Sunday, August 03, 2003

Back from basic

I finished the US Army Basic Combat Training this past Wednesday and I was in upstate New York for the weekend. I just got in to Brooklyn.

There is so much to tell about basic I really do not know where to start. There are so many things that are worth relaying. First, it takes about 10 weeks (9 weeks plus reception). It is difficult . . . very difficult. The mental and physical stress is the most intense that you can really go through. I have never done anything that difficult, nor do I expect to.

You spend a lot of time learning all the basic things that one needs to know for combat. One does a lot of physical stuff and there is a large component of breaking you emotionally. There are drill sergeants, just like in the movies, and you quickly have to adapt to the command structure and get used to the physical and emotional stress. There are all sorts of tasks that you must learn to perform routinely, and there are numerous things that you must learn. You must learn to work as a team and deal with all the people in your platoon. Again, lots of physical tasks (I lost a ton of weight), lots of shooting, and learning to use various pieces of equipotent. There are a hundred classes that you must take and take in. There are tests and more tests. You learn about everything from Vaduz, to first aid, to defense against NBC weapons. There is also a huge sense that you are being deprived of everything except the necessities.

I wish I had the distance to put the whole experience in perspective. There is just so much that happened that I need to take some time to think the whole thing over for a while.

I was the third oldest person there out of my whole company (of about 200). I was also the only Jewish person. Neither of those presented me with any particular problems. To the contrary, they actually seemed advantageous.

I am glad I did this. I might write another post later on really filling out how it was for me. My training is not over, it continues next summer and I will have to go to my reserve post every month, so I will talk more about that later on.