Welcome to Arizona
Fort Benning was easy. The only really rough parts of the Basic Officer Leadership Course were the day into night land navigation course and the leadership rotations. All the physical stuff was a breeze as well as the marksmanship qualification and urban operations. Running a Forward Operating Base on the other hand...Let's just say Buffy and paperwork are natural enemies and leave it at that.
I did graduate though and then the fun part of my trip to Georgia started. Airborne school is pretty short, only three weeks, and is all about the physical. The first week you learn how to put on a parachute harness and how to land without any major damage. Then you get to climb a 34 foot tower, get clipped onto a zip line and practice jumping out of a simulated aircraft.
After finishing all that you get Tower Week. More 34 foot towers, this time learning how to mass exit an aircraft. Then Swing Landing training and finally the 250 foot tower. Don't forget plenty of running, push-ups, and squats in case the Black Hats got bored!
And the last week is jumping. I was just soooo glad that no one I knew was there to see me waddle like a penguin with my parachute, rucksack and weapon case on to the C-130. But once those five jumps were done and my wings were pinned on...It felt like heaven.
Then I went to Arizona.
Fort Huachuca is in the South-eastern corner at about a mile above sea level. It's only about twenty or so kilometers north of Mexico and is in a serious high desert. Of course I was in Arizona in August so the temperature was in the high 90s and the North American Monsoon was going so it drizzled almost everyday.
That heavenly feeling I was having?...Not so much anymore. And I was going to be stuck here for the next four months or so!
Learning to be an Officer is a lot like learning to be a elementary school teacher I would guess. The basic philosophy is 'How do you keep enlisted soldiers focused and not hurting themselves?'. As I had basically been an enlisted soldier for the last four years, I was actually pretty offended by the cavalier attitude that a lot of my fellow lieutenants took. That being, your average enlisted must be micromanaged or nothing will ever be accomplished.
Thinking back to my joyous experiences with Cutter, I swore I would never be that much of an idiot. Fortunately my instructors were decent and my Jump Wings, Air Assault Wings, and most importantly my Combat Action Badge, kept away most of the snide comments of my classmates.
The classes themselves were a mixture of boring and neato-keen. Command Estimates, Situation Mapping, Mission Analysis were all really boring but stupidly important. Target Development had definite applications for Slaying demonic cults and other organized groups and was interesting as well. And developing courses of action (plannage) for offense and defense along with reconnaissance was really fun.
Then there was the reading and writing and inspections and physical training and language maintenance. I didn't really have time to get truly bored, but I couldn't get away and slay either.
I had been at Huachuca for 15 weeks when the murders started.