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Day 41: Airborne…All the Way!...Back to Fort Lee…

April 11, 2011 | Captain Thomas Harper

            For those of you following the blog to understand what the average class member does, this entry is a little aberration.  Airborne candidates had to dump ourselves into government vans at 0400 (for those unfamiliar with the 24 hour clock, that’s 4:00am), in order to haul back to Fort Lee.  Thankfully cadre was merciful enough to not make us PT beforehand.  The purpose of the trip was to take care of the first half of a two part required airborne physical.

(A depiction of...something I'm not yet qualified or trained to do.  For those wondering, the van ride to Ft. Lee was actually much more exciting than this appears.  Read below, and you'll realize that the risk of death was also about 14.4 times greater in our situation.)

            On the way out there, our volunteer driver (a member of our PT group) fought a brave fight against a windshield that somehow was only fogging up on his side.  The van’s defroster was blowing air in every direction but on the fogged spot on the windshield so it turned out to be an eventful ride.  We made it to the front gate in one piece, and the gate guard said, “Sir, is there a problem with your windshield?”  Our driver said that we had a small problem, and the guard commented, “Well, have you tried the defroster?”  We all busted out laughing, and someone shouted up “What’s this defroster you speak of?”

(Without the gate guard to aid us, we may never have found this ingenious device.  Also, when operating a government vehicle purchased at the lowest possible price, expect every single feature on it to work without fail.)

            My personal favorite moment was when the entire van realized that our driver had the windshield wipers on full blast, and someone piped up, “How exactly are the windshield wipers supposed to clear the fog?”  You have to hold onto little gems like that on crappy days like this.

            The physical was pretty uneventful.  It mostly involved filling out a bunch of paperwork, and the only interaction with medical personnel was to have blood drawn and a hearing test done.  After everyone finally made it through, we were all starving (since we had to fast since early the previous night), so a mission-critical stop was made at Cracker Barrel on the way back to C-Ville.

            Once we got back, we were thrown into the middle of a seminar on the Anti-Deficiency Act, which we had missed the instruction on.  I spent the entire two hours trying to backwards engineer the answers that everyone was throwing out, with little success.

            Here’s to hoping I can either figure those blocks out on my own, or that somehow the faculty forgets to examine us on it.


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