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Keith_Hixson 03-13-2003 01:02 AM

A Letter from the Brad!
4 March 03
Ft. Benning, GA 31905

Here I am - basic training well after the lights out writing under a red flashlight. I arrived at 30th A.G. Reception Batallion on Feb 18th and spent just ove a week waiting in lines-getting yelled at - eating lots of food - getting shots - and wasting time. There's a few stories from there but none worth taking up what little sleep time I have lef specially considering I am trying to break a cold that is acting like it wants to turn into bronchitis.

I arrived at real basic training a week ago tomorrow. The drill SGTS are, of cours pretty extreme - and have amazing exercises designed only to make me hurt. I do everything I can to divert my mind pure thought, geometry, prayer-but mantras work the best. Really, the PT (physical training) is not as bad as I thought it would be, but I came in here in better shape than most. The second day here was very PT intensive and the next had a PT test (APFT) I and two others passed in my platoon. I was thrilled to pass after no sleep the neight before and being very sore.

I like all three of my DS's (Drill Sergeants), they are still as crazy angry as the rest - but are patient and fair. They continually "smoke" us because of a fat and immature and unmotivated 17 yr old sad excuse for a soldier. The DS said tomorrow he's to be assigned a new battalion-buddy-a quick glance was sent my way. I don't want to have anything to do with this punk.

Alright - I'm quitting for now - I'll write more later-need some sleep while the coughing has gone down.

And now the second part - sorry if this jumps around - no time and my mind is a bit occupied.

The rumor of stress cards is not true - but I have suspicions about the saltpeeter ones. I'll spare the details! Yup - lots of shots but no square needles yet. I had two bonus shots the next day because I've never had chicken pox . . . and at my age chicken pox can cause blindness and death and even worse, STERILITY!

My platoon lacks dedication. At Benning first the infantry are separated from the non-infantry and the rest are divided by military occupation speciality (mos) The mos' in my platoon are ones far away from anything requiring physical fitness or smarts or really anything at all and the men here match it well. Today we've had phone privileges taken away for three weeks and we're repeatedly "smoked" all day long. I won't miss the phone.
I've had two 5 minute allowances so far - but wasn't able to get ahold of anyone.

But, its not all negative. I'm guickly falling in love with the military. And am already having a lot of great experiences that will all surely fade compared to what's coming up. The workouts are very painful at the moment but feel good afterward. The only skills learned so far are not too exciting - shining boots - waxing floors - eating and showering fast, but some really great ones are on the way.

I'm off to bed - wish you all of you the best!

Oh yeah - you all can help me train! Each of letter received is 25 push-ups . . . Hopefully I can do a lot of these.


A Soldier in Training

Bradley Pietzyk

If you want my mailing address send Keith_Hixson a private message and he'll respond with it. Don't want it posted on the internet to everyone.

Boats 03-13-2003 06:19 AM


Glad to here you are fitting in I had no doubts. The dedication you talk about will come from the other's takes after your DS's break'em down and start making them men or women from street thug's. I recall my ordeal and coming from the streets in Chicago the transition took a little getting used to.

Keep focused and the other's will come along. They will learn by example as we all did. Initiative should be carefully given or stripes may come your way.

With leadership - comes responsibility. You know doubt have that - but its a difficult position at times and can make you lonely. Learn your trade as best you can. Tranining is just that - you are learning something that can save your life as well as others.

The petty stuff your doing now is only a moral buster. We all had to do it so just get on with it and make the best of a lousy situation.

What are your plans after training? Have you decided your striker posting yet. Talk with your DS's they can give you things to consider. If your going to make a career out the service you may find yourself caught between many duties or opportunities.
Take your time and go with your gut not with what others tell you after all you have to like your job in order to be proficient at it.

Regards to you and your classmates we at home are proud of the service you are giving our country.

Keith_Hixson 03-13-2003 08:43 AM

Brad won't have access to
He won't have access to the internet until after basic.

He really would like a lot of letters so PM me and I'll send you an Address.


Boats 03-13-2003 09:23 AM


I sent him a letter and thanks. I will let you know if I hear anything back.

