Sunday, September 30, 1990

Letter from Army Basic Training #7

Hey, Dad.

I got your letter. Thanks for the money. I'm doing fine. This past week has been sort of a slow week. We had KP, Monday and Thursday. I hate KP, all we do all day is clean. Because my platoon had KP, we missed the obstacle course and night fire. That's where you get to shoot in automatic with tracer rounds.

We got our uniforms Tuesday. They're pretty fancy. I can't wait till I get to wear it. Friday was not a very good day. We had Drill Competition that morning and we came in second. We got a streamer for our flag but we didn't win like we were expecting to. Our Drill Sergeant said that our grader was the hardest of the two. We also lost the Barracks Maintenance streamer for this week for the first time. We lost by two points, just like in the Drill Competition. It we had won it this week, we would have been able to keep the streamer permanently. We think that the First Sergeant let one of the other platoons win because they were complaining that we were always winning.

We also went to Evening Colors that day. That's were we have to stand perfectly still in the positions of Attention and Parade Rest for about a hour. We have to compete against other companies for the Evening Colors streamer. One guy in 2nd Platoon fainted during the ceremony. In one of the female companies, five girls passed out. Our company didn't win, but again we think there is foul play involved. One of the reviewers who graded our company was a Drill Sergeant for our company and was kicked out. Our Company Commander said that we had deserved to win. He said that several officers had come up to him and congratulated him for winning who were at the ceremony. He said that they were surprised when they found out we didn't win because they thought we looked the best.

Saturday, we had phase testing and we phased into the Blue Phase. We also took a PT test in the morning. I did 34 push-ups, 46 sit-ups and ran the 2-mile in 14:39. I qualified in everything. That means in 2 weeks when we take the APRT Test, I will pass. The requirements are only 32 push-ups, 42 sit-ups and 15:54 on the run. I'm pretty happy about that. In the beginning of Basic Training, I was pretty worried.

I put two pictures that I had taken in a photo booth last week during pass in the envelope for you to look at. They have paper stuck to them because I stuck them in my pocket when they were still wet. I got one of those disposable cameras. I have taken a few pictures already. I'll send it home when all 24 pictures are taken. I'm waiting for next week when we go on Tactical Bivouac before I take the rest of the pictures. I hope they all come out good.

We get paid Monday and we also get our portraits next week. I'll send those when I get them. Well, I've been sitting around too long. I got to clean this room. I'll call soon as I get a chance.

Love, Noah

A Co. 3rd BN 26th Inf
Fort Dix, NJ 08640-7031

Saturday, September 22, 1990

Letter from Army Basic Training #6

Uncle Dan,

Thanks for your letter. I'm glad you were able to go to my going-away party. Too bad you didn't jet-ski, it was fun. The weather is starting to get cool here. It has been raining all day today.

Yesterday, we finished BRM (Basic Rifle Marksmanship). We had to qualify on the M-16 rifle by shooting a certain number of pop-up targets. I got the Marksman Medal. I'm looking forward to pinning it on my Dress Greens we get Tuesday. Tonight we get to go to a concert and tomorrow we get to go on Pass. We'll be able to eat anything we want.

We're going to learn how to shoot the M-60 machine gun too. We just don't have to qualify with it. We pull guard duty next week. We go out in the middle of nowhere and guard an ammunition dump full of live ammo. It should be pretty interesting.

Well, I got to stop writing now, out of time.

A Co. 3rd BN 26th Inf
Fort Dix, NJ 08640-7031

Letter from Army Basic Training #5

Hello Dad,

I got your letter. Thanks for Scott's address.

Today we finished BRM (Basic Rifle Marksmanship). We had to qualify with our M-16s. We had to get 23 out of 40 pop-up targets. I got my first badge today, a Marksman medal. I hit 26 targets. I didn't do as well as yesterday. I hit 30 then. If I had hit that today I would have gotten the Sharpshooter medal. I think that I was too nervous, so I screwed up my shots.

My platoon won the BRM Streamer because we got the best percentage of qualifiers. We now have two streamers on our flag. The Barracks Maintenance and BRM.

We get to go on pass Sunday. We also have a concert Saturday night. We did a lot of marching this week. We marched about 16 miles with full pack, all together. I'm lucky, I only got a couple of blisters compared to other people.

We got another haircut today. This time they only cut around the hair on the sides leaving the top to keep growing. I like it. We also get our Class A Uniforms next week. They look like the ones the recruiter wore. We get a dress green jacket and patent leather shoes.

Only two more weeks until the PT Test. To pass, you have to do 32 push-ups, 42 sit-ups and 15:54 on the 2 mile run. I should be able to pass if I continue to work hard. I can already do the run on time.

We also pull a 24 hour guard duty next week. They take a group of us out into the middle of nowhere with our rifles and live ammunition and we have to guard an ammunition dump.

Tomorrow, we have the IET Challenge. That's where our company, Alpha Company, competes against other companies within our battalion. It's kind of like a field day at school.

