I’m back from PLDC. That’s a month long Army leadership course that teaches you how to be an NCO and a leader by treating you like a private in basic training. It was pretty horrible, but I made the commandant’s list. Some of my favorite PLDC memories:

1. We had a huge inspection near the end, and during the pre-inspection, me and the guy who lived in the adjoining room, that I shared a bathroom with, got told that the blinds on our windows were dirty. Being a former Eagle Scout, he responded by taking the blinds out and bringing them into the bathtub, where he scrubbed them clean, using scouring powder and a sponge. Total time: 1 hour, 54 minutes. I took my blinds down too, and switched them with the clean blinds in the spare room where nobody lived. Total time: 6 minutes.

2. Going out in the field for 6 days. It was cold, averaging a low around 10 degrees F. They wanted us to shave every day, since everyone knows that men with facial hair cannot fight effectively. This meant filling your canteen cup with ice cold water and dragging a razor across your face at 0530, in the dark. Since everyone’s shaving cream was frozen, many of us tried this once or twice, then decided instead that we would wear our neck gators around our face all day (which only lasts about 6 hours in Alaska). Then they caught us and made us shave. My buddy Morales and I went into the warming hut, this wooden shack with a stove in it, took our goretex jackets off, so all we had underneath was our polypro shirts, heated our canteen cups on the stove so we’d have warm water, and began scraping our faces. Then other people started coming into the warming hut. Since we were standing next to the stove, warm air wafted past us and carried our week-old stench towards the new entrants. No one could figure out exactly what the smell was, but everyone who came in made a comment like “Damn, it smells like rotten feet in here.”

3. Being permanent roadguard, which meant strolling along in front of the formation in an orange vest, and not calling silly cadence every freakin meal. It was kind of a traumatic experience.

I wish I could tell you more funny and exciting things that happened there, but PLDC is a horrible experience. I counted the hours that I was there down from 720. It was that stupid. All they care about there is garrison, garrison, garrison. Clean the boots, shine your head, learn the creed, sound off, march straight. The instructors inspired homicidal thoughts in all of us. And I was lonely the whole time. I just wanted to be left alone, and you can’t leave.


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