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Mike's Adventures in Field Training

Part 2 - A Late Night

The first few days we were in field training, we knew that the CTOs would be looking to get us.  A couple of times I woke up in the middle of the night, and I saw the glow of their flashlights down the hall.  We knew that if we tried sneaking out or talking, they would bust us for sure.

One of the things, though, is that they don't give you enough time to get everything done in.  We were supposed to have a flight shield painted by Day 3, but there was no time allocated for painting.  As a result, you were expected to stay up and paint the shield in order to have it done on time.  See?  It's a no-win situation - you either break the rules and stay up after lights out, or you don't have your shield done by the time required, and you get chewed out.  Either way, you lose.

The guy in the room next to us was up painting our shield in the women's dorm room.  Because no male CTO or FTO could enter a female room, he knew his chances of getting caught there would be less than anywhere else.  So, the guy in our flight snuck over there every night and painted the shield in their closet.  By day 3, the shield was painted, and he was never caught.  Since he was sneaking around at night, he knew where the CTOs and FTOs were at while they were conducting their patrols.  He told us that they stopped coming around at 1 AM.

One of the flight shields
Our flight shield.  Not bad for being painted in the dark in a closet.

So, on the fourth night at around 3 AM, my roommate Keith starts talking.

"Hey, wake up," he said.  My other roommate James told him to be quiet.  Keith said that he didn't think we could get in trouble, because the CTOs stopped coming by after 1 AM, so we all started talking.  We talked about where we were all from and what we wanted to do in the Air Force, and then we all talked about what we thought of the other CTOs.

Keith said how he thought one of the female CTOs, Trotter, was pretty hot, and James said he thought Warrington, a male CTO, was a jerk.

"I think that CTO Sanders was a real bitch," I said, and then I told them the story of my first day there.  We had a good little discussion for about 20 minutes, and then went to sleep.  Knowing that we didn't get busted, we slept pretty good.

The next day, we were all in line for breakfast, when CTO Sanders started walking down the line.

"Last night, we heard some voices coming from Room 107," she said.  "Someone said, 'Quote CTO Trotter is pretty hot unquote.'  Who said that?"

Keith said it was him.  Then she said, "Who said 'CTO Warrington is a jerk?'"  James said that he had.

Then she got to me.  "And who said, 'CTO Sanders is a real bitch?'"

I didn't know what to say; "Ma'am, that would be me, ma'am," I replied.

"Oh, that would be you," she replied.  "Since it was after lights out, you must have been talking in your sleep.  Tell me, cadet, do you dream about me?"

Since I knew that I was already in trouble, I decided I might as well have fun on my way out.  Without really thinking, I replied, "Only in my nightmares, ma'am!"

She got in my face and said, "That's right, cadet, and you are going to have one hell of a nightmare after you spend all evening doing PT at the rock!"  The rock was this huge several ton rock that was painted black with a big white star on it.  It was right in front of the barracks.  When passing it, we were to salute it and say, "Good morning/day/night, General Rock!"  It was also the place all the bad people went to do the PT discipline.

General Rock
General Rock.

Normally in the evenings after dinner, we played athletics, like volleyball, flickerball, or ultimate frisbee.  They're stupid little team sports that the trainers make little BS rules for, so that you can't win or even have fun.  For example, you can't block in volleyball and you can't jump or fall down in ultimate frisbee.  Sometimes they make bad calls for the heck of it, to see if you will argue with them.  Anyway, we normally spent two or three hours playing athletics each night, which wasn't so bad since you didn't have to be at attention. 

But that night, because we were in trouble, we spent the entire time doing push ups, sit ups, running, and other forms of intense physical training.  But they made a mistake - we realized that we broke the rules and we got caught, yet they weren't kicking us out as our FTO told us could happen.  We also realized that this was the worst that could possibly happen to us. 

C'mon!  You can give me 72!
A CTO yelling at Cadet Lewis in front of General Rock.

Can I play volleyball yet?
Another shot of a CTO yelling at Cadet Lewis some more for only doing 73 pushups. 

I'd be lying if I said it wasn't bad.  It was bad.  It was very physically demanding, and plus we were made as an example for the rest of the corps.  But in the end, it taught us that we could take risks - we had survived the punishment, so unless they kicked us out (which they obviously were reluctant to do), we could survive anything they threw at us.

Diamond pushups
When it got too dark outside, we did diamond pushups in our room before going to bed!

[I later found out that the staff indeed knew I was from the local area, and they were convinced that I was going to try to sneak out.  So that they could catch me, they had posted CTO Trotter outside of our hallway to catch me.  One of the other guys in the flight saw her, but he had no way of warning us, lest he would get caught as well.  So, I thought it was a little unfair; no one else had a posted guard.  I was unfairly singled out from the start.  Perhaps that was one of the reasons they didn't kick us out...]

Next: Part 3 - Weekend duty