This coming week is our last week in White Phase, next week we move into our last phase, Blue. In that phase is where we have the tactical bivouac with the 15 mile night hike.

It's starting to get chilly here in the mornings. I hope it warms up a bit.

I'm glad to hear some people are interested in my car. I've written Jake already, hopefully he'll write back. Grandma and Grandpa DeVol have been on a trip to Alaska and have been sending me postcards. Could you send some pictures? Some from the Going-Away party. At least one with a picture of Scott and Greg in it, please.

Well, I have to go. I've been writing this after lights-out with a flashlight and I'm getting tired.

Love, Noah

A Co. 3rd BN 26th Inf
Fort Dix, NJ 08640-7031

Tuesday, September 11, 1990

Letter from Army Basic Training #4

Hey Jake,

How is Boston? I've been doing pretty good here. We wake up around 4:00 in the morning and go out and exercise. Once a week we have a 4 mile run.

Today we had to go into a gas chamber filled with tear gas. We had to take off our gas masks and stay in there for one minute. The gas totally burns your eyes, nose and throat. I felt like I was going to die.

Starting tomorrow we're going out to the firing range to learn how to shoot our M-16's.

I don't don't get to read any books here. I have allot of new friends. The name of my platoon is the "Rangers".

I am buying a jacket that has a skull with blood dripping out of it's mouth with two crossed M-16s behind it, on the back. The front has my name and patches saying "Rangers", "U.S. Army" and an American Flag on it. It's a flight jacket.

I'll probably see you at Christmas. I'll try to call you.

A Co. 3rd BN 26th Inf
Fort Dix, NJ 08640-7031

Wednesday, September 05, 1990

Letter from Army Basic Training #3


Today we practiced throwing hand grenades, yesterday we had hand-to-hand combat training. I learned a lot of throwing moves and how to land correctly. Did you get the travelers checks I sent you? Make sure you take all my maps and Automobile Club stuff out of the glove compartment of my car before you sell it, please.

I had Fireguard last night from 1 to 2 in the morning. We had gotten back to the barracks late from a religious retreat so I didn't have time to shine my boots so I did it during fireguard.

It is starting to get chilly here in the morning. Standing outside at 4:30 in the morning in a T-shit and shorts is not fun. They warm you up though with the 2 mile run and exercises.

The reason I keep writing you with this small notepad paper is because this is the only paper I carry around with me all day, so when we have a break I can write.


This morning we learned how to use a field phone, use the right radio lingo, and we also learned how to use the field radio, too. Lunch was good. I had two roast turkey sandwiches. We burn it all off though and I'm already hungry before dinner.

We did Pugil Stick training today. That's where you wear a football helmet, gloves, pads and try to beat each other with padded sticks. You try to score points against your opponent by getting a good hit on them. It was for two out of three points. I won my match, 2 to 0.

On the way back, when we were singing cadence, we screwed up and made a turn before the Drill Sergeant gave the command. He got mad and when we got back to the barracks, he made us do so many exercises that the floor was slippery with sweat.

After dinner, we used the Weaponeer, it is a piece of equipment that tells you how good a shot you are.


This morning we had another company run, 4 miles, at even a faster pace. I made the whole run without stopping or falling out of formation. We learned how to set up a claymore mine. We got another haircut today, just when it was starting to grow again. After lunch, we went to a firepower demonstration. It was so loud that we had to wear earplugs.

My platoon won the barracks award for the second time in a row. Tomorrow our company goes into the "White" phase of basic training. There are three phases, Red, White & Blue. We'll get more freedom and privileges in the white phase. I finally got my glasses.

We're going to bivouac, or camping in civilian terms, for five days and four nights. We'll concentrate on firing our M-16's at the range. We go into the gas chamber on Monday. They say don't eat very much before or you will probably throw it up.

I got your letter today. Thanks for the money. About the stolen money, they didn't take the wallet luckily. Don't send the Sports Illustrated magazines because we are not allowed to have books or magazines. How did the family portrait come out? Is Jordan and Joel having Home School again this year or are they going to Encinitas Christian school again? Could you look in the phone book under Scott Dale and send me the address and phone number, please. Thanks. I sent letters to all the relatives who asked me to write them. Well, I've written enough. Keep in contact.

I love you, Noah!

A Co. 3rd BN 26th Inf
Fort Dix, NJ 08640-7031

Saturday, September 01, 1990

Letter from Army Basic Training #2

Hello Dad,

This morning we got up at 3:30 in the morning and had a four mile run. We had to run in formation and couldn't stop the whole time.

Right now I am on a break from our First Aid class. We got portraits done with us in our uniforms. I will send them home when I get them.

My platoon got first place in barracks clean-up competition between the company's platoons. We got a streamer for our flag, a plaque and our platoon gets to carry the company flag.

A Co. 3rd BN 26th Inf
Fort Dix, NJ 08640-7031