Heat Cat 5

man it was hot today.  At least 93 with 86% humidity, one sign said 97.  Garage was extra awful because I spent a lot of time in my office and the air conditioner in my office blows its hot air into the garage.  It’s fine but I may look into like an electrolyte drink or something.  I sweat a lot.

here’s a fun army story.  There I was, airborne school in Ft. Benning Georgia, about exactly 11 years ago.  Had just completed 15 weeks of basic training/advanced infantry training.  Of course it’s hot because it’s Georgia in late June.  There were like a few chilly mornings in March but mostly just brutal awfulness because in Army basic training, at least for the infantry*:

1) you spend most of the day outside

2) you are doing strenuous things

3) you are almost always wearing more clothing/equipment than normal people wear brb it’s 90 F going outside in long pants, buttoned shirt, t-shirt, long socks, boots, hat, & various bullshit hanging from a pistol belt; just gonna practice running with a rifle and throwing myself at the ground.

but anyway i gotta give the drill sergeants credit:  We had no heat casualties in our platoon, and like one in the whole company.

When I went to airborne school, half the people were from “sand hill” aka Fort Benning infantry basic training aka me and my whole company (except for a handful of misguided individuals who quit immediately so they could get a pass to go home and see their fat girlfriends. hint if she loved you she would have 1) visited you that weekend since we had a 48 hour pass after graduation and checking in and 2) not wanted you to be a filthy leg)  The other half the folks were officers who had just finished ROTC or whatever; NCOs  who were transferring to an airborne unit; or weirdos who, instead of a fat re-enlistment bonus, had wanted to go to a fun camp and jump out of airplanes and get a badge***

The first day of training, the airborne sergeants made everyone who had been a previous heat casualty wear a red ribbon around their ankle.  This is so they could keep an eye on you since if you have one you’re more susceptible to another.  Then they started making people who looked out of shape, pale, and/or were stationed in northern climes wear one too.

Suddenly I was horrified to see the sergeant pointing at me.  There was no way I was going to wear a goddam red ribbon on my ankle.  The shame and humiliation!  (i was very tan but dripping with sweat; what – it was 95 and we were wearing fucking BDUs and helmets and had run from the barracks, also maybe we spent the entire weekend drinking.)

Sergeant Airborne: Take it!  You’re all sweaty.

Me: Ahhhhhhhhhhhh… (pretty much the exact noise Rex or any kid makes when you tell him they have to change out of what they are wearing and put on, say, a shirt and tie)

My Battle Buddy Layton, the greatest battle buddy ever: Sergeant, it’s okay.  Coach is from Sand Hill.  We’ve been here since March.  He’s always this sweaty. He’s totally acclimated and in really good shape.

Nilsson and other pals: It’s true sergeant!  He’s a sweaty little bastard!  He’ll be fine! etc etc.

Sergeant:  Fine, whatever.  It’s for your own good, specialist.  I’ll keep an eye on you etc etc like all airborne school cadre I’m a douchebag, oh wait someone’s pocket’s unbuttoned,  i’ll cya later…

Me (whispered): Thanks, man.

Layton (whispered): Don’t worry, Coach, I wasn’t gonna let them put a gay red ribbon on you.

*Combat Arms/mortarmen/cav scouts/etc and etc, whatever.  you know who you are.  If you spent most of your AIT in a classroom, or there were women with you, then no.  yes, i knew some cooks who were bad mofos doing convoy security & such in Iraq.  Yes I knew _one_ hardcore chick, she used to wear a bali so people would think she was a dude. What I’m complaining about is how my wife’s cousin was a fat Army wench and now my father-in-law and brother-in-law and wife are like “oh well your basic training couldn’t have been that tough, Janet did it.”  And Marines always love to point out the out-of-shape pogue fobbits who push papers: “oNE MARINE EQUELLS tEN SOLGERS!1!”  It’s fine I’m not saying that infantry OSUT  was like goddam Ranger school, or an MTV-special dramatic life-changing event, or even particularly challenging for a typical able-bodied male, just that a) it was harder than SIX WEEK LONG air force basic training b) harder than the nine weeks of army basic training that various air conditioning technicians, pastry chefs, and overweight females attended. c) probably in roughly the same ball park as Marine boot camp** for males

**in 2004.  Basic training of course used to be harder at any time in the past and will be easier at any point in the future; if you are a veteran you can confirm this by talking to an older/younger veteran and comparing stories.

