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Old 01-26-2004, 20:08   #1
NousDefionsDoc
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Training the Mind

The question is often asked "How can I prepare myself for the challenges that lie ahead?" or "How can I harden my mental attitude while hardening my body?" referring to SFAS, SFQC, life on a Team or life in general.

Look around you and consider what others are doing. You can learn much, about them and especially yourself.

If you are a young person, watch your friends. Do they have to be told repeatedly to perform routine tasks? Or do they take the initiative? Are they focused on the task at hand? Are they aiming at the 25 meter target? Or are they always trying to get over? Are they flitting from one goal to another, not really achieving anything substantial in the process?

Take a moment and consider the person or persons you admire most. What traits do they exhibit?

If you have the opportunity, go to your local shooting range. Before you jump in there, watch the others for a few minutes. We're looking for a specific type here. If you talk to them, they will probably claim to be a "regular shooter". They will readily tell you they shoot "X" number of rounds a month. (You may need a mirror!)

They go to the range. Put the target perfectly square to them. Then they proceed to slow fire the box of ammo into the absolute tightest shot group they can. Then they brag to their buddies they shot this tiny hole.

A professional trainer calls the phenomenon Marksmanship Masturbation. Why such a derrogatory term? Because the only reason they train that way is to make themselves
feel good.

You want to be like that guy at the end of the range by himself repeatedly clearing malfunctions with only his weak hand, then firing two to the chest, one to the head. Not fun training, good training.

It is human nature to want to do things we do well, especially when others are observing. This tendency is not conducive to self-preservation or self-improvement. You are not developing new skills when you train in this manner.

Just like hardening your body, you must train your mind in order to get it to peak condition. And just like your body, as your mind adapts to the new challenges, you must increase the load.

Here are a few ways to harden your mind.

Always do the hard thing first - ALWAYS. For example: If you would rather go hungry than eat spinach and your Mom serves spinach for dinner - eat it first and ask for seconds. If you hate math and have math and science homework - do the math first and do extra work. If you really want to sleep in on Saturday -go mow the lawn without being told, then clean the garage. If you would rather work your biceps (beach muscles) than your legs in the gym - do your legs twice. You will not be asked to curl your rucksack.

Make a conscious effort to be positive as much as possible. Look at life's daily challenges as opportunities for excellence instead of problems to be suffered.

Also, read, research - everything. Find out why most books have pages in multiples of 9. Learn about current events, especially those that pertain to your goal Group's area of operations. Study history - those who do not are doomed to repeat it. Learn as much as possible about whichever group is considered the primary threat to the US at the time. Find out what a joule is. Learn the anatomy and physiology of the human body. Learn the principles of radio wave propagation. Research the history of explosives. Read a book. Sit up straight. Walk with a sense of purpose. Be disciplined in everything you do.

Always do the right thing, in your dealings with others and yourself. Do the right thing even if you know the decision will be unpopular and you will be criticized.

They call it "Special" Forces for a reason.

Perfect practice makes perfect. Train Hard. Never Quit.



Inspriation from the Way and the Power by Fredrick Lovret.
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Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon and he made his web gear. He doesn't worry about what workout to do - his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about 'how hard it is;' he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn't go home at 17:00, he is home.
He knows only The Cause.

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Old 01-26-2004, 20:22   #2
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Great advice.

Thanks, Teammate.

TR
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"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - President Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

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Old 01-26-2004, 20:26   #3
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A sus ordenes
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Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon and he made his web gear. He doesn't worry about what workout to do - his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about 'how hard it is;' he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn't go home at 17:00, he is home.
He knows only The Cause.

Still want to quit?
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Old 01-26-2004, 22:05   #4
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Thank you NDD.

Your thoughts on life and SF in particular, are insightful as always. You have a way of getting right to the point of the matter.

James
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Old 02-02-2004, 13:40   #5
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NDD:

Great post:

Terry
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Old 03-09-2004, 18:23   #6
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That's advice for everyone. Outstanding.
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Old 04-06-2004, 20:49   #7
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Further thoughts on the topic. Just my thoughts and rantings in no particular order.

