interest in pursuing that route as a way to test ones self prior to enlisting. The basis is, you can always quit the academy or a crew, you can’t just quit the military. Everyone wants to believe their not a quitter, but what if you could experience a small portion of suffering in a pseudo similar atmosphere. It’s only a year of ones time (depending on your are for schooling) to possibly save oneself 4-6 years. Plus you get to learn some cool stuff and see some even cooler things.

I want to make it clear this is not to dissuade anyone from joining the military.

If you find this to be worth while, let me know, otherwise obviously feel free to slap me upside the head.
 

AWP

Formerly Known as Freefalling
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@Juggrnaut okay, so...your post and offer tend to step over our line of "If you haven't done x, don't offer advice."

BUT

We get grey with you having actual life experience in a field that doesn't exactly tolerate half-assed performance.

Speaking as one staff member, but not for the staff as a whole, if the discussion was framed as general life advice, mentoring the teens out there, and not "you can succeed in the military if you do x" then I think you could make an argument for your post.

So, where does it go? Does it warrant its own thread? I don't know the first and I'd say "no" to the second.

I'd prefer to have further input from the staff before you proceed in any direction.
 

Juggrnaut

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Oct 10, 2020
Messages
73
@Juggrnaut okay, so...your post and offer tend to step over our line of "If you haven't done x, don't offer advice."

BUT

We get grey with you having actual life experience in a field that doesn't exactly tolerate half-assed performance.

Speaking as one staff member, but not for the staff as a whole, if the discussion was framed as general life advice, mentoring the teens out there, and not "you can succeed in the military if you do x" then I think you could make an argument for your post.

So, where does it go? Does it warrant its own thread? I don't know the first and I'd say "no" to the second.

I'd prefer to have further input from the staff before you proceed in any direction.
Copy that. By no means am I suggesting if someone goes the wildland route they would succeed in the Military and I apologize if it came off that way. I’ll wait for the green light and parameters to move forward or the no go. Thank you for the response.
 

Teufel

Force Recon
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Tun Tavern
Sounds like you have an interesting story. Why don’t you just tell it and let people draw their own conclusions as they relate to their aspirations. I studied the Mann-gulch fire Incident as a company grade officer and found it very informative.
 

Ooh-Rah

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So, where does it go? Does it warrant its own thread? I don't know the first and I'd say "no" to the second.
Agreed. But now we’ve already got a thread...so.... tell your story good sir. If it’s awesomely beneficial, it may help someone. If it sucks...we’ll delete it or merge it into another thread never to be seen again! <sarcasm>

post away!

(in this thread)
 

Marauder06

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CONUS
I second the suggestion that you just tell your story and let others draw possible parallels (and probable inspiration).

You don't have to be SOF, or even military, to post on this site. You definitely don't have to be SOF or .mil to have an interesting or inspirational life story.

Post away...
 

x SF med

the Troll
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Not far from the south of Canada, 'Murica!
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for those of you who need some guidance on the Mann Gulch Fire - the site is actually only about an hour way from where I live, I've visited the site, the terrain is interesting. Look at a topo map of the area, the fact the Missouri River cut off retreat and the fire and mountains cut off retreat... It was also an amazing use of Smoke jumpers and US Army Airborne troops. BTW, it's also only about an hour from Ft Harrison, home of the First Special Service Force (Black Devils) of WWII fame, and the grandfathers of all modern Special Operations.

Teaching moment off.
 

Juggrnaut

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Oct 10, 2020
Messages
73
First Academy

For a quick history lesson, in high school I took firefighter ROP. I was always the class clown in school growing up. I played baseball from age 4 till I shattered my elbow at 16. High school ball, tournament teams, traveling teams, all star team. I went to the gym but wasn’t very strong, I was a super skinny, underweight kid. The only “PT” I had ever done was baseball related or gym class.

After graduating high school, barely (I hated school, never took it seriously), I wanted to take a stab at firefighting. I had always looked up to military, police and ems and knew I wanted to help people. Found out the college had an academy and I signed up online. After making it off the waiting list, I was given the instructions sheet to purchase navy blue sweats and shorts, white t shirts, navy sweatshirt, stencil, white paint, black paint, white socks (not ankle), running shoes and get a hair cut. I was given like a 6+ foot rope, a tennis ball, a pocket sized yellow spiral notebook, a pencil and 2 pens, blue and black. I was to stencil my last name in black on the white shirts, white on the navy tops and bottoms. It said show up at the bleachers next to the track with your rope, tennis ball with name on it, writing utensils and notebook inside a sandwich bag, in pt gear with a change of clothes and food if you don’t wanna eat at the cafeteria.

