Monday, June 30, 2008

My heart skipped a beat...

...when I checked the mail on Friday and saw 2 postcards from my Johnny! YAY! Finally! Before he left, I got some big note cards and self addressed them to me and stamped them so when he got a few seconds he could whip one out and write on the lined side and they would be ready to go! I was so anxious to hear from him and was practically in tears before I could even read them!

He is doing GREAT! I didn’t doubt for a second that he wouldn’t do well because he has been training for this for ever and was so mentally ready for anything they threw at him. But it was so reassuring to hear it from him and it did my heart good :)

Below I’ve included some excerpts from the letters themselves. I’ve left out some of the really mushy parts where he confesses his undying love for me (we’re newlyweds, ok?!) so it may seem a bit choppy. He also would write a few sentences and then at a later time write a few more sentences. He tried to say what time or day it was when he would pick up writing again.

Some background information on the tests he mentions below....A portion of the PT test includes a 5-mile run in 40 minutes or less, which is pretty fast! When he was training at home for it, he was running it in about 38 minutes and he says below he ran in it 36 minutes! Which, 2 minutes is a huge drop in time! Also, the Combat Water Survival Test – as far as I know, this includes things such as underwater equipment removal, a 15-meter swim and a "blind drop" during which students fall backwards and blindfolded into the water. If they fail a test, they are out of the program - and you only have one shot at becoming a Ranger. I've also included some times and dates and meanings of abbreviations in brackets.

Johnny’s Words:

“It is 1500 [3:00 p.m. on Friday the 19th], we are in-processing. We have an incomers brief at 1700 [5:00 p.m.], then things start to heat up. We will have our PT [physical training] test tomorrow morning around 0400 [4:00 a.m.]. Then the Combat Water Survival [CWST] test.”

“It is 2155 [9:55 p.m.] on Saturday [the 20th] and we had the PT test and the CWST and I got “GO’s” on everything. I ran 5 miles in 36 minutes! Tomorrow is Land Navigation at 0300 [3:00 a.m.]. HA! It is tough, but I am fine. My moral is ok. Highs and lows you know. But mainly positive. When I get some time for my mind to wander I pray for you mainly. The worst parts of the day are when I start to miss you. Great thoughts, but home-sickening! So, I just try to stay focused on the tasks at hand.”

“It is Monday night, the 23rd, 2200 [10:00 p.m.]. We are going to bed now. So far I have gotten “GO’s” on everything; PT, CWST, Land Nav…oooohhh the list goes on! HA. Oh man, they smoke the crap out of us all day long. About 25 out of 83 guys failed Land Navigation. My 1st Ranger buddy literally fell over on the 5 mile run. So, he is gone now. Our class is losing people every day. Today we finished with 75. Almost 10 in 4 days. We have started getting into different battle drills now, which is fighting techniques. I am picking it up well. I am still glad to be here finally.”

He also confirmed they get this upcoming Friday and Saturday off before the official Ranger school begins on the 6th. So, I get to see my husband!!! I couldn’t be more excited! Although, this will more than likely be the last time I see him until he graduates in a few months. So I’ve been making lists over the past 10 days of everything I want to make sure I tell him about this weekend! This no-talking thing is really tough!

I’m going to try to post a new entry every few days (we’ll see how it goes!), so check the site often!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ranger School Begins

Well, the starving, no sleep, extreme physical and mental exertion training we call Ranger School has begun. Actually, it's Pre-Ranger School (PRC) for the next two weeks, but don't let the "pre" fool you, it won't be easy!

Saying goodbye on Friday was as miserable as one could imagine. Neither one of us had much of an appetite that morning at breakfast and Johnny was still trying to get a hold of correct orders from his Batallion, which he should've already had in his hands. Hopefully by now he has them! He had to report Friday morning from 0930 to 1100 and it took us about 30 minutes to actually find the Ranger training area on the massive base that Ft. Benning is. We made our goodbye quick and I headed back to the hotel to wait until 2. We had heard some rumors that they've been letting the guys have the weekend free after they report in on Friday, so I waited, partly hoping I'd get 2 more days with my Johnny and the other half terrified I was going to have to do that goodbye all over again. He called at 1:45 to get numbers out of his cell phone so he could try to get his orders and said they weren't letting them go for the weekend. I was surprised to even get a call from him because they are not allowed any phone or computer access. So, I made my journey back down to Savannah with swollen eyes and a lonely front seat.

I'm hoping to get a letter in the mail from him soon with his mailing address. I'll be sure to get it to those who want it to send him letters over the next few months. We heard they receive letters often, but will only receive packages in between phases (so about once a month). Johnny will also have to consume everything in the packages at that time (candy, food, etc.) and can't carry anything extra, so instead of having a lot of wasted things, let me know if you would like to contribute to one big package. I'm going to try to send him a package as close to the end of each phase as I can, so let me know!

I'll use this blog to post updates (with the information I'm allowed to share online) that I get from his letters. The letters may be few and far between as they don't have much down time, and the down time they do have is spent sleeping! I'll also be posting non-Ranger Johnny entries from time to time about the random happenings in my life. So don't be surprised if you see a favorite recipe of mine pop up from time to time!

Please keep Johnny in your prayers, specifically for his safety and strength to endure this intense training. While it is tough not having him around, I know he is getting some of the BEST TRAINING possible and this will make him a better solider and better prepared for the upcoming deployment in October.

Let me know if you have any questions, about where he is, what he is doing, or anything at all, and I'll do my best to answer them!

Thank you all for your continued love and support!