Monday, October 5, 2009

New Pictures

Just got this link to some pics of Justin. He is in #'s
13, 35, 36, 100, 148, 184, 185, 192, 269-273

Here they are

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sept 27, 2009

Dear Family,

Check another week off the calendar. Things are moving right along. Hopefully you got my letter for Mon. - Wed. so I'll pick up from there.

Thursday was pretty awesome. When it got dark we went to a shooting range and got to fire M4's with night vision goggles. There was a laser sight on the weapon so I could clearly see the targets and laser with one eye when it was pitch black outside with the other. It was exactly like the laser night vision on "Call of Duty". Pretty cool!

Friday we went to the pit. Ha it has been super rainy so there was huge mud puddles. They made us practice the low crawl through it for like an hour. We would crawl and stand up and they would say "do you want some more?" and of course we would all say "YES!". So, we would do it again and again. ha it was fun at first but got old fast.

Later that day we did what was probably the coolest thing yet which was practicing moving under fire in groups of 2. It started with someone yelling "INCOMING" and me getting down on my face. A little ways off there's a huge explosion. Then we get up and run to our first cover, which is a wall. Once there we fall down again and get set up in a shooting position. Then the other guy (Johnson) yells "Jacobson cover me while I move", and I yell "I got you covered". So while I'm covering him he hops a wall and finds more cover at a tree and yells "I got you covered". Then I hop the wall and find cover and cover him. It goes back and forth like that as we crawl under barbed wire, through trenches and over walls. The whole time there was explosions and gun shots going off. There was so much adrenaline. It was pretty awesome!

Saturday we did the 10K road march. It was pretty tough. There were 2 hills that seemed to go up forever. But it is good to have it over and out of the way.

Then we threw grenades. it was pretty cool I felt like I was in a video game when I threw it ha ha. But I had to hide behind a wall so I didn't get to see the damage I did.

Well that's all the excitement for this week. Can't wait for the next. Keep me updated on all the latest. I think I'm in the home stretch. I've gotten pretty used to the Army lifestyle. Like you guessed I'm so used to wearing ACU's that I don't even really notice it any more. I've been working hard and I think I'm getting to be a pretty good soldier.

I've been thinking a lot about my mission lately and I'm getting more and more nervous that I will have to go to war before the mission. I know you don't have a lot of time, but I was wondering if someone could go to my recruiter and have him talk to my unit about when they are leaving. Someone said they know like a year in advance. So, hopefully we could find out. It might not work out. but it would be nice to know so at least it wouldn't be such a shock if I have to wait on the mission. Which would suck, but I've prayed a lot and I know that God will send me where I'm supposed to go.

Ha OK that's really it this time. I love you all so much and I can't wait till graduation. Thanks so much for prayers and everyone supporting me.

Have a good week
Love Justin

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sept. 23, 2009

Hello Family,

I'm writing you on Wednesday night of week 5. Yes indeed, half a week down, half a week to go till we are on the 3 week home stretch. It's been a pretty good week so far. It started with qualifications on our weapons. I was pretty nervous because they kept saying how if we don't qualify we get sent to another company and we will be send back a few weeks. That would be horrible because I'm trying to get out of here as soon as possible.

The first time I tried to qualify I did horrible. i don't know what it was but for some reason I couldn't hit anything. I ended up getting 15 out of 40 which means I didn't pass. The second time I did a ton better. I felt much better and more relaxed. I was praying a lot and I know Heavenly Father was there helping me. I ended up shooting 35 out of 40. I was so excited, even though they told me I only get credit for 23 because I didn't pass the first time. But I was still happy to have it done and over with.

We also phased over to white phase. It's not a lot different, but the Drill Sergents lay off a little and we get to march places on our own. It's good to not have to carry around that empty stick any more.

Also something weird happened. For a while there was a rumor that they weren't aloud to smoke us any more (I think this is when they scream and yell at them, Lynell) because a drill Sergent from another company came in drunk and smoked the privates so bad that a few of them got injured pretty badly. I wasn't sure if I believed the rumor but I did notice we weren't getting smoked any more. Then today a guy got in trouble and we were all expecting to get smoked but then the drill Sergent came in and said he wasn't aloud to smoke us any more. It's weird. But now they can only punish us with like counseling and stuff. Which I think is worse but I can't really explain why.

Well that's all so far. This week coming up is the 10K road march and throwing hand grenades. So that should be fun.