First day

This would be my first lesson in “if you have the opportunity to recon an area or study something prior to going there/doing it, do it”. I had never been to the college other than the main office in front, so I didn’t know where the bleachers were, and I didn’t bother to find out until today. I also didn’t have a car, so my dad drove me on the way to work. After driving for a few minutes he said “go figure it out, I gotta go to work, good luck”. Needless to say, I was freaking out with my clothes bag and lunchbox running around looking for the pt area. Found the bleachers but turns out there are 2 different sets of bleachers, and I chose the wrong one. Luckily someone else was as foolish as me, and yelled to follow him to the spot. So we sprinted there and everyone’s in a half assed line waiting for us as they call out names. Thankfully I wasn’t the last person to show up. We caught some heavy shit, but today was lenient, and only today. Most everyone was a mess who wasn’t former military or over the age of 25. People didn’t stencil their clothes, forgot their tennis ball or whatever. That would be addressed soon. My academy was the 37th and we started with 50+ or so people, 2 women, couple of military guys including a ranger, 2 navy guys, 2 marines, some volunteer fireman and then a bunch of miscellaneous teens to mid 30’s guys.

Zero dark thirty, it was today I would meet my “black shirts”, the guys in charge of smoking you and yelling at you for the next 6+ months; and the Chief, who would become one of the most influential people in my entire life. Chris and Luke. You don’t forget these names. Chris was a former Recon Marine and seasoned forester, Luke was a seasoned wildland guy on a helitack crew. Others would come to join in, off and on over the academy, ranging from a Green Beret to smokejumpers. Little did I know it, but another life lesson was being gifted to me with these men, and that was: it’s a small world and people remember names, it’s good and bad. How you behave and your performance have repercussions even years down the road, this will become relevant later.

We found out what everything was for, which another lesson I would find out was: the main reason we had that stuff was accountability. It’s a responsibility to remember to carry it with you as much as it was using it. It would also teach another lesson I’ll expand on shortly, the consequences of ones actions on the team. The rope was to tie around our waist. Good for dragging each-other, better for being a nuisance during pt, or a nice grip for cadre. It would also be for learning to tie knots, harnesses. Tennis ball was for pushups and another nuisance when running or pt, constantly falling out of your pocket getting you smoked; cadre would kick your tennis ball if it rolled to far from you and for every second it took to get it back, you did X amount of calisthenics. Notebook for notes, that EXACT yellow spiral notebook. But why 3 different writing utensils? Another lesson, attention to detail, listening. As we would come to find out over our time, cadre or the chief would give us things to write down. Sometimes (at the time, at 17) it appeared stupid, “write down these words: dog, cheese, water with your pencil”. What you were told to write down was important, but so was what with. Whatever you were told to write was checked at any time. If it was wrong, get smoked, wrong pen? Smoked. Bad writing, smoked. Which was funny when you’d hear them in the background “what the fuck is that? You expect me to read that? get the fuck on your face”. Then either “You gonna let your tennis ball just roll off? Fine, it’s mine now”, or “what you don’t wanna get your tennis ball out, OH you’re special huh”, followed by “*laughing* you’re gonna have a bad day”.

We were loosely taught how to dress ranks and stand at attention, but the main focus of the morning was to destroy us. Today would also be where the words “faces, backs, and feet” would be forever engrained in my head.

After a long session of pt, off to the showers and into clean pt gear. The next portion was orientation where we were told that as long as we held a 70% in class and grades, didn’t fail critical skills or cal fire week, put out the effort and didn’t act like a retard, we’d pass. We were given a giant binder full of most of what we needed to learn. This is important for later.

Day 2 - 1/2 way

So, here’s where that part I talked about consequences for the team comes into play. If you forgot any of the objects you were told to carry (I.e. your rope), were late, weren’t shaved, not in proper attire (cadre would tell you exactly what to wear, so if they didn’t say wear your sweater, even if it was going to be freezing, you don’t wear it), weren’t putting out max effort in pt or attempting to cheat, or anything else worthy, you were told to stand in front of the class on the pt deck. After everyone who arrived unprepared was standing at attention in front of the class, they would announce your name, what you did and how you just screwed all your teammates, unless it was mid pt, then you just got called out and told to watch your buddies suffer. For every person that was up front, pt was that more extreme.

