Here is a thread resurrected from the boards on the old site. I hate that I always forget to write back to people about my experiences, so I thought I'd consolidate them here. First I'll transfer everything in one big thread and then I and other ROMADs here can answer what questions you may have:
GEORGE ANTHONY 12 SEPT 08:
This thread will be posted in as often as I can. It is not merely a diary of my tech school, but a testimonial to my performance while I'm here from 7 months ago when I was 218 pounds and 17% body fat to 197 pounds and 10% body fat through the use of Fatal Fitness.
Ok, so I've completed a whopping two days of TACP tech school and let me tell you something. I thank God every day that I found Fatal Fitness. I'm not saying this because I'm cadre, I'm saying it because events have occured to show me I would not have made it without FF.
My luggage with my running shoes was delayed and I ended up having to show up on Day of Training 0 to do a PT test in Air Force 1s (no relation to the aircraft). Basically I was told that I wasn't going to be allowed to wait for running shoes and to make sure I "run fast". ... ran a 10:18 mile & half. 9 people fail their PT test that day. All youngins in their prime.
Next day a lovely event called "sharking" occurs (thanks for warning me about this, Reaper.......a******. ). At 0330 I'm woken up to cadre screaming and hollering to get downstairs. For the next two hours we're smoked as a GI party ensues. While I was definitely pushed to my limits and was hitting muscle failure quite often...I didn't really feel like I was dying. When I was in SERE Indoc, I was so out of shape I felt dizzy, couldn't catch my breath, and really didn't feel I could go on. I was able to keep up, sorta (like I said, they pushed me beyond being able to do all the repetitions). After the smoke session was over, we ran upstairs, grabbed our ruck and proceeded to go on a pretty quick ruck march. It was only 4 miles...but it was the very first march of the school and many of us had not been built up to it (odd because most schools would build you up to what we were expected to do on the 2nd day...I assume it is because with no Indoc, you better come to TACP ready to roll). I made my time. Again, 4 people did not make their time...one fell out due to heat exhaustion (core temp of 107) and another went to the hospital with a back injury.
I'm knocking on wood and NOT counting my chickens...but I'm just saying. After passing PT on day 1 and not falling out after a rough day 2...I'm feeling pretty motivated and confident.
GEORGE ANTHONY 15 SEPT 08:
trent.ward wrote:Thanks for even making this informational post. I think it will help me tremendously knowing what to expect. ie: sharking day 2 ,etc. Keep up the good work and keep the posts coming.
Well, understand that there is no schedule for it. It can happen anytime. Sometimes it isn't on day 2 and just cause it has happened once doesn't mean it won't happen other times.
Friday was our first day of organized PT on the PT field. That was pretty humbling. While on the PT field, there is a certain order the exercises must go in. You count off before the PT begins so you know your number. Then the instructor might go, "#3 what is the next exercise on the PT field?" And you scream, "Sergeant, the next exercise on the PT field is...the blah blah." If you get it wrong, you're pushing. You have to enter the PT field and exact way, set up your gear an exact way, exit the field an exact way. I say it was humbling cause it didn't seem like it was long until I was smoked. The way the cadence on the push ups is makes it very difficult to maintain. Keeping good form with your back straight the entire time. I got called out a couple times for what I guess they figured was "sand bagging" or moving with a purpose. Things should definitely get interesting.
Now we're in a 3 day weekend, so it is perfect timing for a recoup...something tells me next week is going to make us pay for our weekend.
When you're doing these DCs and you're doing it in preparation for these schools. Make sure you're keeping strict form, good cadence and going to failure.
DAN DONCHE 17 SEPT 08:
Hey dudes. There are several things to consider when deciding on whether or not to go TACP. Many pros and many cons. I don't want to dissuade anyone from doing TACP if that is something they might be interested in, but I will say this: you will need to have some thick skin and be able to deal with a lot of political b******* if you go TACP. I know, I know--they say that for every job, but seriously...TACP has it bad. It eats its own. That aside, though, I will offer up one more piece of sagely advice, since I'm coming off the ass end of a 6-year stint as a TACP: It is what you make it. You can either enjoy the hell out of your TACP career--it can be just as the recruiters say it is--or you can hate the hell out of life. I suggest you make it as high speed as you possibly can, because from what I've seen that's really the only thing dudes are after if they want to do TACP. Nextly...
If I had to make one recommendation to anybody, it would be this: go CCT instead. I know that sounds blasphemous, but it has all the deliciousness of TACP with none of the aftertaste. In this one instance (and PJs), the grass really is greener on the other side. More money, more opportunities, better treatment, better gear, better assignments, better missions, better uniforms...I could continue. Do NOT let the fact that it's more difficult persuade you to take the easy road (TACP). Because here is the kicker: if you fail out of CCT you'll be a TACP anyways.