So tell me all about what's going on there. How is the new business working out? I'm sure it's keeping you plenty busy. But I know it's gonna be worth it in the end. Is everyone getting sick of school yet? ha ha Don't worry I think you're about half way done by now. How is the weather? Just think in a month it will be fall and you guys will be getting ready for Halloween. Time really is going fast. How are BYU and the Vikings doing? Last I heard both teams were freakin' awesome. But that was a little while ago. So who knows?

Well that's all for now. I'd like to write more but it's almost time for bed and I need all the sleep I can get, ha ha

I love all of you a lot. I miss you everyday. It's been tough to be away from you so long. But I'm managing to get through it OK. I can't wait to see you all. See you soon.

Love, Justin

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sept 20, 2009

Hello Family

Hard to believe another week has gone by. If you want to know I've got 30 something days, or 4 Sundays left to go. That's not so bad. I think I can make it a few more weeks.

Like I said this week has been all about learning to fire our M16's. It's been really cool. I learned pretty quick and I think I'm doing pretty good. Friday we had our first look at full speed pop up targets. It was a pretty scary experience for me. (ha not like my life was in danger. I didn't want to scare you.)

We started with the 8K road march. It was tiring and raining. We were in full battle gear with a 50 lb ruck sack on our back. But it wasn't so bad except I was pretty tired after. Then we had to fire. When it was my turn it started and the first target popped up. I put my aim on it and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened so I knew I missed. Then the next target popped up and went down before I even aimed at it. I started sweating and breathing hard. So, my safety goggles fogged up. The rest of the time I had trouble seeing and I think I got like 4 out of 44 targets. It was pretty bad. Our qualification is on Tuesday and they said if we don't get at least 23 out of 40 we have to start Basic Training over. So needless to say I was pretty nervous after that blunder.

Saturday we went to another range and they told us it is the same range we will be qualifying on. So if we did well we didn't have anything to worry about. I was so nervous. I wanted so bad to do well. Mostly to build my own confidence that I could do it. I prayed to whole morning for help to do good. I imagined a group of angels coaching me and helping me focus and keep steady. It helped a lot and I kind of don't think I was imagining it. Any way, when it was my turn I stepped up and got everything ready. We started and I aimed at the first target and missed. Ha that sucked. But from that point on I was in the zone. I was hitting almost every target, even the 300 meter shots and when 2 targets came up at once I barely missed. When it was over I found out I got 30 out of 40. Not great, but I was so happy. It really improved my confidence in myself and my faith in my Heavenly Father.

Other than that not much has happened. The days have really been going fast and things have been going better. Five people have been kicked out of our platoon so far. It's been pretty crazy. Three kids got caught huffing Dust Off, one kid snuck out at 2:30 a.m. to make a phone call, and one went to sick call and said he had mental problems so he could get out.

The good new is, a lot of the people who kept screwing up for everyone are gone and now it seems like a lot of people are stepping up. We are doing better and getting punished less. Each day seems to become easier and move faster. I'm hoping we will phase soon because our platoon still has to carry around the stick of shame. Ha today a group that is almost graduating made fun of us for it. But then they said don't worry about it because they were in Red Phase till week seven.

I've been getting your letters and it's so good to hear from everyone. Tell Jordan congrats on the scholarship. That pretty freakin awesome. I also got Jalen's letter. That car your drew is freakin awesome. You definitely need to get into engineering with Mr. Frost so you can learn to start drawing that in 3D. Also the Drill Sergents told us to draw something to put on the t-shirts that we get at the end. Our name is OUTLAWS. So if Jalen or Jordan want to draw something for me to pass off as my own, that would be awesome. EVERYONE who sees Jalen's Combat Medic picture wants one for themselves. ha ha

I was excited to hear that you guys are moving to a business that is more your own. It might be a little scary but I know when you guys get it going, It's going to work out awesome. I think it will be a lot of work now, but it will pick up and it will all be worth it.

It sounds like Johnny and Lonica are doing awesome in gym and dance. I can't wait to see some home videos of their newest stuff. Won't that be a fun day?

I've made a lot of really good friends. I'm starting to get to know people and some are starting to pick up on my dry sarcastic jokes. Instead of looking at me like I'm an idiot. I've gotten to know the only other Mormon in my platoon pretty well. He goes to Utah State and joined to pay for school and mission. It's kind of funny when other groups are talking about drinking and parties, me and him are talking about how much cereal we used to eat and playing board games with our family on Sunday.

The missionary work has been moving right along. The kid that came to church with me last week signed up to come again. It's pretty cool. I think he was looking for the truth and I think he found it. On Friday I left my Book of Mormon on my bed and when I came back this guy was looking through it. I asked if he had ever heard of it. He said he had but he had never read it. The he said maybe I'll come to the Mormon church. I don't know if he is going to come because it last 2 1/2 hours and most people sleep in the barracks during other services. But I talked to him a little and he said he definitely would want a Book of Mormon if I could get one. ha When I give it to him that will be my 3rd BoM placement.