This part of the academy wasn’t super essential to be in class because English was the primary class after pt, everything else was in the book. So if cadre wanted to smoke you all day, you’d pt till 8am, then head to English, then back on the pt deck the rest of the day.

This is another great lesson, because it’s a great tool to make you never want to slack off or forget again. It also instills the sense of consequences as I stated, for instance: If you forgot your tools for the saw, now you have no saw if it goes dull or malfunctions or whatever, slowing down your crew and forcing others to do more work. Something those in the front are about to see first hand. (Seems simple, but it’s not something you appreciate till it actually happens in real life or on the job.)

At this point, cadre begin to smoke the entire class while you watch. Intermittently they will say, “say thanks to the buddy fuckers up here, thank you buddy fuckers!!!”. This can last the entire pt session sometimes to really make a point, which could be hours. Regardless of the time spent in the front, you would be announced by name to return to formation either to continue pt or head to the showers. It’s over the next few weeks/months you will notice a pattern of guys making their way to the front.

Which has a few lessons: 1) don’t be that guy, you’re a leper after a while. People will do as little to help you if you’re always the reason they’re getting smoked. 2) Your reputation with cadre and instructors will be tainted, meaning you have less leeway when you fuck up later on with other things like tests, skills or whatever. You also won’t ever get picked for anything of responsibility (which may seem like a good thing to younger or more immature folks, but it’s actually a death sentence). 3) regardless of how cool these guys may be to you, steer clear, nothing but bad news and their mindset and behavior may start to rub off on you. Which is something I saw from some of the younger guys like me, and sadly it was a couple of the military guys and older fellows in this group. At some point though, everyone will make their way here, day 2 happened to be my day. I forgot my rope in my dads truck... I felt like a piece of shit and it only took the one time to square me away to prep my stuff the night before and quadruple check everything was there before leaving. What I ended up doing after the first week or so was putting everything in my locker, transferring it back and forth made to much room for it to get lost.

Another great phrase you’ll learn to love is “starting over”. How great it is when you’re at 80 of 100, 4 count flutter kicks after pt’ing for hours and you hear cadre say, “oh you wanna put your feet down huh? STARTING OVER!!!”. Then you hear it again, and again and at this point people can’t even keep their legs up anymore so it’s just a never ending cycle. The trick and lesson here is don’t stop trying. If you’re legit trying to lift your legs to where your spasming and about to pass out, they won’t mess with you beyond yelling at you “get them up, let’s go get your feet at 6 inches!”. They know you can’t, but it’s better getting yelled at than being the guy who quit and forced the class to pt all day or get sent to the front line to be that asshole. It’s also a chance to support your teammates; give them encouragement. So many would talk shit and put them down. That attitude gets remembered.

One of the biggest problems I noticed was people trying to cheat. Half ass reps, not doing reps. People would think cadre weren’t looking and try anything to save themselves the pain. But just know, they see you. I know, and I’ll mention about this later, because I became a black shirt for future academies. Sometimes they’ll let you do it to make you think you’re getting away with it, then smoke you or the class. I never understood it, but again don’t be that guy; just immerse yourself in the pain and accept it sucks. Even if you cannot do the reps anymore, just face fuck the ground trying to push yourself up for that last rep, that’s what they’re looking for. Again, you’re still gonna get yelled at, but it’s not the type of yelling that’s negative, it’s to push you.

For the rest of the day after pt it was English then class for skills. Medical, firefighter basics, all the info for beginners. However, as I mentioned above, at anytime you could be pulled for more pt. Over the following week(s) we learned how to march, facing movements, proper entry into the class room, where we sit and who our squads and squad leaders were and bunch of other basic stuff to set us up for the next 6 months. Why week(s)? Cause you weren’t in the class or learning much lol. Pt deck was the place to be.

Now comes again about that binder you got. During any class, obviously, you’re not allowed to sleep. But you’ve been up since 3am pting from about 4am for hours, it’s a nice warm classroom, starting to get a little tired. There was a few ways things were handled. If you fell asleep in English you were screwed. The instructor was an elderly gentleman who didn’t take any shit. He was also highly respected. You were outside getting smoked if you even maybe looked asleep. Plus he would give you a disappointed look, worse than the pt.