*** there were also eight marines.  They were all assholes and idiots.  I’m not saying that all marines are assholes and idiots.  Just that 95% of them are at least one or the other.

wt: 171.6


Squat: 45×4, 135×3, 225×2, 315,355×1 nb/ns

Bench: 45x9p, 135×4, 225×3, 290×1

time: 20 min


Squat: 45×5, 135×4, 225×3, 315×2, 365×1 nb/ns, 385,405,415,425×1 435

Bench: 45x9p, 135×4, 225×3, 315,335,345×1 355

Sumo: 135×3, +mini 135×2, 225,255,265,275x1

time: 1:25

felt longer cause of the heat, didn’t achieve much but overall i felt good about the day.  Been reading that Matt Perryman book and I take back half of what I said about the guy already.  it’s pretty good stuff.


21 thoughts on “Heat Cat 5

  1. I read this blog for shitz and giggles, i.e. army stories. and the occasional lifting log. or maybe the other way around. regardless, good story. please keep em coming at a slow pace during the summer.

    btw, you work full time from home?

  2. That was a great story.

    “now my father-in-law and brother-in-law and wife are like ‘oh well your basic training couldn’t have been that tough, Janet did it.'”

    This is like the military equivalent of “yeah my cousin’s sister’s little brother bench pressed 600 in high school”.

    Abnormally sweaty crew checking in.

  3. Coach you ever read any Thom Jones? (Inb4 someone mentions the welsh singer, no, different guy.). Your description of asshole Marines in Airborne School reminded me of “The Pugilist at Rest,” which I just reread.

  4. Infantry OSUT in August ’02. Water cords and Lister bags. At least at Heat Cat 5 you can unblouse your boots and fold your sleeves back (NO ROLLING YOUR SLEEVES, THIS ISN’T THE GODDAMN NATIONAL GUARD!!!). I remember the Sergeant Major of the training battalion smoking the piss out of us because he had acquired these giant blocks of ice for the lister bags and we hadn’t drank enough of it. We didn’t get to leave the range until the bag was empty.

    For those of you that don’t know, a lister bag is like a big green army duffel with a spout at the bottom. You hang it from a tree and fill it with water. Then everyone can fill they’re canteens from the spout. They are usually what I can only imagine is Vietnam War surplus and haven’t been cleaned since the Tet Offensive. Since the spout is at the bottom, all the bugs and bark that land inside the top are conveniently dispersed among all the thirsty troops.

    • lister bags are fucking disgusting. fortunately our drills realized this and we very rarely used one. Typically remember refilling canteens from five gallon water jugs or a water truck

      • I didn’t even realize that there were large differences until I heard the “hardcore” stories from Ft. Jackson or Ft. Leonard Wood. Ft. Benning is a whole other beast. What’s funny too is that some POGs will brag about how they had to do their 9 weeks at Benning before doing AIT.

        The whole Army is like that too. There are very large differences between the Combat Arms and Support sides of the Army. Comp Time for working weekends, being told to “push” only means doing 10 pushups and then recovering, these are all things that occur outside of Combat Arms. I’m sure you saw a bunch of it too. It allows a certain smug pride I guess. I did a few years in the Reserves after I got out. The big thing in the Reserves right now is to get a permanent profile for your knee or ankle. Then you don’t have to run on the PT test. Imagine only doing pushups and situps, then walking for your PT test. It takes all difficulty out of the test.

