Saturday, July 31, 2004

Post from the Army

This is something I wrote about 2 weeks ago, but never got a chance to put up.

I suppose that Army AIT (Advanced Individual Training) is different for everyone. There are so many different AITs and so many different places and people that each experience will be different. So here is an update of my AIT.

First off it becomes pretty obvious pretty quickly who went where for basic training. Fort Jackson, or "relaxin' Jackson" has a reputation for being pretty laid back. Of course no basic training was that laid back, people from Jackson seem a lot less disciplined than those of us who went to Knox, Sill, Benning, or some other all male bases. Sometimes I think some of them are really just fancy girlscouts.

Secondly, I had know idea what was meant by low morale until I settled in to a routine here at my company. In Basic training AWOLs are rare. My company has had about 3 or 4 since I have been here. I hear that they are generally up. But this is a bit rediculus. My AIT lasts about 9 weeks. There are about 200 people in my company. I have heard fewer complaints in my 10 weeks of basic than I hear in your average day here. Many people really hate being here.

Our day has two parts: School and Time in the company. Everyone seems to like school and learning our jobs. People want to do that well. Everyone hates the time in the company. Everyone is on edge.

It is not even the case that all the drill seargants are bad. Most of them are really OK. But they seem to be here, and serve little purpose other than to annoy us. They do almost nothing positive for the soldiers.

I hear people talking about how they just want to get the hell out of here, and half the people here are trying to figure out how they can change to another branch of the military, they seem to dislike it in my company so much. I myself have seemed to have developed a disdain for NCOs in general, and I would worry about following one of them in to battle ever.

I hear things are much better in all the other companies on post, and most of the other AITs in general. I am certain that my company is anomolous.

But things are not really as bad as they sound. Sometimes things just get very annoying, and I have to complain. My actual school is quite fun. We do a lot of hands-on training using the equiptment that I will need to use over the course of my Army job. All of it was foreign to me when I started. It is a great change of pace.

The people I am with are generally great. A lot of people are very good soldiers. People are motivated, and want to do the right thing. They are also a good fun bunch of people. I really like being with them.

Added note: Things have picked up considerably in the past week here. There are always stupid incidents that are very annoying, but overall things are OK, though I can't wait till graduation.

Monday, July 05, 2004

In the Army

So now I am in my AIT, Advavnced Individual training. Since I got here over the weekend, things have been pretty boring. I am getting used to military life again. It is somewhat easier than basic training, it is like basic lite. Since I have not been in-processed, I have been doing a lot of "detail". That is where they have you rake the same yard for three days. It is pointless, but that is what they have you do.

Hopefully I will be able to check my email over this phase of training at least weekly, so those of you who don't have my address, send email.