9 JAN 67

Homer R. Steedly
Co. B, 1st Bat., 3rd PLT. USATC AIT
Ft. Lewis, Washington 984333

Dear Mom and Dad and Grandmother and family friends and Tony and Nancy and Linda, etc.,

I've been in AIT (Advanced Individual Training) for one of the eight weeks already. It's great: lots of real hard training, lots of PT (physical training), lots of harassment; almost no sleep, almost no walking, and no sun or un-rainy days.

I'll take it day by day to let you know just what I'm doing up here.

Monday,  9 JAN 67

3:30am

I am now standing in formation with my field jacket, which is soaked already by the drizzling rain, and this wind makes the 45 degrees seem really cold. Most of us are shivering, and since the clouds hide the stars, it's so dark you can't see the larger rocks, so when you march to chow, you continually trip and stumble. After leaving the mess hall, the cold really hits you hard again. From 4:00 to 5:30, we "spit shine" the tile floor, "brasso" all metal fixtures in the latrine, make our bunks perfectly, arrange our foot, and wall locker displays, clean all windows, dust on top of all doors, windows, pipes, lockers, everywhere, sponge all walls in latrine, and a hundred other things.

5:30am

We fall in company formation adn "double time" (run) to the PT area, which "just happens" to be exactly one mile from our company area. There we go through 12 repetitions of the army "daily dozen" exercises. After a 15 minute smoke, when we put our field jackets back on and cool off, we run to the radio-telephone communications classroom, about half a mile away. There we have instructions on the proper terminology used in radio-telephone communications, in classrooms that are also almost 45 degrees. We have chow in the field in the full rain by now. It was so cold, I got stiff from sitting down eating chow. These cooks are new, and lousy: still neglecting the fact it was soggy, and cold, it sure hit that empty spot. We finished classes by 4:30pm, and got to talk over the AN-PRC-6 "walkie talkie" radios before we left. That mile and a half run back in wet clothes and rain was really rough on some, but I was lucky, I don't hurt much when we run. After the run we put our jackets back on and were dismissed until 5:30. At the chow formation, I was almost late, cause I was polishing my boots and had to rush to get my gear (field pack and canteen) on. I got 50 pushups for that, plus 20 more for getting up without permission after I finished the pushups. After mess (chow, food), we had to dry our clothes on the radiator for tomorrow and polish our boots. Then we had to go to the squad area's and clean up in preparation for Tuesday. We were finished by 8:45pm, and had free time till lights out at 9:30pm. I spent this time mostly studying the 11 General Orders we have to learn by Saturday. Sleep sure came fast after 9:30, but my bunk mate soon woke me up when he got up at 3:30am 10 JAN 67 for KP (kitchen police) duty. I didn't get back to sleep before we were aroused for revilee at 4:30am. After chow at 5:00, we finished cleaning the barracks till 6:30 and double timed back to the radio-telephone classrooms; it was still drizzling and foggy. We had classes til 4:30, and since it was nearly 38 degrees and raining, we ate in a building: of course, we got soaked clean through our field jackets getting there. We learned how to send messages and install the AN-PRC-6 radio, and it's big 26 pound brother the AN-PRC-10.  We also were allowed to calibrate the "Pric 10" and transmit on these sets.

The rest of the day was the same as Monday, except we had to re-arrange our locker displays, and didn't get to be till 10:30pm. Someone made a mistake, and we were gotten up at 3:30am 11 JAN 67 instead of 4:30, so we used the extra time to clean up around our barracks grounds. After chow we "marched" (unusual) in "full canvass wet weather gear and rubber boots" (also unusual) to some busses, where we drove for a half hour to the compass course. We sat in the rain on wet, cold bleachers for 3 hours without break, learning about land navigation with the magnetic compass. Then we had some hot chow in the brief 45 minute break, which was the only time that day it didn't rain. The second time we got in the bleachers, it was for only an hour of map reading, but since the rain had come through my canvass rain jacket, it seemed l ike forever. Next we were given a class in the actual use of the compass and following azimuths (directions expressed in degrees). We were placed in a circle around a big stake, and from our small stakes, given azimuths and distances to go to find another stake about 1,500 yards off, with directions on it on how to get back to the circle and a different small stake. I came out correct all the way, as did most of us, since it was easy going in the big open field. We were then given maps and assigned to 3 man teams. I was team captain of my team, and had the compass. We were told to go to a monument about 2 miles across country. We didn't see the small stone until we stopped at where we found the pace count to end. We thought we were lost, until we looked to the left about 10 feet and saw the monument, we had come so fast, the pick-up officers weren't even there yet! We marched down to the collection point about a mile and a half down the road, the last half mile we double timed, and with all that wet weather gear and rubber boots, it was really rough going, several dropped out, and they got details on the weekend. We got to bed at 9:30 that night, but most of us got an extra half hour on ride back in.

12 JAN 67

4:30am

After cleaning up and chow, we put our wet weather gera back up and then double timed that same mile and a half to the radio-telephone classrooms. We waited in the cold (42 degrees) for an hour before the classes began. Were taught how to lay telephone wire in combat zones and how to install field telephones. After chow in the field, which ended just before it started raining again, we had some classes on proper usage of telephone networks. Back in the company area we cleaned the barracks adn went to bed at 9:30, because we were going to be up late Friday.

13 JAN 67

4:30am "Friday the 13th!" How true.

We got up and were in formation at 4:45, then by 5:30 we had eaten and were on busses going to the compass course. We were given lectures with 15 minute breaks every hour all day on land-map association. After supper we were given a 2 hour class on night compass navigation. We were given a course of about 3 miles to run, in the dark, which by now was really dark. The rain had long since soaked through my rain gear, so I was glad to get to move around some. We took two hours and 16 minutes to run the course, and the result was unbelievable. We had a Sergeant with us, and when we stopped to hunt for our stake, we could nearly reach out and touch it. We were also the first group in, quite a good showing. We waited nearly two hours for the rest to get back, then came home at 11:30pm to sleep quite soundly.

4:30am

14 JAN 67 Saturday

We got up had breakfast and cleaned up the barracks and our equipment all morning. Then at the 1:00pm formation we were given post privileges for the rest of the week end. I promptly went to bed till 5:30am Sunday morning, then got up, had chow, went to chapel, wrote some and watched television till 6:30pm.

That's my first week!

There now! You can't say I have any extra time really, but its a good time given in spite of the constant rain we have up here. By the way I aw the sun for the first time since I left home this evening after dinner. The wind is real strong though. Well I have to go for now. Lights are our in 15 minutes. Save these letters I write each week in AIT cause I want to use them for my Diary.



Love,

Homer


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