This past week we closed the doors for a week & took off for a mini vacation. My wife & I headed up to Missouri to watch one of our kids graduate from Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood and I was hoping to catch at least part of the Tour of Missouri which had one stage ending up not 25 miles away from where we were staying. This was kind of a homecoming for me as I went through training at FLW quite a few years ago.
First, the tour – Well I managed to find a nice little spot 500 meters from the finish line to catch the end of Stage 3. Why 500 meters from the finish line, well it was a great spot for a racer from the projected breakaway group to lay down the law & win the race. Well the best-laid plans were blown away as the whole peloton came rolling in to setup a sprint finish, which was won by Thor Hushvod. While sitting at the top of this little hill, I met a nice older guy named Jim. He was curious on how the teams function, pay, what the pros do, how my amateur days went, etc… He happened to be working on his land that day and hopped of his tractor to watch the race. I actually found this pretty funny as I had read a piece on Velonew’s a few days before, about how the farmers would stop the tractors & watch them race past not really understanding who these crazy spandex clad people were with the cops leading the procession.
As I mentioned earlier my oldest daughter Katrina, was graduating from Basic Training from Fort Lost in the Woods (its unofficial name). While this was, not only the same base I went through Basic & AIT at, but she also was assigned to the same Battalion and Unit that I went through my training with. While the uniforms have under gone a major transformation, the training has been modified, and the cadences may have changed some – it was funny listening to her describe it almost the same way I did – good group of DS, interesting friends that have been made, same hurry up & wait, etc…
While 9-11 has brought about changes in their training, what has not changed is the dedication and the overall spirit of the trainees and those helping to turn them into soldiers. What I was amazed at was how many individuals that had immigrated over here, and were still not full citizens joining up to serve. The nicest part was at the end of the graduation when two of them were able to take their citizenship oath. To all the graduates of B-2-10, we wish to say congratulations and to everyone that has or is currently serving we wish to thank you for your service.
1st pic – the graduating class just after practice, marching back to the barracks (She is the first road guard on the far right)
2nd pic – I just had to get a picture of it
3rd & 4th pics – Tour Of Missouri, as quickly as you can snap a picture of them coming up the hill – they are flying past