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Surviving Basic Training


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SpaceThing #21 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 04:03

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Good heads up on 'Boot Camp'. I joined the Navy at 17 and went to Boot camp in 1967. I got really good advice the first day I was in Boot Camp from an advanced recruit. He told me to join the 'Early Morning work Party', a work party that cleans the barracks when everyone else stands inspection and gets into trouble. I only stood one inspection in Boot camp because of that. I lost a couple of hours of sleep in the morning, but it was worth it. I also remember the songs 'Give me a ticket for an Airplane' and 'We got to get out of this Place' was on the radio and we all liked those songs. I then loaded rockets and bombs in Vietnam after that.

BHLittlehart #22 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 04:09

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Chieftain gives good advice when he says "think about it."  I am better for having done it, but would not recommend it to anyone. 

 

My basic was at Ft. Leonard Wood, in Missouri, in late 1966.  It was a draftee army, about to go to Vietnam.  Because I volunteered, I got to choose my training.  And because I was lucky, I chose something that took a year to finish.  I arrived in Vietnam just in time for the 1968 Tet Offensive.  I survived the whole 365 days and came home with no visible scars. 

 

In retrospect, these are my observations: I was never in as much danger from the enemy, as from my friends.  The officer's job is to be stupid enough to follow orders.  The sergeant's job is to keep the officer alive despite himself.  The private's job is to grow up to be a sergeant.   Having a worm's-eye view of the Army, I didn't realize the officer corp had already been decimated - killed, wounded, or driven off.  It took two decades before I learned that the sergeants of my acquaintance, were not normal - the NCO corp had also been decimated.  We went over with 113 guys in the unit.  When I left, there were 37, including replacements.  We were shelled thirteen times, mined once, over-run once, and a sister battery put a round in our ammo dump.  I shouldn't complain, since it was a smoke round.  Our own Fire Direction Control error put 36 rounds of HE on a Marine battery.  The Marines were persuaded to not return the complement. Once we got a fire mission that was refused by a gun sergeant - "charge one, maximum elevation, upwind."  It seems a radar unit had tagged us as an enemy battery.  For awhile, that of which I was proudest was not killing my Sergeant, who persisted in giving orders at gun point, and thrice threatened to kill me - the first time he said, "If you ever go to the hospital again, I will kill you."  I waited three days before asking if he was serious.  He insisted that he was. 

 

This is what you should bear in mind: Basic Training designed to keep you alive OUT OF COMBAT!  I don't know the current statistics, but between Julius Caesar and Vietnam, 65% of military casualties were "non-combat related."  Basic teaches you how to survive garrison, base camp and field camp; it does not  teach you how to survive the enemy... or your own side.  Something else, some training I never received, must teach the rest. 

 

What breaks my heart is that almost all of the people I met, were doing their best.  This includes the Private who tried to "fix bayonets" with the blade pointed down, the Sergeant who tried to sell me Army equipment, the Lieutenant who chewed my [edited]for having a genetic defect, the Sergeant who looked in the mirror and slapped his face saying, "You handsome devil, you," the Sergeant who threw detonators at men sitting on a truck loaded with artillery ammunition, the Private who didn't safe his trip flares before he threw them into a box of ammo, the Engineer Sergeant who didn't know how to clean a rifle, the Captain who put Cushman bunkers on the side of a mountain, and the Private who couldn't aim a Claymore mine... and refused to take instruction. 

 

Having said all that, I shamefully confess that I would not trade the experience for my sanity. 

 

If you join, it will mark you, too.



red_dog78 #23 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 04:15

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Yeah, Basic is the following:  10% physical......90% mental.  Also, here's some VERY good advice:  Make sure your sneakers are BROKEN in BEFORE you ship out.  I made that mistake of not breaking them in and I wound up having to go on sick call because my feet got some nasty blisters on the bottom.

 

And, depending on where you go, you BETTER refer to your Drill Sergeants (Drill Instructors depending on the branch) by the title they tell you to acknowledge them as......or suffer the consequences. ( I never had that problem.  ;))

 

Luckily for me, ours were strict starting out and they started to relax a bit as the weeks went by throughout Basic as they knew that we were shaping up as they were expecting us to be.  The Chieftain is right:  There is a method to the madness and you just got to go along with it.  They will make sure you learn their instructions and remember it.



zloykrolik #24 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 04:33

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C-4-1 at Ft Knox, 1982. Graduated just before Christmas, I surely did NOT want to miss that date.

 

Agony, Misery, & Heartbreak hills and the 25 mile road march, the funny thing is that I swear there was some kind of space/time warp at Ft Knox, we always seemed to be marching up those hills, never down.

 

To Shogun_master: the Chieftain's advice is spot on on how to get through Basic. The best thing about being a tank crewman, is TANKS. Gunnery is a blast. Pun intended. Driving an Abrams cross country is great fun as well. 



Malorgon #25 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 05:11

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View PostBHLittlehart, on Jun 27 2015 - 19:09, said:

 

 

My basic was at Ft. Leonard Wood, in Missouri, in late 1966.