If you are attempting to enter into the Special Forces way of life, there are some things you need to think about.

I have read several books about SF, SAS, SEALs, etc. In many of them, the principle theme seems to be "We wore our hair long" or "We wore blue jeans" "Or I punched my CO in the face". Now, I realize that a lot of this is written to make people go "Oooh" and "Aaah". But that is not the mark of a professional in my book.

Every profession has a uniform and a code. I love lawyers, because believe it or not, they are very regimented, like a soldier. Look at a lawyer. What is he selling? He's selling knowledge of the law yes, but more than that, he's selling confidence. He knows he's going to win. Look at how he dresses. Conservative suits. Why? Because a conservative suit is his uniform. It exudes seriousness, confidence. Most of them are very well-groomed and well mannered most of the time. They are in a serious business. People's lives or millions of dollars hang in the balance. There are always exceptions of course. The guy that wears the leather jacket with fringe and the pony-tails.

I have seen schoolteachers that could silence a roomful of 9 year-olds just by walking in the room and Moms that could freeze halt a kid on a dead run from 50 meters with a look. Its not fear so much as it is respect.

A soldier is in a serious business as well. If he is in a leadership position, he must exude that same serious confidence to his subordinates.

The best SF soldiers I ever knew wore their uniforms with pride. You could hear the starch popping from down the block and shave in the shine on their boots. If they were ever told they needed a haircut, it was when they were already on their way to the barber shop.

Looking like a rag bag isn't cool because its different. Its the mark of a sloppy amateur.

Without exception, every SF troop is at least an NCO, if not by paygrade then by position. Leadership by example is the hallmark of an NCO. How can you set the example when you look like a duffle bag?

There are cases when it is simply not possible to be squared away. My partner and I came off a week in the field with host nation forces once in which a real world incident occured while we were out. So we were tasked to do some other things not on the training schedule. Our uniforms were rags when we finished, but the insides of our weapons were spotless and first chance we had, we got cleaned up.

Look at the private sector guys on the news from Iraq. Even though they are not in anymore, they don't look like a clown show. They have gear that works, and they LOOK squared away. Even with their little ball caps.

Looking professional doesn't necessarily make you professional, but rarely is it the case where someone that looks like a ragbag is a professional.

The old Samurai had some good thoughts on this. Looking professional, handling your weapons and equipment with quiet confidence and skill, walking erect and with a sense of purpose, always being area and situation aware - all these are what I look for when trying to identify potential friends or professional adversaries. These are the dangerous people.

I had a Team Sergeant once that in the 3 years I worked for him, I never knew for sure if he was carrying a pistol or not. He was so professional I didn't care and really didn't think to ask. I just knew he would be there if I needed him with whatever the situation required. I couldn't imagine anyone even thinking about trying to lay a hand on him, his attitude and demeanor made it unthinkable.

That is a Quiet Professional.
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Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon and he made his web gear. He doesn't worry about what workout to do - his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about 'how hard it is;' he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn't go home at 17:00, he is home.
He knows only The Cause.

Still want to quit?
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Old 04-06-2004, 20:56   #8
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I have also seen, especially recently, people complaining about the prices of weapons and equipment, settling for less than what they need because of cost or trying to "bargain" for a better deal.

With furniture or a used car, that's fine and I'm all for getting the best possible deal and not wasting anything needlessly.

But think about it for a minute. These are the tools of your trade. You are betting your life on them. Do you really want to buy your Body Armor from Crazy Eddie who just went insane and slashed prices?

Do you want to be running through the streets of Bagdead in front of your principle and have your assault pack dump your Kit Kat bars all over the street because you got it for $10 less than the good one?

I would imagine that the Samurai, Roman soldiers, etc., probably spent every last dime they had on the best swords and armor they could find. They knew they were going into battle and soon.

Well guess what?

