Army Basic Combat Training is the Army’s way of washing out those not fit to serve. Through the “boot camp” method of training, the Army sends aspiring soldiers to hell and back forcing them to question every decision they have ever made. Little sleep and little food topped with constant punishment all provide the conditions required to weed out those who don’t belong and to push those who do belong to their absolute limit. This is done by getting the recruit to find an inner drive and motivation to build the resiliency skills required to last in the military. Those who are negative about the experience and are unable to find the resilience to push through simply will not make. [it?] [the grade?]
The boot camp method of training is unique to the military and is a very intriguing process. As soon as we took our first step onto the training ground, it seemed as though everyone around us had been zapped of all happiness. The journey begins at reception, considered by us to be hell on earth, consisting of very little sleep, hours upon hours of waiting in line, and a countless vaccines. Uniforms are distributed and haircuts are given, all with almost no words being exchanged. The buildings are rundown, all signs of life seem to removed and replaced with white stones and concrete. With reception not even being the start of training, the Army was quick to leave a negative
first impression from the very beginning.
Tired and delusional as a result of hours of standing in line and being prodded with needles, we had no idea how much worse it could get. The reality set in quickly though, when our training company’s drill sergeants stormed the bus we were on. With an introduction of screaming and knife hands, nothing but chaos ensued. We were placed into a formation and managed to screw up everything asked of us, of course, resulting in push-ups for what seemed like days. From there, we all ran with all of our newly–issued gear over our heads to find a suitable area for an “inventory.” The reality was a chaotic dump of all of our gear leading to a mix up of just about everything. Everyone was missing at least one piece of equipment and none of us had our proper size. This, of course, led to more punishment. We did not realize it yet, but this was crucial in bringing us together because we had no choice but to spend the little free time we had trading with each other, trying to find our proper size. Those who were selfish here never built a relationship with any of us and would go on to eventually fail.
The training continued with new tasks being assigned to us everyday [every day] being followed by an unsurprising failure each time. We soon realized that it wasn’t actually possible to successfully complete these tasks, which led some to give up. It began to hurt. Our bodies began to react to the extensive amount [number] of immunizations given directly before training along with the unclean living conditions that come with living in proximity to nearly 240 people. Before long we all had the “bootcamp plague” and with that, an exhausted body. With a maximum of 10 minutes to eat an entire meal, we all felt starved and way too weak to be conducting hours of physical activity.
The boot camp effect started to take its toll on me and I had a very difficult time asking myself anything other than “is it worth it?” Although I did not know it at the time, that was the sole purpose of basic training. According to Joanna Hayden, the author of “Introduction to Health Behavior Theory,” self-efficacy is “the belief in one’s own ability to successfully accomplish something.” The Army was looking for self-efficacious soldiers who believed that no task could stop them! What better way to have the most lethal organization in the world than to have one who thinks it can take on the world. According to Hayden, those with strong sense of efficacy will take on the most difficult of tasks, ones that others would not consider doing.
What separates those who graduate from those who don’t is their internal motivation and end goal. While we all serve to work towards the goal set by the drill sergeants to graduate as effective soldiers, our determination to reach our own personal goal is what gives us the motivation to do so. While all of us share the same common goal, very few share the same personal goal. My goal was to prove to my family and my girlfriend that I had what is required to serve. When I doubted myself, I thought about my goal and how great it will feel to accomplish it. Those who are sifted out loose [lose] their direction along with their inner drive to accomplish their personal goal. When that drive is lost, the Army gets rid of them. The military has no time for those who do not have the drive to accomplish the most difficult of tasks. What the military wants is for its soldiers to have that drive to accomplish their given tasks; it does not care where that drive comes from. So it places its recruits through a rigorous process that gives them no choice but to tap into that inner drive or to fail.
Hayden, Joanna. “Self-Efficacy Theory.” Introduction to Health Behavior Theory. Second ed. Burlington: Jones and Bartlett Learning, 2014. 14-21. Print.