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Day 19: Make it rain…or at Least Drizzle

March 03, 2011 | Captain Thomas Harper

      The second day of airborne PT began with a confusing request by cadre.  We were to report early to secure yoga blocks from the PT equipment office.  I had just the slightest notion that we would not, in fact, be executing a yoga session for PT.  That notion was proven correct immediately, as we ended up using the blocks to assist in going below the parallel for pushups.  A muscle failure workout followed, and we relied primarily on tobata (I can never spell that one right) sets (hint: if you’re preparing for JAOBC, practice these).  You essentially do a single exercise for 4 minutes.  Your goal is to do 8 sets of 20 seconds, with a 10 second rest in between each set (for pushups, take the weight off of your arms in between sets).

      If I stress one item as a common theme to those preparing for JAOBC, it has to be proper preparation for physical fitness.  I am certainly not saying that you have to become a champion body builder fit for an endorsement by Gold’s Gym, or an ultra-marathoner.  What I am saying is 1) Do not show up to JAOBC with the expectation that it is the Army’s job to get you into proper shape, and 2) Do not accept the bare minimum for yourself in your preparations. 

     If you have a slot in JAOBC, pat yourself on the back.  You’ve made an incredibly difficult cut, and should be commended for it.  However, that success carries with it a few things.  First among them is the fact that you either are, or soon will be a commissioned officer in the United States Army.  You are not Private Joe Tentpeg, and you’re not Joe Tentpeg, civilian attorney. 

     The rank that you’ll wear on the chest of your ACU instantly holds you to a higher standard in all areas.  You will not be looked to be just an outstanding lawyer, but others will expect you to be an outstanding soldier.  A huge part of that is physical fitness.  As someone who has scored incredibly low and high on PT tests, I don’t mean this to be preachy, but as a point to lodge in the front of your brain as you move closer to reporting.  Excuses aren’t acceptable for those in uniform, and as you ready yourself to wear the uniform, you shouldn’t make any in your preparations.  Make a plan that will prepare you to exceed, not just meet the standards.  Then stick to the plan

     I guarantee that if you set a standard for yourself, it will be much harder to quit.  When you arrive, PT won’t be something that you dread every night, and you’ll have a much smoother ride.  Most importantly, you’ll be filling the shoes of the position that you’ve been given the privilege to serve in: a U.S. Army officer who just happens to be a lawyer.

(No soap in the sock party if you come unable to PT, but you'll be sure to incur DI Hartman's wrath.)

     Now that my rant is over, today was comprised of a few more classes.  We had a two-hour legal writing workshop in which we worked through a scenario involving a memorandum that was being screened and edited before being sent to a commander.  Working in small groups definitely enhanced what I learned, and we broke down into even smaller groups to dig into the problem. 

     Afterwards, we had a couple more classes on standards of conduct and morale, welfare, and recreation (MWR), which were roughly par for the course.  The day concluded with a small group leadership class (15 or so people with 2 faculty mentors), as well as a travel voucher class.  The voucher class had enough issues that my next post will deal with those issues before getting into anything else.

     Today also marked our first payday.  Since the pay period was partial (6 Feb – now), we won’t see an accurate picture of our base pay until 15 March, but the pay was important and symbolic for many.  I personally was down to about $10 in my bank account (and living off of the travel card), so the pay was critical in that regard.  On the symbolic side, the pay marked not only the first military pay many received, but also the first honest paycheck many people in the class have ever received.  It felt good seeing it in the account, and now that I don’t have to worry about over drafting when I buy something like a Gatorade, that’s good too.

My mad dash to catch up will continue shortly, so strap in and hold all criticism of my sporadic posting habits.

(They're just upset that I've fallen behind.)

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