Acing Basic Training: Military Connection

U.S. Army Soldiers make their way through an obstacle during the confidence course portion of basic military training at Fort Jackson, S.C., Sept. 20, 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Denise Rayder) (Released)

By Debbie Gregory.

Basic Training – often called boot camp – prepares recruits for all elements of service: physical, mental and emotional. It gives service members the basic tools necessary to perform the roles that will be asked of them for the duration of their tour. Each of the Services has its own training program, tailoring the curriculum to the specialized nature of its role in the Military. No matter which branch of the Service a recruit chooses, Basic Training is an intense experience. There are some do’s and don’ts that will help you prepare for basic training. Many of these tips will also serve you well in many other aspects of your life.

  1. Never aim for the minimum. Set your goals as high as possible. Your goals are what will push you be better. So if it’s a certain number of push-ups, better endurance, or a career move, challenge yourself to rise to the top.
  2. Especially when it comes to your finances! Being prepared isn’t just a motto for Boy Scouts. How many times have you found yourself with your back up against a wall because of poor planning? Set up your bills on an automatic payment system, or make arrangements to pay them remotely, such as through online banking. If you’re married or have a family member whom you trust, show them what bills you have and how to pay them. This is not a task to be handed off to someone with whom you may have a “temporary” relationship. While he or she may be your soulmate right now, a boyfriend or girlfriend is not the person to entrust with your financial future. Notify companies of the dates you will be in basic training and provide them with an emergency number in case there is a problem with your account. Preparation will also go a long way in eliminating fear and anxiety.
  3. Take advantage of your brain cells long before you get to Basic. Each branch of service has its own required items to be memorized, such as General Orders, Chain of Command, phonetic alphabet, etc. Find out in advance what you need to know, study the information, and take quizzes until you’re confident you know the information. Then study some more!
  4. Take good mental and physical care of yourself. Getting your body into the correct sleep cycle before you leave home will help you adjust to long days and short nights at basic training. Adjust your sleep pattern to the time zone you’ll be in. Get your attitude in check: don’t take basic training personally; it’s the instructor’s job to stress you out. Remember the person next to you and in front you is part of your team. You help them, they help you.
  5. Free time will be very limited while you are in basic training. Make sure you let your loved ones know that you will not be able to communicate with them regularly or frequently. You will be transforming from a civilian with limited knowledge of military life into a highly trained defender of freedom.
  6. This one is probably the most important: Remember, basic training doesn’t last forever…even if it feels like it does!

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Acing Basic Training: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory