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Surviving Basic Training


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QWERTYEel89 #41 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 15:49

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Jun 27 2015 - 19:37, said:

 

"Housemouse"

 

No, I never did. I saw what happened to others who did, mind.

 

I literally went to watch that part as soon as you mentioned an unlocked footlocker.

Slayer_Jesse #42 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 15:56

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View PostBHLittlehart, on Jun 27 2015 - 22:09, said:

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.

 

Geebus. I knew nam was bad, but didn't realize it was that bad. :ohmy:

borderrat #43 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 16:08

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WOW!  What memories.  E-13-4 BCT Ft. Knox. 1975   Basic wasn't too bad. Kinda rough on a fat kid starting out, but they work it off pretty damn quick.

Going into Basic, the better shape you are in, the better.

The worst part came after Basic.  Being caught in the transition between peace time and war time.  Vietnam was pretty much done.  Saigon fell while I was in AIT.  They say "war is hell."  Having never been, I will take their word for it.  However peacetime SUCKS! Well, the transition did anyway.  (Sorry, rant)


 

Back to Basic.  In one post, someone mentioned "Sick Call"  OMG!!


 

After being in Basic for a week or two, I woke up one morning and could not stand up.  Evidently, some of the stomach muscles I was using said" enough is enough".  I was so cramped up.  I missed chow and formation that morning.


 

When the Drill Sergeant came in I told him I needed to go on sick call and told him why.  Now, I'm not really sure what happened next, but it all went downhill from there.


 

He took me in to see the SDS to explain about my pains and what I had said to the DS. Amongst all the screaming and yelling about me somehow calling the DS a liar, (I did not by the way), my cramps were amazingly gone.  They told me to get out and I never looked back.  Nor did I ever mention sick call again.  Very effective tactic if that is what it was.  Not so sure they can do the things now days that they used to do.


 


 


 


 



Phathom428 #44 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 16:12

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The most fun you will never want to have again!  No matter how the quarter bounces, sometimes your bunk just gets tossed.



Lex_Striker #45 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 16:30

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I went thru US Marine Boot Camp at Parris Island in 1968... during the height of the Tet Offensive. I then went to Vietnam and served as an Infantryman (0311) and as a CAP (Combined Action Program) Marine. I may not have been there for Tet, but I got to help clean up the crap that was left over... from the DMZ to Chu Lai. However, even taking into account 152mm's, 122/140mm Rockets, constant patrols, ambushes, booby-traps/mines, friendly fire, and the absolutely boring times in-between... the first three days of Marine Corp Boot Camp were the longest three days of my life.


 

Addition: I remember sitting in the Mess Hall eating breakfast on the morning of the 4th day thinking to myself... "It has only been three days and I have eight more weeks to go... and then another eight weeks of Infantry Training after that before I even see any daylight outside. What the hell have I gotten myself into?" Well, I was lucky... about 3/4 the way through Infantry Training, they let us go to the USO in Jacksonville, NC for an hour.


 Oh, one more thing... do not, under any circumstances,.. drop our rifle. What will happen next is classified. There are rumors of the 'Hurt Locker Drill' and having to sleep with one's rifle field striped. No matter what happens, one will have a rifle inspection immediately afterwards... then one gets to do more 'stuff'. Now I understand that things have changed in Marine Boot Camp since I went through, but Marine NCO's tend to be very imaginative... as I found out serving in Marine Recon later on. So please, do not drop your rifle. Whatever one does, make sure one cushions the fall of the rifle and protects it as one slams into the dirt.


Edited by Lex_Striker, Jun 28 2015 - 17:09.


Maliphax #46 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 16:32

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Stirring up some old memories for sure. I was 25 when I went in. 07 Ft Jackson in the summer. "Old Man" was emphasized at my already graying hair. For those thinking about going in I'll share what got me through.

No matter what, it does what it's told. Every day is a new day. What happened today will be gone tomorrow and you will be better for it even if you don't think so. A DS will never ask a question they don't have an answer to. DO NOT LIE... even god can not save you from the evil you will endure. Lastly, do your best at everything even if you fail.



Legiondude #47 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 18:17

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So what's the story on the final photo?

sgtky #48 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 18:38

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I leave for basic training on August 10th for the Navy. This article is hitting pretty close to home because I realize my free/family time is coming to an end. Thank you for the extremely applicable article.

Dekember #49 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 18:41

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View PostLegiondude, on Jun 28 2015 - 10:17, said:

So what's the story on the final photo?

 

It's a long standing tradition in most services that they teach you to protect your stuff, so leaving your footlocker, or anything that's supposed to be secured open like that in that photo is just asking for trouble.

 

I was a 13Fox Forward Observer and spent my time at Fort Sill, Ok. On one occasion a green had left his issued watch behind on his bed, our DS being a very peculiar gent, completely disassembled it for him. Ever gear, band, and nut in perfect detail laid out on his bunk. So as you can imagine, a open footlocker is a DS's wet dream.



tod914 #50 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 18:50

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I did my basic in Ft Jackson too Maliphax.  Except back in 82.  Basic, by no means the hardest service school, but one of the most memorable.

 

I'd suggest for anyone thinking about going in, prepare yourself well before you arrive.  Go onto your branch of choice website, and take a look at all the jobs offered before jumping the gun and signing up.  The longer the enlistment, the better the choices.  You can also enlist as a college student and get paid as an E-5 while your in school (Not ROTC).  At least when I was in you could. 

 

There's college bonus', MOS bonus', use to be choice of duty stations, etc..  Remember, it's easier to get the schools you want in your initial contract, then once your in.  You want jump school, a language skill,  etc.., get it in your contract.  Not sure if they have a "refer a friend" for a stripe program anymore, but worth checking into.  Your recruiter can give you a lead if that's the case.

 

Learn your General orders, try to get a rudimentary understanding of Drill & Ceremony.  Learn the proper way to do a push up and situp.  Practice your PT test, etc.. Go in fit!  Broken in sneakers!  Huge plus.  I recall us rubbing in saddle soap into our boots and beating the hell out of them with the back of the shoe polishing brush.  Still ended up with a ton of blisters.  Moleskin is your friend.  

 

I'm sure there is a plethora of information on the web on how to prepare for Basic.

 

Best of luck to anyone going in.

 

Quick word of advice.  Always be in the front of the pack on a road march, "fun run", etc..  I remember this one guy on a forced marched in Basic that created this accordion effect on the platoon.  Someone butt stroked him in the back of the helmet and he fell to the back of the column.  Lead, Follow, or Get out of the way.


Edited by tod914, Jun 29 2015 - 02:49.


Rumbleghost #51 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 20:08

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It ain't for everybody, and you can't quit.  My advice has been to try the reserves for a year before going regular force, maybe even do a voluntary tour of duty.  It isn't wasted time.


 

Be a Stimpy, not a Ren:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zObwbl9JnA4



Texan2012 #52 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 20:10

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Ah, the best times I never want to have again. Charlie 1/19, Fort Benning, GA. Graduated infantry BCT and AIT January '15, college degree, 25 years, and too old for the idiot game.

 

I will say this, duct tape is a great substitute for moleskin and is a godsend on blistered feet. Everyone else has been hitting the nail on the head. It is truly amazing to me how hard it is for many people to follow the simple instructions.

 

As for volunteering, never, EVER, volunteer to be the scribe! Every frigging night, EVERYONE hung over my shoulder as I made the fire watch list as per instructions. I will still never understand how their sleep was more important than everyone else's or feeling of getting screwed when it was by the numbers. 

 

On a side note, following instruction on rack making, gear and locker organization will save it all from getting tossed or made barracks decorations. I never knew boots made such a spectacular chandelier... 



Cruiser_CleveAniki #53 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 23:00

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C co. 2-39 INF BN Ft. Jackson, only just graduated 2 months ago, and let me tell you, until you go to Basic, you never realize just how many mattresses a Drill Sergeant can stuff inside a single wall locker and still close and lock it until someone in your barracks doesn't make their bunks (The answer is four). That being said, there really is always "that guy", and there are some days when volunteering for detail is nice (like when you spend the first half of the day around civilians watching movies and reading "outside literature" because they didn't have anything planned for the first half of the day but they sent your detail over anyway). And never leave your weapon, EVER EVER EVER (Some people discovered to their dismay the firing pin had disappeared).

 

EDIT: I consider my Basic time a success... my DS had to do a double take when we were doing final inspections before graduation... "Private, are you in my platoon?"


Edited by SawaAzusa, Jun 28 2015 - 23:04.


QWERTYEel89 #54 Posted Jun 28 2015 - 23:57

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View PostBHLittlehart, on Jun 27 2015 - 22:09, said:

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.

Wow, that paragraph was real. But I love that second to last sentence. I guess what my best friend (older non-military) guy said was true. "Go in there, do your crap, maybe you'll like it, maybe you won't, who point I'm saying is, better than sitting at your mom's house doing nothing but being miserable...."

 

Edit: Sawa by "detail" what do you mean?

 

Double: edit I really hate WG's censorship programing.


Edited by QWERTYEel89, Jun 29 2015 - 00:03.


stalkervision #55 Posted Jun 29 2015 - 00:09

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"Pop those Blisters Toe Jam ! "



Avatar14 #56 Posted Jun 29 2015 - 00:22

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I first did basic at Ft. Benning in 1986 as an infantryman, and then later at Ft. Knox in 2-13 Cav.  Of course I also did ANCOC at Knox and ended my career there as a Senior Black 6 in the Armor Officers Basic Course (later known as BOLC III) in 2008.