 

I was born there in 72, my father did 2 tours in Nam.

 

I joined in 89  E 1/19 FA FT.Sill Ok. 13b Osut training (13 weeks both Basic and AIT same drills the whole way thru...)

 

Like many have said, just do what they said, no more no less. And would add this tip, don't get your name and your face connected to each other...those are the ones that get picked on more, oh and yes ladies knee high stocking worn under your socks on your 2 mandatory road marches prevents blisters, well at least it did for me.



NightEngine #26 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 05:51

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Oddly enough, I actually did look back and say, "I enjoyed that."

 

It seemed surreal when I first had the thought, but by the end of basic we were a well-drilled machine. Everyone had their stuff together and everyone was working together. I never experienced that again and sometimes I miss it. Basic was easy for me. I know it wasn't for some but hopefully you have guys that acclimate well and help one another.

 

And it's absolutely true: turn your brain off and just do what you're told. Don't overthink things. I got to the point I barely needed sleep and was simply in a trance-like state while marching or doing details.

 

Basic will change your life and will change you as a human being, for better or for worse is your call.


Edited by NightEngine, Jun 28 2015 - 05:52.


rokinamerica #27 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 06:42

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Knox in '80 for basic. Stripes was being filmed there (I remember being told they were at/with the "Triple Nickle". I remember being told not to volunteer, but they asked for volunteers to be drivers, I did, and became a chauffeur for an officer. Got to stay in his basement for 24 hour shifts (fridge was stocked and he rarely left the house after hours while I was on shift), and twice came off shift while we were heading out on bivouac. So I had to hitch a ride in one of the mess trucks. Made friends on the first ride with one of the cooks, and from then on made sure to talk him up every time we had KP. And always had fresh cooked breakfast after that.

 

I also remember our Drill Sergeant saying early on: "There are two people you do NOT want to piss off. The Cook and the Quartermaster. I never did. 

 

In high school, prior to enlisting, I ran track and cross country. So all the long runs never bothered me at all. But we had a hold over whose father was a high ranking officer in the Air Force. He was on either his 2nd or 3rd cycle and lazy. We were shooting for Honor Platoon and my job (along with another good runner) was to make him unbuckle his belt and I would hold one end and the other guy held the other end and we would run on each side of the hold over and pull him along so he would complete the runs. 

 

I learned early on that our Sergeants loved vocal, enthusiastic grunts. I was loud in my answers, never took anything they said to heart and enjoyed watching the mind coitus they threw out. 

 

Last fact, our senior Drill Sergeant was older, probably in his 40's, and we would sometimes see him at the end of the day go to the PX and then walk out with something in a paper bag that was square shaped. We were right across from the PX. We figured it was a bottle of JD. The next morning he would put us through our PT much harder than normal. We put it together that if he drank, we worked much harder so if we saw him with that bag, we started to go to sleep a bit earlier. 

 

I may have fonder memories 35 years later than I did right out of Basic, but it was a good experience for me. And my whole experience gives me good stories to tell my children over the years. 

 

Thanks for bringing these memories back for me Chieftain. I don't think about them much now, as my kids have heard all my old stories and are grown up and my wife knows them all. It is not for everyone, but for those that can deal with it, it is an experience that you will never forget. 

 

 



RoughRider6 #28 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 06:46

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I did my Basic at Ft. Knox in 1981, and returned for transition to M-1 in 1992.  "fond" memories :)

I had a good ride though, from the M60 to the M48A5, then M60A1, M60A3, M1, M1A1, and finally M1A1 Heavy.

If my kids hadn't gotten to school age I would have stayed 30.

I missed a lot of important times in their lives too.

I also saw that the constant moving and changing schools was hard on them, and my wife too.

Always consider your family when you make these decisions, they pay the price with you.

 



jet_flyer #29 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 06:46

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Jun 26 2015 - 21:45, said:

 I went through Fort Knox at age 25. Almost 50% older than the average recruit.  The theatrics and ‘games’ that the Drills play don’t work the same way on us older lads, but the behavior of “that guy” is going to drive you absolutely spare. Nothing for it but to accept that maturity comes with perspective changes, and some younger folk just don’t ‘get it’ yet.

 

Any more advice to those joining later than usual? I'll be at least 23 when I go in(Freaking eye surgery) I can see how it can help but might be an issue also

GG_M8_NO_QQ #30 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 07:07

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faolan #31 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 07:13

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You know, I have to agree and say that, while I don't miss Basic or wish I could go back and do it again, I do often think "sweet zombie Jesus, they were paying me for that!"

 

Let me explain: while it wasn't all that pleasant or enjoyable at the time, in retrospect it wasn't that hard once you learned to NOT over think things (a common problem for college boys) and to put your brain into neutral when it was going to be the best thing.  When I then went onto the the section of Marine basic intended for Corpsmen... it was easy.  Sure, physically it was still going to be painful, but once you know how it goes, you can do it in your sleep (sometimes literally).

 

If I were to go back now, the physical stuff would probably kill me, but otherwise, all the mundane tasks and games they play with you, it'd be the easiest money I've ever made.

