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Mike's Adventures in Field Training

Part 4 - Guard Duty

One of the things you could get picked to do during field training was duty as either "Cadet Officer of the Day (COD)" or "Cadet in Charge of Quarters (CCQ)."  These positions were charged with sitting in the front office and manning the phone.  Your secondary responsibility was to guard the doors at night, and also assign demerits for cadets being up after lights out.  So that we didn't place the COD and CCQ in the position of having to lie to cover for us, we just stayed clear of the front office.  The CCQ was supposed to go on rounds every couple of hours, so we just waited until they completed a round and then we snuck out after that.

When I got tasked with being CCQ, it was during survival week (week three).  Half of the group was out at survival training, while our group remained behind in the barracks.  Since there were only half the cadets left, instead of assigning two of us, they only assigned one.  Normally what would happen is the COD and CCQ would alternate shifts throughout the night so that one could sleep while the other manned the office.  Since I was the only one, though, I was going to have to stay up all night.  Without caffeine.  So, needless to say, I am sure that the training staff was positive that I was going to fall asleep at some point.

I had warned all of the cadets that if I caught them, I was going to bust them.  The way I saw it, I was going to be working off demerits during the upcoming weekend, so I was going to try and get as much company as I could.  Basically, though, I was bored, and it was kind of a joke.  In all actuality, though, I made so much noise when I started my patrols, that if they didn't hear me coming and get out of the way, they deserved the demerits I would give them.  (One of the biggest things that could get you kicked out was not assigning demerits; if you caught someone and let them go, and the CTOs and FTOs then caught you letting the person go, YOU would be in deep trouble for tolerating bad behavior; this was very bad.)

So, I decided I would stay awake by going on patrols about every half hour.  Since I was the only one on duty, I was allowed to leave my post.  Normally, the COD had to man the phone while the CCQ conducted patrols; I could leave the phone unmanned, but only for brief periods of time.

So, at around 9:30 PM, lights out was called.  I was supposed to start the first set of rounds at around 9:45.  I was also told that at some point, one of the FTOs would show up and we would go around together to do a bed check to make sure everyone was in their bed and accounted for.

So, I sat there.  And I sat there.  And I walked around.  Then I went back to my office.  At around 11 PM, I get a call from "the command post" telling me there was a suspicious person identified on base, and that I needed to be on the lookout.  I entered it into the phone log (I don't know if it was a real warning or a BS one from the staff to make sure I was awake and answering the phone.)

Anyway, at around midnight, I heard a noise in the bathroom down the hall to the right of the CCQ office.  I was shocked, because in order for someone to get into the bathroom, they would have to had crossed in front of my office.  This meant that someone had sneaked right past me while I was sitting there!

Well, I was going to make them pay.  So I grabbed my flashlight and quietly slipped into the bathroom.  The lights were out, so they must have been sitting there in the darkness.  I saw the silhouette of a person coming in from behind the blanket that covered the doorway to the secret bathroom was we had found.  So, I sat there in the darkness with my flashlight and I figured I would scare the crap out of them.

So, when they got into the bathroom, I shined the light in their face and said, "Ha!  I got you!"

It was at that point I noticed it was the commander, who was a Colonel.  We saw this guy at formation and the weekly inspections and parades, but we did not interact with him regularly.  So, I was surprised that I just scared the crap out of him, and he had scared the crap out of me.

We adjourned to my office, where he told me he was the Staff Duty Officer who would be conducting the bed check that night.  He was convinced I would be asleep at my post, so he snuck in from the school next door to catch me, but instead, I caught him.  So, we grabbed my flashlight and the clipboard and conducted the bed check.

Everyone was where they were supposed to be, and then we came to my room.  He shined the light on my bed, which was empty.

"Aha!" he exclaimed.  "We got one."  He shined the light on the room roster.  "Give Cadet Lewis five demerits for being out of his bed."

I didn't know what to say, so I kind of mumbled, "Sir, I am Cadet Lewis."  To this, he was quiet, and said, "Never mind."  When we got back to the CCQ office, he told me to take five merits for doing a great job (and to presumably keep my quiet about his mistake).

Anyway, the colonel and I sat there for a while shooting the breeze, and he was really a cool guy.  After a half hour, he left.

I did some random bed checks the rest of the night and managed to stay awake the entire evening.  It was so boring.

The highlight of the next day was when I got to play Reveille over the loud speakers and wake everyone up.  However, even though I was up all night, I was not permitted to sleep the next day.  It was training as usual; well, not quite usual - it seemed they had plenty of briefings for us to attend in the dark base theater.  Luckily, my roommate kept his elbow firmly planted in my side to keep me awake through the whole thing.

And the, anyone anyone, top speed of the F-15, anyone anyone?
The theater briefings were SOOOOO BORING!

But that next night when I did get to sleep - well, they didn't have to worry about doing bed checks on me.  I was too asleep to be up that night.

Next: Part 5 - Survival