This Army Life, Volume 9

When we last left our little saga here, I had enlisted into the Army and spent a few months hanging out with the 172nd Medical Battalion. After months of monotonous mentorship about how to succeed in basic training, off to basic training I was.

I finished my semester of college on a Thursday; shipped out on a Monday. Shipping out is loads of fun. Another trip to MEPS for a quick check to make sure that you are still Army-ready, as well as a re-swearing in to make sure that you really mean it. A lot of waiting again, but not nearly as much as a normal MEPS day, as we were at the airport pretty early in the morning, around 0800 or so. Caught the flight from Salt Lake City to Atlanta through Chicago. There were about five kids from the Salt Lake City MEPS heading off to Fort Benning. We all flew on the same plane to Chicago, then met up with some others from around the country with the same final destination. Landed in Atlanta and followed the kids with the big Army folders to wherever they were going and eventually got on a bus that took us to Fort Benning, Home of the Infantry.

We arrived at Fort Benning very early in the morning. It was around 0200hrs or so before they really told us what was going on. We were given a little brief about what was expected of us at the 30th Adjutant General Battalion, which was the reception battalion at Fort Benning. It was here that we would spend some time getting all prepared to be sent “down range”: getting shots, ID card, clothing issue, etc. We would also begin to learn about some Army stuff, like how to stand in formation and how to “hurry up and wait.” We slept in an open bay with about 200 or so other privates and everybody got some version of a cold while they were at reception.

Fort Benning is one of two male only basic training posts; Fort Knox is the other. Because of this, all these young men would be without the appearance of a female for many weeks. This in itself is not a bad thing. If you ask me, especially after my experience with AIT, they would have just become a distraction, keeping the young male mind away from the task at hand: becoming American Soldiers. I suppose that it works the other way as well, as I have heard many stories from the co-ed basic training posts.

Anyway, we spent a week at reception, waiting for more kids to show up so we would have a fuller cycle when we actually went to basic training. Some of those people that ended up being in our company were at reception for a few weeks; others arrived on Wednesday and rode the bus with us on Friday, having recieved the shots and everything else in two days. Even after waiting, we still only went “down range” with around 160 future Soldiers, about 80 less than a typical basic training company. This was good, since only 4 people had to have bunkmates. But it also allowed for a bit more of individual attention from the Drill Sergeants when needed. And that is where we will pick up next time: The wonderful fun that is Army Basic Combat Training. Hopefully, I’ll be able to remember most everything that happened.

P.S. Did two miles on the treadmill today, very slowly. It really needs to stop raining so I can run outside again. It also appears that a gained a few pounds over the weekend too. My little funk from Saturday was not a good thing.

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