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Surviving Basic Training


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_Walter_ #61 Posted Jun 29 2015 - 16:10

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The advice I most often give people before going to basic, is to not take it personally.  There will be times when you feel like, hard as you try, it's just not good enough.  A primary objective is to remove the individual and build the unit back up as a team.  "You will be Assimilated. Resistance is Futile"

GoatRider2 #62 Posted Jun 29 2015 - 16:36

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Having survived boot camp at MCRD San Diego in the summer of 1980, I can pass along the following observations and comments:

  • The Chieftain  is spot on with most of his advice as are others especially the guy who says, "If you are not going to be first, be in the middle of the pack, NEVER be last." This goes for everything, runs, tests, marksmanship, even simple things like making your rack (bunk) the correct way.
  • "Voluntary dismissal" "D.O.R." and "section 8" are TV and movie terms only. If you can't hack it physically (at least in the Marines) you will be sent to a "development platoon" for 6-12 weeks to get fit, then put back with a normal (later) platoon of recruits. If you act crazy, you will be sent to the corpsman or the base hospital. If you do something illegal or violate the UCMJ, you will be sent to the brig (stockade / jail.) All of which will only delay your completion of basic training, not excuse you from it.
  • Before you head to the airport or bus or whatever for your induction, GET IN SHAPE.  Your recruiter should be able to suggest how far you need to be able to comfortably run, how many situps or pullups you should be doing, etc.  They may even have a program for pre-recruits to work out together if there is time (i.e. if you are waiting to graduate high school)
  • Also before you report, LEARN some of the things that you will be asked to memorize during boot camp. Most importantly are the eleven General Orders (actually I am not sure if this is a Marines only thing, or all services) you will be asked to recite those CONSTANTLY and they are a constant excuse to discipline you if and when you screw one up. I have been out for nearly 30 years now and can still remember most of them! Again, your recruiter should be able to fill you in on what these topics are, they probably even have them in writing.
  • Hell yes lock up your locker/footlocker/gear etc!  And do not think you are being all sly by "pre-dialing" all but the last number on your combination lock so you can be the fastest opening it. Drill instructors know that trick and will open them, with horrific (and after the fact pretty comical) results.
  • If you are one of those kids that like to ask your parents "why?" all the time when told to do something... OH, or if you are genuinely afraid of heights; well you are just going to have a hard time of it, period!

Edited by GoatRider2, Jun 29 2015 - 16:39.


SFC_Eisbaer #63 Posted Jun 29 2015 - 17:34

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As a 30 year veteran of the U.S. Regular Army, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard of 4 different U.S. States, and a recently retired Senior NCO, I have to agree with just about everything the Chieftain had to say.

 U.S. Army Basic Training (BT) IS designed to graduate as many people as possible... But it IS also designed to "weed out" anyone, that the medical screening at MEPS missed. BT IS, very much, a "gut check", especially given the lazy and pampered lifestyle that most Americans live. YES, in comparison to Army life, even most "lower income families" have things pretty soft... BT is NOT designed to kill you, and the multiple levels of "fail-safes", to prevent just that, are staggering.

 BT is a mind game. The Drill SGTs are, in their own fashion, teaching recruits how to react and thing while under stress. After all... What IS combat? A HUGE, long-term episode of STRESS. If you cannot handle the "Mickey Mouse [edited]" dished out by the DSs, then you are going to be WORSE than "worthless" in combat. You WILL get other people killed.

Your lockers. Be they "footlockers", or "wall lockers"... For GOD'S SAKE... If you walk more than TWO feet from the damned thing, make sure that you LOCK it, first... Or your life will become truly miserable. WHY? You have a rather expensive array of uniforms, field gear, and miscellaneous other "kit", that someone would LOVE to steal. Your DS has to work with the same 24 hours, that you do, and the paperwork for any sort of barracks theft, missing equipment... Uniforms... Etc... Takes away from that. If your life's mission, is to become "The Number One Turd on the Drill Sergeant's 'craplist'"... Then leave your locker "unsecured"...

The key points: "Pay attention", and "Do what you are told"... These are the most important of all. 

John Wayne once said "Life is hard. It's harder, if you're stupid".

 Failing to pay attention,and follow the directions or orders of your leaders, especially in BT, is... "Stupid".



Torpedo722 #64 Posted Jun 29 2015 - 17:54

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Best "Line" from my Drill Instructor:

"My Grandmother farts DUST and she moves faster than you pieces of s***!"

