With only 9 drills left before I'm lucky enough to get out of the National Guard, we went to Camp Atterbury, Indiana for weapons qualifications. It's only an hour away from Bloomington, but I had to drive all the way back to Illinois for drill. Luckily, my unit let me drive behind the buses so that I could leave straight from Atterbury, instead of driving back to Illinois to have to drive back to Indiana. Apparently, some people were complaining that I go to do that. This is the first time in my 5 years in the military that they've ever let me do something like that. And people like to complain and they needed something, so it was me. Honestly, I don't care. I have 8 drills and an annual training left. If they want to complain about me, they can go right ahead.
This weekend was our weapons qualifications and we were in charge of the zero range. For those not in the military or who have never fired a weapon before, to "zero" your weapon is to make adjustments to it until it fires exactly where you're aiming. It can be easy and take 10 minutes or it can be disastrously frustrating and take all damn day. This weekend we had more of the later than the former. It didn't help that all day it probably never got above freezing, with overcast skies and a nice wind whipping through all day. I luckily had an OK day and managed to zero and qualify with a 23 (the bare minimum, but still passing). And then, instead of hiding out somewhere, I volunteered to help out being a range safety (the people making sure everyone is shooting down range, not goofing off, clearing their weapons right, etc.). I stood out on the firing line for a good four hours doing that. It was such a long day I passed out at 9:30 p.m. as soon as I got done showering.
The only downside to the day was the one qualification round, when I forgot to use earplugs. Which tends to have the same result as though you were standing next to a giant speaker at a concert for 4 hours. As soon as I got the first shot off I knew it was going to hurt, but on a timed qualification there isn't any time to just stop to put earplugs in. So now I have a nice ringing in my left ear (that has yet to go away) and partial deafness in that ear as well. The ringing has slowly gotten quieter (or I've gotten used to it). I bought some drops that are supposed to help with the tinnitus (the fancy name for continuous ringing in your ear). I'd like to regain all my hearing soon so I can stop asking people "Huh?"
The only upside to drill is getting to see some of my favorite people for a weekend. Yeah, sometime the training sucks, but being with good friends makes it go by a little faster.