20060313

A Whole lot of Nothing

Well it was my drill weekend once more. On Saturday, due to my recent promotion, I had to take the "Big Three" certification test. In the artillery the E-7's are responsible for essentially using survey-like equipment to position the howitzers. This includes using an aiming circle which is pretty much like a survey tool. It has a magnetic needle and is measured into 6400 units known as mils (instead of 360 degrees). There is also a written exam of many different areas covering ammunition, positioning techniques, recorde keeping, and many other skills. Well, I did ok on the written exam. About 90% on my first time through. This allowed me to continue on and correct the problems I missed until I achieved 100%. After that we did the hands on portion of the test. We had to go out to a prepared test sight where we had to set up the aiming circle within 3 minutes. I missed my first attempt, practiced a few more times, and then made the time on my second try. After that I became what I'd like to call a "chicken noodle on rye". I had taken these series of tests once before when I had to cover for our battery's E-7 while they were all at school (great planning, eh). But then I had had more time to practice and get comfortable with the equipment. By the end of the day on Saturday I was coming around. The Master Gunner for our Battalion did not give me a "go" (nor do I think he should have), but I was starting to grasp the tool and how to get it to do what I needed it to. Next we were tested on a newer version of the aiming circle. This one has a computer, some GPS capability, etc. Now this is a tool I can wrap my mind around! :) If not for a simple aiming error on one of the tasks I would have passed the written and this portion of the testing. As it stands I will need to retest on both of these aiming curcle tools. I also found out that I will have to go on the advance party for our unit in May, as well as do two annual trainings this year. *sigh* One is for 9 days in June, the other is for an NCOES in late July/early August. That one is for about 15 days. Neither training is going to be really physically challanging. It's just having to be away for those days. Over all I was disappointed but it was not a bad weekend. The ray of sunshine was when the battalion sergeant major drew me aside to ask about my military career and what my intentions moving forward might be. I told him I aiming for January 2008, and when he asked about when I would reach my "20". I told him this summer, and that my wife would prefer that I get out this summer. Well, he was encouraging that he thought I would make a good First Sergeant (E-8), and that I seemed to be a soldier than enjoyed being in uniform as opposed to one what was just there for the money or benefits. Not knowing what else to say I said "thank you". Verse for today: 2 Samuel 22:32-37 esv For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? This God is my strong refuge and has made my way blameless. He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your gentleness made me great. You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip.

2 comments:

ALP said...

Can I saw awesome! You said thank you to a complement! Way to go!

Sorry you have to take some of the tests over but I am sure next time you will do much better. Those nerves will get you...

Bob said...

John that GPS stuff is just so cool. It has totally revolutionized Surveying and Navigation. And you can never go wrong saying Thank You.