  5. When I played airsoft in high school I couldn’t run really fast like the other people in my airsoft unit, errm, team, because I was fat. One game I pulled my hamstring because I slid down a wet hill, but just kept playing on a pulled hamstring cuz thug life YOLO circa 2006. One time we were playing a medic game and I killed the other teams medic as their team’s medic was actually being offensive. Then we wiped out their whole team after. My gear was retarded. Everyone else had MOLLE and vests and I had a single ALICE pistol belt (Vietnam era) with mag pouches and a canteen on it. But I had no suspenders for my pistol belt so all my shit shook around ridiculously.

    I had semi-seriously considered joining the ARNG in high school. But then I found out I could get more fit and gain some modicum of self confidence and achievement without someone forcing me to. My parents also didn’t talk like the parents in Army recruitment commercials did, they basically said “are you fucking nuts, no you’re not gonna join the Army you idiot.” My mom was less stern, but my dad I think said exactly that or close.

    • Also now airsoft is super fucked and everything is EXTREME MILSIM 4 DAY EVENT. People use LEO trainer flashbangs, NVGs, and other quite ridiculous shit. I wanna go to JP or Taiwan and play some cool airsoft games like this.

    • once, pre-army i played paintball all day in the heat, wearing winter (i didn’t know the difference, it’s subtle) BDUS i bought from the Salvation Army. I had coffee and donuts for breakfast, and one bottle of water the whole rest of the day (9-5?), also was hungover. I remember driving home trying to either stay awake and/or not die, buying some gatorade at a gas station, then showering (i think) and then sleeping/laying in coma for like 13 hours.

      • The only camo patterns that actually matter are Vietnam Tiger Stripe and flecktarn/Tibetan Mountain camo (like flecktarn but better.) But I had neither, just BDU pants and an old West German OD shirt. I had some pretty sick pairs of fleck pants at one point but then I got too fat for them. I had a pair of ACU pants as well I found in the trunk of a car at the junkyard and got for free, and actually really like them as daily fuck around pants (probably not good for camouflaging oneself) but they are size large and thus gigantic for me now. Another guy took a stash of powerball tickets sitting in the dash from said car.

        Oh yeah if I’m president I switch everyone in the military to a variant of Vietnam Tiger Stripe.

        • well the summer weight US woodland green bdus have little squares in the fabric. also, not like you’d be issued a set, but the winter bdu patrol cap had fucking ear flaps that we were never allowed to use.

          but dude your pattern depends on where you are. it’s just ridiculous to wear woodland green camo unless you’re fighting Soviets in Europe, or you know, somewhere with green forests. ACU is i guess designed for desert/urban. I am quite partial to them. I mean obviously any camo is not gonna make you invisible you need face paint and fucking ghilli suit for that.

          • I played airsoft with a little like 12 year old Asian kid who had Tibetan mountain camo on and he got like 10 kills in one game thanks to that camo and nobody seeing him.

            brb if the Chinese invade, we won’t see them.

            But ACU is pretty great thanks to the velcro, though.

          • @celica re: velcro – yeah it’s great that if you reach in your pocket everybody knows.

            also velcro rank which is handy for those quick rank changes that you have to make approx every two years

            also pin on skill badges so that i have at least one annoying fucking thing to do with this uniform i.e. make sure my jump wings and cib are on straight and then frequently stab me in the chest. they couldn’t totally eliminate that since they got rid of ironing/pressing/starching

            i think the ACU evolved as a conspiracy against Korean sew shops.

            it’s not perfect. DCUs were soaked in permithrin which is nice. also the pull tabs at the waist do a much better job of holding your pants up than do the drawstring in the ACUs.

    • The guy from the “Cro-mag reconstruction” photo goes to my gym.

      But holy shit, what a cretin. That garbage is like a cross between Mein Kampf and the Eliot Rodger manifesto.

  6. Good one, Coach. BTW and not trying to compete, but it was ridiculous here too. I didn’t really look at the thermometer, but when #1&#2 came in the garage right after I finished, they both said: “Did you get in the pool without us?”
    Me-“No, I’m just sweaty.”
    #1-“Don’t lie to us.”

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