Last Week of IA Training

The last week at Camp McCrady is pretty quick. The big events are learning to clear rooms (a la SWAT teams) and convoy operations. The biggest classroom training is SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape); basically how to prevent being captured and if you are, what to do to stay alive.

Room clearing is really fun. If you’ve played Rainbow Six, Call of Duty, or pretty much any other anti-terrorist type game, you probably already know much of what is taught. However, not everyone in the Navy plays these games and it shows. Though you learn the basics, there is no way you can learn enough to do it right. There simply isn’t enough time and the possible scenarios are too numerous to practice. But if you get the fundamentals down, you at least have a fighting chance. Just remember to clear your sector, don’t “tag” your team mates, and always look for booby traps.

The convoy was fun but boring, for me at least. I was a gunner but the direction I faced prevented me from participating in any of the firefights that occurred. I had 4 full magazines at the start of the exercise and I had 4 full magazines at the end. Very disappointing. But it was still a fun exercise; not that I want to do that all the time, especially in Iraq.

For this last week, all I can really suggest is start your packing early. I started about 3 days before we flew out and I still had to do final packing the morning of the flight. Also, if you plan on using the issued insecticide on your uniforms, do it early, either during one of the previous weekends or first thing in the morning. The afternoon thunderstorms make it very difficult to dry your uniforms in time to pack them with everything else.

If you are know you’re going to be doing a lot of convoys or other operations that may involve you becoming separated from your group, either because of enemy action or other reasons, make sure you stock up on survival equipment. Have something to start a fire, signal rescuers, etc. Though they recommend having multiple items scattered throughout your gear, realistically cost and weight concerns will limit the amout of gear you will have. Redundancy is a nice idea but not really possible when you have to consider you’ll be wearing body armour, helmet, weapon, Camelbak, et al. Since I won’t be going on many convoys I limited my initial investment to a magnesium fire starter, a combination survival tool (compass, whistle, thermometer, and magnifying glass), a small lockblade knife, survival mirror, a space blanket, and a couple of carabiners.

That’s about all there is for the last week. Next stop:  Kuwait. It sounds like a rehash of what we’ve already done with lots of administrative processing, weapons familiarization, and convoy training, except that it’s in an actual desert. It doesn’t sound like fun and none of us are looking forward to it. Guess I’ll let you know how bad it really is.

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3 Responses to Last Week of IA Training

  1. J de Silva says:

    You’re going to Kuwait right in the middle of summer, that should be fun… NOT! If I am not mistaken August is usually the hottest month in those parts. Too bad you can’t pack a portable air-conditioner with you. 😛

    Take care, Cody.

  2. Yeah, I know. I’m looking at the forecast for next week and the high will be 120 Farenheit (49 Centigrade). The only good thing is that it’s a dry heat so there won’t be any humidity. Of course, at that temperature, it really doesn’t matter.

    Our tents are supposed to be air conditioned but we will be spending a few days “roughing it” at Udari to experience what it’s like working at a forward operating post. That’s when we get to work with our body armour on and full gear. It was bad enough doing that in the 95 degree weather in South Carolina. I can’t imagine what it will be like in the actual desert.

    Luckily when I get to Iraq itself I will be working in one of the old Presidential palaces so life will be a lot better.

  3. Pingback: Bookmarks about Ia

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