Rumbleghost #57 Posted Jun 29 2015 - 04:38

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View PostLegiondude, on Jun 28 2015 - 18:17, said:

So what's the story on the final photo?

 

 


 

That... is an instructor who just suddenly realized it is Christmas and Santa left him a new toy to play with and abuse.


 

The facial expression is universal amongst training cadre.



red_dog78 #58 Posted Jun 29 2015 - 04:45

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View PostDezhnyov, on Jun 28 2015 - 12:41, said:

 

It's a long standing tradition in most services that they teach you to protect your stuff, so leaving your footlocker, or anything that's supposed to be secured open like that in that photo is just asking for trouble.

 

I was a 13Fox Forward Observer and spent my time at Fort Sill, Ok. On one occasion a green had left his issued watch behind on his bed, our DS being a very peculiar gent, completely disassembled it for him. Ever gear, band, and nut in perfect detail laid out on his bunk. So as you can imagine, a open footlocker is a DS's wet dream.

 

I must say I had tears forming in my eyes laughing so hard imagining that in my mind.  I can recall we had a wet ball get called (Marines may have something similar to this as you'll learn about this) and we were sent back to our barracks and we were in our bay (8 peeps to a bay if you had regular bunk beds) and one of our guys slipped behind his locker and dozed off.  Well.........we heard one of our Drills coming down the hall and we were feverishly trying to get him to wake up and then the Drill walked in and we yelled 'AT EASE'.........and the guy was still asleep.

 

Well, the Drill (Staff Sergeant Schumate) says, "It's times like these that makes me wonder."  Then he asks if one of us has a canteen filled up.  I forget who handed him the canteen (wasn't me for sure); but, he proceeded to twist open the lid and just dumps it out ALL over him.  Poor guy jolted awake and Sergeant Schumate goes "Good morning, sunshine".......to which there was a meek reply of "Good morning".  I don't think we ever found out what his punishment was for it; but, we never let the guy hear the end of it.  lol



Machine_Gun_Kelley #59 Posted Jun 29 2015 - 05:20

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I visited Ft. Knox for a brief training session in 1970 after receiving a letter in the mail which started out: "Greetings! You have been selected by your friends and neighbors.... "  I did not stay there for AIT, went to Ft. Monmouth, NJ for electronics.

Being a "farm boy" gave me the advantage of not being too bothered by the gas chamber, I'd smelled worse in the barn.


 



fatbaby22 #60 Posted Jun 29 2015 - 08:09

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    Oh God please if you join get a guaranteed contract before you sign, makes a difference in getting a good  job or chipping paint. Went to Navy boot camp in Great Lakes ILL. in 88. I had guaranteed contract to be corpsman.  I also have a great story from boot camp. It was a July day black flagged for training from heat 103, who knew it got that hot up north.  Anyway we just got back from lunch and was put in the barracks. We had to sit on the floor next to our bunks (you can't be in or on bunk until bed time), had no A/C just a big fan blowing hot air down the passage. Our company commanders ( Navy's name for drill instructors ), were down stairs in their A/C'ed office. Well, we are tired, full bellies, and hot, so what do you do, why you go to sleep. I looked around the compartment and saw everyone passing out on the floor, laying in big puddles of sweat. So I took a pillow off an unoccupied bunk and laid on it with my head in the passage so the fan would blow on me. About an hour later I was woken by both of my C/C's on each side of me screaming my name. I got up groggy and noticed feathers everywhere, seems the pillow I had, had a large hole in it. The fan had blown feathers all over the compartment ( not good for me). I spent the next two hours picking up one feather at a time, taking it up to the C/C's office and putting it in a trash can, then would go get the next one. I finally finished in time for evening chow. As we formed up to go my C/C's said they had a treat for me when we got back. What a treat it was, they M.A.S.H.ed me for two hours straight. M.A.S.H.ed stands for Make A Sailor Hurt. Push ups, 8 count body builders, sit ups,oh and my favorite dead cockroach (you lay on your back with your arms and legs in the air), and many more fun and painful things. Finally finished I was allowed to hit the rack. The next morning my C/C's informed me I would be going to Indoor Tennis for 3 days, that's I.T., or Intensive Training for those of you that don't know( in other words not where you want to go). I spent 3 nights being mashed, listening to some of my fellow m.a.s.h.'es crying or begging for their mom. I survived, I never fell asleep in boot camp in the middle of the day again, and yes I graduated. All said and done boot camp wasn't that bad, Navy boot camp is more academic than physical, and really it is as simple as doing what your told when told to do it. Field Medical School was much harder than boot camp.                                                                                                                                       




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