Hello. It’s me, Connie. A girl you used to hear from all the time. Well, the reason you don’t anymore is because I joined the Army. Yep, that army. I shipped for basic in September, finished that up at the end of November, headed straight to Officer Candidate school. If I don’t fail OCS, I’ll commission as a 2nd LT in March.
“What was basic training like?” America is fascinated with basic training. A position in the military we have all heard about is the “drill sergeant.” The image of someone in a funny hat screaming at you to do push-ups has been almost romanticized in our culture. My experience matched a lot of the images you get from t.v. and movies. After a couple weeks of push-ups, litter carries, low crawls and laps around the track I really wanted a beer. Like REALLY wanted a beer. I can distinctly remember 5 instances where a getting a beer would’ve been like winning the lottery.
- At basic training it’s all about group punishment. So one person messes up you all get fucked up. One of my drill sergeant’s favorite thing to do was make us carry people around the track on the litter. If you missed his time hack you had to do another lap. One time one of the biggest guys in our platoon got in trouble for not shaving. So not only did we have to carry this large human around the track but he was also one of our strongest guys so he was very helpful in carrying the litter. You may think doing something like that would be easy with a lot of people but only six can carry at once. You also have to run when you do it because you are on a time crunch. You’d also be surprised at how weak even the males are at basic training. I was at the “soft MOS” basic training, meaning only people going into support roles were there. No infantry or other combat jobs were there.After carrying people around the track a few times I definitely wanted a beer.
- I was standing in formation waiting for everyone else to finish lunch, minding my own business when two guys next to me started arguing about talking in formation or something silly like that. It was normal bickering until suddenly one of them spit on me. Well, he spit on the other guy but I was right next to him so it got on me too…I wouldn’t’ve even been mad if one of them offered me a beer for the mishap.
- At Basic Training people are bound to get into arguments and not always get along. Well there was one girl in particular, she didn’t get along with a lot of people, me included…though sometimes we got along great. Anyway, one time she got in my face and essentially said that she wanted to fight me, for a second I thought I might have to. Nothing ended up happening but yeah, I could’ve used a beer.
- At basic training each person has a big locker that you can put all your stuff in. Your uniforms, personal belongings, rucksack, assault pack (backpack), tent, knee/elbow pads, everything you need for training is in there and it’s a lot of stuff. Well sometimes just to mess with you the Drill Sergeants “evict” you. Meaning you have to take all your stuff out of your locker and carry it down in about 4 minutes. Obviously impossible. So of course we miss the time hack and get punished. After a few trips up and down and up and down the stairs I was definitely dreaming of beer.
- The notorious gas chamber is a well known part of basic training. In a weird way I was actually kind of excited for it. It’s where they have you go into a gas chamber with your mask on at first so you can learn to trust the equipment the Army gives you. Then you have to take the mask off and breathe in the tear gas. It was not fun. My eyes streamed and I couldn’t breathe, snot was pouring out of my nose. But after it was all done I was definitely glad for the experience. But…of course, a beer would’ve made it all better.
After basic training was over we got “family day” but we still weren’t allowed to drink. After the graduation ceremony I got to drive down to my new duty station Fort Benning, where I am now, two weeks into OCS. Even on my drive down, after basic training was officially over, we still weren’t allowed to drink. But finally, FINALLY now that I am on holiday block leave I get to drink beer…and boy has it been amazing.
And in two weeks I’ll be back under lockdown, unable to drink for who knows how long. The things I do for Uncle Sam..*sigh*