Monday, January 26, 2004

Like a Rock

Today I began the assessment process into my next unit. I am excited about the prospects of ministry it offers. If I successfully complete the tasks given me this week, I will be assigned there for about the next 3 years or so. The best part about a move to out of Louisiana is that my family will be in a decent city should I ever have to deploy or leave for training. No more Sherwood Forrest or Leesville. I'm only guessing but there are probably more than 2 restaurants in town and more than just a single Wal-Mart for shopping. So I am glad they will have new opportunities. I think it will be a good place and a good unit for raising our kids as they enter their teen years.

At any rate, the assessment process is something of a secret. They made me sign a non-disclosure statement so that no one outside of the unit would find out what really happens (such as the secret handshake). Actually it is simply a way to ensure that future inductees experience the same level of uncertainty and stress that I did. And I did. What I can tell you this far, is that it began with a PT test and a swim test.

The PT test was your standard, hateful, stress inducing US Army torture session that it always is. I think I did fairly well (or at least well enough to pass). After the PT test they had us do some pull ups. This is not a good time to do pullups. It'd be like striking your legs with a ball peen hammer for several minutes just to tenderize them nicely and then doing 600 pound leg presses. The nice thing was that the grader said something like do as many as you want any way you want. It didn't really matter, he seemed to be saying. So the rest of the group ripped out hundreds of perfectly styled pullups, each one showing supreme definition of the very fibers of muscle in their arms, chest and back. I, sporting my legendary pipe cleaner arms, did three. I just figured, if he wanted 40 he should have said 40.

The swim test is terribly misnamed. It did actually began with swimming. Mind you that we were in our BDUs, boots, flight vest, and helmet during this wonderful test of aquatic dexterity. First we had to swim several different strokes for a certain distance (measured in furlongs, I think). This went great. Sure, I actually inhaled several pints of chlorinated water but I finished the swim. Here is where the title "swim test" should end. Next we had to tread water for about 17 hours using no arms or no legs or whatever. I did it using no lungs. I discovered that while swimming is not a problem, not swimming is. When horizontal motion stops, vertical takes over and I sink. Full lungs were of no help. My fatless body sinks like a rock. Well, I did so great on the sinking test that they asked me to come back tomorrow. Joy.