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 5 days at Ft Jackson 
 

zha

Pragmatic Solutions
Pragmatic Solutions
Posts: 1
Joined: 20 Dec 2007

      Posted: 29 Dec 2007 13:55 Profile


I didn't know what to expect this last week. When I signed up for the Army Mini-BCT event it was on stories of flying in a Blackhawk and going out drinking every night with Special Forces guys. Also, I used to smirk inside when I heard the phrase "Army values". I'm a political leftist still shaking my head at why the American people by and large accept an unsubstantiated Al-Qaeda link as reason enough to occupy Iraq.

Not everyone who started the training made it to the end. A medic, with full ambulance, followed us to most of our training events, and more than one person left in that ambulance. The participants didn't know what to expect, even though we had been given a schedule of the events, and during the week followed that schedule to a "t". There was no riding in Blackhawks. There was no drinking with Special Forces guys. There were obstacle courses, rappelling, there was physical training at 5 am. There was shooting of M16s, 50-caliber machine guns, SAWs, and other weapons. We did urban warfare training. We slept with our M16s, disassembled and assembled them. Some of us got haircuts to go with the uniform. Drill sergeants, in signature style, taught us platoon formation and not a few military exercises. We learned that when it comes to the Army there is only one word you need to know: "Yes, Drill Sergeant!"

For a week, I put aside my politics, turned down the corners of my bedsheets at 45* angles, tucked my pant legs into my boots, wore my headgear at all times when outside (and never when inside) and generally did exactly what Drill Sergeant McClintock and First Sergeant Dobos told me to do. Not only did I do what they told me, I did it instantly. That's a key ingredient of Army training. They take a person who's never shot a gun before in their life, and in less than a week, produce a person who with zero hesitation will lock and load an M16, bring the sight to their face, aim, and pull the trigger. At the top of a 40-foot wall, when your drill sergeant tells you to lower your body so that it's at a right angle to the building, you don't even look back, you just get into position. So you may have rappelled before, so you may own an M16 and shooting one is no big deal to you. So you may think yourself a warrior and like to brag about it. I am most certainly not a warrior; thinking about C code is my primary exertion and typing my main physical activity. I don't know anything about M16s or building hutches or wearing body armor or clearing a room (at least before last week I didn't). And it is likely I will never shoot an M16 again.

What I see is this. The Army is a beautiful machine, in the same way that a flower or a leopard is a beautiful machine. It has an aim and it accomplishes its aim perfectly. Whether to go to Iraq is a George Bush-level decision. Not leaving a fallen comrade is a soldier-level one. Our Mini-BCT platoon chose as its motto "strength from one, strength for all" in honor of the Army value: what matters is not the success of the individual, but the success of the team. Let's not romanticize this. When my comrade helps me by giving me a piece of cord I can use to build my hutch, it's not because he likes me. It's because, in the life-and-death situations the Army trains its soldiers for, when one soldier falls, the effect on his comrades can be fatal. In the corporate world, we train and operate in a quite different type of situation, and what is appropriate among comrades in the Army is not exactly what is appropriate among corporate comrades (in their own ways, each requires something more, something less, something different than the other). The most glaring failure that I see in the types of teams that I work in, that is addressed both by Army values and by forward-thinking schools of software project management, is a disregard for the together-we-stand, divided-we-fall nature of group work (and of life in general). In fact, this dynamic is so pervasive we don't need Army values or forward-thinking project management schools to tell us it's true. It's common sense; we just refuse to live by it. I would like to see more, from myself, from everyone I work with and live with, an understanding of our interlocking nature. My boss tells me that one of the ways he determines the success of an employee is that everyone around that employee is succeeding. How can I succeed without helping my superiors and co-workers succeed? How can they measure themselves as successful while accepting (or contributing to!) my failure?

The life-and-death nature of war makes it critical that soldiers obey this law. In our non-military operations, we would benefit by following it more closely than we typically have.

Bulldogs!,
Inhaesio Zha
4th Squad (Death Squad)
Pragmatic Solutions

.Mark

Sergeant First Class
Posts: 1240
Joined: 21 Dec 2006

      Posted: 20 Jul 2008 13:01 Profile Holy See (Vatican City State)


That was a great read! Hooah!

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slowhand@KsK9

Sergeant
Posts: 259
Joined: 16 Jul 2003

      Posted: 08 Aug 2008 03:41 Profile


Great read, thanks a lot Smile

HOOAH!
slow

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_-F@ta1iTy-_

Private First Class
Posts: 83
Joined: 17 Apr 2008

      Posted: 09 Aug 2008 23:38 Profile United States


Just noticed this post as the other 2 stated. Very Nice Read must have been a great exp . anyone who has a good 5-10 min take the time.

bunyansaxe

Staff Sergeant
Posts: 517
Joined: 27 Jul 2008

      Posted: 05 Nov 2008 20:22 Profile United States


I am so glad I found this! This is one nice piece of writing!

fd.mulgarus-

Sergeant
Posts: 319
Joined: 13 May 2005

      Posted: 11 Nov 2008 15:24 Profile United States


I spent 3 months at Ft.Jackson back in the spring of '99. Very fun place and got to meet a lot of cool people, but the PX was kinda small next to the housing I was in.

D.Kirkland[3rdID]

Private
Posts: 33
Joined: 20 Oct 2008

      Posted: 21 Nov 2008 21:49 Profile


1SG Kirkland my dad he stationed down there

mustafa420c

Private First Class
Posts: 94
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

      Posted: 15 Jan 2009 03:10 Profile United States


my bro was there for BCT last year i just hear storys about how much of "hell" it was i said to him thats life dude deal with it.

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=7Cav=MAJ.Scout

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Posts: 37
Joined: 28 Oct 2008

      Posted: 15 Jan 2009 14:57 Profile United States


Good read indeed.

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TrevorR90

Recruit
Posts: 8
Joined: 04 Aug 2009

      Posted: 04 Aug 2009 13:52 Profile


Only if you could do real basic training, I did mine at Ft. Benning last year..

Spl1nt

Sergeant Major
Posts: 4165
Joined: 17 Jun 2009

      Posted: 05 Aug 2009 10:21 Profile United Kingdom


Thanks for that. Great read.

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ghtdgtfjut

Private
Posts: 34
Joined: 30 Aug 2007

      Posted: 10 Aug 2009 04:11 Profile


I learned much, thanks!

=D]B[D=Lobo

Recruit
Posts: 23
Joined: 25 Mar 2009

      Posted: 03 Sep 2009 07:17 Profile


I did both my basic and MOS at Ft. Jackson, 14 years ago, and one of the first things that we learned was... you are not Black, White, Hispanic, nor or you a carpenter, machinist, nor a mechanic, you are not a Liberal nor a Conservative, you are not Republican nor Democrat. You are green, like the color of your uniform, you are no better than the man standing to the left or right of you. You volunteered for this so you chose to be there, and you will conduct yourselves as an American soldier at all times. Amazing it has always stuck with me, and that little speech, on my first day, will be with me until my last.

Thanks for the great story! I would hope that others will get the opportunity to follow and eventually lead.

HaraldThompson

Recruit
Posts: 5
Joined: 04 Sep 2009

      Posted: 04 Sep 2009 18:10 Profile Canada


Great..

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digital81

Recruit
Posts: 13
Joined: 29 Jul 2002

      Posted: 16 Dec 2009 01:36 Profile United States


Well stated. That story brought back many great memories.

To the brother that said it was hell, I disagree, boot camp had to be one of the best experiences of my life. If I were given the option to attend boot camp again I would be on that plane without hesitation.


 5 days at Ft Jackson 
 

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