Monthly Archives: January 2012

Common Sense Isn’t So Common

This is a continuation from my previous post, hope y’all enjoy

I have/will include some of the bad language that was said to keep this story as authentic as possible, I hope to update this particular post once more and then write a separate one to continue the story.

 

 

As the Drill Sergeant started his eruption somewhere in the sea of high decibel sounds I nervously grasped what he was saying, to get off the bus and get to the top of that hill. Imagine having a bus full of people trying to get off at the same time. People were tripping over their bags, we were engulfed in chaos. We were loudly told to form up by the number that had been assigned to us, either one, two, three, or four. I had received the number four so I was assigned to Fourth Platoon along with sixty or so other people. As soon as we formed up, the first thing that we were told was to, pardon my French, Get the fuck down and start pushing. Before I was afraid of silence at the start and now I was afraid that this experience would never stop. After doing push-ups and being told to stand up, they(Drill Sergeants)   started calling off our names and we had to reply with Here Drill Sergeant. Me being the smart-ass that I am called them Sergeants instead of the proper name, Drill Sergeants. It is as if I had been thrown into a shark frenzy, with some many of them yelling at once I was so confused as to whether I was supposed to be doing push-ups or standing up. Looking back at situations like this have made me aware of the smallest details when dealing with people.

After the shark frenzy was over we had to dump our duffel bags  in front of us so that we could be searched for contraband. Anything from a fingernail filer to a stick of gum was considered contraband. Imagine having all of your issued clothing in front of you along with everyone else’s belongings, oh how crazy it seemed at the time. Once they had searched our bags and belongings, we were given maybe twenty seconds or so to stuff everything back into our bags. Obviously many people failed to meet the time requirement and off we were doing push-ups once again. Over the course of this blog you will see that I have been best friends with the pavement seeing as how push-ups became a way of life. A confusing moment for us(people in my unit) was when our 1SG came out to talk to us. A 1SG is the highest ranking enlisted person in a unit and respect is always given to them. Obviously, we had no idea who the hell he was  so we called him Drill Sergeant, oh how I hated calling him that, for the next eternity we were off doing exercises for calling him that. We didn’t understand the concept that he was higher than them, but after an X amount of push-ups the concept became very clear and tiring to us. We were allowed to stand up and continue on with this long day. The majority of us were in decent shape before we arrived to BCT, but the combination of almost no sleep and physical activities had taken a toll on our bodies.

 

We were assigned a bay(big room) which would be the place where my platoon slept for the next nine weeks. Our buildings were anything but luxurious, two story metal buildings that looked as if they were constructed in the 50’s. The inside of the buildings weren’t much better, thirty or so bunk beds with a wall locker next to each one, a restroom with four toilets and six shower heads. This would be our home sweet home and we would come to love our home. Our day consisted of hectic classes showing us how we were supposed to make our beds every day and how our clothes would be folded. For beds the sheets had to be tight enough to bounce a quarter off of them, shirts were rolled and had to be exactly six inches with no creases in the roll, socks and underwear had to be rolled to three inches with no creases as well. Our boots, shower shoes, and pt shoes were to lined up at the top of our lockers. Everybody’s bed and locker were expected to look the same and we tried our best.

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Common Sense

Here I am trapped in a pool of nonsense, a prisoner of my own choices. I always knew that the propaganda and the rhetoric that they used to accomplish their goals was top notch, but little did I know how great of a job they do. This wasn’t written to only point out the negative aspects of these methods but to show the affects of it. A man always remembers his battle buddies and they remember him.

It all started by watching this breathtaking video which portrayed people transforming into super-humans. The sheer amount of tasks that these individuals could accomplish and the manner in which they executed them made so much sense to me, I was thrilled to be going into this profession. After I finished watching these videos, I did what any person who loved his country and family would do, I signed up to protect these freedoms. The day of my enlistment oath was a day of much excitement and nervousness, the sweat was pouring down my face and my heart was racing faster than ever before, but as I raised my right hand I felt at ease for some reason. As I repeated my oath word by word my excitement grew. In a few months I would be doing exactly what the videos showed, or so I thought.

