This morning, July 13, 2009, the competitors were woken up at 5 a.m. Some of them woke up earlier to put the finishing touches on their class A uniform. They were shuttled to breakfast, where most of them studied while eating. Some of them partnered up, asking each other questions from the Army Study Guide. Then they were marched to the 88th RSC auditorium, and put in order of appearance for the oral board.
Half of them, those who had their board times in the afternoon, were taken to a room for their written exam and essay. The exam consisted of military knowledge questions that are taught and learned in Basic Training. The cadre gave three topics to write about for the essay. Two of the topics given, I remember, were “Leadership” and “what do the Army Values mean to you?” After they finished their exam, they headed back to the auditorium, studying and waiting patiently for their name to be called for the board.
Before the board last year, I was really nervous, first of all knowing that I would be sitting in front of a table full of Sergeants Major. What questions they would ask? And, did I go over those questions on the study guide that they thought would be important to know? (watch SPC Brunet on video)
Today, SGT Cody Brunet sat steady as his sponsor, SFC Lindenburg, wiped of the smudges off his insignias. Some worked on their facing movements, for their entrance into the board room.
SPC Christopher J. Ludwig felt more comfortable sitting by himself going over questions from his study guide. Going through it last year, I sat with some of the competitors who I was deployed with or had worked with prior to the competition. I felt that I had studied to much the days prior to the board, and the only way to calm my nerves was to talk to others about something other than the competition. (watch SPC Ludwig on video)
SSG Lucas Crumbacker sat confident and quietly with his sponsor, SFC Davis, knowing he was as ready as he could be. (watch SSG Crumbacker on video)
By 1100 a.m. half of the competitors had completed their first day events. SSG Robert Ashley leaned back on a chair at the top of the auditorium, with a relieved look, after finishing his board appearance and tests. After the board, last year, we were relieved and I thought to myself “It’s downhill from here.” A lot of the competitors are better at the physical part of the competition, and are glad this day is over.
The tough days start tomorrow. APFT at 0500. Followed by Urban Orienteering. Followed by Night Urban Orienteering with about 75 lbs of equipment on themselves. Long day.
Check out the photos on Flickr, Videos on Vimeo, and Audio on the Army Reserve site.