I've been kind of busy the last few weeks, moving from SD up to Port Hueneme in Ventura for Civil Engineer Corps Officer School (CECOS) training until the end of August. CECOS is a crash course in understanding how the Civil Engineer Corps fits into the larger picture of the Navy, such as how our operations on base support the fleet. Also, we learn a lot about the Seabees, aka the construction battalions that support our Marines abroad. Most of this training is learning how to do contracting on behalf of the government, because much of my job in the next two years will involve working with contractors to build and maintain my naval base in SD. This is a boring paragraph.
Anyway, one thing I really like about the CEC is that they pretty much make it your job to get as qualified as possible, and they'll support you at it. I think that's probably the greatest perk of being in the Navy, they'll cover tuition for grad school, while paying you your full salary; they require you to get energy and environmental engineering certifications; they'll pay for your books and stuff to take the P.E. exam; other stuff that's kind of boring to discuss. But you get the point. If and when I leave the Navy, I know I'll be qualified to get a job elsewhere in the private sector, and for that reason alone, I feel pretty good about what I'll have going into the future.
Alright, now for the interesting part: FTX! Field Training Exercise, basically the closest I'll ever get to being Hurt Locker status until I go to battalion in two years. In the wee hours of this past Sunday, I went up with my CECOS class (about 50 ppl) up to Fort Hunter Liggett near Monterey to do a field exercise. For most of us, like myself, this was my first time doing any sort of combat training, so I don't mean that office work shit that they have officers do most of the time. I'm talking tactical engagements, patrolling during the day or in the darkness of night wearing your kevlar and flak vest, with an M16 ready to engage the (in this case, fake) enemy. Ride in Humvees, eat Meals-Ready-to-Eat (MREs), and communicate using "Roger" and "Over" like I always imagined GI Joe did. Definitely fun, but I gotta say its also pretty tough too. It's tiring and heavy and pretty grueling on your feet, knees and shoulders to be carrying all that stuff. Not having showered or changed uniform, I got back today smelling literally like a giant ass.
Hopefully I'll get some pics to post up.
Good night guys and gals