We spent the last four and a half days at a make-shift FOB in the field here at Fort Jackson. Capstone was the culmination of the last three months of training. It was designed to be a practical exercise that allows us to take many of things that we have learned and try them out.
The FOB was much nicer than our digs at 15A when we did our FTX back in June. We still stayed in tents, but this time they had concrete floors. The weather was also extremely mild for late August with temperatures not rising above 90 the entire week. The late afternoons and evenings were especially nice.
Sleep was scarce during Capstone as each night we were hit with simulated mortar fire. Artillery simulators were set off on the perimeter of the FOB and make an extremely loud explosion as well as an impressive burst of light. Needless to say, it was more than enough to get us out of our cots and into the concrete bunkers rather quickly. When the explosions went off, we had to throw on our boots, pro-masks, body armor, and kevlar helmet and run out the bunkers. If someone was too slow, the cadre would tag them as a casualty. Eventually, the cadre would give the all clear and we would return to our cots trying to get some rest after all the excitement.
We had a number of different training exercises. We learned how to respond to a mass casualty incident. We also practiced taking on the role of the Chaplain in a variety of tough scenarios. Overall, the training was good and it was refreshing to get out of the class room and practice what we have learned. In fact, the consesus was that we learned more in a few days in the field than we did in six straight weeks in the class room.
There were also some interesting shenanigans that the men of 1st platoon pulled while we were at the FOB. Hopefully, I will have a video to post of one of those early next week.
Until then…here are some pictures from this week.