The Cow Pie
One of my favourite army activities involves live ammunition. I have always enjoyed shooting. It’s something I learned about when I was very small and the army has provided me with an opportunity to release my stress in a controlled environment with no jail time. So I am perturbed that the one thing I was looking forward to ended up such a hell.
We went to the range today and it was one of the worst ranges I have ever been to. As far my as my old unit is concerned, I always make sure to attend the October drill and qualify first-time go so that I do not have to get on the range in August when it is too hot. I have never done well with the heat and I don’t care how much water I drink, I always seem to get light-headed, faint or otherwise out of sorts. I hate that everybody looks at me like I’m purposely dehydrating myself. I cannot imagine that anyone would think that I enjoy falling flat on my face at random moments.
Anyway, let’s talk about this shitty ass range. First, we show up at the crack of dawn and that is the best way to do things. Get out there while the air is still cool, but what do we do with this nice, cool breeze? We waste it, talking about HOW to shoot, HOW to wear one’s helmet, HOW to do this, HOW to do that. Seriously, one of the first things you learn how to do in the army is shoot. No matter what your job is you are a soldier first. I don’t think we need a basic rifleman’s instruction course again. By the time we lay out on the firing line, it’s already 830. We wasted two hours of cool air talking.
I try to make sure that I am in the first firing order so I can get out of the sun. I never have any problems firing and I zeroed in 9 rounds. The problem occurred when it came time to zero our scopes. I’ve never used a scope before. I don’t know anything about it: how to adjust it, how to mount it, anything. Instead of teaching me how to put on my helmet, they should have instructed me how to mount the scope properly. Then they should have had the right tools to do the adjustments. Better yet, they should have done this back in the rear so as not to waste time.
They made me get off the range because of some technical issues regarding the scopes. That’s the first problem. I know I have problems with the heat. I’ve long since come to the conclusion that I need to take precautions. Drinking water is not enough for me. Going first, making sure I stay in the shade, making sure I rest. This is what helps me. Another thing that helps me is removing my gear. I have never been anywhere that I had to stay in my gear ALL DAY LONG. When I came off the line I took my helmet off. This man tells me I have to put it back on. Seriously? It’s 1000 degrees outside and even though I am sitting in the shade, I need to take the helmet off for a little while. No. The only place you can take all your gear off is over where the bags are staged… in the hot ass sun where there is no shade. That totally defeats the purpose.
By the time I was allowed to get back on the line, it was almost 1130. At that hour in Texas, it’s the same temperature as the surface of the sun. Then they made me coach before I fired. So now I’m out in the sun for about two hours. I just can’t take it. You can call me weak, a delicate little flower, lame, whatever. I just can’t take it. I was seeing stars. People were talking to me and I didn’t even know what they were saying. It was like nobody was speaking English. Then when I tried to rest, somebody ate me up. I went to stand in the shade while everyone was firing and the sergeant came and lit my ass up. He said, “You don’t just walk off and don’t tell anybody.” But I didn’t just walk off. I went two feet to the left to get some shade. By that point it was already over. I was just delaying the inevitable.
Thirty minutes later I was removed from the whole process and told to go sit down.
It was just an awful experience. I have so much to say about the situation but I’ll save that for my retirement memoirs.
So you might be wondering about the title of this blog: Cow Pies. So I learned that this base is not only federally protected land because it’s an army installation, but it’s a federally protected land due to the cattle that roam carelessly around the place. Apparently, this land is co-owned by the army and some cattle ranchers. It is a serious crime to harm any of the cattle that you might see, and when I say cattle I mean … BIG ASS COWS and when I saw BIG ASS COWS, I mean BIG ASS COW SHIT PILES everywhere! You would be laying on the firing line and there would be a big ass plop of cow poop right next to you. The only good thing about the heat is that it dried out the shit right away so there was no horrid stench or flies to spread disease, but it was still disgusting. The piles were the size of small satellite dishes, and I wish I was exaggerating but I’m really not. I wanted to take pictures but really, who wants to look at a picture of cow shit. That’s just overboard. It was just everywhere. You had to strategically watch where you stepped because then you’d have dry cow shit caked in your boots. It just wasn’t a good look.
They had the nerve to call this place The Great Place. Yeah, fuck that.