For skills instructors it depended on the instructor and how the chief or cadre was feeling that day.

Oh real quick, you fall asleep when the chief is in the room, hahahahaha....

Anyway, some instructors let you stand up in the back of the room. Squad leaders would be on the lookout for sleepy folks, calling you out to stand in the back.

BUT HOLD ON, you don’t know if that days instructor allows that yet! Sometimes they would get pissed, start laying into the class, maybe even leave. Now you know what that binder is for! To study when your class fucks up and you don’t get to be instructed first hand, you gotta do it yourself. I mean, It was to study on your off time obviously, but it became clear that was a primary function. Because you wouldn’t need the binder later in the academy.

Another nice life experience is learning from others, little tricks or tips, you can’t ever learn enough or soak up enough wisdom. I had made friends with the Ranger and he told me to flick my balls when I was tired. Whether or not it was bs, it actually worked.

1/2 way - graduation

Now we’re in the groove, people being idiots is lessening, pt is almost always only in the morning, there’s still bad days though. Classroom testing becomes less and here’s where all the really fun stuff happens, and all the stressful skills testing.

Something I forgot to mention earlier, to build team cohesion, during each week calisthenics punishments would be given out for whatever, sleeping, not bringing ladders correctly to training, being dumb, really anything. Every week these numbers would double. So by the end of the academy if something happened, the class would have thousands of pushups or pull ups, etc to do. It was also squad based, so you could have 1000 pushups to do by end of day or it doubled the next day. At one point I think my squad had its multiplier to where we owed like 10000 pushups in a day. Luckily we weren’t the worst. The time this happened the most was ladder training. You’re not allowed to look up while footing the ladder. So naturally cadre or other squads would call out “look out!!” You look up, bam, 1000 push ups for your squad. Your buddy foots the ladder and looks up cause cadre asked you to check something out. Bam, 2000 pushups on top of that.

I was in Delta squad. I actually got moved to Delta from Bravo. People got moved a lot, sometimes just to mix things up and expose you to other cadets and see how you work with them, sometimes to test how they would act/react under a different squad leader.

It was around this time we starting getting informed our uniforms were on the horizon. But we had to earn them. The chief made it clear, that if the class wanted to be retarded till the last day of the academy, we wouldn’t wear our uniforms ever and that even if we got to wear them, we’d lose them if needed. Can’t remember the exact time in the academy we got our uniforms, but I think it was about 3/4 the way through, not the fastest class, but far from the slowest. I can’t remember if we lost our uniforms, And when I think back, all I can think about is the academy I instructed, and it was bad.

Schooling was in overdrive max. Everyday we had some new skills we needed to learn and then test on. All of these tests were pass/fail with 1 retry. I remember one test in particular that came with a couple good lessons, it was the truckers hitch test. The lesson was to practice whatever skills you were learning when they gave you the time to do it. So many times people would just screw around on training time, and it would come back to bite them. (Another simple thing but I guess not). Also, to pick the brains of the instructors. Can learn so much just by asking questions.

Anyway, the truckers hitch was one of the harder tests, partly cause it was a memory game and you did it like an hour after they showed you how. You first needed to tie the hitch between two trees with a rope. You had to properly tie the excess off, and if any part of the rope touched the ground after you began to secure it, you failed. People wouldn’t tie it far enough, let go and rubber band it into the ground, drop it on accident. After you tie off the hitch, you took multiple small ropes and bungees of different colors and sizes and tied a sequence of knots along the hitch in the middle. Some of these knots had very specific lengths of excess they could have, or had to be X inches long in X/Y direction, have x color on the left/right etc. (Here’s where that practice comes in handy, you get a feel for what it looks like when it’s the right length). If your knots looked like shit, fail. Not long enough, too long, fail. Wrong place, fail. Touch the ground, fail. You also had the structure fire gloves on, which are thick as hell and have little dexterity, so it made it even harder. And like all tests it was timed. But to top it all off, it was one of few tests the chief administered himself. Not 100% because he didn’t share everything with me in our talks later, but I believe he was watching or administering all the tests that related to the wildland side of fire to scout people. Here’s that performance/behavior thing coming back again. This was also true in the cal fire week with battalion chiefs and captains watching the events.

