Thursday, January 31, 2008

David's Jan. 25 letter

Dear Family,

I am a Marine! I survived the crucible. It was a challenge. The 50+ miles of marching was not bad. The obstacles were fun but the cold and rain was horrible. We got a total of 8 hours of sleep for 3 days.

It was actually less sleep because I had fire watch one night for one hour. The worst part of the day was night time when they were trying to keep us awake and we were freezing. The last day we got up at 2:00 put on wet camies because it rained constantly on and off for the 3 days of the crucible and started hiking toward the reaper - a big, steep hill which we earn the title marine on. 4 miles of hiking through rivers of water and we arrived at the base and sat on our packs for a 1/2 hour. It poured rain. The hill was completely muddy and it was 40 degrees and all we had on was soaking wet camies. Then we slid up and down the hill and down the other side and then had to hike 6+ miles back to the parade deck and receive our EGA. Then we had warriors breakfast! Then a hot shower.

It was a miserable 3 days with 3 MREs but it was worth it. Our packs weighed over 100lbs due to the rain water. It was said that ours was the hardest crucible any one has had for the last 10+ years due to the rain and cold. You know you appreciate more what you earn.

Got to go.

Christs MARINE,

Friday, January 25, 2008

David's Jan19 letter

Dear Family, Jan. 19,2008
Well, test week is done. It all started Monday with final drill. Platoon 3271took first! So, we now have three trophies and that with a brand new Sr. D.I. Then, Tuesday, we had the martial arts test and so i am now a marine tan belt. It was a very easy test. The rest of the day was spent studying for the written test and getting uniforms. The Wed. we did more uniform stuff and took the written test. I got 94% which is not too good because I knew all the questions but it was a pass. Everyone in my Platoon passed. Then, we practiced for the oral medical test. Thursday was a busy day. First thing, we ran the final PFT. I did 27 pullups, but I was told only 24 counted. Then, I ran the 3 miles in 17:45. Then I did 117 crunches in 2 minutes. Praise the Lord! A 300 PFT! I was the only recruit in MIKE Co. to get a 300 PFT on the final PFT. Anyway, I might get iron man as long as a recruit who was on light duty and got a 300 on the series PFT does not get it. Anyway I praise the Lord for His help and strength. We had the oral test in the afternoon, but before that I had to go to medical for a shot that I had to get because I have never had chicken pox. It was given in the thigh and this was the first of two. So I passed the oral prac. with 100%.

Thank you for all your letters and pictures. I enjoy see what you have been doing. Also put a thank you to all the people who have been sending me letters. I love getting up to 19 letters a mail call. It is still hard to find time to read my Bible, but I have had opportunity to witness to 3 or 4 recruits when they ask why I am so different.

This is probably my last letter or 2nd to the last. Please don't send me any more letters after next Wed. The Crucible--here I come. You know my schedule as well as I do. I know it is supposed to rain the next 3 days. So, we will have a muddy, wet Crucible. I don't care--it will make it all the more fun.:)

Christ's soldier,

Monday, January 21, 2008

Pic of David

Thought you all would like to see this picture of David pulled out of a group shot of his platoon.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

David's Jan. 13,2008 letter

Dear Family, Jan. 13, 2008
Boy, do I have a lot to write to you all about. First of all last Friday, we had the 2nd clothing fit. Then, everything began happening. It all goes back to a few days ago when we had a few fights. E. got punched and then J. got punched for no reason. J. was punched in the jaw and the Sr. D.I. tried to cover up the fighting. Then, it was found out that J.'s jaw was broken. He called home from the hospital and his mom got the Sr.D.I. in trouble for lying. So, D.I. Sgt. J and D.I. K. were UCMJ and relieved from being D.I. So, three weeks from graduation we got a new Sr. D.I.-Lewis and a new kill hat, Kaaiwi. Now we have to learn to drill with new D.I.s 3 days before final drill. It is going to be a miracle if we do well on final drill, but I believe in miracles. So over this all 3 recruits were dropped for fighting. Anyway that is the excitement around here.

Last week was PT week. Monday, I was gear guard. then, Tuesday we did the circuit course and Wednesday we did a tough combat course which was martial arts and body drags.

