On the left side
of the fire and maneuver training lane, Sergeant Holt pulled off the plastic
cap connected to the fuse of a hand grenade simulator and
yanked the string. He held it for a second, and then
tossed it between two of the Sinchis of team alpha.
of the policemen had decided to move again...over to the
nice dry pile of wood and sand bags from which his teammate
was firing. The two men were now only a few feet away
The loud explosion from the unexpected location
scared both the students and caused a brief lull in their
Holt used the
opportunity to shout, "You guys are close enough for
one grenade to kill you both!"
an accusing finger at the
policeman who made the mistake of moving a second time. "And you! Unless
your life depends on it, never move when you're supposed
to be covering someone else!"
sargento!" shouted the young man grinning from ear to
ear. He was thoroughly enjoying himself.
Team bravo had
taken cover behind three of the sandbag positions on the
right side of the lane about fifteen meters ahead of the
covering team. As they began firing, Cabo Nuñez looked
around to see where he was going next. Two more grenade
simulators detonated over to his left, and he saw that one
of the gringos had thrown a red smoke grenade. It was
becoming difficult to see the end of the lane through the
expanding cloud of scarlet smoke. He finally decided to
try for a nice dry sandbag position to his left and
shouted for the alpha team to begin its advance.
could barely keep from laughing when two of the students
on the left side jumped up simultaneously and ran directly
into each other. He did not want them to see any humor in
the potentially deadly mistake, but it was awfully funny
to watch just the same. One man had actually fallen down and the other
had stopped dead in his tracks, standing straight up and
making himself a nice target. The third man advanced all
alone. Fortunately, neither man had been moving with his
finger on the trigger this time.
Comunicación!" Holt shouted slapping his forehead.
"And you two," he shouted to the men at whom he
had tossed the grenade simulator and who had run into each
other. "You two were so close together you could have
whispered! Don't forget to talk to each other and cover
your buddy's movement!"
The two young men
continued forward much more cautiously. They took up
positions on either end of a long dead tree lying
on the ground just to the right of the third man who had
dropped behind a large rock. This time all three were far
enough apart to avoid another one of Holt's
"friendly" reminders. Seeing that the alpha team
was finally down and firing, Cabo Nuñez crawled to the
left side of the sandbag pile from which he was firing and
began crawling forward.
Gatewood detonated another charge
just in front of the cabo.
Again, dirt and rocks
Woody!" shouted Sergeant Crossman knowing that he was too far
away to hear it. "Give the poor guy a
Gatewood stood on
top of the dirt mound watching everything that was going
on and was still somehow oblivious to what he was doing to
the poor cabo. Master Sergeant Kriz had come out to watch and was standing
next to him. Other students were spread out along the dirt
mound as well, all of them watching and listening to
Gatewood as he pointed out any mistakes made by the first
going, Woody?" asked Kriz.
Top. But these two guys on the left are about as fucked up
as a football bat. They were too close together, so Holt
nailed'em with a simulator, and then one guy ran into the
other and knocked him on his ass. I've been tryin' not to
laugh. I'm glad I'm back here where it's safe," he
Gatewood looked at
his range diagram carefully and entered the code number
for one of the pits on the right side of the lane. He
looked up, making sure that no one was too close and
pushed the firing button. There was a flash and a loud
explosion as dirt and smoke filled the air above the pit.
He laughed when Irons threw another grenade simulator near
two students from bravo team who had come too close
together. Irons tossed a white smoke grenade in front of
them as well. From the dirt mound, it really did look and
sound like a battle was going on and Gatewood was enjoying
his little part in it very much.
Top," he said. "There's a charge just behind the
tree where those two clowns who ran into each other
were." He entered the appropriate code.
Where?" asked Kriz straining to see through all the
smoke. "Right there next to Holt...see?" he
pointed as he flipped up the cover of the firing switch,
and pressed the button.
want to wait..." began Kriz, but Gatewood had already
detonated the charge.
explosion caught Holt completely off guard, and he dropped
to the ground instinctively. Like all the other pits, this
one too had accumulated a small puddle of water in the
bottom. When the charge exploded, mud and smelly water
blasted into the air, raining down again and soaking Holt
and the two closest students.
cursed Holt as he got back up to his feet.
The front of his
uniform and equipment harness were covered with muck from
the hole and dripped water. Both Gatewood and Kriz could
hear his curse all the way from their position on the
mound. Holt turned around, wiping the mud from his face,
staring at Gatewood menacingly.
whispered Gatewood sheepishly.
Ex-Lax," laughed Kriz.