View Full Version : A note from our favorite Sailor-Kavanaugh

Butch Lambert
05-05-2009, 03:42 PM
The following is a note from Lt jg Michael Kavanaugh, our favorite stock painter.
Training day one… “if it ain’t rainin you ain’t trainin”. How true it is. No sooner than we set our gear on the ground from the 7 tons it came a frog strangler. So not only did we get soaked but all our gear had a nice touch of wet to it and our tents resembled swamps. As soon as we get our gear up the sun came out and gave us a nice remaining 45 mins of day. Day 2 was a testament that God has a great sense of humor and was bored out of his mind because 30 min before muster the sky lets go another typhoon.

So after thinking we all died and weren’t very good people we get our gear set up and each of the shock trauma units unpacked and ready to go. This is when the commanding officer says.. “pack it all back up and take all the tents down again..move them 6 feet to the south and re-establish” because we are supposed to be mobile we had to learn to become efficient. To say the least there were some overly happy sailors and marines on hand. This reminded me of stories from enlisted of unrolling hoses on the ship only to re-roll them.

After the joys of unpacking re-packing etc etc we got to get to work. Now, having children should be a prerequisite of being a senior enlisted or officer in the the military for we spent the last day and a half telling corpsmen not to: eat the plants, do back flips off the crates, be having relations, etc… it was a regular summer camp. BUT, one of the most amazing things is watching these kids running around acting like complete idiots all day step up and perform there corpsmen duties flawlessly and in a professional manner.

Day 3: gas chamber day for 2nd platoon… this would be our motley crew. I had never gone through the gas chamber but had heard some great stories about the joys of this bonding occasion. Many of our corpsmen chose to wait and go with us rookies replying..”no, I prefer to go through with the comedy show J”. Now, whether I am a freak of nature or I have breathed so many fumes from painting over the years chemicals no longer bother me for it really only felt like you smeared pepper juice in your eyes. I actually requested some of the CS capsules to put on my MRE later to spice it up. Oh, and this was the day God had a bit of free time on hand and gusted the winds up to 35 mph and some of our tents blew away including the Chiefs’ tent (a Base-X tent flying through the air and then crumpling to a balled mass is quite a sight). Now, in the field enlisted eat first and get first dibs on everything so us junior officers were sweating it expecting to sleep out with the skeeters that night for we KNEW no chief was sleeping outdoors. But luckily we got a tent thrown up in time.

Day 4: firing range… SCARY. Some folks need to realize we use firearms in the military and become familiar with them. The guy next to me kept shooting my target.. I finally said, I shoot your target and you shoot your target and maybe we’ll get em both. This was also the day we got to become familiar with what its like to wear flak and body armor all day. These two lovely pieces of equipment weigh in at ~ 50 lbs. Wish a chiropractor is not going with us. I shall return 2 “ shorter, too bad women don’t dig short dudes L. We also got to wear them an extra 2 hours waiting for the Secretary of Defense to come by and have him see us shooting, gotta love politics.

The remaining time we spent practicing mass casualties, getting shot at by marines in combat scenarios and I spent a bit of time lecturing to the groups about critters and such. We got a course in IED’s and for cryin out loud… these guys make Macgyver look like an amateur, they can take a left over MRE, a saw blade, and some dirt make a 10 ton blast. Heck, they know timers inside and out, maybe timex could roll out a factory there? We got briefed on when and where we were going which sounds like a great time if you like living in the crappiest conditions, bathing is not your thing, and a heaping of other not so fun-ems. Even though the conditions are gonna be less than desirable we have a great group going and my prev med team is a phenomenal group. Most all of us volunteered and 2nd Platoon’s CO actually came out of retirement to go on this deployment to make sure “our marines and sailors got the best possible care..” which tells you the kind of folks going. So, all in all we are sore as all get out from hefting around what felt like a bag of concrete strapped to us and we are now all professionals of waiting in line or standing by for some sort of direction for hours at a time. We are experts at cramming 60 people on a bus designed to carry a max of 40 people and we have resorted to becoming MRE gourmet chefs. Stank is a new cologne and candle scent we are trying to register along with sweaty foot rot, and my new favorite line from Chief is..”you’re about as retarded as a football bat” which he lovingly directed at a jr enlisted.

Anyone that has previously deployed would like to give recommendations I am all ears for I have never gone on a 7-9 month camping trip so could use all the help in the world.

Hollar at yall later. (btw, yes I know there were some remarkable run-on sentences up there but I am really too tired to care)

Your friend,

Big Al
05-05-2009, 04:21 PM
It helped me to get through this type of training by taking a piece of toilet paper and putting a number on it (as to the training day number), using same for a more personnel type of target practice. It's something to do with just pissing another day away of your life. But someday, you will look back on all of this and still wonder," why"?

Military training must be something akin to how prison inmates get through their sentenced time. at least that's how I suspected it to be the same? The overcoming desire to strangle, is normal when you are told "you all volunteered for this, remember"? It's also normal to hold a grudge against yourself for ever being so silly as to have, volentiered.

Just please remember their are lots of us that are mighty proud of you, that you did, volunteer!

It was always a great help to me to just look around, see all the other folks that are just as miserable as me.

It helps to remember the scripture, "And it came to pass".:)

Pete Wass
05-05-2009, 05:41 PM
I went through the same kind of thing during the Winter of 1963. Even though it seemed "INTENSE" at the time, the Trace Adkins song " You're Gonna Miss This" comes to mind. I wouldn't want to do it again but 46 years after the fact; it seemed like a lot of fun and I made friends I still communicate with and still cherish today.

jackie schmidt
05-06-2009, 06:50 AM
Many of us went through the same turmoils way back when. 1968 at Ft. Bliss Texas in July was just about like shooting Benchrest at Denton in July. Hotern-Hell.

There are many of us who are certainly proud of you. You set your mind to achieve a goal, and now you are realizing your dream. Please do not forget about all of us, many have watched your growth to maturity through the years.

As for the trials and tribulations of what ammounts to "officers boot camp". You will remember it, with a certain fondness, for the rest of your life.

God Speed, and stay safe..........jackie

05-06-2009, 07:16 AM
That sure brings back memories....I just don't remember the tents...what are they...Heck Kav, just wait until ISERT, MSERT, TSERT gets into full swing...yeehaa. Oh well, one thing that baffled me during our final Eval for deployment? We did it in 5 above to 10 below weather with two feet of snow on the ground. I remember the bus ride off post to the tarmac to get on the plane and everyone saying..."sure will be glad to get somewhere warm now"....that was....until we got there.

The first sight seeing trip in the wonderful country of Iraqi was quite interesting. Talking about the young ones....we were taking distant small arms fire and rounds were bouncing around on the ground (we were in armoured Humvee's), few off the vehicle and the kid in the backseat never looked up from his gameboy.


Butch Lambert
05-06-2009, 05:32 PM