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Army to Redesign Basic Training Due to Low Recruit Discipline

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By Debbie Gregory.

The US Army’s Basic Combat Training (BCT) will soon receive an overhaul intended to build more discipline fighting force.

By early summer, the Army’s BCT will be implemented in an attempt to instill strict discipline and pride. But that doesn’t mean that there won’t still be a heavy focus on physical fitness, battlefield first aid skills, marksmanship and communications.

The program addresses the trend of new soldiers who demonstrate a lack of obedience, a poor work ethic, and general carelessness with their uniforms and equipment.

“What leaders have observed in general is they believe that there is too much of a sense of entitlement, questioning of lawful orders, not listening to instruction, too much of a buddy mentality with NCOs and officers and a lot of tardiness being late to formation and duties,” said Maj. Gen. Malcolm Frost, commanding General of the U.S. Army Center of Initial Military Training. “These are trends that they see as increasing that they think are part of the discipline aspect that is missing and that they would like to see in the trainees that become soldiers that come to them as their first unit of assignment.”

The problem with recruits who enter their military service thinking it’s just like any other job is that without the right attitudes, they can get killed – even in training. They can’t be lazy. They can’t ignore lawful orders.

The physical fitness requirements for the course have been increased. They’ll have to qualify with firearms that just have iron sights instead of optics. Their combative training hours are increased to 33 instead of the former 22.

The new BCT has three new exercises called “Hammer, Anvil, Forge.” The Forge (FTX) concludes the training. It will be an 81 hour field training exercise that includes night infiltration, medical evaluation training, ethical decision making, resupply missions, march and shoot, communication and more.

“If you succeed in making it through the 81-hour FTX … then what will happen is you will earn the right to become a soldier. You will earn your beret, you will earn a ‘soldier for life’ certificate, you will get your National Defense Service Medal and your uniform will look exactly like a United States Army soldier.” Maj Gen Frost

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

The Most Stressful Job in America – Being in the Military

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By Debbie Gregory.

Stress. It’s a big part of our daily lives, and much of it derives from the kind of work we do. Some jobs, naturally, involve more stress than others for obvious reasons, including the potential for physical harm.

As recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have shown, performing on the battlefield is grueling work that can lead to life-altering injuries and often times, death. So it’s little wonder that being a member of one of the armed services is one of the most stressful jobs there is.

Soldiers are trained to fight. Basic training is a process designed to develop skills which will keep a combatant alive and fighting long after he or she might have given up under more normal circumstances.

But when military service ends, there is no basic “untraining.”

From meeting the physical demands of working in special operations and infantry to armor and field artillery, many troops face psychological problems and post-traumatic stress disorder.

A further complication for military personnel is the difficulty many face in transitioning back to civilian life. Besides transferring their skills to the civilian job market once their service is completed, servicemembers often lose the focus of the mission, the camaraderie, the support and the structure provided by the military.

While PTSD has become a much-discussed affliction, transition stress, a seemingly more prevalent problem, is going largely overlooked.

Firefighters, airline pilots and police officers, ranked second, third and fourth respectively, also face a lot of stress in their occupations, but they are also much better compensated than those who serve.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Former Marines Develop App to turn Emails into Letters

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By Debbie Gregory.

Did you know that U.S. Marine recruits aren’t able to make calls or send emails from boot camp? Now there is an app to address that problem.

SANDBOXX is a mobile app that connects the military community with their friends and loved ones by giving them the ability to send physical mail to those in basic training, boot camp or on deployment directly from their cell phones.

The SANDBOXX app allows loved ones to type a note on their smartphone and have it turned into a printed letter, which is then sent the old-fashioned way: snail mail. Recruits can then write a letter in return and have it converted back to email.

Former Marine Ray Smith was supposed to be retired, but instead he has teamed up with fellow former Marine Sam Meek after discussing their mutual interest for connecting the extended military community.

They founded SANDBOXX in 2013 and launched the letters app the following year to assist servicemembers and their spouses, parents, friends, siblings – anyone with a connection to the armed services.

The culture shock of suddenly losing contact to the online world can take a toll on morale and interfere with training, especially for the generations of men and women who have come of age with smartphone in hand.

Since the app was launched, SANDBOXX has passed some 900,000 letters through its platform, with about 70 percent of the company’s current letter volume coming from the Marine Corps.

But as word of the app spreads, more people are using it to contact deployed Army soldiers and Air Force personnel, with the app available to new Coast Guard members starting in January.

The ultimate goal of the company’s founders is to build a social media platform unique to the military community. They have already created a social media app called “units” based around the military’s organizational structure. Any current or former member of the U.S. military can log in, put in their unit and year, and be connected solely with people from that unit and year.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Marine Corps Ordered to End Gender Segregated Boot Camp by April

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By Debbie Gregory.

While entry-level training for the other military services and Marine officers have been integrated for years, Marine Corps officials have maintained that separating the genders is the best way to train impressionable young recruits. But now, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has instructed the Corps to end gender-segregated initial training by April. This is a means to comply with Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s decision to open all military jobs to women.

Mabus ordered Commandant Gen. Robert Neller to submit a gender implementation plan by Jan. 15 to integrate enlisted basic training and officer candidate school.

GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) called for Mabus’s resignation over this attempt to end gender segregation at boot camp.

“The only way this relationship can be repaired, I believe, is through the leadership of a new Navy Secretary — specifically one who does not regularly make a point to undercut the Marine Corps, distract it from its mission and insult its leaders,” Hunter said in a letter to Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

The Pentagon is currently reviewing the plans submitted by the Marine Corps, Army, Navy and Air Force detailing how they intend to open all previously male-only jobs to female troops.

The Marine Corps’ submission did not address entry training, the only military branch that segregates its entry training.

Making enlisted boot camp coed would likely require changes to infrastructure — such as restrooms and living quarters — and perhaps the size of the staff, the Marine official said.

While males may have concerns that adding females to all-male training units will diminish the challenge that recruit training provides young men, women fear it will impede the development of self-confidence among female recruits. Trainers may be leery of the sexual tension and resulting distraction that could accompany mixed gender boot camp. The most important thing to keep in mind is that recruit training is where Marines are made; not male Marines, not female Marines, but all Marines

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.