A practical question about shipping out…
Various people have said that we shouldn't pack anything in the packing list because we have to buy it all again at the PX anyways, yet other people have said the opposite. So to settle this once and for all, should we or should we not bring anything??"
There are several places you can work as a Drill Sergeant here on post. The most common places are either as a BCT (Basic Combat Training) Drill or as an AIT(Advanced Individual Training) Drill. Then there are places like 120th AG (Reception), PTRP (Physical Therapy/Recovery), FTC (Fitness Training Company aka Fat Camp), G/1-28 (Motivational Unit aka Last Chance), and the Drill Sergeant School. I work as a BCT Drill Sergeant, so I don’t know much about the other units.
When you arrive at Fort Jackson, or wherever you go for Basic, you will report to the Reception Battalion. Here this is called 120th AG. This is where you will do all your in-processing and receive your initial issue of clothing. This is also where you will turn in all your cigarettes, booze, candy, soda, magazines, or whatever contraband you have to the Amnesty Box… never to be seen again. If you have CD players, books, etc…you will put that stuff in your personal bag to be locked up until you graduate.
DO NOT bring a ton of crap with you. You won’t use it or even see it until you leave, and it only creates a headache for you and your Drill Sergeant and provides thieves with an opportunity. I would recommend you only bring maybe a few CDs and a player, and maybe a book for the flight. Bring enough civilian clothes to get you on post and that’s IT (the list says 3 day supply…pack light but do what it says). I shouldn’t even tell you this because one of the more hilarious things we see on pickup day is the recruit who brought 150 lbs of crap lugging it back and forth across the battalion area. You will not set it on the ground. I say again… you WILL NOT set ANY of your belongings on the ground. Ever. You will carry them around until we allow you to set it down for shakedown. Take that however you want lol.
At Ft Jackson, you don’t need to go buy a $100 pair of running shoes before you get here. They will determine your foot type and point to a pair of shoes…and you will buy them. Any unauthorized shoes you brought with you will go in your personal bag for nine weeks.
Do not bring any products that contain alcohol. DO NOT bring ANY products that contain ANY alcohol. This means hairspray, gel, mouthwash, aftershave or anything else. If you bring them they go in your personal bag…you know the deal. This is partially because they are flammable and partially because there are some tragically stupid people out there who will drink anything when desperate. The PX stocks alcohol free items that you can use.
Most importantly, bring any and all paperwork that you may need for ANY reason. If you have kids, bring copies of their birth certificates, social security numbers etc. If you’re married bring a copy of the marriage license. If you are entering the army with some rank for any reason, bring any and all documentation for it. Bring a checkbook and a Visa bank card, if possible. You will need access to your money so you can buy supplies and pay bills if necessary. The best way is to have your husband or parents (if you can trust them lol) take care of that stuff until you’re done. Whatever you do, have a plan. Don’t let problems back home build up and become a distraction for you during training. It will distract your Drill Sergeant as well, and take time away from other Privates who need it. And it will piss them (us) off…you don’t want that. We will make sure you get taken care of, but it might not be pleasant once you draw attention to yourself a few times. Some people will tell you the best thing to do is not to get noticed at all. That’s not exactly true. The best thing is for you to not get noticed for anything NEGATIVE at all. That alone WILL get you noticed, because it is unusual. If we go a few days or a week, and suddenly realize that we haven’t had to correct you for anything in a while, you will be noticed…but you might not realize it for a while. You should get noticed for things like always being the first to move when we say move. You will get noticed for things like staying locked up at the position of attention FROM DAY ONE, while the other idiots are running their pieholes. This is good.
Basically, bring exactly what the list says, and not much more. Without a doubt, you will regret it if you bring extra stuff. Do exactly what you’re told, when you’re told and you will do fine.