Friday, April 16, 2010

A Day In The Life

Drat, the Blackhawks decided to follow the trend and get upset on the first game of the playoff series. C'mon guys! You're so much better than that! Sunday, baby! I am hoping to get some knitting time in tomorrow (I can't knit during Blackhawks games - I get too worked up to even sit still most of the time - but I'm not as emotionally invested in any of the games tomorrow and have to rest up for a midnight CQ shift anyway, so that should be good knitting time. Assuming I can remember what to do with sticks and string...)

I wish I had had a better idea of what to expect when I was getting ready for my tech school. Granted, the Vandenberg schoolhouse is generally much much more easygoing than some of the bigger training bases (Sheppard and Keesler come to mind - we are MUCH smaller), so this is pretty base-specific but would still be good info for those going into space or missiles. So maybe if there's someone out there like me who got their tech school and then tried to find information on what it will be like, this might help.

A typical day here looks like this:

People who want first breakfast start waking up and getting ready for the day. If you want a hot non-processed breakfast and are in class, you go to first breakfast. Only Phase I detail airmen have the option of going to second breakfast, because the rest of us are in class.

People who don't go to first breakfast start waking up and getting ready for the day. People who do go to first breakfast load up into the van and head out.

Everyone starts heading downstairs/back from the dining hall

Morning formation in the dayroom. The ropes take accountability, the morning MTL makes any necessary announcements.

People in classes start forming up and marching over to the schoolhouse, which is about a quarter mile (if that) from the dorm in an almost straight line. No big deal.

Morning classes. March back to the dorm when your instructors release you. (Ours has never kept us past 1045 but missiles often stay until 1115)

Bus picks us up at the dorms to take us to the dining hall for lunch. Phase I must go to lunch, the other two phases don't have to (we have mini-fridges and can keep food in our rooms - lots of people do breakfast this way so they can sleep in later). Often used as naptime for those who don't have to go to the dining hall.

Bus picks us up at the dining hall and brings us back to the dorms.

Classes form back up and march back over to the schoolhouse.

Afternoon classes. March back to the dorm when released. The MTLs will usually make us stay down in the dayroom and "study".

MTLs release us to go to our rooms to get ready for PT (M/T/Th) or Airmen's Time (W) or Final Formation (F). Usually more naptime for those who are good with the 20-minute power naps.

We start forming up for PT/AT/FF

PT/AT/FF (AT and FF very rarely go past 1530, PT will usually go the entire hour). For us, Mondays are usually circuit/strength days, Tuesdays are runs (3-5 miles) and Thursdays (depending on the MTL's mood) are "fun" days - ultimate football/frisbee, soccer, dodgeball, etc.

After that, we're released for the day and the MTLs escape (or turn into vampires or whatever it is they do when they aren't at the dorm - btw, MTLs are military training leaders and are basically the sergeants in charge of dorm life. They do our room inspections, open ranks, PT, any drill stuff we do, and take care of discipline problems in the "house". They aren't academic teachers. "Ropes" are students who have been designated as leaders within the dorm - different colors have different levels of authority/responsibility). You can get dinner at the dining hall (if you're a Phase I you have to, the other phases can eat elsewhere if they want, but hey, free food, right?), shower, change into civvies, study, clean/do laundry, run errands (on and off base), go to the bowling alley or ministry center, use your personal electronic devices (if you can get a decent connection, which is hard - go to the bowling alley if you're Phase II or above and can't get off-base =P ) During the week, we all have to be back in our rooms by 2200. The weekends are much more lax - you pretty much make your own schedule, as long as you're following your phase rules, make your bed checks Friday and Saturday nights (2200 for Phase I, 2400 for Phase II and yes, they will wake you up to make sure you're in your room), and are accounted for at the GI Party at 2000 on Sunday. Our GI parties aren't bad - just a few end of weekend announcements and a couple rooms get assigned to do stuff like vaccuum the carpet in the hallways or clean the CQ latrines that barely anyone uses. No big deal.

I don't know anything about the missile classes, but the space instructors that I've met so far have all been great. Knowledgeable, and very very approachable. My class spends about 90% of the time laughing and we would hang out all the time if we were allowed to. The other classes tell me theirs are similar. And the academic instructors can also help with situations going on in the dorms, too, and can be counted on to talk to the MTLs if they feel there is a problem that is affecting an NPSer in the classroom. I've personally seen my instructor do that a few times, and if he can't deal with it, he'll get someone up the food chain who can, which is heartening to see. I very much prefer being in class to being in the dorms, because I actually get treated like I have a head on my shoulders there. Dorm life definitely delves down to the lowest common denominator very quickly, and I am very much NOT 18 years old. And having a car and driving privileges will automatically make you everyone's new best friend, which can be both fun and irritating.

But anyway, if anyone is looking on the 'Net for information about tech school at VAFB, I hope you find this and it helps!

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