Saturday, April 29, 2006

Pinnacle

You know what I realized today?
Pinnacle rhymes with Cynical.
And that’s the way most of the Class of 2009 feels about it.
This is supposedly what ’08 did instead of recognition.
And ‘07s was supposedly even easier.
That was a piece of cake.
No,
Seriously,
That was a joke.

The whole thing started with the lowering of the flag on Friday.
Then we marched to dinner.
No sitting at Attention or anything,
Just chilling out.

After dinner,
We learned who our Class Exemplar is.
The Class Exemplar is someone in history that we want to represent our class.
For example,
2001 had General Billy Mitchell,
The guy how pushed for the formation of the Academy.
2005 had General Patton,
The first General to actively use Air Power in combination with his ground forces.
We nominated several officers from history and voted on them last semester.
I’ll write a separate post on our Class Exemplar.

We had four hours to clean for the SAMI,
That’s more than four times the amount we got during Recognition.

After cleaning went formed up for our midnight march.
We marched down to the base Cemetery.
They had a nice ceremony down there.
“Amazing Grace” was played on the Bagpipes.
After which there was a twenty-one gun salute.
Followed by our own “In The Stairwell” singing “High Flight” and the third verse of the Air Force Song.
Finished off by the playing of Taps by a bugler.
Then we marched back to the Hill.
Where we finished cleaning.

Got up for reveille formation which was at 0530.
Then marched to breakfast.
After which was the SAMI.
Yippie.

After the SAMI we had the line challenge.
We marched down to the athletic fields,
And lined up to start.
All of this was timed.
And we were carrying rifles.

We started by running some 200 yards to the first event where we did Ranger Pushups.
For those of you who don’t know,
You use four people to make a square.
Put your feet on someone’s back,
And someone puts their feet on your back,
And you do pushups.
We did 30.

Then we ran with the Charge (a large painted railroad tie with ropes) about 50 yards and ran back.
Then we ran to the next event,

Another 200 yards.
This was Fireman Carry,
Two people start alive and they have to carry the entire element of 9 across a line 50 feet away.
They carry a person over,
That person is alive and can help bring more people.
Than we ran 50 yards up hill to the next event.

Stretcher carry.
Similar concept,
But just three dead people and one stretcher.

Than another 200 yard run to the low crawl,
We had to get all 9 of us under an obstacle in 45 seconds to get a two minute bonus,
We did it in 20.
They said that was the fastest they’d ever seen.
Than we ran 300 yards to the starting point for the run.

We ran 2.5.
May not sound like much,
But after everything else,
4 hours of sleep,
Boots that weigh 5 pounds each,
Rifles,
And going uphill…
Yeah,
It was a little tiring.
But I still did better than the guys from ’08.

Than we had an In Ranks Inspection.
(For uniforms)
It was in Parade Dress.
Why?
That’s beyond me.
We’ve worn that thing twice so far.
Including the inspection.

Which brings up another point.
This uniform costs around $500 and has to be custom made.
Why did we pay $500 for a uniform that we’ll be wearing a grand total of 8 times in our lives?
They don’t where this in the real Air Force.
It does look cool though.
I’ll have to post a picture some time.

After the inspection,
We had a parade,
Now,
You’d think that since we where just in Parade Dress,
We’d do the PARADE in PARADE Dress.
Nope,
We did it in Service Dress.
Service Dress and boots no less.
The civilian equivalent to this is wearing hiking boots with a suit and tie.
Yeah…

After the parade we went to dinner.
That was fairly boring.
They announced the winners for pinnacle.
But everyone was to busy watching the cadet eat an entire Dove Ice Cream bar in one bite.

Like I said,
The whole thing was a piece of cake.
’08 and ’07 really had it easy.
And they know it too.
I kinda feel sorry for them.
They couldn’t help it.

The entire point of this post was to prove why Pinnacle rhymes with cynical.
Because that’s how it makes cadets feel.
As you may have gathered from my ranting.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Friday Night

I know a lot of you that read this are going to the Homeschool prom.
Hope you all have fun.
I remember it as being a blast.
It was a chance to cut loose and just hang out.

I was hoping there might have been a possibility that I might be able to drop in this year,
But that’s not going to be happening.
We have Pinnacle this weekend.

Pinnacle was designed to replace Recognition during the few years that recognition didn’t happen.
It was supposed to be a more friendly less stressful substitute so the problems that occurred previously could happen.
The question at hand is…
If Pinnacle was supposed to replace Recognition,
And we did have Recognition,
Why are we doing Pinnacle?

Nobody knows.
Regardless,
All of the Class of 2009 is looking forward to showing up ’08 and ’07 this weekend.
That’s right,
We got recognized.
They haven’t

Anyway,
The main event on Friday is called the Heritage March.
It’s scheduled to end at midnight.
That’ll be around 1 am Texas time.
So y’all dance hard for me.
And I’ll be marching hard for you.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Appointee Season

Once again it that time of the year.
When those “fortunate” few who have gotten the acceptance papers come to spend the day with a cadet.
The first question we ask them is…
“Have you signed your life away yet”
We’re all happy for them,
They got what they’ve been wanting for so long.
Or have they?

