Friday, February 26, 2010

I'm a Turtle!

We were doing E & E (Escape and Evasion) training one day up in the mountains in Washington.

In E & E training they teach you how to be stealthy as you're moving through the environment to hopefully get you to be able to get from where your plane has gone down, if you survive, to where friendly forces can rescue you.

We were in our 4 man teams cruising along when we came to this road. We had to cross the road successfully without being detected.

No big deal right.

There were guys out looking for us, but we hadn't ran in to any problems so far so morale was high, and spirits were up.

This was also the day after we had eaten Lunch, so bolstered by his steadfast desire to survive we think we're invincible.

There was a stream that ran under the road, but it ran through a colvert not under a bridge, because that would have been too easy. Hop in the stream go under the bridge nobody sees you. But since the culvert was only big enough for the water going through it, and we had our packs on our back going through the colvert was out.

I'm in the lead and go up as close to the road as I can and check both directions for a few minutes.

Not seeing anything on the road I decide it's safe, signal my group that I'm going to cross. And proceed to make my way across the road.

Just as I reach the other side I hear a vehicle coming up the road. I quickly scan the area and see a patch of large ferns near the stream that will make good cover. I dive into the fern patch and cover up. I'm safe. No way anyone is going to see me there.

Just as the car goes over the culvert and I feel the rumble of the truck passing by a strange thing happens. I don't know if it was because I had dove into the patch of ferns, or just my weight, or the rumble of the truck, but the bank of the stream gives out and unceremoniously dumps me in the stream.

I guess the guys in the truck saw the movement or something because I hear the truck come to a screeching halt.

Now I'm laying face down just out of the water, but on the stream bed, face down covered with dirt and uprooted ferns.

"You! Get up here!"

Nope, not me. They don't see me. I think to myself.

"Hey! Get out of there!"

Not talking to me, they can't see me. I'm a turtle.

Closer now. "You in the stream get your butt up here."

Not gonna happen. I'm a turtle. You can't see me here.

Then the guy kicks my pack. "Get out of there!"

Then he just jerks me out of the stream. Carries me over to the side of the road and throws me face down again. Still holding on the back of my pack.

"How many of you are there?!"

"Just me."

At this point he starts pulling on my pack until I'm a litle bit off the ground, then slamming me back down. It wouldn't have been too bad except for the fact that there was a rock poking up out of the dirt right where the middle of my forehead.

Whack, whack, whack.

Holy crap that hurts, what the heck is hitting me in the head.

"How many are in your group?!"

"Just me"

I guess his buddy was tired of watching him bounce me off the ground and had gone to search the surrounding area.

"Hey I got another one!"

Whack, whack, whack I go again. Now at this point that rock is really doing a number on my head. And things are a little fuzzy. I try to squirm a little bit to adjust the point of impact, and get rewarded with a kick to the side for my efforts. So now my head and my side are hurting.

I hear a thump next to me, and I assume it's one of the guys from group.

"How many of you are there?!"

"Just the two of us."

"Oh really you expect me to believe you now?!"

Whack, whack, whack I go again. I swear that rock has moved with me. Now I got tears in my eyes, and I can't see straight. Thinking is getting to be a little difficult and I'm thinking to myself if I pass out at least I'll feel a little better.

"I got another one!" his partner joyfully calls out.

Quick rundown in my head. That's 3 down, only one to go, then we'll see what happens. I also notice that my buddy isn't getting bounced off the ground like I am. Lucky punk.

"How many of you are there?!"

"Uh..I'm not sure anymore. My head really hurts."

Apparently he took that as sarcasm, and sarcasm wasn't to be tolerated.

Whack, whack, whack, whack, get the picture.

Now I think they have found us all. I think. At this point I don't really remember if they had actually found any of us, and I'm pretty sure I'm still a turtle in the stream and none of this has happened.

Eventually they stop the training, and we get together to discuss what we had done right and what we had done wrong.

"You can get up now?"

"Huh? What? I'm a turtle. Can't see me."

The instructor thinks I'm kidding around, and flips me over. That's when he notices two things. First that he'd been bouncing my head off a rock for however long it took to find us all, and second I'm now bleeding pretty good from my head. That kind of freaks him out a little bit, and does wonders for my state of mind.

That was the day that I learned that even little scalp wounds will bleed like crazy. But I got to spend a few minutes in the ambulance that they keep on hand for emergencies and stuff. So I guess it all worked out in the end.

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