Basic Training: Week 4

Disclaimer: There are times at Basic when you find yourself regretting your decision to join the military. This was one of those times. 

Looking back now, if I had the chance to go back and do it again, I would still join the Army. I feel like I have learned too much and developed too much as a person to give it all up for the difficult times. I wish that someone had told me that in Basic: that it would all be worth it. 

As it was, the drill sergeants seemed to hate their lives as much as we did. They had a warped, depressing sense of humor that had already begun rubbing off on us by the time I wrote this entry. 

So without further ado...

April 28

It's always on a Sunday. Because besides fireguard duty, that's really the only time we have to think about stuff.

Last night at 2am Durant and I sat in the bathroom in our uniforms (her on her way out of fireguard, me on my way in), looked in the mirror and saw two dirty, tired soldiers, and said, "How did we get here?"

My recruiters really pulled one on me. "It will be fun," they said. "You'll be right by the beach!" They actually said that. Durant and I had a good laugh about that one. The recruiters never said anything about how hard it would be. The ruck marches and the getting smoked and the stress. They had me thinking I had won some all-expenses-paid vacation or something.

Every Sunday the shock sets in. It can happen at any moment. Like during weapon cleaning, when female-type Steele suddenly stopped and said, "What are we doing?"

And male-type Steele said, "The same thing we did yesterday."

Then female Steele said, "No, I mean with our lives." And started to get kind of panicked. Then there was this heavy, awkward silence as we all realized we'd made the worst decision of our lives and it was too late to go back.

Even Wolcott, who was in prison for committing a felony and addicted to crack for years, said this was a new low point for his life.

Everyone told me not to join the Army, but for some reason I thought I was different than everyone else and for me it wouldn't be a mistake.

Joke's on me.

Sundays are also good for fighting. There was another fistfight, but this time no one in our platoon, thankfully. But don't worry, the gossip in our platoon is at high tide. The girls have nothing better to do on Sundays than talk bad about each other. I should probably drag them to church with me next week or something.

May 1

I write enough about the mean drill sergeants. This entry is dedicated to one of the really good ones.

Our female drill sergeant is the tiniest, sweetest woman you could ever meet. Don't get me wrong. She is tough. And she can be really mean. (When the job calls for it.) And I'm pretty sure she can do more push-ups than any of the male drill sergeants.

But she is one of the drill sergeants who I can tell really wants us to succeed. In fact, she's the only one I've heard talk positively about the Army. She loves being a part of it. I know because she told us today while we were cleaning HQ. A part of me wondered if she was lying. But she seemed so genuine.

 She is always super real with us when it's just us females cleaning HQ. She tells us her struggles, like how she's in a lot of trouble right not for not being mean enough, but it just doesn't come naturally to her. Or how she doesn't get to spend a lot of time with her family, and was missing her daughter's dance recital as we spoke. Or how insecure she is about the her arms getting big after joining the Army, so she doesn't wear strapless dresses anymore. She also talked about how much the Army has changed her and molded her into a stronger, more confident person, somebody who can't be pushed around or messed with.

This is what kind of person she is: She literally took each one of us aside and taught us how to improve our push-ups. That kind of one-on-one constructive feedback is just not something you see in other drill sergeants. For the first time in my life, I am doing a proper push-up that makes even the males look bad.

Tonight when she was marching us back to the company from HQ, she saw that the rest of the company was being smoked by the drill sergeants. So she took us the long way around, so we wouldn't have to get smoked with them.

America's true hero, right there.


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