20060829

When it all began

Well, I stayed up WAY too late watching Andre Agasi's final opening round match at the U.S. Open last night/this morning so my ideas for a post today are probably not as extensive as I would normally like - but... The picture of the coin above is the first unit coin I ever received. At the time (summer of 1989) I was in the Anti-Tank platoon of the 1-115th Infantry. Every year we held a compitition for the 'top tube' of the platoon. The 'contests' were in the PT test, rifle marksmanship, qualification with the TOW missile system, flash cards of tanks, a series of 'common tasks', and a small platoon specific set of skills (such as range cards, recon and identifying things for a report to higher). Back then I could roll out of bed and pass the APFT with only a slight concern about the sit-ups (now it's the run). But my real weakness was in the qualification with the TOW system (I know, not a good thing and being an anti-tank gunner :) ). I cannot remember off the top of my head now what the minim score was, but I was routinely a 'pass-by-the-skin-of-my-teeth' on this system. It was a pain. You had to smoothly track a target board several times. Each time the score was a 0-100. The more steady you kept the crosshairs on the target the better the score. While watching me qualify it was like watching gas guage sink to empty on a drag racer. Those were some of the longest 16 seconds of my life! But by the grace of God I actually did better than I usually did, but still... there were guys in the platoon who were much better at it than I was. And when there were a possible 1000 points in it... the difference seemed insurmountable when the APFT was a max of 300 points, rifle qualification was only a max of 40... and those were my 'stronger' areas. I was sure that the point differences were insurmountable. Well, at the end of our competition weekend I was declared the winner. I wish I could remember the point difference, but I remember it being a very slim margin. With this 'victory' I was chossen to fire the only live missile we had been alotted in over 3 years... and if memory serves it was at least another 3 or more years until the platoon received another one. I kn0w they had not fired another one before I left in 1992. I nailed it too. The flight was perfect and it nailed the target tank right between the turret and deck. Those in the stands watching said that the missile pentrated all the way through the tank and hit a tree, causing it to slowly topple over. Now that was a rush. I was given the coin at the final formation of that drill as well. Military coins are a tradition that go back some. I know they are used by soldiers - usually in bars. One soldier will bring out his coin and tap it on the bar. If you are a coin holder, and do not have it with you - you just bought the next round. I've heard of one instance when a group of Special Forces soldiers were going through an obstical course. One of them stopped halfway through an obsticale and tapped the bars with it. From what I've heard - there was an audible groan as none of the others had brought their coins out. As a result the soldier did not have to buy another round until after the course. :) I have to read up some more to understand this tradition some more. :) Updates: None today, but I am really working on a pair of short stories... :) Verse for today: John 1:1-5, esv In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, [1] and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

2 comments:

Bob said...

When I was youth I participated in the BMA (Bible Memory Association) We learned scripture and then recited it to a listener. The first Chapter of John was the first Chapter of the Bible I ever committed to memory. Brings back lots of memories.................

Susan said...

Hmmm...this was interesting for someone who never even knew those coins existed! The things you learn surfing blogs!!!! I love that verse too. Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!!