27. October 2021
Military , Rants
Earlier today, one of my fellow veterans shared the following video from Business Insider about the United States Army Infantry School's decision to no longer conduct the unofficial ritual known as the Shark Attack during basic training. By way of definition, the Shark Attack has traditionally been the first experience that new recruits have in Basic Training, when Drill Sergeants descend on raw recruits and scream at them until they begin to understand who's in charge.
Despite CSM Fortenberry's comments in that video, the Shark Attack totally has it's place in today's Army, and the idiots who don't think so are... well, IDIOTS. The purpose of the Shark Attack is to mentally separate recruits from civilian life, and nothing does that better than having a Drill Sergeant screaming in your face. The Shark Attack also instills a sense of fear at the outset of training, which is absolutely necessary for some new recruits to create a foundation for discipline where they'll listen to their Drill Sergeant's orders for the rest of their training. If you take away the Shark Attack, you take away one of the best tools for teaching recruits that their lives - as they knew them - are over. (For the next few weeks, anyway.)
Personally, I hate, hate, HATE the "kindler, gentler Army" approach that today's military leaders are trying to create. Combat is neither "kind" nor "gentle," and taking away the rough edges from military training creates soldiers who are ill-equipped to deal with the mental pressures that soldiers will experience after they leave training. It doesn't matter if new recruits are volunteers or draftees - soldiers need to be tough enough to endure the rigors of combat life, and the Army is doing their soldiers a great injustice if they fail to prepare recruits for their new lives.
Quite frankly, this entire discussion is just one of many ways where the people who are "in charge" of the Army simply do not "get it" with regard to how the actual day-to-day business of the military is conducted.
I'm so glad I got out before this toxic cancer of stupidity infected the Army.
15. February 2017
During my time in the Army I learned that I was capable of much greater things than I had ever imagined for myself. It's not so much that I had to slay the doubts of other naysayers in my life, it's that I learned that I could reach that wall where others begin to fail and yet I could keep going. After I left the Army, I have often echoed the message in this t-shirt whenever someone tried to claim, "I could have done that." To which I would always reply, "Then why didn't you?" And of course, the simple truth is that there are many civilians who think they were capable of great and glorious things who would not have even passed the Army's Basic Training. And yet there are scores of other downtrodden souls who quickly learn that they are way more awesome than they ever thought. The Army truly changes lives, and mostly for the better.