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Four Years at the Mount

Senior year

Summer time!

Leeanne Leary
Class of 2017

I walked into the gym today and Ė "Hey Leeanne, wow you look tired" was the first thing I heard. I responded letting everyone know that of the past 15 hours, I had slept for 13.

Summer!

My summer will consist of three real parts: first, somewhere in the middle, and last will be a strange cycle of sleep, random fun, and working at the pizza shop. The second real chunk will be spent in Fort Knox, Kentucky, at CLC (Cadet Leaders Course) or "camp," as it is affectionately referred to as. Finally, the third chunk, falling in between camp and the last cycle of sleep and work will be a couple of weeks spent in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti.

The first part is this "strange cycle." I call it strange because every day is different and every day moving from a 13 hour work day one day, to a seven hour sleep day the next. In between work and sleep will be the random fun. My friends have become experts at hunting down free concerts, or concerts under the maximum 20 dollars, so a lot of time will be spent cheering for up-and-coming artists at random venues in York, PA. I have already begun to consume too much ice cream, be it a McFlurry (my go to) or a random find at a little ice cream shop. Iíve binge watched Friends and Girl Meets World. And, Iíve found a new gym since my old one mysteriously shut down and got a new phone number that I havenít been able to track down Ė all a lot of fun.

In a few weeks, Iíll fly to Louisville, get on a bus to Fort Knox, and my fun will shape shift. Iíll spend 30 days there, 18 days in the field, operating out of a tactical patrol base, five days testing in the classroom and qualifying on weapons, one day celebrating the Fourth of July, six days in-processing and out-processing on the front and back ends, respectively, and one final day graduating with my new Battle Buddies. The 18 days in the field will probably be the hardest test that the Army has given me so far. We will ruck out to the field and set up a Patrol Base in the most ideal spot that we can find in the woods. Each day, at the end of each mission, we will move and set up a new Patrol Base to sleep in and operate out of for the next 24 hours. Each morning we will wake up around 0300 and conduct a mission until NLT (No Later Than) 1100. There is an emphasis on avoiding Heat Casualties during Cadet Summer Training in the humid Fort Knox weather, so no missions can be conducted above a certain temperature Ė Kentucky normally reaches this predetermined temperature around 1100. At this time, we will return to our patrol base and begin planning and rehearsals for the next dayís mission.

There is a constant leadership rotation and regardless of which leadership position, or general position, that we are in we will be constantly evaluated on our performance, attitude, mental agility, and more. This evaluation will end in a cumulative COER (Cadet Officer Evaluation Report) and a ranking among our peers that is relayed back to our cadre at school.

The tough part wonít be the monotonous planning or rehearsing, and it wonít even be executing each mission every day. This is all expected, and has been drilled into our heads for the last three years and practiced so much that I could absolutely do it all half asleep. Sure, this will be a test. A lot, and I mean a lot, of cadets will have more tactical knowledge than I do and Iíll learn by operating alongside of them, but the real test will be the unexpected. The real test will be the heat that will send many to the hospital; it will be the random rain storms at any time of day, the "casualties" cadre will give us in the middle of a mission, making lifelong friends and working with all kinds of people, communicating and staying calm in every situation, eating MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) for a month, no technology, only handwritten letters, and more. The real tests will come every day, and they will all be different. Iíll probably get bored, make best friends, and have a love/hate relationship with every moment of camp. Finally I will graduate and complete the CLC commissioning requirement Ė this will leave me only ten months away from becoming a Second Lieutenant, and I can guarantee I will be more ready than ever.

After camp, Iíll come home to the real world and re-commence summer! Iíll most certainly sleep way more that I should, and eat even more ice cream than I am now. Iíll return to my normal cycle of fun and work. Fun will again be in friends, adventures, and more instead of the small thrills of a bag of Skittles in my MRE.

Finally, my third "chunk" of summer will be spent in Haiti. This time, Iím going to visit all of my friends and the children Iíve fallen in love with. Summer school will be out of session; Iíll miss it this year because of camp, so instead of teaching I will stay with a full-time missionary friend and learn about her daily life. Mornings will be spent baby feeding in the ravine, but that will be the only constant each day. Afternoons and evenings will be spent at different missions and in different areas. A lot of my time will be spent visiting and enjoying my friends and the children.

My three "chunks" of summer are all drastically different. From cheap concerts, ice cream, and movies at home, to training at Fort Knox, and finally to daily missionary life in Haiti, the three seem to have nothing in common; however, as I stand a couple weeks away from camp, I think they may just be the perfect balance for my last college summer. I will learn crucial and important lessons, get to relax, and get to share and experience love in my favorite way. Hopefully, this will all leave me ready to return to the Mount for the final time.

Read other articles by Leeanne Leary