Well that's all I have to tell for now. The next weeks should be more exciting. With the promise of throwing hand grenades, shooting a 50 cal, and paint ball fights with the Drill Sergents.

I love all of you. I love hearing about everything that is going on. It sounds like everyone is keeping busy but having fun. I'm sure you've all changed more than I like to imagine but I'm excited to see how much everyone has grown up. Keep praying for me and writing letters Ü and get ready for winter, it's just around the corner. ha ha

Love Justin

Ha OK Change of plans of the missionary work thing. That kid who came to church last week came again and heard the missionary lessons again. After church we were all talking and he said he thinks he is getting baptized next week. Oh man , I'm so excited. It's pretty awesome what the spirit can do. Well that's all. I love all of you.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sept 13, 2009

Dear Wonderful Family,

Wow, it's hard to believe another week has flown by. Things really are moving fast. This past week has been a pretty adventurous one. I think you'll like to hear it.

Monday was a normal boring day of all classes. No big deal. Just normal stuff.

Tuesday started the fun when we got to go to FTX (field training exercise, I think). Which was basically just training out in the woods. We did a whole day of land navigation with a compass, a map and a list of locations. We spent the whole day in groups of 4 walking around out in the trees. Most of the time we were lost. But a few times we got it right and found where we were supposed to go. It was pretty cool.

The Kentucky woods were like something out of a picture. I swear one place we went looked just like the Joseph Smith picture in the Sacred Grove, ha. I just kept looking around. It was amazing.

By the way did I mention I got put as a team leader? ha I think they did it alphabetically and my name just came up. But it's pretty cool. I'm in charge of five other guys. I don't really do anything now but I think when we start breaking into smaller groups, I'll do more.

Anyway back to the week. Tuesday night we did night land navigation. Which was just us lost for about 3 hours, ha. I don't know how they expect us to find our way in the dark, but I had a good time.

That night we slept under the stars. The sky was so beautiful. This really is a very pretty place.

The next day we packed up camp and headed back "home". After eating and stuff we had a combatives tournament. It was platoon against platoon in each weight class. So we had to wrestle our own platoon first to see who would represent our platoon in the final tournament. I did pretty good. I made the first 2 people tap out by putting them in a choke hold, ha. I love that move! The third guy I wrestled man-handled me. He was really good and I had to tap :( But I didn't feel too bad because he went on to win the whole tournament. That day was a lot of fun.

Thursday we had our red phase P.T. (physical training) test. I got 43 push ups, 63 sit ups and 2 miles in 13.39. I didn't do that much better than what I was doing before I left. But I think it's mostly because my muscles are so broken down. If I had a few days to recover I would be bustin' them out like a machine ha. Probably!

Friday we did another obstacle course. I told you about the last one. But this one makes that one look like a kiddie toy. I wish you could have seen this thing. It has a tower that was probably 40 or 50 feet high with platforms every 10 feet or so. We had to work as a team and push each other up each level and lower each other down to the bottom. They also had a wall like at Zions camp. but instead of one wall they had a series of about 6 walls that started at about 7 feet and got gradually taller to about 13 or 14 feet. Just like at Zion's we had to get over them all with just our bodies and minds. They also had a thing that looks like something out of a Japanese game show. They had a series of logs set up on supports that all fell into grooves. In sets of 4 we had to lay our stomachs on the logs and roll ourselves from log to log. ha It was probably pretty funny to watch.

That is only naming 3 of a ton of obstacles. It was an all day event and a really fun day altogether.

Saturday we started working with our M16's. It started with classes. But later in the day we got to practice on this shooting machine that all the drill sergeants call a video game. I did pretty good. I got 4 clips out of five right which is pretty good for my first time. I'm excited, on Monday we get to practice with live rounds.

Saturday night right before dinner, we had a Major "RAPPORT" moment. The whole company (240 people) gathered up in a large group and we were told we would find out if we were finally moving to White phase. The first Sergeant gave us a speech then asked all the drill sergeants, one after another if their platoons were ready to phase. Each one answered "No". I could tell it was all a plan. But it was still really demoralizing. We are all trying hard and it made us all mad.

But I know that this is how it's supposed to be. I plan to just keep working my hardest and getting through whatever they throw at me.

Well that's all the excitement for this week. The next two weeks are focused almost entirely on learning to handle our weapons. So I'm pretty excited.