 

It's actually the Drill Instructors I feel bad for - they have to weed out the totally unsuitable ones, motivate the suitable ones that are having a hard time with it, and they do, by and large, actually care about their batches of pond scum.

 

Plus, let's be honest, you'll learn an essential life skill - the ability to catch a quick nap any time, any where.  Nothing passes the bus or train ride into work faster than a catnap, nothing works better on a long and stressful day than taking 10-25 minutes of your lunch break as a power nap.

 

And finally, by the gods, you appreciate the true beauty of a leisurely constitutional at home, in the quiet, that you would have otherwise taken for granted.



kaleo #32 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 08:44

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View PostShogun_master, on Jun 27 2015 - 23:11, said:

Hey, Chieftain. What was the most unbearable part of basic? Also, what was it like after graduating?

I am 17yrs. old, and I'm considering joining the ARMY as an M1 Abrams, tank crew member. Do you have any advice or thoughts about it? How hard was it? What was the best part about being a tank crew member?

Ever since I started playing WoT, I have always had an interest in tanks. It's been my dream to operate M1 Abrams for as long as I could remember.

Feedback would be appreciated. Thanks

-Shogun

 

 

its only as bad as you make it. I went to ft.sill, ok. just do what youre told and if you fell like you wanna do something wrong make sure you don't get caught. the heat you'll get from the drill sergeants isn't nearly as bad as the heat from your platoon mates. blue falcon is not a good nickname to recieve

kebab6597 #33 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 09:22

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"Keep a sense of humour and never let the barstewards grind you down"

 

That worked for me and still does :) but as Chieftain said in his opening paragraphs think long and hard before signing on the dotted line because everything you do from then on will be life changing and you will miss alot of very important family events and milestones



Earthbiscuit #34 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 12:51

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Brought back some memories sir.

 

Parris Island in the fall/winter of '88...the height of sand flea season it seemed to me.

 

Keep your mouth shut, do what your told and always remember they rarely kill recruits and almost never on purpose =) In addition, tell your family you send you nothing but innocuous letters.  One poor schmuck got a massive box of fudge...not good.  I received a letter from my grandmother that had a Mothers of America return label on it....I paid for that for nearly a week.  (Mothers of America had forced the Corps to curtail its training a bit, especially on hot day...or so the story went)

 

Either be first, or remain anonymous....do not, EVER be last.  I made that mistake on the first run we did, tripped, ripped my knee up and tried to milk it a bit...bad move.  Be first, or be in the middle of the pack.  After that incident, I went for anonymous, stayed pretty unknown thru the first two months of Boot.

 

The House Mouse in the Corps was the guy assigned to clean the DI hut...seemed like a fairly good deal.  Same in the Army Chieftain?



Earthbiscuit #35 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 12:52

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Oh, and you will always piss your DI's the most on Thursdays...barracks inspections are on Fridays and they like it clean =)

BaronCawdor #36 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 13:27

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Thank You Guys, since my earlier post and reading some of the others, Basic was the best time in my life. yes it was hard, but it taught me many things I have carried all my life. The lessons it taught, and the memories are priceless, Thank You.



wbulldogNA #37 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 13:48

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I am actually the commander of an M2 Bradley. It is an interesting tank, and my crew and I have 6 confirmed T-55 and T-62 kills. Yah, I wish the TOW missile was in WoT.

 

 

                                 



bamberger #38 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 14:01

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Oh Chieftan, I must say I truly did enjoy my time at basic, F1/79 back in 06-07. It was my first time away from home, but home wasn't great. It was scary, but I was ready for it. I def had a little trouble learning the soldiers creed, but soon that was engrained into me as the depth of the words and their meaning conveyed, but that happened at reception so can I use those as points towards my argument, nah. I really only need this one here. Every single day we did something. Every day we where being pretty hooah. Shooting AT4 anti tank rocket (9mm albeit, you will lol if you are in the know). We road in cattle cars, ate crapout of green bags that was 50/50 on tasting good but you where going to have mad energy there after and a healthy desire to poo that you never could get over. We where in the company of great people, teaching us skills that ultimately came to save lives for myself and others. I was so lucky to be in the military, and it started from basic. Hand grenade range, live night fire, WOOBIES!!!!!! I MEAN COME ONE YOU GOT YOUR FIRST WOOBIE!!!! Know i completely agree, it was utterly disappointing watching my fellow countryman come to a place you expect to take serious and they all just wanna clown, bullsomthining around like it was still high school. Listen to the chieftan boys and girls, his grouping was tight and true. I must say though, I was one who despite how unpleasant others made it threw stupidity, I REALLY LIKED BASIC, to the point Id go back and do it again!

Leutnant_vonGoest #39 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 15:02

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Ha! The picture of the joyful DI in front of the unlocked wall locker brought back memories of Fort Leonard Wood back in the 80's.  I made that mistake once.    

 

 

 

Once.



grizz56 #40 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 15:35

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I went into the army at age 18 in 1974 did basic in fort polk la.  Was the hardest thing I have ever done! But I made it through and so can YOU!!!




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