If you want to save money, do it somewhere else. When it comes to your kit and weapons, don't scrimp. Get the best, pay for it, and when you get back, thank the maker for his pride and professionalism.
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Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon and he made his web gear. He doesn't worry about what workout to do - his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about 'how hard it is;' he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn't go home at 17:00, he is home.
He knows only The Cause.

Still want to quit?
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Old 04-06-2004, 21:16   #9
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The first step to becoming a warrior is to start thinking, dressing, walking, talking and most of all acting like one.

I'm not talking about wearing BDUs to school. I'm talking about dressing and acting appropriately for the situation.

Your Company Sergeant Major has better things to do than tell you to get a haircut or shine your boots every week.

PT uniform is a uniform. Flashing red lights on sneakers are a no go.

Professionals push the envelope in battle, not with hair, mustaches and shoe shines.

Would you want to see your surgeon fumble screwing around with the scalpel right before you go under? Well that's how I feel about the way a lot of people handle weapons. Learn to use them appropriately. Learn to load, unload, clear, clear malfunctions, etc., in your sleep or send the thing to me and I'll use it.

Same with the blade. If you're going to cut yourself, do it away from professionals and don't come to me to sew you up. (Unless your fingers get in the way while slitting terrorist throats - that one's a gimme.)

Don't be flagging people with weapons, even when there's a red box on the end.

Practice wearing a beret correctly before you don one in public. If I see you in the street with the pizza chef look, I will take it away from you and mail it back to The Reaper.

Don't be the Ugly American in public. Loud obnoxious behavior will get your ass kicked or worse in a lot of places. Smile, consider the incident to be cultural awareness training, and move on.

If you haven't read The Ugly American - do it immediately.
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Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon and he made his web gear. He doesn't worry about what workout to do - his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about 'how hard it is;' he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn't go home at 17:00, he is home.
He knows only The Cause.

Still want to quit?
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Old 04-06-2004, 22:07   #10
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A former NCO's view on officers:

Officers don't hate you and they do serve a purpose.

Think about it from their point of view for a minute. There is one of them for eleven of you on a Team. (WOs are former enlisted). Eleven experts in their fields, eleven chances to be out run, out PTd, out shot, etc. The Team may have been together for a couple of years and he's the FNG. Everybody's watching him. Can you see how it can be a little overwhelming? Who can he have as his friends until he earns his Team's trust? He'll rarely see the other TLs. The Old Man won't make friends with a cherry Captain. SGM or CSM? Hahaha.

The CO has 6 teams plus the B Team. Figure a full Company with 66 enlisted and WOs on the Teams, plus the Company SGM and NBC dude (?). So 68. And there are a total of 7 officers.

5% rule is always in effect, so 3 or 4 are going to be screwups. They'll take up 90% of the time.

Plus he has to deal with new Team Leaders coming in, the BC, etc.

For every 10 minutes you stand at attention in front of the CO's desk because you screwed up, he probably spent 20 in front of the BC's desk.

The way I see it, the officer's function in SF is to ensure that what the Team is doing fits in with what the Company is doing and right on up the line. Do you, as an 18 NCO, want to go sit in the battle briefings and bring back the poop? He is the strategist. His other job is to take the heat from on high when it comes through that side of the line. Do you want his job?

It takes time to train a Team Leader, both for the Team and the CO. Don't say "He doesn't know anything." He knows what he was taught, just like you. He knows his job, which isn't the same job you have.

I was very fortunate. In my time, I served with the finest officers the Army ever produced. There were a couple that weren't so hot along the way. But guess what, they still beat out an awful lot of their peers just to get to the Team. And the other officers took care of them and sent them on their way. Many of my old Team Leaders are LTCs and above now. The man I admired as a Captain (P) next door is a General.

I recently had a conversation with a young Recon Marine NCO. He was assigned to Embassy duty in a benign country and was unhappy about it. Now, I had heard about this NCO before I met him. The story was that he imbibed and thought it would be funny to call out the Embassy React as a joke. So they all came out armed to the teeth, etc. All the enlisted thought it was funny, as did he after he got his ass chewed and got over it. His LT took the heat for him.

