Tuesday, August 10, 2010

VPD Field Training Exercise

I am a bad guy.

I kneel behind a log for cover and wait for the enemy.  My squad knows what direction they're coming from.  And we know they're searching for our weapons cache.  Through the thick forest, I catch glimpses of Army and Marine uniforms moving towards me.  I am confident that my weapon will fire.  I'm doubtful of the accuracy of its ammunition.

They come in a hail of paint and war cries.  Twenty feet to to my left, I hear my buddy go down.  The left flank is exposed.  We're too spread out!  I call for the man behind me to fill in the gap.  Too late, the hole fills with a Marine bent on destroying me.  Suddenly, fire comes from ahead and to the left.  I hit the dirt and attempt to hold back the green flood.

I realize I am going to die, just before a searing pain fills my head.

I have been shot in one of the worst places to get hit by a paintball, the top of the head.  Corporal Elorza quickly strips me of my ammo and moves on with another Marine.

Welcome to Video Production & Documentation's FTX.

FTX, or Field Training Exercise, is two days of working under simulated combat situations.  It's designed to get students out of the classroom, and their comfort zones.

In the morning, the class marched roughly three miles to the FTX site.  We all carried rifles.  I didn't do this for my 'A' school FTX.  Let me tell you, after the first 30 minutes, carrying an M-16 gets uncomfortable.  It has to be held in an unnatural position so it can be brought quickly up to firing position.

Here a student assigned to tape the march stands on a hill for a better view of the formation.  I had to run to catch up, as the troops marched fast.  It's the price you pay for being a blogger.

 Johnson helps Cpl. Elorza get ready to shoot me in the head.

Many of us ran out of ammo during the various scenarios throughout the day.  We either took it off dead bodies or found a buddy to share with.  Here Johnson shares with Cpl. Elorza, so he can keep shooting people in the head.

After each scenario, the assigned shooter found someone to interview.  The interviewee talked about what just happened and the purpose of the exercise.

 Pops displays a war wound.  If it'd been a bullet, he'd be dead.

Specialist Youmans is a gung-ho Combat Cameraman.  He's on this log to get an overhead angle on our group.  Let me clarify, this was after the scenario had ended.  He's not that gung-ho.


Back at the tents, shooters edited their raw footage into 30-45 second videos.  We then transmitted the finished product to a server.  As a Mass Communication Specialist, footage I obtain in the field could be seen by the world within hours.

The Soldiers were not impressed by the MREs.  Unlike Sailors, they eat them all the time.  Here Shaver helps me open mine.  I am excited.

I will literally eat and enjoy ANYTHING for any amount of time.  That southwest beans and rice was super delicious.

At night, we learned about night vision.   In-line systems attach to the camera lens, and allow us to see in pitch black conditions.

Dettling holds a glow stick that was later used to demonstrate the night vision equipment's capabilities.

We got in our too-short cots at 10 pm, and were asleep at 10:02 pm.  Mass Communication Specialist First Class DeLeon snores really loud.

 Hooyah VPD 050-10!

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