We got to go to another academy up north to do structure skills. Like venting roofs, using the jaws of life on cars, going through a live burn house learning how to use the hose indoors against active flames. We sat in the burn box and watched the fire burn over us. One of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. It was to explain how back drafts worked and what to look for at the different stages, it also showed us how hot it gets and why you crawl on the ground (unlike in movies where they stand around in a burning house, won’t even go into how stupid that is). My group was lucky where someone didn’t charge the line and we were burning in the box waiting for water.

During cal fire week I had some funny and not so funny moments. During the SCBA test I tore through it and I’ll never forget what the instructor said. “You don’t seem nervous at all, I think you’re way to calm, maybe if you were a little more stressed out you would have moved faster”. What was funny is he didn’t realize I passed, this is also a very important lesson. I’m not going to condone talking back to cadre, but I could see on the watch I passed the test by 30 seconds. However, after he gave the move faster speech, he told me I failed. I tried to tell him I didn’t but he cut me off and said move along you have a retest. Now, I could have clammed up and moved on my way, but I didn’t, I told him “sir with all due respect please check the watch it says 45 seconds and the test is for under 1:15”. He looked down at the watch, smiled and said “oh wow look at that, Ok, you passed move along”. This is a very fine line, because some things you are meant to fail by design even if you pass. But in this type of instance I believe it important to stand your ground and speak up.

A not so great evolution was hose lays. Grab sections of hose and roll it out. Now, it’s very specific how it’s rolled out. You grab the coupling, and throw it like a bowling ball. BUT, if it veers off a relative straight line, you fail. So you grab a roll, roll it. Grab another and sprint to the end of that, roll it. Continue this for 200+ft, each roll is about 50 pounds. As each roll is rolled, you connect to the previous coupling. You sprint back, charge the line, sprint back to the end and spray water with the correct technique at the targets. Then sprint back, turn water off and sprint back to the couplings and unhook them. You need a spanner to tighten/loosen them, cause if your couplings leak, you fail. Once the couplings are off, you have to pick up the hose sections. However, the hose can’t touch the ground once it’s in your arms or you fail. I used the butterfly technique, where you loop the hose over and under each arm, I saw too many people fail trying to roll it up or ball it up. (Another great lesson, learn from others mistakes, take the time to study what other people are doing, if you have the chance. This rings true for any test that applies). Sprint with the last roll of hose and hope you made time.

Well, I was helping someone prior to my test, and I took my gloves off. The cadre walked over and said “let’s go”. So I ran over and started my evolution. As I went through I was smashing it, thinking damn this is way easier than practice. When I finished, cadre walked up and said “where’s your gloves bud?”. Stomach sank, realized I didn’t have my gloves on and failed. Passed on my retest though. The lesson here is don’t get flustered, it’s stressful, but you have to remember to do your checklist. Cadre says “let’s go” and your brain melts and you scurry over wherever without your stuff, you look stupid, cadre isn’t gonna remind you and if no teammates are nearby to remind you or they’re not allowed to, it’s on you.

Some of the funnier moments were during things like blind building searches, where we don structure gear and SCBA tanks and masks that are blacked out and go through an obstacle course. It’s filled with climbs, drops, confined spaces where you can barely fit, and I mean where you can’t move your arms from above your head back down cause you can’t move your arms. Tossed into boxes that rotated to simulate falling through a floor, get caught in wire, get your tank turned off. At no time could you ever lose your buddy, ever. If his or your hand ever left his/your boot you fail instantly. You had one 45 minute tank of air, which is like 15 minutes of oxygen real life to get through the course; which was a maze, so you might not even find the 200lb dummy you have to drag back through it. When it wasn’t your turn you helped with the mind games, like what I mentioned earlier, turning off their air tank, hooking legs/tank into wire(only after you competed it). We had some people freak out from confined space, and this wasn’t even the confined space course. Talk about the walls closing in on that coarse...

Anyway, the funniest part of the whole thing was my test buddy and I had some big chews in our mouth, and cadre said “your on deck, mask on”. Grabbed my mask, cinched that thing down and then watched(well, felt cause it’s blacked out) chew and chew spit explode into my mask all over my face. How lucky for me that it was blacked out so cadre couldn’t see. So, I ran this crazy ass course, basically vomiting, dry heaving in my mask choking on chew and chew spit the whole time. Grizzly wintergreen! But my buddy and I were one of very few teams to complete it, so it felt pretty good. A lesson here is push through something Inconvenient, had I removed my mask or messed with it at all, at any point in the maze, we’d have failed. So my stupidity would cause someone else to fail, which wasn’t an option.