Thanks to everyone for their letters. They mean so much to me and it's so good to hear from everyone. But I have a request. Tell me more about what's going on there. Tell me all the day to day thing. Remember that I see an average of 3 rooms a day and not much in between. I'm feeling pretty isolated. Tell me all about sports an dance and gymnastics. Tell me about school and work. Tell me about the weather, ha. I know it probably seems boring to you guys. But when your in a bubble like me those boring things are great to hear about.

Well, I'm having a good time here. We do a lot of cool things. But at the same time it's the hardest thing I've ever done. Some days I wake up completely exhausted and while I'm trying to shave with my eyes closed (ha ha) I think "there is no way I can make it through this day" A few times I've wanted to break down and cry and I probably would have if it wasn't for the fifty other guys in the bathroom.

But I'm learning to rely on Heavenly Father more than ever. Usually after I shave I go back to my bunk, put my face down in my arms, and beg for the strength to make it through. Then as the day goes on I find that I have more strength and motivation than I could have before imagined. I know that with Heavenly Father help I can make it through any thing.

I hung all the pictures you sent me in my wall locker, ha. It's fun the way people stop and look and ask who you guys are and say wow you got a good looking family. You guys make me proud. My bunk mate told me to have Lonica call him in a few years. So, I punched him in the mouth, ha. Just Kidding. But everyone is amazed at how beautiful she is for someone so young.

I also put Jalen's Combat Medic picture up and like 5 people have asked if he could send them one of their job. ha ha I told them they don't have enough to pay for a Jalen Original.

Well, I think that's all for this letter. It's Saturday night and I'm so excited for tomorrow. Sunday means rest and peace and smiling faces and hopefully e-mails and possibly some cookies, ha. I can't wait! Sundays get me through the week.

I miss you guys a ton. I think about you at least 50 times a day. I look forward with excitement to the day when I get to see you all again. I don't think I've ever been so excited for Christmas to come. Today I was thinking about things like: The Forgotten Carols, The Muppet's' Christmas Carol, Shovelling snow and a tree and family and all the usual Christmas stuff. Oh man I freak'n can't wait.

A huge part of this whole thing has been learning patience and believe me I've got a lot to learn.

I love all of you so much and know I'll see you soon. Keep praying for me and keep doing good as a family. I know you guys are growing closer together everyday.

Good bye for now. 6 week left.

Your Soldier,

P.S. Go Vikings
This is our year, I know it! ha ha ha

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sept 6, 2009

Dear Family,

Another week bites the dust. This week started slow but definitely ended with a bang.

Mon-Fri consisted of the same basic DRY, BORING, schedule which was:

Wake up at 4:00 a.m. Physical training, breakfast, come back and change into our camo's, then classes and classes and classes and classes. Usually we would have 3 or 4 hour blocks with all 240 soldiers in a room listening to one instructor with a slide show presentation. Even the instructors said it was boring and most of the company got in trouble for falling asleep. After the first block of classes we would eat lunch and go back to another class session then dinner, classes, mail, shower and finally bed.

The classes had some cool things though. I learned how to address a combat injury and move him to safety. I learned to survive in a nuclear, chemical or biologically dangerous environment using equipment. And I learned to find almost any location using a map and a compass and a protractor.

I got through most of the work by telling myself how awesome Saturday would be. And I wasn't disappointed. We started out with an obstacle course. It was like an adult version of "Some Dudes Playground", complete with low crawls, rope climbs, wall jumps, rope wall jumps, and monkey bars. I really enjoyed it. It helped a lot to relieve the stress and relax a little.

After that came the Gas Chamber. Yes THE GAS CHAMBER. The horror story of every persons BT experience.

It started out with a period of instruction that I was very grateful for in the end. We were told that we would go into the chamber in a group with our masks on, do some quick exercises, clear our mask (which consists of removing the mask and putting it back on to show we could put them on in gas) Then we would take off our masks, and put them away in the specific way they how shown us a thousand times. And then, we would be done. If everyone did it right it would be short and MOSTLY painless.

When it was my turn, we walked in and I immediately felt a sharp tingling on my nose and I was so afraid my mask hadn't sealed. But it had and it all worked out. While we were doing the exercises all my exposed skin began to burn, like it does when you power sand it for 2 hours. But I tried to ignore that to get the rest over with. Clearing the mask went well. I did it right and the only thing I felt was that same burning on my face.