In the case of dudes with degrees, CCT has officers, TACP doesn't. If you want a job that will carry over into the civilian world, make a difference, and be as high speed as it comes (Navy SEALs type of level), go Pararescue. TACP is good to those who are good to it, but CCT and PJ treats its people well and everyone else leaves them alone.
I hope this helps...
GEORGE ANTHONY 12 OCT 08:
1)By "three day week", I meant "three day weekend"... while greatly appreciated and much desired, it is painfully surprising just how much you can be set back in three days. When you get these, make sure to get a really workout/run in somewhere in the middle of it.
2) I didn't go CCT for a few reasons. 1-I knew I didn't have the time/discipline to prepare myself for the CCT pipeline. Hell, my last few weeks in Kuwait and the three weeks at home were spent eating out and simply not putting out. I'm paying for that 4 days a week here in the school house. I'm glad I made that decision too. From what I gather, the CCT pipeline is much, much harder than 3 months of TACP. 2- I honestly didn't come to TACP for the "cool" factor. Except for those drawn in by the youtube recruiting videos, most people never have even heard of TACP. Air Force members can recognize CCT in movies such as Transformers and Eagle Eye, but you'll never see TACP anywhere. If you're looking for SEAL type fame and recognition...don't come TACP. I did TACP because it seemed fulfilling and more versatile than something like CCT. Meaning, I have a wife and kids, so I want the option to be as high or low speed as I want. If I want to stay conventional and only attend schools that are mandatory, I can do that. If I want to go balls to the wall and go SOF TACP (Which as of very recently, btw, are now all under AFSOC... so technically, are now special operators) I can do that as well. Even if I had the willpower to prepare and complete CCT, I don't have that freedom. You're SOF (Special Operation Forces) from the jump and there's no time to "slow down". AND, coming from Security Forces...I'm no stranger to douche bag, pieces of s*** who are low speed, high drag and willing to sell out team mates to get ahead. At least in TACP I don't have worry about being beaten out of positions because of the almighty vertical stripe. PLUS, if I do get the bug and not even SOF TACP can itch it, I can always go later. TACP offers jump, freefall, ranger school, pathfinder, etc etc.... Why bother trying to complete CCT right away? If I go TACP, am able to complete these school and then find wanting for more with a degree, something tells me it won't be hard to go STO (Special Tactics Officer--CCT's commissioned leadership)
3) IF YOU ARE GOING TACP...DO THE ELITE TRAINING GUIDE. After seeing what I have to endure, I KNOW the TACP ETG is on point. Had I stuck with the ETG and not been a pinhead, I would not have as much problem with the PT here. Training yourself to complete 20-50 minutes of high intensity workouts is NOT enough. Let me repeat myself.... DOING THE DCs is NOT enough. Just the DCs will get you in great shape and will propel your body in functional fitness you've never dreamed of... HOWEVER, when preparing yourself for this or any other school house you must condition yourself to the rigors of that particular course. Reaper didn't make the ETG as another means to make money (Ok, ok...he didn't make the ETGs JUST as another means to make money ) he made them because certain schools require certain conditioning.
Example: I have a buddy here is nearly a pro-level MMA fighter. He fought as an undercard on EliteXC and he holds a belt from some local circuit. However, he is finding this course almost as rough as I'm finding it. Why? Because he is conditioned for 3 rounds of 3-5 minutes. Thats how you train and that's how you fight. The way MMA training goes will get you smoked in the school house. Why? Cause in the school house you're training WAY past 20 minutes or even an hour. The shortest PT sessions are between 1.5-2 hours. That's not back/bis and chest in the gym, that is Death Certificate worthy intensity for 1.5-2 hours... and again, those are our SHORT days. I don't care what your body fat % is, I don't care what your score is for the 20/20. If you aren't conditioning yourself for high intensity training past an hour...you're doing yourself a disservice and setting yourself up for the world of pain.
Now, for a little update:
The 2d day "sharking" wasn't technically a sharking. Just a smoke session during a shake down of the dorm rooms. The real sharking came the next week. After our 4 mile PC ruck, we had a smoke session that lasted till about 0930 or so (we were woken at about 0330 to go do our ruck). Definitely kicked my ass. We only lost one guy to that session. We lost another guy the week before because he fell out with a 107 degree temperature during a ruck that was conducted in PT gear and the weather a nice and cool in the 70s. Docs didn't let him continue. Since then, everything has been on a pretty nice pace. Our team is coming together very nicely. I may be a bit biased, but I really do feel we have the strongest team here. Its a bit harder for me, because as the fat is trimmed from our team and the weak fall by the wayside(we started DOT1 with 41 and now we're at 22), I am more and more clearly in the back of the class. I feel I'm still far ahead of the average Joe in regards to fitness, but that isn't enough here. I'm getting stronger, but I need to kick it up a notch. So far we've completed 2 4mile rucks at 60lbs, 2 6mile rucks at 70-75 lbs and one 8 mile ruck at that same weight. Our team finished the 8 miler this past week at about 2:07 (with a 2:30 time limit). Our instructor said that was the first time in three years he's seen a team finish together in formation on their first 8 mile instructor led ruck. Surprised me too cause Rucking is definitely my weak point--I'm up near the front when it comes to 1.5 runs and intervals, middle of the pack when it comes to long runs, and bring up the rear on rucks. LOL. Don't neglect your rucks when training for this course...it is a huge part of the course, more so than running.
