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  • Changes to Army Boot Camp

    Hmmmmmmm......

    WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 26, 2010) – Blind obedience-oriented basic combat training is out; confidence-building and thinking-oriented training is now in.

    That’s the bottom line of how Comprehensive Soldier Fitness is shaping changes in Army boot camp; changes leaders say are improving Soldiers’ preparedness for combat once they reach their units, said Command Sgt. Maj. John R. Calpena, Initial Military Training Center of Excellence, at an AUSA meeting of senior Army enlisted.

    “When we went through basic, total control and fear of authority was taught -- you could see the fear with that stupid look on their faces. Instead of creating obedient machines to do what they’re told to do when they’re told to do it, we’re teaching our young Soldiers how to think, how to understand the circumstances and make decisions in stressful conditions because that’s what’s going on downrange,” Calpena said.

    “Young Soldiers receiving fire in a marketplace need to make an on-the-spot decision whether to shoot or not under stress,” he continued. “We had to radically change the way drill sergeants teach to do this as well. They’re no longer strictly disciplinarians, they’ve got to train Soldiers on tasks that are relevant to combat so when Soldiers graduate, they’re ready to go into the fight, in a relatively short amount of time. Soldiers need to understand how the task is performed and how am I going to use this task in the fight. They really want to know. You don’t have to force obedience into them. They want to be like us, they want to serve. They have heart.

    “Some will perceive this as a lack of discipline. It’s not. It’s confidence,” Calpena added.

    Other CSF changes to basic training are improved physical readiness, proper nutrition and injury prevention, said Staff Sgt. Timothy E. Sarvis, assigned to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. He was selected as the active-duty Army 2010 Drill Sergeant of the Year.

    “Soldiers need to prepare for combat the way athletes train for competition,” Sarvis said. “This includes eating healthier foods and reducing injuries.”

    He said the new Army Physical Readiness Training manual, TC3-22.20, replaced FM 2120 as of Aug. 20. “The new manual stresses agility, flexibility, stability, speed, power, balance, coordination and posture. Complex tasks and movements prepare Soldiers for the operational forces,” he said.

    Several Soldiers demonstrated physical movements trainees are now required to perform. Most of these movements are actually done on the battlefield, such as moving into and out of cover and concealment, crouch running, moving around and under obstacles, sprinting, jumping, explosive power and landing, according to one of the trainers.

    Teaching culture, beliefs, values and behaviors are also part of basic training now that CSF is being used. “We used to train the seven core Army values — loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage — using PowerPoint slides,” said Sarvis. “This didn’t hold their attention very well. Now we use interactive-scenario-based training, which allows Soldiers to interact with the videos, making decisions along the way and reinforced by the drill sergeants.”

    Resiliency training is an important aspect of basic. “It’s a huge deal,” said Sarvis, explaining Soldiers now need to bounce back from stress. He said trainees are given the Global Assessment Tool within the first 10 days of training and the Army then tracks how they improve or decline over their careers.

    GAT is a self-appraisal designed to boost personal growth, strengthen relationships and give Soldiers better coping skills for dealing with potentially traumatic events. GAT can also be used to indicate when Soldiers need to seek professional help.

    A sampling of the roughly 200 questions on the GAT:

    “Quick, yes or no:

    “I believe my life has a higher purpose?

    “I believe in our mission?

    “I can call people I know in an emergency?

    “I trust the team I work with?

    “I feel comfortable with my family support net?”

    “Twenty-five percent of all drill sergeants are master resiliency trained; they can help show how trainees can effectively deal with stress,” Sarvis said.

    Marksmanship training is fundamental to all Soldiers and here too, CSF has changed the way it is taught in basic.

    “No longer is an alibi given for a malfunction on the firing range,” said Staff Sgt. Melissa C. Solomon, assigned to the 108th Training Division, and selected as the Army Reserve Drill Sergeant of the Year. “Trainees are required to perform remedial action themselves.”

    Other changes include holding the rifle the same way they do in combat instead of a traditional raised hold, she said. A five-round shot group replaces a three-round shot group to better align weapon sights. Also, hitting a bulls-eye on the target is no longer enough. Sometimes two or three well-placed rounds on target are required for score. “We all know that one shot at the ***** might not be enough. It sometimes requires multiple hits for a ****.

    “Soldiers learn to shoot like they would in combat,” she continued. “For example, firing around barriers.”

