I am an active duty officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. All views expressed in this blog are my personal views as an individual and not those of the Marine Corps or the Department of Defense.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Cold enough for ya?

How cold was it this week? It was so cold...
  • within an hour or two of leaving the barracks for the rifle range, the water in our canteens/camelbaks was frozen solid
  • despite wearing some 4-5 warming layers (underarmour, polypro, fleece, gortex) we were still shivering and stomping and blowing like spastic, rabid horses
  • I heard one guy trying to give away a block of ice disguised as an apple
  • thanks to uselessly numb fingers, during pistol cleaning we sent multiple spring-loaded parts whizzing past unsuspecting ears
  • even Sgt. G put on gloves
One of my roommates captured the mood perfectly while we were shivering in the pits (running the targets up and down for other platoons) when he said simply, "fuck everything." Indeed.

But...I can't complain. Miraculously, on Friday, the actual day we qualified on pistol/rifle, the clouds parted, the sun came out, and it was a balmy 45 or so degrees. We felt, as someone else in my platoon put it, like we'd won the damn lottery. And most of us shot better as a result. I got "expert" on rifle (the top ranking) and missed it by 3 points on pistol, getting "sharpshooter" instead. I'm definitely happy with those results, though I'm looking forward to getting more practice on the M9 Beretta.

Aside from the cold, the past few weeks have been pretty awesome. We earned our tan belts in MCMAP (Marine Corps martial arts program) a few weeks ago by throwing one another around (and into the ground comma frozen solid). While I initially hated MCMAP because the fundamentals are much closer to boxing than to the fluid, low-center-of-gravity techniques I'm used to, I've grown to like it, especially as we learn techniques that are straight out of Aikido. MCMAP is supposed to combine the best and most martial elements of all the other arts (while leaving out impractical, sport-oriented stuff) and I'm starting to see how, at the higher levels, it does exactly that. I'm hoping to find the time to earn my grey and green belts while I'm here.

Next week, we do some more advanced rifle stuff - moving targets, etc. It will still involve early mornings, the 3 mile pre-dawn hump out to the range and whatever temperatures G-d throws at us, but I'm looking forward to it.