I joined the Marines once.
I was hoping they would brainwash me and make everything simple.
Unfortunately their methods don't work on everyone.
They told us "You could be the next Presley O'Bannion!" (He attacked "The shores of Tripoli" in the song "The Marine Hymn.")
and "A Marine doing his job in lives an average of fifteen minutes!""
Hearing that we all barked like dogs as loud as we could because we were Gung Ho.
One of our drills was running up a hill with our unloaded M16s yelling Bang! Bang! and pretending to shoot some bad guys in a little dirt fort at the top. Human wave tactics like this were why we'd die so quick if we ever got to do our jobs.
The M16 was a surprise. At the rifle range we had to put pieces of black tape over the charging handles to keep puffs of hot smoke from hitting us in the eye. That seemed like the worst possible design for a weapon you were supposed to hold steady and not flinch at all.
The workouts were really good. We ran back and forth to the PT (physical training) in formation. The warmups and warmdowns were so good that although I was totally exhausted every time, I never got sore. There was unlimited high protein food to eat in the "mess hall" but we only had fifteen minutes to wolf it down with two spoons. If anyone talked we'd be ordered to stand up and march out of the hall.
Between the good workouts and meaty food I got lots of big muscles.
The obstacle course was lots of fun. Among other things we learned the "High Vault" and "Low Vault" methods of fencejumping that are the subject of this article.
Excellent photos by theinfonaut Her nifty concept for this sequence of photos is that if you pass your mouse over the thumbnails above, they will appear to be animated.
Step 1: High Vault 01
Do the high vault if you're
The fence isn't too high.
You're confident of the footing on the other side.
You're in a hurry.
You want to show off.
Trot up to the fence, put your hands on top and jump.
Step 2: High Vault 02
Your legs pass over the fence without touching it.
This is easier than it sounds because most of your weight is on your hands on the fence.
Your legs experience moon gravity and float right over if you do it right.
Your feet may snag the fence. If that happens the graceful fallback maneuver is to continue with the more sedate "low vault" procedure depicted in the other sequence.
Before my military training I used to try to jump a fence without putting my hands on it.
So when my feet tripped on the fence I landed face first in a pile of dog crap, badly hurting my neck so all my pain and embarassment nerves fired at once. I was trying to impress a girl of course. Unfortunately another swain had already stolen her heart. No doubt by diving into a latrine while running himself over with his own car.
Another male in my paternal line also suffered from a lack of military training. He won at tennis and did the traditional leap over the net to shake hands with the loser. Unfortunately he tripped, ripped the crotch of his pants open, threw his racket at the other guy breaking his nose, and landed wrong breaking his arm and getting a concussion.
Step 3: High Vault 03
After you clear the fence take your hands off the fence and raise your arms. This decreases the "unsprung weight" of your human vehicle.
Bend your knees and land on your toes. This gives you a soft long-travel suspension.
As you land lower your upper body into a crouch so there's no major shock.
If it's a major drop you continue into a roll, but landing from a high fall should be a subject for a future sequence.
Step 4: Low Vault 01
Now you're tired,
unsure of the wall or the landing area on the other side,
not in a hurry
You start by getting your weight up on the wall with your arms like this.
Step 5: Low Vault 02
Swing one leg up to the side like this.
Step 6: Low Vault 03
Pass the other leg under that one.
Step 7: Low Vault 04
And lower yourself to the ground on the other side.
You are over the fence. Proceed with your business.