    Solomon also provided details about changes in first aid, which reflect current medical best practices. An example she cited was stopping the bleeding before administering an IV.

    Sarvis said Soldiers are using smart phones and applications or apps to download Army manuals and videos, which “reinforces training, not taking anything away from the drill sergeant.”

    A question and answer session followed. A Soldier in the audience asked if the physical fitness test would change to reflect CSF. Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, another attendee, said changes could come by December of this year from a working group and that the new test would better measure combat readiness.

    Another Soldier in attendance, a sergeant major, questioned the “more thinking, less discipline” approach to basic training resulting from CSF, agreeing with parts of the new approach but citing the need to continue to instill obedience. He said he could see two approaches in his two sons, one a specialist and the other a sergeant first class. The younger specialist trained under the new CSF approach and the older son under the more traditional approach. He cautioned for a more balanced approach.

  • #2
    Re: Changes to Army Boot Camp

    Great, now everyone will be a leader.

    Basic Training is to make them a SOLDIER, let AIT, schools, and the Unit train them to think.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Changes to Army Boot Camp

      Glad i'm still not in an active status, wonder how many "high-speed" PFC's going to be PFCIC's out of basic and AIT haha

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Changes to Army Boot Camp

        Originally posted by Teuvil View Post
        Basic Training is to make them a SOLDIER, let AIT, schools, and the Unit train them to think.
        AMEN.

        That's one of the things the Marine Corps still does well in their boot camp.

        Let the discussions begin.......

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Changes to Army Boot Camp

          Instant obedience to orders something the corps does extremely well. teaching to think is great but learning to obey orders is the more important first step.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Changes to Army Boot Camp

            Instant obedience to orders is one thing the corps does extremely well. Initiative and critical thinking makes great troops but only if it is on a solid foundation of obedience. It wouldn't have went over well if one of my troops decided to question my orders when we were taking fire. Just my .02

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Changes to Army Boot Camp

              No offense to anyone, but reading this article makes me think back to Air Force Basic Training in the early 90's. (Yes, from what I have read they have even gotten softer now.) I'm 35 years old and heavily considering joining the national guard. The recruiter said I would only have to go through a Warrior Transition Course (WTC) and I was a little disappointed since I was looking forward to getting into better shape. Now I hear they are getting rid of the WTC program and I was like, "Yes"! Now I see this and remember how I went into Air Force basic in the best condition of my life and came out in worse condition. We actually had a small group of us that would do extra PT in the evening during our brief free time period to keep from cramping up from in-activity. I hope they don't take Army down to this physical fitness level.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Changes to Army Boot Camp

                Originally posted by Wobbly Emu View Post
                AMEN.

                That's one of the things the Marine Corps still does well in their boot camp.

                Let the discussions begin.......
                That and sending every Marine to "school of infantry" after boot camp prior to going to the school house or A school.

                In regards to the article; I agree with the CSM. There needs to be balance. Everybody in the military already knows that there are "too many chiefs and not enough indians". IMO I prefer the "shock and awe".....troopers debating leadership and the "why do I have to do that mentality" is a no-go. In the military you don't have free speech or 100% liberty. It is the do as I say not as I do and orders are not open for discussion.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Changes to Army Boot Camp

                  You can already see the effects of this in the units. My NCO's tell privates to do something, and instead of saying "yes sgt, moving".... We get "why sgt.. I need a reason to do it." Not being mean, but there was a reason behind the blind obedience. I understand they want them to think smarter and everything, but hesitating in battle to say why gets people k1lled.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Changes to Army Boot Camp

                    Originally posted by EOrsini View Post
                    You can already see the effects of this in the units. My NCO's tell privates to do something, and instead of saying "yes sgt, moving".... We get "why sgt.. I need a reason to do it." Not being mean, but there was a reason behind the blind obedience. I understand they want them to think smarter and everything, but hesitating in battle to say why gets people k1lled.
                    Amazing if those are the responses that you are over-hearing. Their first line needs to set the tone with that first initial counseling.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Changes to Army Boot Camp

                      I had a drill sgt back at The Benning School for Boys that hammer it in "you are not paid to think, you are paid to execute." During my most recent deployment, I heard wayy to much "aww cmon Sarge, why?" I would get on their cases "STFU, and carry on, you execute." I dont know what is going on but I do not like the new trend.

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