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Sunday, August 12, 2012

The creation of the American Soldier - Initiation part 3

So basic training was one of the most beneficial experiences of my life.  The decision to join the military most likely saved my life, I know that seems cliche, but it in fact took me away from a life where I was hell bent on being mediocre.  The Army gave me a chance to change my life, to get a fresh start, at the age of 22, it was needed, and most likely overdue.  I had no one but myself to blame for the position I found myself during those years, and honestly, I don't like that guy very much at all.  I had a chance for a new beginning, and even though basic training started out rough, being homesick, having to do tasks that I wasn't that good at, and taking orders from drill sergeants who, in the beginning, seemed like pure a-holes.

Now, looking back, it is all clear, the structure, the discipline, the reasoning behind it.  At the time though, I just thought it was torture.  But I managed to do well, keep my head down and stay below the radar.  I had some great drill sergeants, in both basic training and advanced individual training.  I wouldn't appreciate them until years later, when it all made sense.  After I had truly given my heart to the US Army, I believed in the values so strongly and still do.  Doesn't mean I haven't slipped from time to time, I explain that all in my book.  It came with a price, again, I explain that in the book, but that doesn't mean all is lost, that doesn't mean I need to quit and give up on those beliefs, it just means I need to work hard at returning to that mindset, bring those values back, hold them close. 

Some tips for basic training:
1. As I mentioned, stay below the radar - those who make a scene, are the ones whose name is known through the whole basic training cycle.   You want the drill instructors to be questioning who you are at graduation.
2. Army and all Uniformed Services rank structure
3. Know the phonetic alphabet: it is the key to the new language you will learn
4. Take a peek at the following regulations prior to departure
     - AR 670-1 Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia
     - FM 3-21.5 (22-5) Drill and Ceremonies
     - FM 6-22 (22-100) Army Leadership
5. Pay attention, there are days where fatigue tries to take over - fight that off
6. Many say don't volunteer for duties, I say volunteer for them all - sometimes there are certain liberties given during those duties (don't forget, I went through basic in 1997, things may have changed)
7. Do extra physical training, the key to a healthy mind, the kind needed to ensure the mental and emotional abuse, is a strong body - it will be your best resource

Again, more to follow

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