 

Moment when I knew we were a company: all agreed that the center corridor between the racks was for the DI's use only, we shined it (with the awful wax products) daily but he's the only one who walked on it, so it was damn near flawless.  When he realized that we had "gotten it", I remember the grin on his face, and the "Well, I guess you all can do something right" comment before he walked out of the squad-bay was so out of proportion good in our minds.

 

Complaining is ok, you will do it, but don't let it become your entire attitude, it will do you no good and just make you more miserable.  As so many have said, it's a mental game.

 

And worth it.

 

Finally: the very best thing sent to me from home was "Body Shop" mint oil infused foot cream.  Nothing felt better on my feet at the end of the day.  At least 50% as good as sex.
 



The_Chieftain #65 Posted Jun 29 2015 - 17:57

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View PostTorpedo722, on Jun 29 2015 - 16:54, said:

Moment when I knew we were a company: all agreed that the center corridor between the racks was for the DI's use only, we shined it (with the awful wax products) daily but he's the only one who walked on it, so it was damn near flawless.  When he realized that we had "gotten it", I remember the grin on his face, and the "Well, I guess you all can do something right" comment before he walked out of the squad-bay was so out of proportion good in our minds.

 

 

Heh. It didn't take too long before we copped on to the fact that it was quicker to sleep on the made bed and just tighten it up in the morning than to sleep in it. Except Saturday nights, as it was linen turn-in day on Sunday.



vjmcguy #66 Posted Jun 29 2015 - 18:00

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Great article, great posts.  Just going to add, if you are thinking about it, you will not go through basic alone.  As the photo shows, you will be surrounded by a support group of 25-45 guys or gals, depending on your branch of service and you will form a mutual support group.  You'll look out for each other's lock, or your "KEYCHAIN" (yelled loudly, dog tags/ keychain necklaces are a choking hazard and must be kept under your shirt at all times)(Go Air Force).  Point is, If you are interested, and are not a quitter, you will meet people and become part of a unit that works together on your first day and your personal experiences with them, like remembering a recruit complaining during a run will be the memories of Boot Camp that will make you smile after you are done.

cavscout_19D #67 Posted Jun 29 2015 - 18:01

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o7, Brother

Ft.Knox. Cav Scout. 1981  class D-5C-1



ColdSteel5a #68 Posted Jun 29 2015 - 18:51

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Little different experience - I never did basic as a recruit, although I did spend six weeks at Knox as a Drill Cadet.  

 

I think the best piece of advice I got was 'Don't stand out.'  Don't be the guy who has to make a joke.  Don't be the guy who can't make his bed.  Don't be last and don't be first.  Just do what you are told and get through it.



anavar #69 Posted Jun 29 2015 - 20:03

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Best line from my senior DS at Ft. Benning (when it was just for Infantry and only males) "If you aint cheatin, you aint tryin. If you get caught cheatin, you weren't trying hard enough."

I hear that in basic that trainee's are given stress cards. Do the Taliban honor stress cards?? I loved my time in service and would do it again had insurgents (that's not what we called them) not left that pesky IED for me to find the hard way. I made some life long friends and lost some too and will always fondly remember even the worst of times in the Army because I spent them with brothers.



stalkervision #70 Posted Jun 29 2015 - 20:32

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Jun 29 2015 - 11:57, said:

 

Heh. It didn't take too long before we copped on to the fact that it was quicker to sleep on the made bed and just tighten it up in the morning than to sleep in it. Except Saturday nights, as it was linen turn-in day on Sunday.

 

Never thought of getting yourself a extra blanket and stashing it in your locker ? Shame on you ! LOL

 

 Then again if you wanted to save even more time not making blankets have everyone sleep on top of each other and alternate beds and days !


Edited by stalkervision, Jun 29 2015 - 20:36.


stalkervision #71 Posted Jun 29 2015 - 20:40

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I myself would have gotten another full set of sheets and blankets at the PX to turn in and glued my other set permanently to the bed frame.   Then use the first set to sleep in on top of your second. :)

 

 Enjoy. ."H/M"    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agiAknjbDqQ


Edited by stalkervision, Jun 29 2015 - 20:45.


Fishrokk #72 Posted Jun 29 2015 - 20:58

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View PostPhredde, on Jun 27 2015 - 17:34, said:

As the prototypical pvt Jones in the third rank, my rule was volunteer freely.  I liked the change in routine and I actually had fun from time to time.  Although I did learn that any call for volunteers with a drivers license usually led to said volunteer driving a broom, rake, or shovel.

 

You got to volunteer for things?  We had the Army lottery:

 

Drill would come by and say, "I need volunteers!"  Then he'd start pointing, "You, you, you, you and you."

 

Guess he thought we all qualified all the time 'cuz we'd volunteered to join...


