It’s a No Go

So EIB is over. If you didn’t read about EIB you can find more¬†here. It is basically a week long test that soldiers go through to say they are an expert at their craft. (Honestly, it reminds me of the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.)

On Monday, the brigade had around 850 soldiers start EIB.

Monday consisted of a PT test, day land navigation, and night land navigation.

After PT around 450 people were left. After the navigation part, 200 people passed through to day two.

Tuesday-Thursday were lanes with specific tasks that are judged on every minute detail. If you do not get through a detail or task, you are given a No Go.

You are allowed 2 No Gos.

For the entire week.

Each day more people fell off the ranks.

Going into the 12 mile ruck march on Friday, there were less than 20 soldiers left.

Only 12 soldiers out of 850ish were pinned with their Expert Infantryman’s Badge.

Unfortunately, Tom was not one of those. Only one person from his company made it through the week. Tom made it until Wednesday, so he did not get to do the last lane or Friday’s march.

Personally, I think the entire unit was doomed from the start. They have been working up to this for awhile following all the codes and learning the rules one way. Then just a couple days before, they changed the rules so that they could only get two No Gos for the entire week, instead of the initial 2 No Gos per task. They also didn’t allow them to challenge their No Gos like the rules stated, so they weren’t able to be heard by the graders if they thought their No Go was unjustified. They got to protest, but no one listened like the rules say they are supposed to. Tom wasn’t even allowed to talk to the next highest rank about his only no go. And when his Platoon Sergent tried backing Tom up and fight for his right to challenge, both Tom and his Platoon Sergent were kicked off the lane. This was the end of the test for Tom.

I am still astonished by the fact that the passing rate for the week was less than 2% of the brigade. It just seemed pretty messed up to change the rules. I mean the graders got 6 No Gos when they passed, why would they change it all of a sudden? Not my fight, but it seems a little ridiculous to put all this time and effort to get the brigade ready for this week and make it nearly impossible for anyone to pass. Any Army class is supposed to be a 20% pass rate, and here they sit with only 12 people newly minted with the badge. A lot of time and money for just 12 people, but what do I know.

So in true infantrymen fashion, all of the men have been poking fun at the notion of “No Gos” since they aren’t “experts.” Tom has been shouting it for the past few days at anything that he finds disapproving. And this weekend at a get together with some of our Army family, of course this was a running joke for the night. No go this, no go that.

So they all seem to be taking the defeat well.

Before this all went down though, Tom was really excited about land navigation. He is really good at it. It just comes so naturally for him. However, he was still concerned about the course time limit to find the four points, and was looking for ways to shave off time and make things as easy as possible.

Tom’s brain went to work to invent a handy map holder to attach to his uniform.

He is a map checker. He is constantly re-evaluating his route, just to make sure that he is doing what is right with the land. So he will look at his map at least once every 2 minutes. His thought is that if you aren’t willing to always re-evaluate your route, you may screw yourself over without realizing it because even a minor mis-step can take you way off course.

He was keeping the map in a ziplock bag in his pocket, because inevitably when they do land nav the weather is miserable and wet. So you can see over a couple hour stretch how checking a map ever 2 minutes can be cumbersome.

So we bought:

  • one old army duffle bag from a surplus store in town
  • clear plastic vinyl
  • snap buttons
  • velcro
  • cotton webbing
  • We also had to buy a new sewing machine…
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Crosby was not impressed with Dad taking over the living room for Army stuff.

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Here is he making sure all the pieces fit where he wants them before sewing everything together. The green pieces are the old duffel bag cut up in squares. Then the vinyl plastic is on top to keep it water proof.

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He added Velcro so it would fold up nicely and stay put.

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He put the snap buttons on the straps so it can be attached to the FLC (vest).

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Then it was just a matter of sewing everything into place.

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He even made pen holders on the backside. So clever.

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This is the FLC. He just used the snap straps to slide into the FLC molle. (those horizontal strips you see)

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Modeling off his creation

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It just flips out so he can read it just like that. Now he doesn’t have to fumble through his pockets and a crumpled map in a ziplock bag anymore.

So even though he didn’t get new bling for his uniform, he did get something new for his uniform. This one seems more practical if I might say so myself.

Also I might add, it was pretty hot to see Tom use the sewing machine. Just saying people, a man doing crafts deserves a one way ticket to my heart. Lucky for me, I already snagged this crafty soldier.

Sewing Solo

I had been dreading my first solo attempt at sewing. Threading the machine terrified me, so it stayed in its box for the past six months.

But a great project presented itself to ease me into working with it again.

More or less this mess was taunting me…

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This is our spare bedroom that has been like this since I moved down in May. It was time to make something happen with it. We have one storage room off the carport, but that has turned into Tom’s “workshop” so we didn’t have anywhere else to put all this. Into the spare bedroom it went!

So we decided we would clean this up and make a partition to basically hide our storage within the second bedroom. I feel like Monica on Friends…

We bought fabric to make curtains that we could easily slide open when we need to find something. We also wanted to do bright curtains because we are not going to be painting any walls since our time here will be too short lived to worry about the tedious task of painting. It is a great way to brighten up the drab white walls without all the work!

Here is the fabric I bought. DSCF1023

I am really in love with this color combo right now! So cheerful!

We bought conduit tubes and two curtain stabilizers for the rod since it does have to go the length of the room. We decided to make all of our own stuff since actual curtain items are super pricey.

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Tom also put a metal rod inside the conduit to stabilize it a little more since it was pretty long and sagged a little bit. (I really failed at getting pictures of this.)

We did have to cut the tube down to size so you will want to make sure you have the right tools that can cut thick plastic and metal. Tom used a hack saw.

I had to sew the top and bottom, but the sides were fine to leave as they are since we used the full length of the fabric. Since it was a straight line with no backing or anything, this was a pretty simple job. Seriously, the toughest part was threading that blasted machine. After some pouting, YouTube searching, and a very patient husband, I finally got the bobbin and thread where it needed to be. I am a little embarrassed now thinking about how long this part of the process actually took, but I conquered it!

On the top, I did leave enough to make a pocket of sorts that the rod could go through. You can see that in the above picture.

It did take out about a third of the room,¬† but that is OK considering we didn’t acknowledge this room existed in the past 3 months.

I am really in love with it. I sat in the rocking chair for a good 10 minutes admiring our work.

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Look at how much Army stuff we have! Those file cabinets are full of gear. One drawer is full of all the sets of Eye-pro (or what I call them, Army goggles). And we had more gear a few days ago. Tom turned in a car load of multicam stuff right before we packed this all back here.

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And now that I think I know how to sew, there may be some new projects on the horizon. I hope it doesn’t take me six months to get that thing out again!

It was really nice to get this all cleaned up. It is one of those things that just makes you feel good and accomplished! And just in time for our family to come for a visit this weekend!