Hey man, congratulations on making it through boot camp! Sounds like it was hell, especially that first night. The only experience I have with that type of stuff would be wrestling in H.S. and then the Frat in College. During hell week they didn’t let us sleep, eat, and the worst was when they made us get really drunk, sleep for one hour, then woke us up and we had to study for around 12 hours straight.. People were throwing up on their books.. It was a terrible time, and one reason I have respect for anyone who’s made it through boot camp because they sound a little similar.
So you are going to learn Chinese!! Excellent! Sometimes, I wish I had chosen that language since their economy is on the rise and Japan is stuck in the mud. It’s hard, but you will have the best teachers and even though it should take you about 6 months to get the rythm, after that it comes easier, I promise. Also, I recommend the book “Learn Japanese Today ” by Len Walsh 1969. I know it’s Japanese but the symbols mean the same in English. The symbols are called “Kanji” and Japan borrowed them from Chinese 1000s’ of years ago. The reason I recommend it is because in my classes here they just told you the meaning in English but most Japanese don’t know the origin of the symbol. Once you know the origin, the symbols of inanimate objects are easy, but the ones representing thoughts and emotions get a little more difficult.
In Chinese you will also have to remember thousands of them. But basically, they are just the same symbols rearranged to mean different things. If you check the “my studies” section of my website I posted an easy explanation. Also, take heart because although most people say Chinese is a little more difficult than Chinese, people here say that Chinese is easier because they don’t conjugate the verbs, so “eat” is always “eat” whether in the past, present or future. The only bummer is the intonation which is really hard and the written language is all in Kanji. In Japanese if you forget the Kanji, you can write it out using their alphabet. But keep at it man, because once I get a good handle on this language, I plan on studying Chinese for my hobby and I’ll be talking with you.
Good choice on choosing Japan first! I met some serious Marines when my friends were here in the foreigner bar district called “Roppongi.” These guys weren’t the usual young, stupid kid military dude you usually meet, but some hardcore dudes who were older. I’ve met all types of military people here, some of which are cool, some which hate civilians, some older hardcore, and one idiot who actually went AWOL. He was stationed on the Kitty Hawk, and just left it, hooked up with a Filipina and they both did drugs together. Apparently, he had to go to jail for a few weeks for that stunt. If you can make it to Japan within the next year, I will still be here and we could meet up. The good thing about having a cool friend like me, is that I could get you away from the skanks and other foreigners in the foreigner bar district and take you into the “real” Japan.
Here is the link to my website xxxxxx and I just posted the pictures from when my friends were here right on the main page.
Good luck and let me know if you have any language questions!!
—– Original Message —–
To: Many People
Subject: I’m Alive!
Hey everyone. Well, believe it or not I made it through in one piece here at good ‘ol Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX. Boot camp was harder than ever imagined though. From the moment I got here up til the moment I left, our TI’s (training instructors) yelled at us whenever they got the chance. Let me tell you it’s scary. The first night there got maybe 30-40 mins. of sleep and then the music on the loud speaker went off and was being yelled at to get in the shower, shave, and brush my teeth. This all had to be done within about 5 minutes. Keep in mind there are only 8 shower heads and 10 sinks with about 55 guys. Not a pleasant experience. The whole first week pretty much was a nightmare and wanted to leave and go home. I had to march with a 50 lb. backpack (picked up first clothing issue), it felt like it could’ve been more, in about 100 degree temp. and add the humidity on top of that, needless to say I could feel buckets of sweat dripping all over me. My cross country training in high school was tough, but I don’t think I sweated more because we always had pants, long sleeves, and a hat on here. The physical training on some days pushed you, especially when some tougher TI’s were in control of the pushup, situp days. They would have you hold on some counts for what seemed like ages til everybody was off the ground. The running however, every other day, was usually only for 25-30 minutes. This consisted of “last trainee up”, like our Indian Run in high school or for those that don’t know the last person in a group of 10 or so sprints to the front and when he arrives the next person runs to the front. There was usually a 2-3 min. walk half way through as well. So, physically I did pretty well. It was just the mental game that was tough.
We had to learn how to fold all of clothes a specific way, make our beds perfectly, shine boots, clip strings, etc.. I never paid so much attention to detail in my life. Nothing was ever good enough. They had an inspection about once or twice a week, luckily I only failed one. If you fail 3 or 2 in one week, you were most likely recycled back 2 weeks, which is you get the boot from our flight and join another one to have growing time to learn from your mistakes. We had about 10 people leave our flight. 6 for medical reasons or so they say, and 4 got recycled for being stupid, not folding clothes right, messing up on dorm guard duty in the day and not meeting physical requirements. We had 3 enter our flight 1/2 way through because they didn’t meet the requirements from their flight.
As you can see a lot of pressure. In addition, you have memory work where they can quiz you on each day. You have to know your chain of command and if you don’t then things can get ugly really quick. I almost got recycled for signing back into the building late. Any mistake there gets magnified and you better be organized and quick. All I know is boot camp made me learn how to get ready quick, be on time, look good, act professional, pay attention to detail, get in shape, and if I can handle that, then I can handle anything mentality.
Boot camp lasted from May 27th til July 11th. My mom and younger brother came out to see me graduate which was very nice. No free time out there and little sleep I tell you. I left on July 14th to go to the other side of the base, Medina. Big move I know. I did have about 6-7 other buddies go to this base as well for training though. I will be here for 3 more weeks now for my flight school. My classes begin tomorrow. From here I will hop on a plane to Fairchild AFB in Spokane, WA for 17 days (survival, evasion, and resistance school). Let’s just say I am a little scared of this training. 6 of the days you have to survive in the wilderness with what you’ve been taught. 2 of those days you’re a POW, and from what I heard they be
After this I believe I either stay in WA, or go to CA or Pensacola, FL for 4 days. This is where my water safety and jump school will be. This is also for the preparation of if the plane goes down. From there of to Monterey, CA for about 14 months to learn Chinese (this is the language I got switched to, it was gonna be Serbian-Croatian or Russian, but the slot opened up for Chinese and they gave it to me). I’m happy because I either wanted that or Russian. From there off to Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo, western TX for 3-4 months. Here is where I will be learning about the intelligence work. Then, I will be done. 1 1/2 yrs. of school. Probably one of the longest tech schools out there. By the way, for those I haven’t told yet my rank is airman first class. My AFSC or job is an airborne cryptologic linguist. Language being Chinese. I went in as a ground linguist, but switched to airborne for the better pay and much more travel opportunities. They said if I dropped airborne, I could never go airborne again. Only the top 2% of the air force they say are airborne. In addition, being a linguist I hold all the classified info. So, I have one of the top jobs out there. I get to wear a flight suit and get wings pinned on me.
After all the tech school hoopla I will most like get stationed in 1 of 5 places for my first assignment. Those being Japan, England, Arizona, Nebraska, or Maryland. I will be seeking Japan first. That is a ways away though.
For all of those in California, I should be arriving in Monterey around the beginning or middle of September. So, if you’d like to visit let me know. I may drive back home in Oct, but it very well may likely be around Thanksgiving.
Hope everyone is doing well and would love to hear from each and everyone of you. No exceptions, don’t be lazy! I hope I didn’t leave anything out. If you have any specific questions just ask and I really would like to hear what y’all have been up to. Take care.
P.S. My cell phone will not be reconnected til Monterey, so e-mail is the only option ’til then. If you’d like me to call let me know. I do have a lot of mins. left on my phone card. Just give me your phone number in case I forgot to write it down or it changed.