Little do they realize that within two month’s time,
They will have one more thing in common with the Cadet Wing.
Even tough they’ll just be basics.
They will hate their lives.
Yet they will continue to stay.

It’s hard to think that one year ago,
I was one of them.
An innocent civilian with delusions that this place would be the greatest thing that every happened to me.
Maybe it will once I get out,
But not now.

Nonetheless,
It is appointee season,
And that makes life interesting.
Mainly because they bring weird weather with them.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Only at USAFA...

...does the uniform for formation include jackets when we're in the upper 70's, sunny and no wind,
And the uniform for the day is BDUs sleeves rolled up when it's below freezing, cloudy, and winds are about 30 mph.

I'm wearing my sleeves up because they said so
(Just like any good little cadet would),
But I'm also protesting in my own little way.
I'm wearing my black leather gloves too.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Speech & Debate

I helped out at a Speech & Debate tournament yesterday.
They let me out for some community service.
That was fun.
I left around 0700 and got back at 0130 the next morning.
I got to judge a lot of cool speeches.
I judges the semifinals for Expository and finals for Humorous Interpretive.
This place must have really warped my sense of humor.
I only thought a few of them were funny.
Everyone else was laughing.

I got to meet a lot of new people.
There were people from California, Georgia, Texas, New Hampshire, and here.
I didn’t know there were this many home schoolers in Colorado.
But apparently the home schooling community is alive and well up here.
After wards I went with of the local debate clubs and hung out for a little while.
I’m gonna have to see if I can if I can work with them more often.

Swing

We had a blood drive this week.
The blood is going to Bagdad to help out the troops over there.
Thursday was their last day collecting.
Thursday is also Swing Night.
Both were happening in the Arnold Hall Ballroom.
They end at 8:00 pm.
Exactly when we start.
That was interesting.
Especially since it was mostly Army personnel working the blood drive.

So we all ran out and grabbed someone from the Army to dance with.
That was very interesting.
But it was fun.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The American People

You gotta love 'em.
The US is the most diverse country on the planet.
Here,
You can be anybody,
Believe anything,
And do just about any thing.

Take the protesters that are at the Chapel right now.
They are from all over the country,
They beleive that being a homosexual is natural,
And they're protesting because they can't join the military.

The gay rights folks don’t like the fact that we don’t let them talk about their beliefs publicly if they join the military.
The problem there is beyond me.
We don’t talk about our religious or political beliefs because that can be controversial,
And their lifestyle is most certainly controversial.
We don’t prohibit them from serving,
We just prohibit them from announcing their views to everyone around them.

Which is actually in their best interest.
If a unit knew that one of their members was gay,
That person would be ostracized.
That’s just the way it would happen.

So,
As we were walking to lunch,
We saw them standing on the wall with their backs turned to us.
(We were all secretly hoping one of tem would jump in so we could watch SF take them out.)
I commented to one of my friends about the joys of potentially sacrificing your life so that people who hate you can live.
Then he said something that reminded me about why I’m here.

I’m not here to serve all of the people that live in the United States.
I’m here to defend my family, friends, and their freedoms.
If these other people get to enjoy those freedoms,
That’s fine.
But that’s not why I’m here.

I don’t remember the movie,
But it was one of those doomsday films,
As usual,
A crew was sent to ward off the on coming danger.
One of the lines went something like this.
“You can’t save the world, That’s to big of a job for one person. But you can save just a few people.”

I can't save the world,
But I can save the few I love.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

25 Years Ago Today

25 years ago yesterday,
On 12-APR-1981,
The worlds first space shuttle was launched.
She was called Columbia.
Her mission number was STS-1.
Commander John Young and Pilot Bob Crippen took her on her first flight.
She brought forth a new age in space travel.
The age of reusable space craft.

3 years ago on her 28th flight,
On 01-FEB-2003,
She fell victim to the hazardous environment in which she had so often flown before.
Her mission number was STS-107.
Her final crew included Commander Rick D. Husband, Pilot William C. McCool, Payload Specialist Michael P. Anderson, Mission Specialist Kalpana Chawla, Mission Specialist David M. Brown, Mission Specialist Laurel B. Clark, and Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon (Israel).
She has begun a new age.
An age were all missions are carried out with the utmost of care.

Of all her accomplishments,
One of he most interesting was carrying the first Israeli astronaut into space.

Ilan Ramon was a Colonel in the Israeli Air Force.
He was a fighter pilot.

May we never forget those who cannot return.

Another E-Mail From Our Wonderful Training Officer

Good Evening Bulldawgs,

Congratulate your team handball team for finishing the season. The four degrees are at rest from 1900 to 2000 (ahhh, such benevolence.)

Moreover, congratulate the firsties for finishing their last Academy intramural season ever.
Thank you for your time and consideration.