The night in question, we were sitting at a nice bar and he was wearing one of those T-Shirts. He was hitting on the waitresses and talking rather loudly about how he was a Marine and should be in the war. Then he started complaining about his LT. Know nothing, wet behind the ears, officers aren't needed etc.

So I took the opportunity. I said "Look at yourself."

"Huh?"

"Look at you, the Corps gave you a job to do. You've been here two years, you haven't made the slightest effort to learn anything about the language or the culture, you dress like you're in the barracks in one of the better places in town, you're loud and obnoxious and your claim to fame is an alcohol-related incident."

"Yeah, well..."

"As long as the NCO corps continues to act like privates, we will always need officers to take the heat and keep us from doing even more stupid things. Now, can you imagine that new LT of yours getting drunk and calling out the React? Even green and young as he is?"

"No."

"And THAT'S why the military needs officers, among other reasons."

That Marine NCO, thanked me. A couple of months later he was in Iraq as a Platoon Sergeant and sent me an email. He had a green LT over there, but he treated him with respect and they all came home alive. And he and the LT are friends.

An SF Officer is a warrior. He is a professional. That "college boy" with the railroad tracks on his flash could probably stomp a mudhole in your ass if he wasn't duty bound by the code not to do so - some of the really good ones will anyway.

Next time you have not the obligation, but the opportunity to salute one of them, think about that and do it with pride and the respect he deserves.



Or I'll kick your ass.
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Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon and he made his web gear. He doesn't worry about what workout to do - his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about 'how hard it is;' he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn't go home at 17:00, he is home.
He knows only The Cause.

Still want to quit?
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Old 04-07-2004, 09:02   #11
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Thumbs up Re: Training the Mind

...........

Last edited by eyes; 10-16-2007 at 12:12.
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Old 07-19-2004, 20:19   #12
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Very humbling thread.
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Old 07-26-2004, 09:22   #13
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Character Development Needed in Schools
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., July 24, 2004 It's wonderful sometimes for someone to look up at another person and say, "Let me tell you how I feel about what you just said. It was offensive," retired Army Lt. Gen. Robert Foley said during the Military Child Education Coalition conference here July 22.

The need for added character development is reflected in things around us every day that are unacceptable, retired Army Lt. Gen. Robert Foley told attendees at the sixth annual Military Child Education Coalition conference in Colorado Springs, Colo., July 22. Photo by Rudi Williams

The Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient told more than 400 educators, administrators, military leaders, parents and teachers that being able to make such a statement enhances the education process quickly.

He talked about a model for character development as part of the education process, based on a program he established at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point when he was the commandant of cadets from 1992 to 1994. He said he hoped conference attendees would take away thoughts and ideas helpful to them.

Foley said he took a lot of time to assess West Point's mission since 1802 of developing leaders of character for the nation. He asked himself questions such as "What is the mission?" "How are we doing it?" and "How is it being implemented?"

Foley said he looked at the academy's honor code: Cadets don't lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those that do. "There's an honor education process associated with that," he said.

He said he discovered another powerful value. "It was a leader dimension which the cadets get evaluated on," he noted. "There were 12 leader dimensions that each cadet gets evaluated on 16 times over the four-year experience. This leader dimension was called 'consideration of others.'

"Essentially it's treating people with respect and dignity," Foley noted. "We all have that power to treat one another with respect. Unfortunately, sometimes we go down that road of disrespect, for whatever reason."

He read the definition to the audience as "those actions that indicate a sensitivity to and regard for the needs and feelings of others, and in awareness of the impact of one's own behavior on them, being supportive of and fair with others."

He asked about knowing what this is: "What are offensive actions? What are things that I say and do that may offend other people?

"Being supportative and fair to other people is the right way to do business, but are we doing it?" the retired general asked. "Are we establishing ourselves every day to do that?"

