My book, Boot Camp, is in the final stages of production. Here is a sneak preview, the preface to Boot Camp, Basic Training For The Believer.
“Your basic combat training is designed to accomplish two purposes: familiarize you with the fundamental requirements of military life, and teach you how to fight and defeat an enemy.” (Department of the Army Pamphlet, PAM 350-43, The Soldier’s Basic Combat Training Handbook, March 1973, pg.7)
I had my Basic Combat Training (BCT) at Fort Knox, Kentucky. As soon as I got off the bus I knew I wasn’t a civilian any longer. Sure, I still looked like one but the Drill Instructors (DIs) wasted no time in making their objective clear. They were to receive us as recruits, tear us down to practically nothing, and rebuild us into disciplined, motivated, highly trained, well indoctrinated fighting machines.
I hadn’t been at the reception station more than five minutes before the DI’s were telling me where and how to stand. Imagine. I had been standing for more than 20 years and now someone saw the need to teach me the correct way. Later that day, I would be sent to the barber shop along with the rest of my platoon. Afterward, it would be real hard to tell each other apart. The DIs would have us standing, walking, talking, thinking, looking, and acting alike; as one unit, combat ready. I guess that’s why we had to have name tags on our uniforms and dog tags around our necks.