Saturday, September 11, 2004

Here are a few questions…. I have several more and will answer em when I get some more time. And thanks for all the positive comments and email by the way… it is appreciated.

1) I really enjoy your site. Thanks for putting out some great content, and answering some good questions. 2) Thank you very much for your service. I know it's not quite what you'd like, but I appreciate you preparing the guys who are going over there. You've chosen a hard, poor paying life, and I wanted to thank you. 3)What do the hash marks on the sleeves of NCO's represent? I assume some measure of time in service? Do only NCO's wear them? 3) Why are combat boots still used? Go fasters seem to prevent a lot of injuries, but I assume there's a good reason boots are still used, besides the fact you can order the trainees to polish them :) Thank you so much for your time and blog.

Hash marks…. The hash marks on the sleeve represent three years of service for each one. Which reminds me… I need to go get another sewed on…

The combat boots are changing as we speak. Right now they are issuing the new style combat boots… that is… what was the new style until they decided to phase them out to introduce new ones with the new uniform… so it is now the old style, even though it’s new. The boots supposedly keep improving, but I would just as soon keep my old jungle boots.

Hello sir!

I am just writing to ask you a some questions about basic training. 1) What advice would you give to someone if they told you that they were going to Ft.Jackson for basic?
Prepare yourself physically, financially, and emotionally to be isolated for 9 weeks. Go into it with a clear head and tell yourself that quitting is simply not an option.

2.) What should someone do to prepare for basic physically? I know that they give you a PT test with the minimum requirements being a mile run in 10:30, 17 situps, and 3 pushups. But if you want to be ahead, how many of each should you be able to do?

That’s up to you. If you want to be an average soldier, keep shoving Twinkies and Mountain Dew down your neck right up till the time you waddle off the plane in Columbia.

If you actually want to excel and push yourself to be something better, try to enter Basic at least close to meeting the minimum standard to pass. If you come in able to do around 13 pushups (for females… 35 for males) 47 situps, and run around an 8-9:00 minute mile, everything after that is gravy. You will be able to focus on maxing instead of passing the APFT and it will take a lot of pressure off of you.

3.) Mentally how should someone prepare themselves for basic?

Harden yourself mentally and just understand that absolute discipline will be expected of you. There will be no friends and family there to help you, so just tell yourself before you leave that there is NO way you will quit. If they break your legs and beat you with sticks and flay the skin from your body you will not break. (We won’t really do those things lol)

4.) How can someone minimize their chances of getting yelled at or in trouble at basic?

Show absolute discipline and respect at all times. Give 110% always.

5.) Is there anything that you wish someone would have told you before you went to basic yourself?

Not really, I wanted basic to be harder.

6.) Being a drill sergeant, what does a soldier do to make you really angry?


I work an average of about 100+ hours a week during Red phase. I put up with anywhere from 40-65 brand new soldiers for 9 weeks and give it my absolute best effort to make them better people and soldiers. We are expected to routinely “suck it up” and drive on when things go wrong. The soldiers are often treated like they were made of eggshells, but for a Drill sergeant to “drive on” with stress fractures or knee injuries or pneumonia or the flu or whatever is routine and expected. Everything we do is for the soldier.

I don’t think I need to be disrespected by some private with about 5 minutes in the Army.
But it usually only happens once lol. ( By the way, I have never heard a soldier cry like I did the other night. This soldier thought she could raise her voice at me. I had been fairly laid back so far this cycle, but after about a half hour she was just wailing lol. Pretty funny… I think she’ll turn out all right though.)

7.) When the soldiers first get to basic, I have been told that they get smoked the first week. What during the first few weeks would constitute being smoked?

You will get smoked every week if you come to my platoon. The only difference is whether I am mad or just scuffing the platoon for general fitness purposes. Usually it is pushups, sometimes we switch it up. If I’m pissed I will get creative and hit every muscle group in the body.


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