This week also I was I.T. about 3-4 times and had probably the toughest I.T. session ever just before the D.I. left. Thursday we ran 1/2 mile 6 times and those were sprints! Then, we did max. pull ups, ,push ups and crunches. That was probably the toughest P.T. I have done. I found out this week that I am going to be made Meritorious PFC because I guess I have the highest PFT score in the series. Continue to pray that i do well on my final PFT so the Sr. D.I. is not sorry he gave me rise in rank. My rank mate also was one of the few Meritorious PFC because he was the Platoon high shooter.

You can continue to pray for my rack mate Hill and also our guide Espinoza. He was just appointed series honor man so he is pretty happy, but he has a lot of stress. Thank you for all the letters! I love hearing from everyone. Thank you Smiths! You have really been great in sending me all the letters. It helps me feel like a human being here.
Nineteen more days!

Christ's soldier,
David Pillman
Col. 3:8-10

Saturday, January 12, 2008

David's Jan. 6 letter

Dear Family,
Sorry for my poor communication. We are limited in our free time so I only really have time to write on Sunday. Anyway, last week was team week. We got measured for our suits and fancy clothing. That was ALL day Wednesday. Thursday, I went to dental and had my first cavity filled in. :( That is what happens when you don't have time to brush teeth for 2 months. Actually, for the last two months, I have been brushing my teeth every night. The rest of Thursday, I cleaned house and was given I.T. two times for no reason and then tore apart the whole house.
Fri. I had a meeting in the morning and was disqualified from Presidential Security for being home schooled, but I am appealing that. Then I went and worked in the Armory for the rest of the day. Talk about a lot of weapons: around 3,300 M16A2, 400 shot guns, 40+ grenade launchers M203, 200+ shot guns and probably around 100 pistols. 9mm Beretta M92.* So that was fun. I missed class, but it was all on rape and homosexuality.
Saturday, I got to call home! Also we had class in the morning on sexual responsibility and military social services. It poured rain all day. Next we had a class on alcohol abuse and drug use from our D.I. Finally we did our initial PFT. I did 22 pull ups, 116 crunches and ran a 18:20 three mile. So I scored a 298--two points away from perfect. :( Praise the Lord for strength. It was the best PFT score in our series, but I need to get under 18 min. on the final PFT. Finally, we did a lot of drill and hit the rack.
On fire watch I was in the duty hut calculating PFT scores. Church today was pretty lame. The sermon was a message on the wise-men. Basically a history lesson.
Continue to pray for our Platoon. Pray that I can still get Presidential Security.
Christ's soldier,

P.S. My favorite thing last week was a team obstacle course which ended with climbing a rope in full gear.

*Probably these are Beretta M9's not M92's, as the military issue is the Beretta M9.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

David"s Dec. 25-Jan.1/2008 letter

25 Dec. 2007
Dear Family,
Christmas Day! Happy Birthday Jesus! Yesterday, we did 4 prac. tests, did a lot of drill and played "games". Then, finally in the evening, we had a Christmas Eve service and sang Christmas Carols and had two messages in two hours. My favorite message was relating how our being in a tough place is a good place for Christmas. Christ was born in a tough place to save people in a tough world. It really hit home here how Christ came in a tough place. We had chow which was: 2 slices of wheat bread,1 bagel, cream cheese & jelly, peanut butter, eggs, bacon, scalloped potatoes, 2 waffles, oatmeal with syrup, an orange, raisin bread, cantaloupe, and yogurt. Then a glass of milk and a glass of juice. That is my normal breakfast. At least I am not starving! :) And I forgot coffee cake.
When we got back to the house, we cleaned for 1/2 hour. Then, I celebrated Christmas by opening presents--no it was 78 MREs.Meals Ready to Eat We took all the extra stuff out of the MREs so they could fit into our packs for field week. It took close to 1 1/2 hours to do that. Then we added two sheets and a blanket and piled all our stuff on the quarter deck. Then, we sorted it out and went to Church at 0930. It is amazing how much you can get done when you get up early. Now we are on free time till 1130 and Tony, his rack mate and I made a chess set--hope we don't get into trouble for it.
Yesterday I was on the quarter deck for eating a candy cane. We were given them in the chow hall and I was not told what to do with it, so I ate it.
Now for lunch, we had a special meal. Dinner rolls, bread, turkey, beef roast, baked potatoes, canned corn, chicken noodle soup, dressing, gravy, mixed nuts, shrimp, apple pie, deviled eggs, a big salad, oranges, 2 big slices of water melon, and a glass of chocolate milk and apple juice.
Dec. 30,2007
Field week is done. It was fun sleeping under the stars, but fire watch was very cold.
Jan. 1, 2008
I got to send this letter. I have been carrying it in my pocket for the last week.
(It looks like it too!) My addition.
Please pray for my rack mate Hill. He does not believe in absolutes and is a professing non-Christian.

