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2002-02-22 08:28:19 (UTC)

About Basic training. . .for a 19K

I'm sitting here along in the dark AGAIN. . .can't sleep
this time. I need to reset my sleeping schedule so I am
up during the day instead of sleeping until chris gets
home from school. That is getting old.
Ever since I went through basic training, my sleeping
patterns have never been normal.
I don't exactly have a problem with how I sleep, but
apparently, people around me do. Unfortunately or
fortunately, however it may be, I do have to meet the
other people's demands.
Whenever I think about anything, I try and trace the roots
of the thoughts or how my personality makes me think of
such things. Every single time, I find that somehow or
another, joining the army and going through the most
difficult ordeal in my life, mentally and physically,
effects every thought at every waking moment, and even
when I am sleeping.
My training in the Army is known as OSUT, One Station Unit
Training. It differs from the typical basic training that
a trainee undergoes when he/she joins the army. They go
through what is known as BCT, or Basic Combat Training.
It is exactly what it states, 9 weeks of basic combat
training. Here they basically learn how to operate on the
battlefield and how to be a soldier. Once they finish
those 9 weeks, they ship to what is known as AIT, Advanced
Individual Training. It's their Job Training. People
join the army to do a wide variety of jobs. Some become
infantry men, medics, re-fuelers, supply specialists,
intelligence, tankers (like me), or something else in the
combat arms field.
When a regular soldier goes through AIT, he is considered
a "soldier" and is given certain rights and priveleges
throughout the school. Once he finishes AIT, he goes to
his permanent duty station and serves his enlistment there.
This type of training process account for 198 of the 212
jobs that the army offers.
The other four are known as OSUT. This is basically
the "BCT" phase and the "AIT" phase all crammed into one
location and one session all at one time. For example, my
BCT was 8 weeks long and my AIT was 8 weeks long.
Therefore, I trained in Fort Knox for a grand total of 16
weeks. In OSUT, there is no such thing as priveleges and
rights because you are a "soldier". You are not a soldier
until you walk across that stage and they shake your
hand. The other 3 jobs that use OSUT to train their
soldiers are Cavalry Scouts, Tank Mechanics, and Infantry.
Cavalry Scouts and Tankers both train in Fort Knox, KY.
They both train for 16 weeks.
Now consider the fact that Tanker's are a specialty group
in the army. Obviously, no one else drives and operates
the m1a1 abrams main battle tank.
In the training units for tanker's, only tanker's are
training with tanker's. In the regular BCT training
units, medics may train with supply people or
intelligence. So if you ever come across a tanker in the
U.S Army, you can be sure that he trained either with the
1/81 Armor regiment or the 2/81 Armor regiment, both
located in Fort Knox, KY. In 2/81, there are Alpha,
Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, and Fox Trot Company that
train tanker's. In the 1/81 unit, there is only Echo
Company that trains tanker's. The other company's are
other various training components such as tank mechanics
or the marine corps armor regiments.
I trained with Echo company, 1/81 armor.
I'm basically explaining how specialized tanker's are so
you can kindof get a feel for how the drill sgt's I had
were made up. Imagine being in charge of 200 privates
going through training and also realizing that what you
are training them for is like a giant fraternity that only
a very small percentage of the army gets into.
It's kinda like how the marine corps view themselves. In
a sense, you can say "The few, the proud, the tanker's"
I'm breaking all of this down for you so that you can
understand that I have no idea what it's like to have gone
through a "regular" basic training. I'm very sure that
it's easier than my basic training was because I can't
exactly imagine it being harder, and that's all there is
to that.
My basic training was the hardest thing I have ever done.
I have never seen myself at such amazing heights and such
amazing lows at all at one time.
Now, I think about it and I make refferences to my
experience probably every single day of my life. I cannot
imagine myself not doing so, ever.
It has effected me in such a way that I will most likely
never stop applying every part of my life to the doctrine
I was trained with.
Throughout my training, my drill sgt's made sure that they
made their mark in my mind. They trained us well. I do
my job with an amazing level of expertise and attention to
I've also been exposed to just about the highest levels of
stress I've ever seen. I've been tasked with some of the
most ridiculous and oddly thought of jobs and tasks you or
anyone else could ever imagine. I have surrendered my
body to just about every physical pain that natural
exercise can bring. To this day, I am relatively
unaffected by anything less stressful or physically
painful than what I experienced in basic training.
In ways, it's good and in ways, it's bad.
I am stronger than I have ever been, mentally, and
physically. However, at times, I feel almost like a
combat vet who experienced serious combat stress, only
without the combat. Kindof like Basic training Stress
disorder or something.
At times, some things take me back to my training. . .
Certain smells, noises, faces, voices, buildings, sites,
and many other things hit me in a certain way that either
enthralls my mind with the deepest joy or absolutely
terrifies me to the deepest parts of my soul.
At times, I sit and think about it so deeply that I cannot
focus on anything else around. I notice that I am almost
in a trance-like state.
Sometimes, I wake up in a cold sweat and breathing very
heavily. For a minute or two, I can recall what dream I
was having. For the most part, my worst nightmare's have
been of me being back there in that building of Echo
Company, in my drill sgt's office curling, lunging with,
pressing, or tossing a decently sized log for hours upon
hours, my muscles burning with lactic acid, my uniform
utterly soaked with sweat to the point of it dripping and
creating puddles. The windows around me in this
relatively large office all fogged up and I find myself
crying because the pain is so strong and I just didn't
know when it was going to stop. At the same time, 3 drill
sgt's that wanted nothing more than for me to say "I quit"
stood above me and shouted insults and degrading comments
at me and made me feel like a piece of shit. This
kindof "torture" occured day after day, and all the
time.. . for several hours. The benefits were obvious and
I guess they made me happy. I came out built like a
brickhouse. I have never been so physically strong.
Though I do know that my drill sgt's goals were to simply
train me and get me in shape and that nothing was ever
really personal, at times, it simply seemed the opposite
of that.
There are a lot of mental scars there. . .
People say that the military fucks people up. . .
It does. . .
I am permanently fucked up.
I might not seem like it and that's because I am
unbelievably strong, mentally. That's mostly because of
the life I've been forced to live, but it's also because
of basic training. Sometimes it hurts and sometimes it
feels amazing.
I feel like I've been plagued by it all.
And somehow, I don't regret a single moment of it.
Joining the army is absolutely the best thing I have ever
done for myself and I am proud to know that I went
throught the 3rd hardest basic training in the whole
Army. The two above mine are cavalry scouts and infantry.
I am a great person and the people around me know this. . .
but if they could only see and understand what has shaped
me over time to be the way I am now, they would sit in
utter awe for days on end wondering how exactly I am so
Maybe this just says something about the people around me
and how much I do care for them.
I don't really know what else to say and that's where this
entry will end.. . .

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