A few months later the day came where I was finally leaving to accomplish my dream. My final goodbye was more difficult than what I had imagined, I could see the tears of sadness in my parents eyes. It was at that moment that I second guessed my decision, had I made the right choice, I thought to myself. I could not sleep that night it almost felt like the night before the first day of school. I can remember the cold dark morning, my stomach was in a bind, and I was extremely nervous on my way to the airport. I was half expecting to have somebody waiting for us at the airport yelling at the top of their lungs yet we arrived just like anybody else. I had my first taste of being a hero when an elderly couple shook my hand and expressed their support for the troops, I felt uneasy seeing as I was technically not a part of the military yet, but I proceeded to thank them anyway. Over time I started to not like it when people called me a hero or thanked me, but that’s a different story all on its own.

————–UPDATE #1——-

In my hand I tightly held a small book of Psalms Proverbs that the chaplain had gave to me as the plane started its journey to Basic Combat Training. I was expecting to be “welcomed” by Drill Sergeants yelling at me at the airport terminal and when I arrived all I could hear was silence. The airport was almost completely empty except for us and a nice elderly lady greeted us with water and snacks. My entire group checked in with the Army liaison at the airport and waited for our bus to arrive. If I wanted to back out it was too late once the bus arrived and we went in. I had been waiting for this moment to come and yet there I was scared for my life. The hour long bus ride felt like it lasted an eternity to me. I had seen enough movies and videos on the internet to have a vague idea of what would happen to me once I arrived to the base, boy was I wrong. I was expecting to be yelled at before the bus stopped and all that happened was a Drill Sergeant got on the bus and told us to quietly get off the bus and form up. I was sure that at any moment he would blow up on us and make our lives a living hell, I was scared of his silence more than anything.

—-UPDATE #2—–

Keep in mind that by the time we had arrived to the base it was nearing midnight, so sleep was going to be the last thing that would be given to us. As we arrived Army personnel were handling our files and information and splitting us up into different groups. Now that I look back into the groups and how they were split up, each group was going to a different Basic Combat Training Unit. The first night consisted of us being issued blankets and a water drinking source. By the time we were issued our basic items and allowed to go to sleep, it was nearly two in the morning, and we were all exhausted. The Army did let us sleep for an entire two hours, and up we went ready to start the long journey of in-processing. At the time I did not know that the place I was at right now wasn’t Basic Combat Training it is called Reception and it is a different kind of beast. The next three consisted of us getting issued all of our uniforms and basic hygiene items. The worst thing about Reception isn’t getting yelled at because it rarely happened, but lack of sleep. During the course of my stay we were lucky to get more than three hours of sleep a day, our body was not used to being stressed out that much. By the time we were ready to go to our new unit and start BCT, we were worn out mentally, and we were in for a huge shock. Into our area came twelve of the meanest and baddest Drill Sergeants we had seen, the fun was over for us. I remember waiting for about two hours on my knees next to my bags waiting for my name and social to be called. I had no idea what was about to happen.

———–UPDATE #3———–

And so began my official transformation into a soldier. We were told to lift our bags in front of us, as if we were hugging this huge duffel bag, and get in a line. This long line of nervous souls led to a convoy of white buses. When it was my turn to get into the bus I was told to sit down with my head facing down into my bag, at no point was I allowed to look up. The brave people that did try to look up were quickly dealt with a loud yell and sure enough the yells worked. Keep in mind that these were not luxury buses but more of an old school bus that should have been retired long ago. I wish I could write and tell y’all about the scenery in this place, but all I could see was a green Army bag in front of my face. After the longest bus ride of my life (only about an hour) I could see a hill to my right. I knew that the real Army was waiting for me at the top of it. As soon as the bus came to a sudden halt, the quiet Drill Sergeant that was in the front of the bus was not quiet anymore. It is as if a volcano had erupted in his mouth and out poured hot lava that was being engraved into our souls.