Lots of questions... Little time... here are some, I have several more to go. If it's been a while and I didn't answer your question either here or by email, then email it to me again and I will answer it next.
Have you ever had to work with any Military school grads or Cadets? If so, what is your opinion of them? If not, what is your opinion of them?
I'm a Rook at Norwich University (formerly Military College of Vermont), soon to be a Cadet, and it's pretty intense. We have recruits here that have been through basic and say that the "real" military is different. Here at Norwich, and I'm sure at other Academies, they focus a LOT on SOP. We have room inspections twice a day to check to make sure our boxers are all alined. How practical is SOP to the Army, especially in the field when it's supposed to count? I'm kind of disappointed that we havn't done too much field training, but ROTC will start soon and we do a bunch of kick-ass stuff for that.
I'll let you go now, thanks for your time. I thoroughly enjoy reading your xanga, keep up the great work.
SOP is everything. Discipline is everything. In my experience, most of the Military School grads that I’ve worked with have been outstanding. Some have not. At the same time, most of the ROTC officers have been outstanding… some have not. And nearly all of the OCS officers have been outstanding… I can’t think of any who weren’t right now, but I’m sure there are some who are not.
It all depends on the individual. Whatever course you take, it won’t change who you are inside, but it will make you a better person and more competent officer. The inspections are a demonstration and honing of your discipline, and are critical to your development as a leader of men.
And good SOPs make the Army function more efficiently. There can be no question or discrepancies between elements on how a certain Company/Battalion etc operates in the field. If everyone is always on the same sheet of music then certain common tasks become automatic which gives leaders time to focus on the things that are not.
Please, please explain to me why drill sergeants say things like "You will be crushed"? Honestly, is it really necessary to put the fear of God into a recruit to properly train them?
I'm home on con leave from Ft. Leonard Wood (I broke my ankle on the obstacle course) and my DS told me crap like that every day. According to him, I had a bad attitude, was fat, old and dumb. Jesus.
I do like your blog and have found it to be informative. I just don't understand why DS' curse and are generally mean SOB's.
Yes. It is necessary to put the “fear of God” into a recruit. There can be no question in anyone’s mind about who is in charge of the platoon. There is only one “alpha male” in my pack of wolves. That is me. It has to be that way because if there is ever any doubt about whether the Drill Sergeant is in control of the situation then everything goes to hell. We have huge platoons to train and it requires instant obedience, without question, to make the BCT Train run on time. Some privates are self motivated. They want to be the best and they push themselves all the time to be better. They have no desire to break rules or cause problems and if I had platoons full of these privates it would be a wonderful happy world here in BCT land.
But I don’t. I have every personality type under the sun, and different soldiers require different motivation to do the right thing. For some soldiers, unfortunately, the only thing that will keep them straight is fear of punishment. Especially during the first few weeks, when they are really still breaking away from whatever they were before they got here.
It shouldn’t be any surprise that combat is stressful. Possibly the most stressful thing that a human can do. It is critical that the first time someone is stressed to the breaking point is NOT when a whole platoon or company is counting on them to perform because everyone’s life depends on it. They have to be seriously stressed in BCT and continually stressed until they realize their own potential to perform under pressure.
So the truth is, if you join the army thinking that it will be just like Camp Snoopy back in the boy scouts, you have made a grave error in judgement, and you will either adapt or be washed out.
DSgt Rob, could you answer some questions I have about the Army?
Why would anyone want to use the phrase "Army of One?" Isn't that a contradiction in terms?
Yes. I don’t know why. I guess because the Army paid some big huge agency to come up with a slogan and that’s what they got. I guess it is supposed to emphasize something about your own personal pride or being self motivated or blah blah blah. I don’t know if it really makes a difference. If they don’t understand what the Army is about we will straighten em out when they get here.
Why do drill sergeants sometimes refer to recruits as "soldiers" when they haven't graduated yet? They're civilians until they graduate. Isn't being a soldier something you earn?
Technically they are soldiers once they start getting their checks from Uncle Sam I guess. It’s part of the whole politically correct “don’t hurt their feelings, don’t degrade the soldier, don’t be mean” crap that’s been getting worse for about a decade. We are not supposed to call them anything BUT soldier now. Apparently, if you can believe this, we aren’t even supposed to call them “private”. I guess that would be degrading to call them by their rank. Oh well… I have a strong suspicion that during wartime a lot of that sensitive PC crap is going to be replaced with hard training and producing hard soldiers who won’t break under stress. But until it does, we just have to follow orders and do the best we can.
Hey Drill Sergeant!
I was just wondering-- is there a reason why some women can't specialize in some of the military occupational specialities? Maybe it's the whole idea of women going into combat?
Women cannot do jobs that require them to be in direct contact with the enemy. They can do combat oriented jobs, such as Air Defense or Military Police, but cannot do Infantry, Artillery, Armor, Cavalry. There are many good reasons for this, and I have my own reasons for agreeing with the policy. It’s not that I think they couldn’t do it. I know a lot who probably could, but I think it would introduce more complications into an already complicated situation.
On the other hand, it doesn’t mean that females will not see direct contact with the enemy. There is a team of females (of all different jobs) operating in Iraq right now who are traveling with the infantry squads to facilitate searches of Muslim females etc. They have made contact with the enemy numerous times and have, from what I hear, performed extremely well.