Edited by Fishrokk, Jun 29 2015 - 21:00.


Kenshin2kx #73 Posted Jun 29 2015 - 21:04

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Jun 28 2015 - 01:37, said:

 

"Housemouse"

 

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

 

"Those of you who are older than most will have a different experience. 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 ..."

 

The fact that you avoided mistakes by observation, your age and experience ... leads me to the old saying, "quiet as a housemouse".   I am guessing that the first impression you gave ... is quiet, older ... thinker.  :honoring:



LuciferTenebrae #74 Posted Jun 29 2015 - 21:37

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I went into Parris Island Oct 17 2001. Honestly can say the Marine Corps boot camp wasnt that bad. granted things will always change over time. The worst part is things will get easier for the newer generations as things change.  But if you want to do join the service anywhere its worth it.  Just dont be that guy. We had one of those and we were stuck with him in School of Infantry and somehow in Ft Sill OK (we were there for two months). IF YOU ARE THAT GUY, just know that you might get some help if you arent that bad from the others, but like this kid, if youre awful as a servicemember or person then blanket parties might happen. But just depends on which branch youre on how lucky youll be in that regard. Not saying its a given, but just DO WHAT YOURE TOLD and youll be perfectly fine.

The_Chieftain #75 Posted Jun 29 2015 - 21:44

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View PostKenshin2kx, on Jun 29 2015 - 2:04, said:

 

"Those of you who are older than most will have a  experience. 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 ..."

 

The fact that you avoided mistakes by observation, your age and experience ... leads me to the old saying, "quiet as a housemouse".   I am guessing that the first impression you gave ... is quiet, older ... thinker.  :honoring:

 

 Nothing so amazing. On Day 1 I volunteered for a position as the platoon admin guy, keeping records, DS's office in order and the like. The position was called "housemouse". Turned out i could stay out of sight in their office when everyone in the platoon bay was receiving unwelcome attention.



Pigeon_of_War #76 Posted Jun 29 2015 - 22:00

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Excellent article/op-ed. 

 

Though the pictures of brown rounds I could have gone another 6 years without, but here we are. 



Audie_L_Murphy #77 Posted Jun 29 2015 - 22:45

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Jun 27 2015 - 16:37, said:

 

"Housemouse"

 

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

 

One of the most valuable lessons ever taught to me was:  "It's important to learn from your mistakes."  & "It is much more important to learn from other peoples mistakes."

The worst mistake I made in basic was forgetting to sign something (fire watch roster I think...I forgot what the "learning tool" was 30 years ago!).  Getting chewed out in front of the whole squad bay & then getting to clean the latrine alone made me certain not to forget anything else that I was taught.

The best move I made was to "volunteer" for the battalion track team (not the name for it but, that escapes me too).  We had extra "PT" but, missed a whole bunch of other not fun activities.  Also, the NCO coaching us wasn't a DI so he actually treated us like human beings.  We actually won & that pleased the commander.  Pleasing the commander is always a good thing.


Edited by Audie_L_Murphy, Jun 29 2015 - 22:52.


stalkervision #78 Posted Jun 29 2015 - 22:58

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Jun 29 2015 - 15:44, said:

 

 Nothing so amazing. On Day 1 I volunteered for a position as the platoon admin guy, keeping records, DS's office in order and the like. The position was called "housemouse". Turned out i could stay out of sight in their office when everyone in the platoon bay was receiving unwelcome attention.

 

that's pretty funny.   I had a feeling it had to do with staying indoors and out of sight somehow.

Kenshin2kx #79 Posted Jun 29 2015 - 23:00

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Jun 29 2015 - 21:44, said:

 

 Nothing so amazing. On Day 1 I volunteered for a position as the platoon admin guy, keeping records, DS's office in order and the like. The position was called "housemouse". Turned out i could stay out of sight in their office when everyone in the platoon bay was receiving unwelcome attention.

Hahaha ... okay, add "a touch of luck" to the mix ... those other traits IMO still apply :great:



Guest_SGT_STAGGY_* #80 Posted Jun 30 2015 - 00:07

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my favorite comment I can remember from basic is (Ya'll privates are about as wrong as 2 boys f******* on a Sunday).  If you ever find things funny "DO NOT LAUGH OUT LOUD".  EVER!!!!.  lol believe me you don't want to be singled out.......take it one day at a time or you can do what I did.  You can do this with basic, AIT, Ranger Quals, and SF selection.  You do it by one task at a time.  don't think about what's coming next or later on in the training.  just stick with that 1 task at a time method and I think you'll be just fine.  and remember this!------>LAUGH........even if it is a turd day.  Laugh.................good luck!!!!




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