The huge hurdle will be our first FTX. We leave for that in about 3 weeks, so everyone is very nervous about that. The last team went out there with 26 people and just returned with 14. It is hell. Having never failed an assessment, block test, ruck march, or PT test...I'm very confident that the black beret is as good as mine if I can just survive the first FTX.
GEORGE ANTHONY 12 NOV 08:
Well, ladies and gentlemen, I'm back from the field. Those 5 days had to have been the longest 5 days of my life. Now maybe the other ROMADs on this site will snicker, but that was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I have to admit, I was pissed the whole time leading up to the field. It seemed (and still sorta is) like a huge hazing session to substitute for the fact that they don't have an indoc. However, I left the field having discovered my new limits and understood my new capabilities. It was amazing how much about land navigation I learned and how confident I am in that skill set.
While I started this centered around what Fatal Fitness could do for you and what to expect physically during TACP training. However, the FTX (Field Training Exercise) is not something you can truely prepare for. You will need to find a way to dig down, keep a clear head, and keep pushing. Any lack of resolve and all you've been working toward for 2+ months can come crashing down around you. We lost 10 people out of the field. Of the original Eagle 79, 46 attempted to go...41 passed the initial PT test and were then allowed to be called "Eagle Flight"...of those 41... 8 remain. With washbacks from the class ahead of us, we have a class of 12. Don't count yourself in until after the field (even then, some will say don't look past the 12 mile ruck). We lost half our team in the field and they were hands down the strongest members of our team. A prior infantry Marine, a Security Forces member from the 820th who was one of the most prepared members of our team, a young PT stud who was smoking the course physically and academically... you will see guys drop from your team that you would have never thought would drop. be ready.
I do have one note to add. Not sure if I've said it before or not, but if there's only one thing to do this: Ruck. That is what this school revolves around...but surprisingly does the least to build you up. While you are here, the 3rd DOT you will have a 4 mile test with 25 lb plate in your ruck. From then on, every Thursday is a ruck day. You can't fail (bust time)/miss (injured) more than 3 without being washed back. You miss any Progress Check (PC) ruck and you're automatically washed back. And the ENTIRE FTX is spent with a ruck on your back. Be prepared to ruck, get good at it and stay good at it. Work yourself up to around 65 and be able to comfortable ruck 4 miles in 50 min or faster and you should be fine. Here is how Eagle Flight did their rucking (adjust for errors, my memory isn't the greatest:P ).
4 mile instructor lead
4 mile individual PC
6 mile instructor lead
6 mile PC
8 mile instructor lead
4 mile instructor lead
6 mile instructor lead
6 mile PC
8 mile instructor lead
8 mile PC
DAN DONCHE 23 NOV 08:
There are many ways you can drop out, to include: physically, academically, medically (this only if you can't recover from something, like if you break your back or whatever), administratively (getting into trouble for doing something retarded), or in the field.
If you're a PT stud and your academics are good, the easiest way to fail out of the field is to accrue 5-echoes. A 5E is a tactical violation, like if an instructor sees you during a nav, you can't seem to keep your camo paint on, you are caught too far away from your weapon, caught sleeping, etc. If you lose a sensitive item (weapon, radio accessory, etc) you are automatically washed back. You only get so many 5Es before you lose. Also keep in mind that the FTX is the favorite time for the instructors there, because they get a break from being in the classroom. You can also fail your navs to get washed back.
So just don't be retarded, pay attention to what you're doing, don't get into trouble. The course is very physical but most people don't fail out because of not being in enough shape. They fail because of something stupid.
GEORGE ANTHONY 27 DEC 08
7 weeks is a long time, bro. Way too long if you're trying to prepare for this school. I laxed for about 4 weeks and payed dearly in the school. Sucks because not only did I suffer, but so did my chances a promoting FF...you lose credibilty on fitness training when you're constantly bringing up the rear, oh well.
Get in the ETG and make yourself puke everytime you go at it. Read this thread and realize that PT isn't goign to be over just because the order of exercises are done, realize that training for 20-30 min isn't goingto get you ready for the 1.5-2 hours of punishment you're going to take while you're there. Listen to your body, but also push your limits. Keep going and stay dedicated to this regiment and you'll find it a lot less stressful. Don't make the same mistake I did and think you're good enough. And let go of all excuses, the minute you think of a reason why you haven't been working out as hard as you should be, replace it with "I'm being a b****.". That's what I was being when I got back from Kuwait, all that hard work and I let it go cause I was being a b****.