Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Army Goes Facebook

So, how's this for weird? My daughter's platoon has a Facebook page! It was created and is being run by the wife of one of the drill sergeants. On Sundays we get a schedule of what they'll be doing the coming up week. Also, family members of the soldiers can leave messages and she will (she says) pass them along.

The family members are starting to talk to each other, which I think is cool. By the time we go to graduation at the beginning of May, I'll already know all these people.

In case you're interested, the Facebook page is here: Bravo Battery Bushmasters

They also post pictures. Lots of pictures. Hundreds of pictures. As usual, my daughter is quite adept at hiding from the camera. I have been able to find a few of her though. I snagged two of them where I could actually see her face:

That's my baby in the middle there, standing in formation on day 1 of basic training.

This was on Friday. They called this the Treadwell Tower, and it's a mass of ladders, rope bridges, and a 40 foot rappelling wall. Out of the 300 pictures or so that they posted on Friday, this is the only one I could find of her. Looked to me like she had climbed up the ladder behind her, and was kneeling on a platform ready to take on a rope bridge. Kylie said it looked like a big playground. :)

I also got to talk to her briefly yesterday. She said that they were allowed to use their phones for five minutes. Because of the earthquake in Japan, there were lots of soldiers worried about friends/family members stationed or living in Japan, so they let them have some phone time.

She told me that things were going well, and that it's really not bad. The thing that is the hardest for her (she says) is "immature people who can't keep their mouths' shut, so the whole platoon winds up paying for it." I guess she doesn't like it much when one person gets out of line, and everyone has to run or do pushups or whatever. I wouldn't like that much either.

She said (after week 1) that the training itself isn't bad at all. Some of it is even kind of fun (See: rope bridge, playground). This coming Tuesday is not going to be fun, but at least they are getting it out of the way at the beginning. The gas chamber. Where they get to go in to a chamber with gas masks on, then they get to take them off and see what it feels like to be gassed. I've seen other pictures and video on YouTube...they all come out crying and gasping and puking. I hope on that day, I don't see any pictures of her. This is the only thing she has been dreading. But like I said, at least they're getting it out of the way early.

I think the hardest part of this whole thing for me is trying to separate the pride I have for my daughter with my feelings about the military. I am not a big fan of the military, war, guns, killing, bombs, or anything war-related. I don't care for movies about war. I don't like violence at all. And my daughter has joined the army. Don't get me wrong, I am so, so proud of her. How many 18 year-old girls are completely and totally on their own? Getting training, and earning money while doing it. With no husband or children, and hardly anything she needs to spend money on, she's going to have a nice fat balance in her checking account by the time she's done with AIT (Advanced Individual Training).

Her AIT will be at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, which is directly after basic. If you're in the medical field, that's where you go for AIT. Her job is 68W, or a medic. She wants to eventually become a nurse. Anyway, back to the part where I am so very proud of her. She didn't want to take money from us, nor go into debt to pay for college. You know what she wants to buy when she gets out of AIT? A laptop. Not a car, not a big screen TV, not a mall full of clothes. She wants a nice laptop. I told her, "Baby, you'll have plenty of money and you'll definitely have earned it, so you go buy yourself the nicest, shiniest laptop you can find." :)

I love that kid. The military, not so much. But I sure do love her. Have I mentioned that I'm really, really proud of her?