Thursday, July 01, 2004

Advice from the top of my head...

My name is Jake V, Im 15 and im interested in joining the army
when im
old enough. I was wondering if you could tell me what I should be doing
mentally and physically to prepare for the army. Any information you
can give me I'd
appreciate a lot thanks.

I was going to put this off for another day, but it deserves an answer and it goes along with what I'm trying to reinforce in my platoon right now.

At 15, you have several years to prepare for BCT. You obviously will be better prepared if you are in better physical shape. My best advice as far as that goes would be simply to get outside and have fun. Compete. Play sports. If you aren't good at sports it's twice as important that you play. Get used to the idea that some things come naturally, but most have to be worked for. This will help prepare you both mentally and physically for the rigors of military life.

The soldiers who enter service having played some kind of sports are vastly more ready than those who spent their high school years in front of a TV or computer. I'm not saying you can't do those also, but have some balance in your life and spend some time playing HARD at something... even if it is not a traditional school sport. Martial arts, skateboarding, hiking, rock climbing, whatever.

Most importantly, start to prepare yourself mentally. Military service will require a level of maturity that working as a fry cook will not. There are plenty of people who fall short in this respect... but your BCT experience will be much more enjoyable if you have a certain stability about you that some 18 year olds do not.

Nothing will be given to you. You will earn what you get. You will get what you earn. You will be responsible for more than just yourself.

Stay away from drugs and crime. I know some people who thought they were going to join the military and then could not because they made bad decisions before they enlisted.

Get a copy of the Army Values and start thinking about them a little bit. Nothing drastic... just start thinking about who you want to be when you become a man. (or woman)

Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, Personal Courage.

Every day we wake up and decide who we are. Every day is new and the past can only hold you back if you let it.

Expect more from yourself than you do from everyone else. Be the best... and if you lose at something (sports for instance), do it graciously. Then try harder next time and kick their ass.

Prepare... There's never been a championship football team who didn't spend the off season training their hearts out.

Find a role model... I have several. My Dad, my Grandpa, my Father-in-law...and several NCOs who taught me what it means to really care about soldiers and be a raging hardass at the same time lol. (give them what they need... not what they want)

Stand up for what you believe in. But if you find yourself on the wrong side of something, be man enough to admit it.

Keep your Integrity, it's something nobody can take from you. But too many people give it away cheaply. Don't lie about anything. If you fuck up... stand up, be a man, and take the consequences. Then drive on and don't make the same mistake twice

Never take the side of cruelty or injustice.

Always choose the hard Right over the easy Wrong.

And never give up.


Sunday, June 27, 2004

One week down...

Well... I have to admit I was as burnt out as I have ever been going into this cycle. I don't know exactly why, although I could point to a lot of things that have nothing to do with soldiers-maybe it's as simple as time spent doing the same thing, I don't know.

The first week is over and I swear I have never felt better about a group of soldiers. I worked 90 hours since Tuesday, and yes I amm tired, but I'm as fired up as I've ever been. Of course that will go up and down as we go on, but I really do have the best job in the world.

Anybody who ever tells me this generation won't amount to anything, I'm going to punch in the face.

It's a privilege to train these young men and women. Yeah... they're all confused, ignorant knuckleheads right now... but if they remain that way, it will be my fault, not theirs.

I am spending the summer (next two cycles I think) working in Echo Company, which is the additional company we set up from scratch to accomodate the "summer surge". I don't have quite the same feeling of people looking over my shoulder all the time, so maybe that's why I am so optimistic about this bunch.

Since we are starting from scratch, I had teh opportunity to let the soldiers decide what teh name of their platoon would be. (Each platoon has a motto or whatever, like bushmasters... vipers... wolfpack... wahtever.) I let them comeup with suggestions and then vote... but I made a suggestion first and amazingly enough over half voted for mine lol.

We are the mighty... mighty... WAR PIGS!
(laughing my freakin ass off)

I have loved that name since I saw it on the wall in one of the platoon barracks in 1-21 years ago lol. An Infantry line unit can easily pull off a name like that, but I had questions about whether this bunch had the balls for it. Hell yes they do.

ASide from the Black Sabbath connotations... it's a name that is easy to make fun of. But honestly, if you've ever heard the song called "a boy named Sue" you'll understand why that's not really a bad thing. And they already take a perverse pride in it even if they don't understand it yet lol.

Anyway, everything is going according to plan (Mwah hah ha ha) and I'll keep updating when I get a chance. Gotta go to church and then head back to work after that. I got a few hours off today before we hit it hard for next week.