Very Respectfully,

C1C XXXX XXXXXX
Training Officer
CS-13
United States Air Force Academy

Thanks,
But we already finished Recognition.
We're already at Rest

Saturday, April 8, 2006

Swing

Oh Wow!!!
Last night we had Swing Club at the gym.
We used the mats at the gymnastics area,
So we got to learn a bunch of aerials.
Ok…
So it was only six.
But that’s a lot to learn in one night.
One of them was invented/developed/created here at USAFA.

If y’all can get something organized,
I can teach you some of the moves over summer break.
Maybe we can even do multiple sessions.
And then top it all off with an entire evening of dancing.
I’ll even make dinner.
Any volunteers?

Sunday, April 2, 2006

Spring Break

Spring Break was Great!!!
I really needed that time to unwind.
Sorry if I talked to much,
But I needed to get that out of my system.

Got in late Sat.

Went to Church Sun morning.
Did AWANA Sun evening.
They asked me to do council time for the Sparkies and T&T Guys.
When they found out I was going to talk about respecting authority,
They decided to bring the girls in too.
(I’m not implying anything here)
I did the Armor of God in a Box with the Sparkies.
I made the various pieces out of aluminum foil.
They loved that.

Mon I just hung out.
I don’t recall anything out of the ordinary happening.

Tue I went to the gym with my parents.
I got on the tread mill,
(I hate the elliptical machine they use)
And started running.
As I started singing jodies in my head I realized I wasn’t running as fast as I could.
I kept increasing the speed.
I eventually realized that the computer said I was doing ten mph.
I wasn’t even out of breath after fifteen minutes of that.
I love Oxygen.
That evening I took my sister to a dance event I had heard about.
That was fun.
I got to see some old friends there.

Wed was Sonlight.
I got to see a bunch more friends and get to know a few people better.
I got to help dissect a heart.
And then got volunteered to help in cooking.
That was fun.
I learned how to make roses for a cake with play dough.
After lunch I went to dance class and square dancing class.
Dance was with the highschoolers,
While square dancing was with the 6th-8th graders.
I show up for square dancing and then I realize,
I haven’t done this in over a year.
I don’t remember a thing.
Thankfully they started with a song that I had done so many times before I had it memorized.
So I used that to re learn everything.

I feel really bad about this one.
One of the girls didn’t have her name tag on.
Up here, if you don’t have your ID badge on someone will call you a terrorist.
So I instinctively point and say “Terrorist!”
Then instantly think, “Uh Oh.”
Fortunately I was able to explain all that to her and she was ok with it.
I felt horrible.
I had tried to keep the Cadet inside,
But he managed to get out.

Thursday I went to Hockey practice.
I spent most of the time doing Calculus.
Yuck.
Afterwards, a family invited me over to play a board game.
Axis & Allies.
I had been wanting to play that game for the past six years.
And to top it all off,
I got to make dinner.
Well, not entirely,
I think I took over the kitchen.
I walked into the kitchen and noticed that they were cooking spaghetti.
So I took it upon myself to finish the job.
I love cooking.
I don’t get much chance to cook up here.

Friday
I went to the Ballet.
I had gotten volunteered to help move the stage from the studio to the church they were performing at.
That was fun.
The ballet was good to.
(My sister thinks I’m crazy for actually enjoying watching a ballet)
Afterwards I went with a few people to watch King Kong at someone’s house.
Apparently it was supposed to be a scary movie.
But we had a narrator who actually made it rather humorous.

I flew back to Colorado on Saturday.
The Co-Pilot is a T-38 instructor at Sheppard AFB.
I saw the T-38 sticker on his bag and asked him.
The were several Air Force enlisted Security Forces guys headed to Fort Carson on my plane.
They were going for training before heading out to the sand box.
A lot of them were going for their second deployment.
When the plane landed the lady on the speaker thanked all the service men on the plan for their service.
I felt horrible about then.
I was getting the same thanks they were.
I’m a college student.
They were headed into the thick of the fighting.It didn’t seem right.

I slept all that day and for twelve hours that night.
I guess I was recovering from spring break.
I must have partied too hard.
(Yeah right…)

So…
I’m back in my dorm,
Doing the same old thing,
Counting down until my next leave.
Six more weeks of school!!!
That’s not even two full months!
Unfortunately,
Those six weeks will be spent working harder than I have previously.
Oh well…

BTW,
I didn’t get in trouble for damage to government property.
For those of you who are in on the joke,
You can laugh.
For those of you who are clueless,
Find someone who is laughing.

"Suspicious Package"

You may remember the "Suspicious Package" we got back in October
http://theearthcanbemoved.blogspot.com/2005/10/bomb-scare.html

I had a suspicious package on my desk when I got back.
I probably should have reported it,
But I just had to open it.

Here are the pictures.
Here's what was inside.

I'm Back

I made it back alive.
Now I'll just have to see if I can keep it this way.
Thank's to all who made my spring break the greatest.
I had a blast.
I'll write all about it later.

Oh,
And just so you all know,
When I say beating.
I mean extreme physical, non-voluntary, workout.
Pushups and stuff.
Not with sticks.
I had some people who were very concerned about that.
And you have no idea how much that means to me.