February 2007

It's finally the end of February, and we are finished with every graded event except one... the final physical fitness test (PFT). The past month consisted of two field exercises in the freezing-cold snow, sleet, and ice, and I'm happy to say most of us escaped without much more than minor frostbite and chapped skin. Don't get me wrong, spending the night in sub-zero weather drove us half nuts, but heck, it's over baby!

February started with urban training (MOUT) and consisted mostly of house-to-house clearing, reacting to snipers, car-bombs, crowds, and full-on attacks with hostile forces. The setup here at Quantico is impressive, with a smaller "Combat Town" and a larger MOUT Town. We also had the opportunity to use a "real" town at the FBI academy called Hogan's Alley. Even though we spent Monday-Saturday waking up in weather so cold my toothpaste froze, it was still good training due to the realistic scenarios and conditions in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.

We finished off the month with our final field exercise (FEX 4), which was basically a few sleepless nights in the woods wondering what was going on. Other than hiking several miles in the snow through the woods... oh, and with all 80+ pounds of gear... we mostly learned the importance of keeping track of all the high-speed gear we were issued. Yes, we ended up losing (then finding) a little hand-held Cobra radio and a night vision "laser" sight called a PEQ-2A. Overall, we are now more aware of how continuous operations will impact our Marines and hopefully we can apply some of the knowledge learned to keep them alive.

So to the good part... kinda. I'm heading to California in April and will be with the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton. I should be there for about 2-3 years before moving again, and might get a chance to head over to the desert for a few months. Cali is good because I'll be able to get over to Hawaii more often, but now I have to plan a little more in advance to get back to good old Carolina or PA. No biggie, I'm looking forward to getting into my new job and having some fun at the beach! Graduation is closing quick, and March 15th will be here before I know it. Til then, here's a few pics of February. Ciao!

How to Keep Warm...?

 

Combat Town



Dressing warm in MOUT Town



Yeah, it's that cold



Snow on the 2nd day



But the training goes on



The realistic Hogan's Alley



A little warmer for FEX 4



Looking for the PEQ-2A



FEX 4: "That was Easy"





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