24 miles for a pin?

This is a discussion on 24 miles for a pin? within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I originally posted this in another thread regarding field stripping the AR 15, but it was so far OT I thought I'd save the mods ...

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Thread: 24 miles for a pin?

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    24 miles for a pin?

    I originally posted this in another thread regarding field stripping the AR 15, but it was so far OT I thought I'd save the mods some trouble and move it myself. It's a bit long, but I think many of you might enjoy the story, and it might bring back some memories for the military guys out there - especially the grunts. Also, it's a bit lighter then many of the conversations I've found myself in here lately, which can't be a bad thing! Anyway - the story...

    Way back in the Stone Age (1993), I was testing for my Expert Infantryman's Badge. For those that don't know, this is a series of tasks and tests that infantrymen can undertake in order to earn their EIB pin. The testing usually takes two to three days, and includes a physical fitness test, marksmanship test, land navigation course, and a bunch of common infantry skills (call for fire, set headspace and timing on an M2, operate an M60/M240, perform immediate action on a stoppage, and so on). The final event (usually) is a 12 mile road march with full kit that must be completes within 3 hours. At the end of the road march, you must disassemble, reassemble, and perform a functions check on your M16/M4. You are allowed to no-go any two tasks once (but must pass a retest), but are not allowed to no-go ANY task twice.

    So, it is the final day of testing, with only the road march and M16 dis- and reassembly to go. I have one no-go so far (forgot to tap the forward assist during SPORTS - after hundreds of times of "real world" immediate action drills where this was never necessary, I had gotten out of the habit) and was feeling pretty good. The road march is a pain, but not really that tough, and I had been walking farther, faster, with heavier loads for about two years by then. The lovely Louisiana course was hilly and slightly muddy, but not too terribly bad. Most of it, at least, was paved. My pack was right at 50lbs (to make sure I had a cushion over the 45lbs prescribed), my weapon clean, my web gear, boots, and helmet adjusted just so. At 0800 on the nose, we stepped off the starting line.

    I kept a good pace, not killing myself, but not allowing me to get behind the clock, either. Head down and arms pumping up hills, a slight jog down, and a nice steady pace in the flats. As I approach the finish line, I am about 20 minutes ahead of schedule - just as I had wanted. About 10 meters before the finish, I go into my "final event" plan. I sit down, have a snack (blueberry muffins, yum), drink some water, and visualize my dis-assembly/re-assembly procedures. With ten minutes to spare, I cross the line.

    Immediately, you are taken to the disassembly/reassembly station, read the “Task, Conditions, and Standards,” and your time begins. Smoothly and steadily, I begin. Pins out, check. Bolt out, check. Firing pin retaining pin, out….and out of my fingers. I see it fall in slow motion, hitting the edge of the table, bouncing up, and off, and falling into the grass. Like the kid in “A Christmas Story,” I yell a deep and resonant “Oh, Fudge!” as it disappears from view. I drop to my knees and begin a frantic search, knowing deep in my heart that I am in big doo-doo…and I am. I find it, eventually, but with about 15 seconds to complete my task. Even I’m not that good… ;)

    So, no big deal, right? I have a no-go to spare; I’ll just re-take the disassembly/reassembly stage, and be done. Actually, not so much. The disassembly/reassembly stage is part of the road march task – I have to do the whole thing over. And I have to do it first thing the next morning. I whine and cry to the Sergeant Major about what happened, but he (of course) is having none of it. “If you lost the pin in combat,” he rightly asks, “would the enemy give you a ‘go’?” Damn those Sergeants Major, always smacking you around with reality…

    Anyway, 0800 the next morning, there I am, all kitted out again. Alone. No one else who had no-goed the road march task was willing to do it again, even if they had a no-go available to them and hadn’t been eliminated. Two hours and thirty minutes later, I’m sitting in front of the finish line, munching some blueberry muffins, mentally rehearsing every step I am going to take at the dis-/re- table. A gulp from a canteen and I’m up. Apart, no problem, together, no problem, functions check, no problem. Twenty five seconds to spare. The Sergeant Major had been watching from a short ways off, and approached just as the instructor/grader marked a ‘go’ on my check sheet. He had a nice shiny EIB in his hand.

