Memories Your Basic training days?


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Apr 9, 2019
Good day all,

So, I know that a number of you have been or even still are in the military, which prompts me a question or instead, asking how those basic days went for you?

Jake84 enlisted back in 2002, being only a 18 year old recruit, endured the « three days selection » and medical exams. All went smoothly and no doctor or NCO found me a medical problem or a physical deficiency anyway.

I’m wondering how things in basic have evolved or even for the older of you, how things were before?

Without (too much) personal details, I was headed to a barrack (now closed) in a suburb of Paris then for a bit over two months of training.

We were first quickly introduced to the NCO and the NGO, four drill sergeants and two NGO, the LT and Captain.

We were also briefly introduced to the Colonel of this little regiment and barrack where we were spending two months. He mentioned some basic stuff without saying too much. Warned us against alcohol abuse and other possible addictions.

Fast forward, lots of “class”. Learning about the ranks and every pieces of your rifle (Famas), along with other fairly basic and general lesson on history, bit of politics and the military of course.

Looking back, these two months passed quickly, I liked the “Camaraderie” and learning. Shooting a powerful rifle when being merely a teen was also exciting, throwing a few grenades and even using plastic explosive, too. Unfortunately and it’s my only regret about it all, we seriously spent far too much time cleaning the barracks than doing these typical soldier thing. I’m thinking it might have been a lack of “budget”, as one NCO mentioned that spending only four days in the woods and going to the range cost the army then over 10,000€ for only a 40 soldiers in this Platoon. Understood, everything has a price.

I have little to no regrets about this little military experience although I had later chosen not to make a whole career as a soldier. I have to say that beside the physical, mental training, you learn or at least try to acquire some good traits, like being reliable, clean, among other qualities.

Truth be told, I’m too stubborn to have been a soldier which is not the ideal trait to start off as a terminal lance, I tried, and did the thing. I didn’t do worse than others.

How was your basic training experience, in your own country? Only asking if possible at least the year you enlisted and country so to have a discussion and maybe discuss or compare our experience?
U.K. RAF(avatar is a hint huh) late 80’s. all volunteer, 6 weeks basic at swinderby, i was just over 17, so no booze.
For me having been in the air cadets, it was just an extended summer camp, already knew the ranks, how to shoot, drill etc. This was mixed recruits, I.e all trades, firemen, regiment, techies, cooks etc.

So every day, drill, pt, and lots of marching from one section, to another, so lost 5kg in 5 weeks. Some lessons were daft to me, who doesn’t know how to iron a shirt, or mop a floor?

Then off to techie school for 18 months, learning how not to irradiate you’re buddy. Really enjoyed it, and it was a bad time for jobs, so I was sorted, techies got really good money, think xr3i, Astra gte, no hassle. So for me a good start, and the techie side has given me a good career, I have played with some really nice toys over the years.
I had heard a lot of horror stories about basic training - you will be screamed at non-stop - negative reinforcement too horrible to describe - it was a long list.

I didn't feel it was all that bad. Sure it was physical - we ran a LOT and I think I actually did push ups in my sleep. But it was survivable. The main take away was that there are truly stupid people in the world. Coming from a very small rural town, I hadn't seen that before.

I quickly observed the idiots in my company drew a disproportionate amount of attention from the DIs and had a much more miserable time of it. The end lesson was that if you stay 'squared away' and perform as expected, the company idiots would take nearly all of the heat.

At basic graduation, an officer made an uncharacteristically candid statement: "There's no use kissing a$$ for a good assignment - you're ALL going to Viet Nam." And we all did.
Yes, blend in, is good advice for basic.

Don’t forget your beret,pt kit, or god forbid your rifle....

And a bit like having a baby, eat/sleep whenever you get the chance....
The best groundpounding practice we did, was firstly nco school, 2 weeks of basic infantry tactics, and surviving in the woods.

And then we did a similar thing before deploying for GW1, I recall us storming a hill, with blanks, flares etc, which for the raf was high expenditure, normally we got 20rnds a year to qualify on live firing.
And a bit like having a baby, eat/sleep whenever you get the chance....

No doubt. Sadly it’s not like the drill sergeants really let us sleep much. For about two months sleeping 4 hours a night seemed sufficient for them. Make that I did snooze out during class only to get a slap on the head a couple times...
Blank fire in simulated combat scenarios - I quickly learned not to actually fire. Blanks will crap up your rifle in a huge hurry! The residue was a mess to clean, so I'd pretend to fire and throw my ammo in the bushes before end of drill.

Sleep... we stood 2 hour "fire watches" during the night at basic in the old wooden barracks, and not being used to it, the 2 hours drug on for an eternity. We could catch a nap on Sunday, but you had to be careful when you got up.

People would get up quickly and bust their a$$ from some clown tying their boot laces together.
Found this image just now that brought back a flood of memories... "Welcome, friends! Please begin your experience here by standing on the yellow foot prints. After a morning of formalities, luncheon will be served promptly at noon. We do hope you'll enjoy your stay with us!"

Or words to that effect. ;)

If I'm being honest, it wasn't until I'd been discharged after serving my nine months that I learnt to appreciate the things they taught me in basic training. Especially the art of being meticulous (at which I still suck). I got my nickname from an instructor; it's a shortened form of a Saxon dialect word for the act of giving lippy answers. (Go figure.)

I liked some aspects of the training, especially the Geländewoche (i.e. being in the field bivouacking). Despite the fact that always I was "that guy" if you get my meaning: If someone couldn't continue the march it was always I who had to carry their kit. And I wasn't particularly fit either. It's why people complaining about women in the army always makes me smile.

Back in the day I think I felt bored or frustrated more often than actively engaged.

Anyone else here served as a conscript? Did they also have you do all the mundane crap your career comrades didn't feel like doing? Never will I forget December 5 2004 when my company commander sent out a couple of lads plus little ol' me to go and fetch some cubic metres of snow as decoration for the barracks' Saint Nicholas Feast. It was literally the most stupid task I ever had to perform in my entire life.
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Thanks for the feedback so far peers,

Good points and interesting experience shared here. I believe that while training can be tough physically, and like many things it’s more about your mental strength tbh. Like muck, I only appreciated those training days afterwards, since like many (unless you’re obviously sent on war zone), spending your time in your designated barracks afterwards can get “boring”.
I can barely remember mine...I was only 16.

But since I tried hard at school I joined the Air Force so recruit training was only 6 weeks long IIRC. Standard drill, NBC and weapons training.

The real slog was trade training. 9 months initially followed by a period at work followed by another year at training school.
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2003 June till 2004 march. Recruit in now non-existent country SR Yugoslavia and its non existing navy. First 2 months or so, infantry trainings. We have shared barracks with infantry but our officers were from navy so infantry trainings were light for us (unlike infantry unit). Marching on summer heat ( not long marches to be honest 1-3 hours in one direction and back) lot of rifle cleaning ( i got worst rifle in company) , and 5 days of guard duty at ELINT station near coast. I was 25 and was one of oldest recruit.
Then transfer to navy ship VPBR 31 ex Split. Koni class light fregate. Gunner on bow Ak 726. She was tied to pier till end of my service so i never had opportunity to sail with her or to fire that gun. Pity.

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