Then we were given the order "ALL CLEAR" (take off the mask) and things got bad from there. I held my breath, closed my eyes, took off my mask, and put it away. Just like I was supposed to. I waited as long as I could but eventually I ran out of air, and took a breath. I will regret that breath as long as I live (ha ha) I felt the gas go into my nostrils and mouth and I can't even describe how bad it was. It was just a burning, cutting, scratching, stinging, ripping sensation. I started coughing pretty violently and I felt sick in my stomach. I heard everyone around doing the same, then I heard a loud voice near my ear yell "THAT'S WRONG PRIVATE". At first I didn't respond. I could barely focus on anything. I heard it again. So finally I opened my eyes to see that the Drill Sergent was talking to the guy in front of me. Before I closed my eyes I noticed thick beads of drool hanging from my mouth and a long thick string of snot from my nose. But frankly I could care less. Then finally they let us out. We were guided into the sunlight and I felt fresh air in my lungs. We were supposed to yell "eyes open, arms flappin" as we ran in a circle to get the crystals off of us. (we WERE flapping our arms by the way. ) It really was a horrible experience. But it is a good memory and a good lesson.

Well that's all the excitement for this week. Besides the 1000 word essay on hydration because someone forgot to fill up their canteen. A 1:30 a.m. wake up when there was a mistake on someones medicine and of course plenty of push-ups.

So how are thing there? It sounds like you have all been busy. Jalen and Johny are probably just barely getting done with those piles of disclosures (I loved those things) How is school for everyone? Tell me all the classes everyone is taking. Has it started getting cold yet? Winter is just around the corner. I know Mom is excited for that. Ha

Is Jordan playing soccer for Weber? How is that going? How was Jalen's first game? Does he play middle or defense? Have everyone tell me all about it. I heard BYU won. That's tight. I bet Erin, Patrick and especially little Cal are excited. Tell Dave and Marla I'm still hoping for Allisons address (also I wanted to see if they would want to come to my family day in about 2 months. ) Of course everyone is invited but I know they have some hook ups in KY.

Well that's all for now. I'm moving right along. I've gotten into a routine. So things have gotten better. I'm still just trying to stay out of trouble and not get noticed.

I love all of you and I miss you all a lot. The other day they had turkey and stuffing for lunch and it totally reminded me of all the happy Thanksgiving together. I know that sounds kind of cheesy but it help a lot to remember all the good times. It helps me keep going. I know I'll see you all soon.

Your Soldier,

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sept 1, 2009

Dear Family,

Thanks so much to everyone for their emails. They all helped so much to lift my spirit. It's nice to know that so many people care about me and are thing about me. It was so good to hear about everything that's going on at home and in every ones life's. I loved hearing about all the little things. Like Loni helping those kids who couldn't get home and Jalen doing pull-ups to try to look more like me (ha ha he wishes). You guys probably can't understand what your emails do for me. Reading them is like getting in the shower after a long cold winter day. I just read them and soak it in and wish they would never end.

Well it's only been like a couple of days since I last wrote so not much has happened. We started combat life saving today. So we pretty much just learned CPR and that kind of stuff. I'm trying to learn as much as possible since I'm going to Medic school in a few weeks.

Today something crazy happened. We all had to open our lockers and a bunch of Drill Sergeants looked through them and dumped our stuff all over the floor. Then we lined up and they told us they knew that someone had snuck "DUST-OFF" into the barracks and had been huffing. They asked who knew something about it. I thought it was just some more head games. But I was shocked when like 5 people raised their hands. I don't know what happened but no one really got in trouble yet. Usually they punish everyone for one persons mistake. So, I'm just waiting to see what will happen.

Lately things have been kind of gay. A few punks in the platoon are screwing things up and everyone is starting to fight. But oh well. I think that's how it's supposed to go. The whole thing really has been like a movie. Except with less exciting background music.

I also got your letter today. I loved hearing from all of you and for the picture. It's hanging in my wall locker. If your sending this on to everyone tell DAVE and MARLA I won't have access to a phone. But if they could give me Allison's address I would definitely love to write her. I think towards the end they let people leave post for a day so maybe I could work something out.

Well, I gotta get to bed. I think about all of you every day. I'm not so sad any more. But mostly I feel like it's Christmas Eve. I just feel so excited all the time for when I finally get to come see you guys. A rumor is going around that they are speeding up or Basic so we might get done earlier. But, whatever happens it's going to be awesome when the day comes.

Thanks again to everyone for thinking of me. It really does keep me going. I love you all and miss everyone. Tell all the kids to keep working hard and having fun in school. I'll talk to you soon.

Your Soldier,

P.S. Tell Jordan I found the key to the house of pain. A.K.A Justin Jacobson's massive biceps.

P.S.S. I heard the Vikings signed the one and only Favre. How does Dad feel about that? This could be the year.