David 03-13-2003 09:58 AM

Glad to hear he made it out there ok and is having fun. I still think basic was the best time I ever had in the military hehe :D

SEATJERKER 03-13-2003 10:38 AM

Pm received...
...on the lighter side of things...

...I'm sorry, I can't resist, we all need some laughter to lighten the load, and as I said to Keith in a pm, "he's easy pickin's" "he's our friend, and future, and I think we should pull a gag on him so good that he would never forget it..., come on who's with me, you can all blame me later, I sent him here....

...It should be harmless, and top secret among us,(unless he has spies on the outside), all in fun..., let's say we all compose a letter to his Co. as a spoof, all agreed on by everyone to show him we care, or throw out your own ideas...

...ask yourself this, remember your days in basic when you never knew what was coming next, well here's our chance to give him a memory that will last a lifetime...



Keith_Hixson 03-13-2003 12:40 PM

I'm a little confused!
Exactly what are you proposing.


Boats 03-13-2003 12:56 PM

Sounds a little devious - elaborate.

SEATJERKER 03-13-2003 02:47 PM


...I resemble that...

......OK it would have to involve tripping him up through his DI with a touch of home,via us,... say his DI calls him "Olive" the first time, you know he's gonna think somethings up, or coincidence, little things that could let the DI in on to have a little fun... somebody has to review his posts, and pull out a few of Brad's famous quotes, and we'll just pass them along for further review... letters from fictious ladies from around the nation drenched in purfume, etc, make him the "Don Juan" of D Co. ...

...think now...

Keith_Hixson 03-13-2003 03:46 PM

You guys go for it.
Well Jerker you are a deviant, seek out a theropist.

Oh, I'm here for you.

Keith :D

SEATJERKER 03-13-2003 08:45 PM

...I'm gonna schelp on it, but by morning's mail, I'll have a letter out to Company D, postage due, (we'll charge it to Brad)...

.......................BASIC TRAINING 101 BY BRAD"........................

101-A, Do not step on the DI's boots when departing the bus...
101-B, Do not lick them clean...
101-C, Do not sip from flask in receiving line...
101-D, Do not throw up on DI's boots after sipping from flask...
101-E, Do not lick them clean...
101-F, Do not show your "death before dishonor" tatoo...
101-G, Do not spit "YES FUR" in your DI's face...
101-H, Do not start push ups without authorization...
101-I, Do not ask to use the restroom...
101-J, Do not ask "when we gonna eat"...
101-K, Do not write these crib notes on forearm...
101-L, Do not state "just a trim"...
101-M, Do not say "5 MILES" OUT LOUD...
101-N, Do not eat the fruit salad from your DI's chest...


DMZ-LT 03-14-2003 06:17 AM

Just sent him a quick letter ( I still remember how much I hoped I would get mail at mail call ) with the return address of : Dr. Kraven Moorehead , 69 Sin St. Atlanta , GA. Benning ain't that far away so I told him he was always welcome at my house if he got a day or two off between BCT and AIT - just need a days notice so I can get my daughter to a safe place. :a:

Keith_Hixson 03-28-2003 08:23 PM

Another Letter from Brad!
Patriot Files! 23 March 2003

I have no idea if there's been a response to my thread. I did receive several letters though . . . And I really appreciated them.
Of course, like everyone at Basic, I would like to sound Macho and that nothing bothers me here - but that's Just not true . . . for anyone! Letters are a great mental break! My main issues is that I miss friends and family and freedoms and candybars - that said, I've made a lot great new friends, I am learning that my preconceived limits are not physical limits and that even physical limits are ambiguous and mean nothing.

I've also been learning that in leadership the unwilling and unmotivated are a huge challenge! Because of a High Army physical Fitness test score I've been made a squadron leader. I have a very unmotivate squad on the personal level - no clue why they are even here - But they are and its my job to keep them squared away.

