I went through basic during the winter, and graduated at the beginning of 2005. I scored in the high 90's on my ASVAB, and the higher you score the
more AFSC's/jobs will be open to you, and was an honor graduate from BMT, which is around the top 10%. To graduate with honors you have to score
really high on your written tests, and have decent physical training scores. It is extremely easy, and my advice would be to focus on the written
material, as that is why most people don't get it. You want to get it because you will have an extra ribbon to wear on your uniform. I do not know how
useful my advice will be, mainly because BMT has changed since I went through it. They've extended it by two weeks, for one thing. There is probably a
lot more field training than when I went through, and there will be more of an emphasis on your service rifle.
My advice is to learn your chain of command/ranks before going to basic. And learn who is who in terms of the chain of command. Start at the commander
in chief and work your way down. Even learn who is in charge of Lackland at that time. They'll give you some papers and stuff that you are supposed to
study whenever you are just standing around in formation, and this is basically what it is that you're supposed to learn. Then, depending on your
instructor, recruits will be randomly picked out and asked questions over this material. I would advise you to get into decent physical shape before
going, but you don't have to be a super-athlete or anything. Just make sure you can run. And work on your back strength a little bit. When you've been
there a few days your flight will be marched down to get all your uniforms and whatnot, and all this stuff will go into your duffel bag, and it is
Learn your reporting statement, which you have to use ALWAYS when talking to anyone who is not a trainee like you. This stuff will change once you
leave basic. For instance, you have to refer to your sergeant and everyone else as "sir or ma'am," but once you leave basic you will refer to everyone
by their rank. For instance you would call your drill instructor "sir" during basic, but would refer to someone of the same rank as "technical
sergeant so and so" after basic, at tech school. And you will stand at attention for NCO's during basic, but will stand at parade rest for these ranks
during tech school, only standing at attention for officers.
I was told about the reporting statement before I went in, but what they didn't tell me is that whenever you are told to do something you have to say
"proceeding sir/ma'am." That was just as important as the reporting statement when I went through basic. The fact that it was a really cold winter
when I was in BMT made it horrible. That was the worst, and it was below freezing on some days, and apparently they cannot take you outdoors at those
temps. I remember it was just above freezing when I had to go into the gas chamber. The gas chamber is not that bad to be honest, or at least it
wasn't for me. It is worse when you come out than when you're in it. You will put a chemical suit on over your BDU's, or now I think they have a new
uniform, and you will put your gas mask on and a hood over it, and go in. They will tell you to take it off, and then they will ask you a random
question that you have to answer. They don't want you to panic, and you cannot run out of the chamber when you're done. I moved too fast when I was
leaving and had to stay there even longer, lol. So exit as calmly as possible, which goes against what your body wants to do.
Your nasal passages will be cleaned out thoroughly after that as well, which is a plus. Field training was horrible in the cold, but I suppose the
heat could have been worse had it been a hot summer that I had went instead. Umm let's see, what else? The truth is that they will teach you
everything you need to know, but it helps to know things beforehand just so you don't end up getting singled out. I would advise you never to be the
first and never to be the last. Don't do anything to single yourself out. It is almost as if your body will shut down in a way, mainly to deal with
the stressful environment. Or rather your mind will shut down. You will perform normally, but you will be acting on a different level of consciousness
for a while...if that makes sense. This is what I did anyway, and it was hard for me to recall specific details after the fact because of this. It is
just a system shock to have people yelling all the time, and having to run everywhere and whatnot. So I say keep a low profile so you don't get yelled
out more than usual.
One thing that might serve you to learn beforehand is making a bed. Making those stupid corners perfectly was a daily hassle, and then you have to
align the fold at the top of the blanket with all the other blankets for all the other beds, all the way down. I mean we had freaking string out to
line these up. And if you have to clean the latrines, the bathroom, you have got to pick up every speck of dust off of the floor. What we did was turn
off all the lights in the bathroom, and turn a flashlight on and place it on the floor. Then get down and look along the floor and you can see
anything that needs picking up. There are other duties, and everyone will be assigned to do something within the dorms/barracks. I was with the
latrine group, and if you can get this then do it. I do not think you can take an electric razor. I actually learned to dry shave during basic,
although I didn't have a really thick beard or anything, simply to save time. Everyone is trying to crowd around a limited number of mirrors, and you
only have so many minutes to shave, get dressed, etc, and be ready to fall out. You are moving fast all the time, everywhere you go. "Hurry up and
wait," as they say. It is true.
The one thing that is constantly present is HUNGER. All the time. I dreamt of food at night. The food is not bad, but you are rushed to eat. I am
pretty sure that they have to give you more time than we got, or they have to let you eat, but you do not want to be the last guy in the mess hall.
And you cannot talk to other recruits most of the time. Especially in the cafeteria. You have to go down the line in the mess hall with your hands
flat down on your tray, looking straight ahead. And when you exit the mess hall you've got to literally march, and do a flanking turn at the corners,
and you will be scrutinized by an instructor every single time. Everyone exits as they finish, and you will likely be by yourself, where you will fall
in outside to wait for everyone else. I would wait until I saw some other people leaving, and then I would leave behind them, because as I said, don't
single yourself out whenever possible. I still got singled out a few times, as it is inevitable, and it is not the end of the world. It is just
stressful at the time. There are a bunch of other little things that I could get into, and if you have any questions you can message me, but those are
the things that come to mind off the top of my head.
edit on 11/20/14 by JiggyPotamus because: (no reason given)
11/20/14 by JiggyPotamus because: (no reason given)