Tag Archive for 'Training'

Training For the New Alpinism – Base Fitness Test

I just finished Steve House and Scott Johnston’s Training for the New Alpinism, and I am excited to put into action what I learned. Hopefully by the summer I will be back into military shape. I took the baseline fitness test recently and I was not surprised by the results, I was strong and weak where I figured I would be. All 6 of the exercises were performed at 6700 feet altitude (which I am acclimated to), and push-up, pull-up, and dip rests were in the straight-arm position.

  • 1000′ with 20% of BW (40lbs on the button) on 12″ box step: 53:20 (Poor and smoked). Just had knee surgery exactly a month ago, but I do not think that constitutes a 13 minute slow-down. Lots of work here.
  • Dips in 60 secs: 32 (Excellent-ish)
  • Sit-ups in 60 secs:51 (Excellent-ish)
  • Pull-ups in 60 secs:16(8 good, 8 Kipping) (Good-ish)
  • Box step-ups on 16″ step (75% of knee height) in 60 secs:49 (Excellent-ish)
  • Push-ups in 60 secs:50 (Excellent-ish)

A new mindest

Most of you know I am in Kansas now training for my deployment to Afghanistan. Thus far we have spent the majority of our time learning about culture and the languages used over in Afghanistan. The tactical insight demonstrated in our training changed my mind about the Army and the thought process of our military as a whole. I heard things I never thought I would hear, and though there is certainly the possibility that is is all too late, I feel confident that we at least now know how best to conduct operations over in the middle east. In a nut shell we now openly admit several things;

  1. Our tactics in both wars were horribly flawed and needed drastic revision.
  2. Though we have ousted both insurgent governments we are still technically losing the war.
  3. We presently foresee the necessity of maintaining a presence in both Iraq and Afghanistan until 2013 and likely longer.
  4. What we are doing in Afghanistan is good, that is the intentions are worth the fight. However it will take a ridiculous amount of commitment from both the Afghani citizens and ours to suffer through the long process of rebuilding a country.
  5. Bush and his military advisers as a whole are completely moronic and continue to damage the campaign to this day.
  6. General Petraeus knows his stuff.

The majority of the training hammered home the idea that our priority over in Afghanistan is not to gun down Taliban and other insurgent groups, but to build rapport with local tribes and to assist in developing the security of the country by advising the ANA and ANP. Through this, the ANA and ANP will be able to police their own countries utilizing proven tactics, and eventually we will be able to pull out of the country. Since the ANA and ANP are allies with the US and essentially UN projects it is important to put an Afghani face on and policing or security issues that take place. This helps reinforce the ideal that the Afghani’s are in fact progressing and are responsible for providing security.

This new approach completely surprised me. Gone are the days when we strap on our weapons before gathering the necessary intel and accessing our goals and methods of achieving them. I could only think if this had been done to begin with we would already be much more successful than we are presently. That being said we are making a difference. I can assure you that. Unfortunately for us (UN Troops) that means we must interact with the Afghani people consistently without weapons and armor since it is important to be seen as peace-keepers and not the aggressors we had originally been thought as. This necessary tactic puts us in more danger than we would have been in the “fire at anything that moves campaign”. That being said the danger is worth it. The Afghani people are a beautiful and cultured people with a uniqueness and history unlike any culture I have ever experienced or read about. My only goal for my augmentation is to associate a positive face with America to at least a handful of Afghani’s.

I have created a gallery for training so you guys can check out our picks located here. There are several in there of our training including our interaction with real Afghani nationals and of course our humvees. I have been laying low here, and thus far my only real job is a humvee driver. They are not as fun as one would think. They are gas guzzling pieces of shit that are responsible for about 60% of combat deaths in Afghanistan! Apparently it is much safer over there to travel by foot or even by four wheeler, than it is to utilize even an armored humvee.

The language and culture classes have been amazing. I have met many native Afghani’s including a Dari translator that looks exactly like my dad, exactly. Kind of scary actually. Check out the image here. While I am on the subject of the gallery I want to mention/explain the pictures of our chief . I decided early on in training that he looked a lot like a built Flavor Flav, so that is why that picture is in there (thanks Alan for bringing my idea to life). After that he began to give me a bunch of shit about being from Texas, so naturally we made him a cowboy and hung his invitation throughout the barracks. Typical boredom shit.

For those of you that are interested in the crazy balancing act that is the War in Afghanistan, check out my video gallery here There are many very educational and informative videos. This war has changed a great deal and I think the most upsetting thing to me and I would imagine to other troops is that it has almost been forgotten, pushed back into the shadows during the time of the great crises in Iraq.

Update: I am still trying to figure out why embedvideo is taking a dump on me thus not allowing me to post my Afghanistan videos to my site. They are however posted on Google Video and can be seen by clicking the below links:
Counter Insurgency Tactics
Taliban PR Tactics
Democracy And Elections In Afghanistan
Bin Laden Video
Taliban Dynamics
FOB Life

I will fix the problem and post more images/videos later. For those of you who are really interested, I recommend watching the movie the Kite Runner.

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