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Day 23: Climb (Extraordinarily Slowly) to Glory

March 14, 2011 | Captain Thomas Harper

            Here comes the blitz: after losing my collection of daily notes over the weekend, I’ve found them and intend to not stop until I’ve caught the blog up to date.  To save all the readers from early onset cataracts, I’m going to post them in pairs, rather than all at once.  I realize that I could skimp by cutting down on material and combining days, but that would be violating my trend.  Those attending future JAOBCs have hopefully gotten used to getting more information that less out of my blog, and I don’t want to shatter that expectation this far into the game.

            For anyone counting, this covers Monday, 7 March 2011, and not today (14 March).  Airborne PT saw our first O-Hill run.  I may have mentioned O-Hill previously, but you’ll hear all about it once you get here.  It’s short for “Observatory Hill,” and it has none other than a rusty old observatory at the top of it.  The run is about 5 miles total from the JAG school, which isn’t the rough part.  The rough part happens to be the seemingly never-ending climb to the top. 

(I commissioned a professional artist to render this sketch of exactly what O-Hill looks like....and yes, every time you run it, it will be overcast with random lightning bolts for effect.)

            The hill starts around the 1.5-mile mark, and takes you up a winding path to the top.  In reality, the hill is only bad if you let it build up in your mind.  Yes, the incline is brutal, but if you take some time to run it before you get into an actual PT session (every PT group will run it multiple times), it won't be quite as bad.  The climb is completely worth it at the top, as you’ll have a great view of the town below, and most importantly, the rest of the way is downhill (unless you’re in a group that takes multiple laps).

            On the way out to the hill, we were told we could release from the formation to run at our own pace at around the 1-mile mark.  Our group is comprised of a range of running abilities, so it’s not as if we’re all gazelles that can motor up the hill in a pack.  Knowing that, we hit the 1-mile mark, and without saying a word, everyone made the collective decision to stick together in formation.  I think that took our group leader by surprise, and he challenged us by saying he’d never had an airborne group make it up the first time without someone walking.

            Spoiler alert: we made it to the top of the hill without anyone falling out to walk (we may have chugged along, but oh well).  That felt so much better than it would have if I’d left the formation and shot up the hill on my own, and it was a huge motivator for the group.  That situation has become commonplace for our group.  Even though we’re technically competing against one another for slots, we’ve become accustomed to sticking together, whether it be circling around to pick up people during release runs, or encouraging each other during other PT.  I may not earn a slot, but I count myself among the most privileged in the class to serve in such a team-oriented group.

(Ok, ok, 10th Mountain. We get it-this sort of hill is what you have to go up to check your mail and take the trash out every day.  We have to cling to something here in C-Ville.)

            Class time began with two hours on the speedy trial requirements of the military justice system.  It was interesting learning about how tightly the military controls the trial process, which ensures that no accused soldier will sit around in jail for endless periods waiting on trial.  Essentially, counsel has a 120-day clock to bring the case to trial, or face dismissal.  Pose that time limit to most civilian attorneys, and they’d look at you like you were crazy.

            That was followed by a couple hours of instructions on conventional offenses and basic pleadings.  Most of the offenses closely mirror their civilian counterparts, and you won’t have to worry about things covered in law school or bar prep being re-taught to you.  The primary focus was on pleadings, which are a ton different than the civilian side, and can derail your case if done improperly.

            The afternoon wrapped up with hour blocks on the roles of trial and defense counsel.  I’m not sure too many civilian attorneys make the switch during their careers from one side to the other, so it was fun to think about the fact that our position will likely give many of us the chance to serve on both sides of the aisle in different capacities.

(CPT Jack Ross doesn't think I've given enough words to the defense counsel class description.  Perhaps he can yell "OBJECT" in accurate fashion like he does in the movie.  Seriously, go watch A Few Good Men-that's how his objections begin (it happens to be my favorite part of that movie).

            Since I’m failing in my current capacity as class blogger, I’m locking myself in to bring you all up to speed, so get your mind right for a tremendous account of a Tuesday you’ll never forget.

Ok, well you’ll probably forget about it pretty quickly, but I have to find some way to keep people coming back, right?


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