Going for Basic Training

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The date is January 3rd, 2010 and I am on a bus headed for basic training, a four-month long process. I have a million thoughts rolling through my head. I have no idea what to expect. All I know is that I’m not in Texas anymore. I look out my window and see snow everywhere and soldiers walking in formation. The bus starts to take off toward the barracks, which I will call home for the next few months. Out of nowhere, three drill sergeants stand up and start talking to us about what we’re going to be doing. Everyone always thinks drill sergeants are just people who are paid to yell and scream at new soldiers to prepare them for war, but as my drill sergeants were talking to me, they seemed very nice and relaxed. Then it all changed for the worse. They started yelling up and down the aisle way for what seemed to be a lifetime. I look up at one of the drill sergeants coming my way. “What are you looking at private?” The drill sergeant shouts. “Nothing, drill sergeant” I reply. I then get told to get in the front leaning rest position. This in army terms, is the pushup. This is where I learn my first lesson. One of the most essential attributes I learn at basic training is self-discipline.

The first time I learn about self-discipline is during my first phase. Basic training is separated into three phases, each phase lasting three weeks. The first phase, called red phase, means the drill sergeants are in total control of me. They are constantly yelling at me even for the slightest mistakes I make. The purpose of this is to teach soldiers to pay attention to detail and teach us self-discipline. There is a significant difference between the daily life of a civilian and a soldier at basic training. Everywhere you go at basic training there are rules. As an example, always marching to places in formation, or standing at parade rest when talking to a non-commissioned officer. Another place that has several regulations is at the chow hall, or cafeteria. On my very first...
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