On Tuesday we begin using live ammunition. Should be pretty exciting. I am really hoping to shoot expert. We've already been through the obstacle course and the gas chamber. Some are effected worse than other by the gas. I am definitely in the worse side! When my line three took off our masks I was the last to go. I immediately began telling the "Drill Sgt, Nebraska, Drill Sgt." over and over again when they asked me where I was from. I got an extra dose because the first in my line dropped his Kevlar Helmet and after recovering it he had troubles snapping the strap. Outside after walking 100 yds in fresh air my vision straighten out and throat/eyes/ nose started to burn less. It wasn't until Then that I realize I had two strings of snot running from my nose to below my waste! We had to hold our weapon extended in one hand and our mask in the other - my only option was to try to shake it off - which made it cover my BDU's. My Drill Sgt was right beside me laughing His ass off. Lessons learned: The gas mask does work and chemical warfare sucks!

My bdy is starting to become acclimiated to the workouts. The bad hurts are starting to feel like good hurts. On Sundays PT is left mainly to ourselves and I'm trying to take it as easy as possible to see if I can get at least a little bit of recovery.

But at just aover a third way through Basic. This soldier is holding up just fine!!


Thanks to Keith_Hixson for being my middle man between myself and the cyberworld - "really appreciate it!" Brad

Keith_Hixson 03-28-2003 08:25 PM

I have Brad's address if you want it!
Brad is very grateful for all who have written him.


Keith_Hixson 03-28-2003 11:21 PM

Just let you know Brad wrote and keep it before you a couple of days.
Just keeping it on the front page for a day or so.

Brad's new letter.


Keith_Hixson 03-29-2003 09:18 AM

Just making sure everyone gets a chance to read Brad's latest letter.
Brad's latest letter from basic. On the bottom of the first page of this thread.


Keith_Hixson 03-30-2003 09:01 AM

Just keeping Brad's newest letter
Keeping Brad's newest letter in front of you!
Bottom of page 1 on this thread.

He is appreciative of all the letters, keep them coming.


David 04-01-2003 02:10 PM

I stuck it so it will stay on top :)

Boats 04-08-2003 06:37 AM

Got my 2nd letter from Brad. Seatjerker wrote his DS and now he's being called "olive" and now they all do Olive Push-Ups.

He wants to write to Seatjerker can you get hold of him and see if he could drop Brad a line. 57% made marksmanship the DS wasn't too thrilled. Brad passed due to his KY hunting skills but the DS said not to do it his way but their way.

Four more weeks to graduation. Once more he thanks Seatjerker for his letter to his DS (doesn't know what was in it) as many more push-ups come his way now. He said his DS now call's him "Olive".

SEATJERKER 04-15-2003 08:29 AM

Incoming mail...
...Yes I got a letter from "OLIVE", and he is just sooooooooo happy...

...actually says he doing we'll, wanted to thank me for thinking of him, and his fellow troops,ahahahahahahahaha... his letter on the 10th, and wanted to fire him off a second one in order to absolve him of "everyone one thinks someone wrote a mean letter to the DI about me, but I know better"...

...he says "my drill sargent got your letter. He calls me "olive" as a result, I had no clue what you wrote, but I had to demonstrate a ""special push up"" so the whole platoon could do it...

...It was named "olive's push up" by the whole platoon...

...He's taking it in stride, and the second letter I wrote him a short note "absovling him" of this treacherous deed, I take full credit for being able to help them advance the conditioning...


?.Great to hear from you, was wondering how long it would be, and was hoping that all was going well for you, wink, wink?

?I know you are enjoying basic as it is a terrific experience for ?all? of you, and I feel that I must take credit for ?strengthening? your character in a way that you?ll remember forever...

?think of it as reaching out, and touching one from a far.

?I take full credit.

? I know you know better?, and wishing all of you guys the best, and don?t worry, what you?re learning now is the most important lessons you? learn in life?

sorry to be so brief,? will write later,? just clearing things up for you?wink, wink?

your letter was dated the 7th, // received on the 10th?

?keep up the good work, and don?t sweat the heat, ?Gotcha?.


Sincerely, hahahahahah, Curtis????.

....I know he's well, and he thanks all of us, and he should have my second letter to show his buddy's, and they will have a memory to share the rest of their lives...

