Where am I?

The NavigatorsI knew today would begin well because the rising sun indicated there would be no classroom work involved. Any day where powerpoint is left powered off is a good day. If you remember back to last week’s post about land navigation, today was a continuation of that class. We took the information on reading a map, using a compass and finding your way with a DAGR (Defense Advanced GPS Receiver) and actually applied it in real life.

Fifty nine of us and about 15 Sailors showed up to the land navigation course ready to either find our way or get terribly lost. There’s really no in between there. We were broken down into groups of 4-6 people and for the first exercise we were given a compass along with three coordinates. Everyone had different coordinates, which would lead them to signs located throughout the woods.

As long as you could read the compass and keep on the general heading you would do fine. Our group of five were actually the first done on that exercise. We treated it like the Amazing Race, only our only incentive was to limit the time we spent in the tick-infested woods.

After we found the three waypoints, we then had to relinquish our Compass for a map with three points plotted on it from our previous class. From there, we had to follow the markings on the map to find the points. Mind you, this isn’t a Rand McNally Map. This map shows lines that could be roads, squiggly lines for hills and other little markings indicating depressions in the ground, cliffs or mountains. But, we were either on point, or the map was easy to read, because we seemed to knock it out fairly quickly.

Next, we climbed into a Humvee (HMMWV) along with our trusty DAGR. First we had to input five waypoints the instructors gave us. Then we went from one waypoint to the next, driving on mud-soaked roads through the dense woods. Thankfully, we were in a HMMWV and didn’t have to worry about getting stuck. (They can travel through 30 inches of water without stalling).

All-in-all today was an adventure packed day. Honestly, it was great to be outside and actually use the knowledge we’ve learned to find our way around. It’s just too bad men never get lost to actually use this information.

I went ahead and took some video of today’s land navigation and should have it loaded in the next day or so. Tomorrow we are heading out to a “forward operating base” for a week. Basically, it simulates being downrange. They have a gym, dining facility, recreational tent, and some other amenities, but you live out of tents the entire time. Honestly, if I wasn’t going to be going to Afghanistan and living in tents for six months, I might be excited about this. But this just extends the time that much more. I hear there is Internet, so I’ll keep in touch.


One Response to “Where am I?”

  1. So men never get lost, huh? 🙂 I know a guy who couldn’t find our hotel room in Venice. Sound familiar? 🙂

    Honestly, I am so proud of you!! I knew your group would be the first out. You are such a great leader and have so much determination. I love that about you! Love, Jen

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