Christ's soldier,
David Phil 4:13

David's phone call

Today, Sat. Jan.5, 2008 we received a 15 min. phone call from David. He was slightly hoarse from all of the yelling he has to do, but otherwise in good spirits. He is finished at the shooting range and is back at the original camp. Paul and Josie (Mom and Dad) were the only ones home for the call. We were able to pray together. David had a couple of prayer requests:

1)Pray for salvation of his rack mate Hill and for Elim a missionary kid who needs the Lord.

2)Pray for his buddy Tony Ward who has times of homesickness.

3) Today, David is having another PFT test. Pray he can do his very best and even make the 300 mark!
Thanks for your prayers and support for David.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

David's Dec. 11 letter

We received the following letter on Jan. 2, 2008. It was written Dec. 11-16, 2007 so this letter was actually written before the Dec. 23 letter previously received.

Dear Family,
Well, we are up North. It is cold here in the morning... like 45F. Since we do not have coats we can wear we freeze at "snapping in". All it is, is aiming at a barrel and practicing dry firing in different shooting positions. So we have had 2 days. All we have learned is the prone position and how to sight in our M16 H2 rifles.
Today, we had a 3 mile hump with about 30 lb. packs. Well, got to go to church Bible study.

16 Dec. 2007--Sunday!

I have been really busy. All day we would practice shooting positions and shooting techniques. Wednesday, we went to the range and shot at 30 yards to sight in our rifles. I failed but my sights were so far off so that is why. Every evening, we play stupid mind games and rip off tags that we have sewn onto our bags. So I am getting quite good at sewing little X's to connect tags to bags. Meals up here are probably better than down south. Also, everything is dirtier. We are cleaning constantly in free time. We have been preparing for field week. (like practicing setting up our 2 person tents. Everything about shooting is leading up to next week. This week, we shoot every day and we practice till our shooting test next Friday. In the test, everything is done without resting the rifle on anything.
(Then David includes a fairly detailed chart of the test and diagrams of several targets.)
Each score is with a max if 5 points, so a max. of 25. 220+ is expert. 210+ is sharp shooter. 190+ is marksman. 189 and below is a fail.
So now you know what shooting I am going to be doing. It is tough. So you can pray I pass. I would like to shoot expert, but we will have to see how well I shoot. If I fail, I am dropped back a week and I will give you a phone call.
Now we do not receive mail as much here, but it is exciting when we get some. Let me tell you what happened last night:
All Platoons in MIKE Company marched to the chapel. Then, we went into it and had a contemporary praise service. All of MIKE Company! It was led by Calvary Chapel of L.A. Next an older gentleman who is a marine who fought in WW II Pacific Iwo Jima, Okinawa...and then fought in Korea and was one of the frozen chosen of the Chosen Reservoir. Then a pastor spoke on Hell and the need to accept Jesus. A great Salvation message! Finally, they had an altar call and probably 80 Marines went forward. Praise, the Lord! Then, they passed out dog tags with Joshua 1:9 and "Marines for Jesus" on it. This was something everyone was "forced" to go to! Christianity is still alive in America. Anyway, I had better go. Please write back! I love getting your letters and hearing what you are up to.
I have found a little time to read my Bible, but it is still a challenge.
Christ's Soldier,
James 5:7-9 (the passage for the message today)
P.S. Yesterday, we did a 5-8 mile hike with 50-60 lb. packs and combat gear-up and down hills. It was fun except I had to scream out knowledge the whole time.

Send David a letter of encouragement!

Just so everyone has Davids' address readily available, and to encourage everyone to send David a letter, I thought I would repost his address. Once again, please don't send him any packages, and realize his responses may be short as he is pressed for time. If you haven't sent him a letter yet, I would encourage you to do so! If you have previously sent him letter, I would encourage you to send another. He really appreciates hearing from everyone!

3rd RTBN M CO Plt. 3271
39003 Midway Ave.
San Diego, CA 92140-3274