..."I know he loves me... :D :) :)

SEATJERKER 05-09-2003 08:13 PM

26 April 03...

...Am writing now, but waiting until I get to OCS, and have my new address to send...

...Family day is four days away, and graduation one more. Looking back, basic has been great. I think the poor performance of my platoon resulted in less training, and more punishment, but I was able to sap as much good out of it as possible...

...Not sure if I mentioned it in a letter, or not, IDID earn the PT patch, thanks for the workout advice/ motivation before "(and during)" basic !

...And the big news, I fianally have an Officer ?branch?---"(his writing sucks)"---, I have been put into combat enginering. am really excited about this one! OCS canidates are allowed to switch ?branches? with each other, and I have been approached several times already. no, no no, I will be holding on to this one!...

...I have 22 other address update letters to write before graduation, so will cut short for now.

..Thank You
...Bradley (OLIVE)...

...I'm sure he'll do well from now on with the start off we all gave him,...

SEATJERKER 05-27-2003 09:09 AM

21 May 03...
...letter from OLIVE...

...doing well. writing seems to improved from the chicken scratch he was putting out prior, I can actually read this one...

...waiting until 09 July for unit, and location/graduation...

...someone lost a set of goggles, so they all had to mow the lawns "by hand",... light's out delayed by an hour, settling right in...

..."but with all that happens here, the end is in sight, a bright shiney butter bar for a cherry Lieutenant"...

..."rest well, Olive's on duty"

MORTARDUDE 05-27-2003 11:04 AM

where did the name "Olive" come from ? Olive Oil ?


SEATJERKER 05-27-2003 02:48 PM

Rainbows... what we were called coming off the bus at basic due to the extreme mix of civilian clothes, then as we were issued plain green uniforms, and then they called us pickles, or OLIVES until your nametags arrived, and were attached, (they were blue then, and if you didn't have name tags, you were quite noticeable before the camos were issued a few years later... rather then calling him "pickles" which is not the most "manly" nickname for a tough future warrior, I nicknamed Brad, OLIVE a ways back to make him feel at home...

...he seems ok with it, and it worked out well for him in basic as his DI's took a liking to him,..( thank you,... thank you very much, no applause, thank you),...

"the"/my/our letter kind of gave the DI's a few chuckles with a "little" inside information, and in turn they took him under their wing as being a man with heart for his country along with potential...

...on the right track................


MORTARDUDE 05-27-2003 03:47 PM

You dun gud...
thanks curtis !!


Boats 05-28-2003 06:34 AM

Got antoher letter from Brad and he's in his 4th week of OCS and he's been assigned as an Engineering Officer and wants to know if anyone out here knows anything about this area?

If he was in the Navy I'd say he would be assigned to below deck duties working around the power plants or support equipment. I left his letter at home today I will try to bring it in tomorrow but he's looking for some Army type Engineer to contact him and let him know what he can expect.

He's got 10 more weeks here than 16 weeks of Engineering School. I'd say Brad is doing a rather good job so far. I bet you all he's not the same kid that went in months ago.

I will get you his address if you drop me an e-mail. Gotta run have a new job and I've got to stay on the straight and narrow during the next 6 months - if you now what I mean.

Stay healthy and Happy Birthday to all those I may have missed the last few months.

Keith_Hixson 07-11-2003 09:20 PM

LAST MONTH of OCS for Brad.
Got a letter from Brad. He says he is in his last Month of OCS. He will graduate a 2nd LT on August 7th. He will be a combat engineer. He feels that he is making life long friendships in OCS. Learning to lead, prepare for inspections, they had a 12 mile speed march, will have a 5 mile run and a final PT test. He not quite sure exactly what his duties will be as a combat engineer. There will be more OJT training as a combat engineer after graduation. He sent me a picture of himself and some of his buddies. I'll pass it on to Dave so he can post the pic. Seems like a he is really enjoying his time in the Service.

If you would like to him a congratulations card or message, let me know and I'll share his OCS address. [Give me a PM and I'll give you his address]

Really proud of this young man.