    Standing at a rigid parade rest, with my entire chain of command watching, the CSM pinned on my EIB (and, of course, pounded the exposed pin backs into my chest for good measure). So, when they tell you to hold on to that pin tightly, listen!
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    So you got "pinned" twice

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    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    So you got "pinned" twice
    Oooh, that was bad...
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    JD
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    But I bet it did in fact make you chuckle and shake your head

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    Nice story, reminds me of the good 'ole days.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Louisiana....... must have been Ft Polk/Leesville, not far from me. Sometimes if conditions are just right we can hear artillery/bombing?
    Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OPFOR View Post
    Standing at a rigid parade rest, with my entire chain of command watching, the CSM pinned on my EIB (and, of course, pounded the exposed pin backs into my chest for good measure). So, when they tell you to hold on to that pin tightly, listen!
    Ahhh, a "blood pinning".

    Got one of those at the end of EOD school. I also remember just before I retired there was a BIG stink about how "cruel" blood pinning was and how it should be stopped. Sonce that was in the mid 80's I see it has crept back in!
    Rick

    EOD - Initial success or total failure

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    Quote Originally Posted by rstickle View Post
    Ahhh, a "blood pinning".

    Got one of those at the end of EOD school. I also remember just before I retired there was a BIG stink about how "cruel" blood pinning was and how it should be stopped. Sonce that was in the mid 80's I see it has crept back in!
    It never went away, it just kind of got a little quieter... I've had just about everything "blood pinned" from 1991 through 2005 - I guess it just depends on the unit climate.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    JD
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    Pinning and orther forms of rights of passage are alive and well...

    I remember multiple pinnings, but getting my "Blood Stripes" was the worst and yet the best at the same time...

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    My young bride will occasionally remark to family members about the barbarity of my "blood wings". She still doesn't buy the concept of how much worse it would have been to not get blood pinned! It's just a little ritual that makes it a bit more memorable. If that was the biggest hurt I ever got in the big green machine, I wouldn't walk with a limp today.

    Kind of brings to mind the old saying, "If St. George had slain a dragonfly, who would remember him?"
    Cheers,
    Rod
    "We're paratroopers. We're supposed to be surrounded!" Dick Winters

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    Quote Originally Posted by rodc13 View Post
    My young bride will occasionally remark to family members about the barbarity of my "blood wings". She still doesn't buy the concept of how much worse it would have been to not get blood pinned! It's just a little ritual that makes it a bit more memorable.
    I guess there are some things "civilians" will just never understand. Actually never thought pinnings would go away, just underground.
    Rick

    EOD - Initial success or total failure

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    Good story. Well told.
    eschew obfuscation

    The only thing that stops bad guys with guns is good guys with guns. SgtD

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    No pinnings anymore around here. Too many sons of the Mothers of America.

    Austin

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    The first time I went out for it, 2 NCOs in my company earned it. The second time, 2 NCOs in my platoon (me included) earned it. The next year I was grading, and we dubbed it the FreeIB. I'd say about 50% of those participating were awarded (and participation was mandatory). At my station (visual signals) I awarded 2 NO-GOs and both were overturned.

    Road march and land navigation (4 phases of it) are now prerequisites. Boresighting the M-16 was added when I got mine.
    The Army keeps changing. With the introduction of the Combat Action Badge (which I hate) I almost think it's time we did away with the Infantry and Medic badges.
    "and suddenly I can not hold back my sword hand's anger"

    DaddyWarcrimes.com

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    With the introduction of the Combat Action Badge (which I hate) I almost think it's time we did away with the Infantry and Medic badges.
    I think my avatar sums up my opinion on whether or not we should do away with the CIB...
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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