Foley laid down two bedrock values for the cadets. "Honor had always been there, but I pushed it over a little and put consideration of others beside it," he noted.

He said, as a result, the honor education program went from 22 hours in 1992 to 50 hours in 1994. "Consideration of others went from zero to 50 hours," Foley noted. "The honor and respect bedrock values had a great impact on the attitudes of behavior, values the cadets addressed every day, and how they felt and learned about being leaders.

"It was so powerful and the results so great that when I went to subsequent assignments, I did the same thing," he noted. "I always empowered the personnel in the organization to do this."

The program can't be implemented just by publishing policy statements and saying it's important, he noted. "Those are good things to do from time to time, but that's not the answer," he emphasized. "You can't show 12 slides to a large group once a year and expect the values to take place."

Foley said he found out that a small-group discussion among 15 to 25 in a classroom environment was the answer. "The idea is that for the participants in the discussion to do all the talking," he said.

"It's facilitated discussion, not teaching," he pointed out. "The discussion could go on for an hour in high school and two hours in college.

Foley had a format called "chairs in a circle," which allowed every member of the group equal opportunity to give their views, attitudes and opinion about a particular moral ethical dilemma.

"We took the tough topics honorable living, race, gender, violence prevention, substance abuse all of those things that trouble us in society today," Foley said. "We wanted students to talk about how we're going to resolve some of these issues."

He said the program can be tailored to meet organizational needs. However, he pointed out that some people are troubled with some things when the program is being established.

"The first thing is time," Foley noted. "In the military you've got training schedules. In education you've got classes that have to be taught, and teachers have all these things to do. There's no time.

"Well, we made the time because we thought it was important," the general said. "And we saw the results achieved. We saw we had a better environment. We saw it was more positive. We knew we were minimizing some of these negative influences and incidences. So we made the time."

There's a need for character development, Foley said. "There are incidents occurring in organizations and on college and school campuses unethical conduct and immoral acts, dishonorable things, violence, harassment and discrimination," Foley said. "It doesn't happen all the time, but it happens enough to have a very negative impact on the organization we belong to.

"That's one of the things that has always troubled me," he said. "When you have an incident, it's not just between a couple of people. It has an impact on the staff and faculty, student body, alumni, parents and external organizations."

He said the character development program could be implemented in any kind of organization involving adults or students, adding that the exposure makes better leaders and citizens. "You also improve the climate. Sometimes we worry about the environment in which we exist because of there are negative influences," Foley said.

Environments are dynamic because things change because of negative influences. "Once this education process takes place in the classroom, it goes outside and expands and grows within that climate," Foley said.

The program also enhances student learning because, according to Foley. "You're minimizing, reducing and eliminating some of the negative influences harassment, discrimination and other incidents that can occur that are bothersome, things that can occur that preoccupy the minds of some of our students when they're trying to study the academic disciplines."

Foley said when he first started the program, he was concerned about where to get facilitators and how much was it going to cost?

"I was told by somebody, they're right here. They're us. We're them. We're the best ones. We have the passion and the sense of urgency to do this," he said. "So that's the answer: They're the parents, teachers, volunteers just like you are.

"People felt good because they were helping to shape the environment that they're going to be operating in every day as well as enhancing the lives of the students," Foley said.

"When you get people who are concerned about doing the right thing and respectful of one another, they're reaching out every day to care for the people around them in their organization," Foley concluded. "That gives you tremendous synergy."
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Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon and he made his web gear. He doesn't worry about what workout to do - his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about 'how hard it is;' he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn't go home at 17:00, he is home.
He knows only The Cause.

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Old 07-26-2004, 12:14   #14
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NDD,

This particular thread is for me, the most insight thread I have read. It serves as a reminder to us warrior why we are in this serious business, and it teaches the untrained the fundamentals of the warriors code.

Truly a motivating thread. This site should be required reading for anyone wanting to be apart of the spear.

LarV
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Old 07-30-2004, 09:36   #15
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50 hours of COO training? Man, I got out just in the nick of time!
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