Keith_Hixson 07-25-2003 08:41 AM

Picture of Brad has been posted!
Picture of Brad with several of His friends from OCS has been posted in the Gallery!

Brad graduates from OCS on Aug 7. Then we have to call the kid, Sir! Send him a congratulations card.


Keith_Hixson 07-30-2003 02:55 PM

Brad Will Be Graduating this WEEK!

We have to call the kid SIR

Send those Cards and Letters.


Need an Address PM me!

Keith_Hixson 08-05-2003 09:41 AM

If you are down Ft. Bragg Way
If you are down Ft Bragg way, find out when the OCS graduation takes place on Thursday and watch Brad graduate from Officer Candidate School.

Give the kid a salute! And Say:


He'd really appreciate it.

Keith :ag:

SEATJERKER 08-05-2003 10:00 AM

HOLD THE BUTTER bar,... his pm, and has my #,...

...awaiting the graduation with much anticipation, he's done fantastic with our "gentle" guidience,...

..."salutes forthcoming,...


Keith_Hixson 09-11-2004 07:04 AM

Just got an e-mail from Brad.
He is now in the the middle east. He has sent me his new e-mail address and regular mail address. If you would like it please send me an PM.

He said its a 108 in the desert! Had been 122 a couple of days ago. Anyway, lets stay in touch with our man BRAD.


MORTARDUDE 09-11-2004 01:56 PM

keith :

check ur pms.


Keith_Hixson 09-12-2004 01:53 PM

Want to keep this up front.
If you want Brad's e-mail and military address let me know.


Keith_Hixson 09-13-2004 07:46 AM

Trying to Keep this up top
Want everyone to have a chance at keeping in contact with Brad.

He's in Iraq!

Have his military addresses:

e mail


give me a PM


thebrad 06-26-2005 09:36 PM

wow - to think that today is the first time that I ever saw this thread! Even if it's only around two years ago... it all still feels pretty nostalgic! Fun to be able to look back at when I was looking forward! Answers a lot of questions about some extra attention that came my way in basic training!

Also funny to look back at the stuff that I thought made life so difficult back then - that was all fluff and nonsense back then - issues that would be resolved by 'lights out' and a memory in the morning!

Next week I am conducting inventories to take-over my second platoon... the official transition won't be until after a new butter-bar (did I ever mention that mine faded to silver last FEB?) takes over my vertical construction platoon. I'll be taking over a horizontal construction platoon (earthmovers). I'll greatly miss my 'Linedogs' in the last platoon - but will still be in the same company.

I'm sure it goes without saying that the challenges since I took over a platoon last September were great. I was sure that taking over a platoon that had been in Iraq for 8 months when I my DCU's still weren't even faded in the desert sun and abrasive dust would be the toughest part... but being a platoon leader back in the states has been much more difficult!

We came back from the desert with our most serious injuries being a part of a nail-head in an eye (healed fine) and some bad backs from construction. I was sure we were in the clear but right-away on block-leave we lost a 19 year-old specialist to drunk-driving. The legionaires gave me the honor of presenting his colors to his father. Words cannot begin to describe this.

He was an outstanding Soldier - stayed up all night with myself and an acting squad-leader (reg squad leader on leave) finishing a construction project on LSA Anaconda in Iraq. Was his idea.

Then I discovered the joy of new privates - I have a lot of stories on this - but I won't tell any at all... but I've been making lot of random trips to the courthouse and hospital... and given character testimony at a courts martial.

My CO pulled me aside to give me what he described as bad news last week. Although he was recommending to have me switched into the XO slot next summer - it looks like personnel-wise it won't work out. I professionally acted disappointed - but was thrilled....! That means that I'll most likely be a platoon leader for the entire next Iraqi freedom tour! Supposedly it's really good for a career to have some XO time - but I thnk I'll be better off to be able to boast PL time with two different types of platoons in two different tours of two different parts of Iraq.

Anyway - that's my story for now. Thanks PF for the support.

Boats 02-27-2006 09:09 AM

Brad - keep a low profile - things are getting real nuts over there and you don't know who your neighbor is any more. Keep safe and keep posting when time permits.

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