Another funny memory was a day in formation. Chief wanted to screw with us so he had us line up. Cadre comes out and they have radios in their pocket/hands. As they walked up and down the line, someone inside the college firehouse talked over the radio. High pitched voices, saying crazy stuff, quoting supertroopers, just trying to make us laugh. If you laughed you left formation and stood in line, ready to get smoked. It was down to a handful of us, when Luke walked to my end of the line, and the guy on the radio started singing “The government sucks” from tenacious D. “Their taking all the fucking beautiful animals, and making them fucking extinct”. Pretty much ended that.

In the end, I passed the class portion with 80%+, all skills and tests and had minimal interaction with cadre. I wasn’t perfect by any means, I did a lot of growing up, and that comes with failing and punishment. I was sent to the chiefs office twice, that I can remember. The first time was for class testing in the first month or so of the academy. He knew I could do better (based on my testing everywhere else) and told me to stop procrastinating, I was studying just before the tests and my squad leader had most likely informed him of this during peer reviews. This was my biggest flaw for sure and I would recommend anyone who procrastinates to remember the phrase “why put off to tomorrow what you can do today”. It’s also embarrassing standing in the chiefs office.

The second time was at the end of the academy to tell me I should join the wildland academy. After the initial few weeks(maybe more I don’t have perfect recall) I was dialed in. I had a very good rapport with the chief and cadre by the end. Here’s where when I talked about reputation and behavior will first come into play. The chief offered to help me get a job or send me to the wildland academy where he thought I would fit better (not everyone is afforded this generous gift. Chief had more pull than anyone in the fire community). I took his recommendation.

Some other lessons and experiences that were beneficial:

That everything was squad and class based, it was always “how do I help my squad”, while at the same time, helping the class. If my squad got dinged for punishment calisthenics, we would try and spread the reps out so that it was even, but also take extra reps if you could. Squad challenges were the norm, but even though you were competing against another squad, you were still a team, so you can’t go crazy trying to win or else the entire class would suffer. Taught a nice balance of competition and teamwork.

Confidence through failure and fighting through to succeed. Lot of people got hung up on failing and then kept failing cause their heads not in the game. I think the reps of failing and then coming back helped build a foundation to where if we failed something or I failed something, just shrugged it off, learned and adapted.
Confidence under pressure from the constant testing and time limits and atmosphere.
Confidence to perform in front of people. 99% of tests everyone is watching. Cadre, cadets, guests. We also had an interview panel a few times where in the front of the class after walking in, you sat down and took an interview board. Afterwords, you were critiqued by the entire class on what was good and bad.

A nice self check on who you are. Plenty of stories but the main event that really showed me a lot about myself was “Hell Day”. A whole day of pt, crazy events like sprinting up towers dragging weight to do more strength feats, all in full gear. But the gut check was the death march. Structure gear is thick, it’s made to insulate you from fire. Then your shroud and helmet, it’s a hot box. Then add on your SCBA mask. It’s 112+ degrees outside, grab your 50 pounds of hose to carry, and march. They give you no set finish line, just walk the trail till they tell you to stop. My mask at a few points was full of sweat, lift it up and just pour it out like a cup of water. I didn’t quit, but I did fall out (as did a lot of people and when I say fall out, I mean I passed out) with heat exhaustion and got carted back to med bay for a shower and a check up.

That’s another lesson too, give it your all, cadre knows when your half assing or looking for the easy out. Some folks were walking slow with the intent to pseudo quit, cause if you took to long and the med guys caught you they carted you back anyway.

Anyway, if anyone even reads this, am I on the right track? It’s long, tried to focus on lessons I learned or beneficial experiences. Let me know if it’s even interesting and if I should continue. Up next would be where all the major stuff happens through the wildland academy and my first crew.
 

Ace9029

Unverified
Joined
Feb 19, 2019
Messages
3
As someone who normally just lurks, I definitely found it interesting and would read a continuation. Your academy experience sounds really cool to me, as it makes my semester-long EMT-B class look pathetic in comparison.
 
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