By Kristin Molinaro, The BayonetApril 1, 2010
FORT BENNING, Ga. - The Soldiers of C Company, 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment, 192nd Infantry Brigade, transitioned from white phase to blue phase this week and are hitting their training stride going into the final two weeks of basic training.
In Weeks Six and Seven, the trainees have been learning advanced rifle marksmanship, convoy operations, ground-fighting techniques and familiarization training with hand grenades and machine guns. They headed to the field Monday for their final field training exercise. The final FTX is a six-day, five-night event testing the trainees in all they've learned since arriving in early February.
All of their training is coming together - moving in buddy teams, reacting to contact, setting up fighting positions, calling for medical evacuations, said 1LT Christopher Hank, C Company's executive officer.
"A lot of these guys are on track and we remind them they've only been doing this for seven weeks," Hank said.
PFCs Nick and James Mulberry, of 3rd Platoon, joined the National Guard to become field artillery tactical data systems specialists. The brothers, natives of Twin Falls, Idaho, said their experience since joining the Army has been eye-opening.
"We didn't know what to expect about being in the military," said James, 19. "I've learned there's a lot of respect and honor - things you don't understand just from playing (a military-themed) videogame."
"In seven weeks, we've met 58 other people and become really close friends with a lot of them. I would trust my life to any of these guys," said Nick, 21. "It's been fun and time has gone by fast. We are always busy doing something and there are lots of surprises."
James said the real-world scenarios in the FTX are preparing him to have confidence on the battlefield.
"We are going on ambushes that normally we would just see drawn out on paper," James said. "But now we are out in the woodlines, sneaking up on the enemy, using our tactics and finding out they really do work."
The trainees wrap up their final FTX Saturday with a ruckmarch and are set to graduate April 15.
Attending graduation' Get your questions answered!
View answers to frequently asked questions about graduation - from what to wear to how much time you'll get with your Soldier - at www.benning.army.mil/infantry/basictraining/.
Want to know more'
Check out Fort Benning's basic training Web site at www.benning.army.mil/infantry/basictraining/.
Friend or family'
If you've got a recruit in C Company, look for their photos at www.flickr.com/photos/247infantry/, find updates on Facebook at the 2/47 Panthers fan page or visit C Company's Web site at http://2-47panthers.org/Charlie-Company.html.