The Military was a Milestone

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This a non-fiction essay about the most life changing event that happened to me. It transformed me into a better person, and taught me how to carry myself in self-confidence.

Submitted: December 08, 2011

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Submitted: December 08, 2011

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The Military Was A Milestone

By: Chris S.

“Rise and shine fellas! Let’s go, let’s go! It's time for exercise!” This command startled me awake my second day of basic training. A year prior to this day I had joined the US Army National Guard and now I had to complete my first big task in the military, basic training. This was boot camp and my second day was only a wakeup call of what was to happen to me. The first day was nothing but paperwork, vaccinations, getting our heads shaved, and being kept up until midnight. Now I am awakened by a drill sergeant at 4 a.m. and I have to perform with only 4 hours of sleep. I was promised that this training would be one of the hardest things that I will ever have to do, and that this would be the ultimate test of my physical and mental capabilities.

I quickly put on my physical training uniform as the drill sergeants roamed the floor yelling at everyone to move faster. My uniform consisted of a grey shirt with the word “ARMY” on the front, and a pair of black shorts with “ARMY” on one leg. A one quart canteen and my rolled up foam mat completed my preparation for some exercise. No sooner had we gotten our stuff together than we were being screamed at to run downstairs and get into formation. Before I knew what was happening, our formation was marching out to our drill sergeant’s voice. “Left, left, left, right, left. Left" rang out loudly through our platoon as we marched out to our exercise area. For the next hour and a half our sweat poured from all the push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups that they forced us to do to the point of muscle fatigue. I am now experiencing what I had been told would be a rigorous first couple of weeks, but I had doubted everyone because I was confident that I was prepared. A whole year prior to this basic training, I had taken a weight-lifting class in my senior year of high school. While I had grown in strength I also aparently needed to grow in mental endurance and perseverance.

After our vigorous work out we marched over to eat breakfast, which was a very miserable experience. I had no sooner worked my way through the line to get my food, sat down at the table, and put the first bite into my mouth before I heard “Alright you’re done! Let’s go!” I found out that many other soldiers had to make it through the cafeteria, which meant we had less than ten minutes to eat and I had spent nine of those minutes in line. We are rushed outside and forced to do push-ups again. They tell us, “You have eaten your food but now you will taste it.” So these ruthless people intend to make us hurl our food? The fatigue was obvious on everyone’s face, but no one dared to show it to the drill sergeants for fear of doing more push-ups. This second day would be our full morning routine for the next nine weeks.

The following weeks put us to the test in every possible way. We used maps and compasses, worked as a team in confidence courses, and camped in the woods for a week with no shower. All of this was training us to be part of the world’s most advanced tactical military force. The worst part about all the training was that we were almost always outside in the heat. I remember the hottest day was 113 degrees. That is seven degrees short of Afganistan's normal temperature. We had no choice but to hydrate and hydrate to keep from heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Two weeks before the end was when we camped outside for a week. We marched fourteen miles with all of our gear to camp, and fourteen miles at two in the morning back to our barracks (with a stop to do night firing with our rifles) for a total of twenty-eight miles. The completion of this exercise meant all we had left to do was complete graduation from basic training.

The next week we graduated and that meant a lot to all of us. Not only had we survived boot camp, but we also earned a title. We were US Army soldiers! We were highly trained, motivated, strong, and built soldiers. This was a milestone in my life because this made me into the man I am today. My new found values of integrity, honesty, responsibility, and commitment all make up who I am today. I am an American soldier!


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