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94 Echo --What it is like here @ Ft Gordon

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  • 94 Echo --What it is like here @ Ft Gordon


    I made it through BCT at Ft Jackson and have been here @ Ft Gordon for about a month.

    I will share my thoughts and comments about what it is like here and will be happy to answer any questions that I can.

    I arrived here on a Saturday, via GOV (a bus from BCT) and we went directly to a gymnasium bldg for our initial processing. The processing took a while, a few hours, for a small amt of tasks that needed to be done.

    Ft Gordon is full right now and it is backed up in a lot of areas, so it is quite slow. I have heard some complaints here about how the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing, etc etc. I will make some more personal comments on that as I go on.

    After the initial processing of getting your file in order, we were sent to our assigned companies. I am a 94 Echo (Radio ComSec Repairer), so I was sent to 73rd, Charlie Company. There is also Bravo company for the other 94's.

    The barracks are only 2 months old. I like them. They are clean, bright and cheery. They are medium sized rooms with 4 beds. For the first week, I only had to share my room with one other female. Nice! Nothing like the 60 person bay at BCT. The wall lockers are wooden and there is a study desk. The DFAC rocks. The food is delicious and the atmosphere is very positive. I went to the old defac last week, where 94's used to go, and it was dingy and dark in there.

    Once at the company area, I was assigned to a battle buddy to help me get situated for the day.

    I noticed that it was very different from BCT...much more laid back and relaxed. There are no drill sergeants, only sergeants and the scattered higher NCO's and officers.

    I observed right away that formations were not all clean and by the book.....lots of talking and fooling around going on. Only in the last week did the cadre get after us about the basics of formation, which everyone already knows. It keeps amazing me how much people will slack off when not supervised.

    One of the goals of AIT here is for soldiers to progress without constant supervision. For some this will be impossible because they are walking disasters...but for those that have discipline, you can gain privileges and enjoy them. But be careful! Too much alcohol and mix it with driving will get you restarted or re-classed which will suck big time.
    Last edited by c5c5c5; October 25th, 2009, 12:15 AM.

  • #2
    Re: 94 Echo --What it is like here @ Ft Gordon

    You will initially start off at "phase 4". Phase 4 basically has more mandatory formations during the week and on the weekends. Phase 4's do detail after the final formation each day, or anytime the sergeants feel like it. Phase 4's are not allowed off post and have to have upper phases take them to most places on post such as the PX or Barton Field. So basically, it is a very relaxed version of BCT.

    Smoking happens here, but it is wayyyyy toned down and not as frequent. I guess they are restricted in what they can do. The most common method used is just having the private get into the front leaning rest position. That's it. I could not believe it when I first saw......I was like....only this? Where are the countless Mountain Climbers and 8-count push-ups? Overhead arm claps for a zillion hours? Side straddle hops?

    Last week, a few privates pissed off the 1st Sgt and she took the whole company across the street to an open field to smoke us. I had to keep from laughing the whole time because it was NOTHING compared to BCT. We did maybe 20 pushups and then ran back and forth a few times. Since they are restricted in how far they can physically punish, it was a piece of cake. Which is kind of sad because it makes it feel like a joke and a waste of time.

    PT is stressed here with the reminder that now the individual soldier has to take responsibility and do their own PT to improve. I stress this because the PT they require us to do is good, but it is not enough for many to get 60 or better on the PT test. You HAVE to put in initiative in your free time and work out on your own.
    I have noticed that many here still cannot make even 50 on the PT test, which is sad. They will encourage you to train. PT tests are available regularly. You will get an initial diagnostic test within the first 2 weeks here. There are subsequent opportunities to take it again if you fail. And there is the EOC (End of Cycle) PT test to take as well.

    I would compare AIT here to a supervised college. We are given good amounts of freedom, even in Phase 4. I am now a phase 5 and it rocks. Phase 5's can go off post, wear civilian clothing, females can wear their hair down, use your own bedding, smoke, and have a much later bedtime curfew. Phase 5+, the highest phase here, has no curfew at all.

    I spent most of my day today taking Phase 4's to the PX and other stores in between their formations of the day. Phase 4's must take a phase 5 or 5+ with them off the company area. I made a lot of friends today for helping them out!

    The PX here is not as good as the big one at Ft Jackson. Ft J's was like a SuperWalmart, where this one is not as big and has slightly less selection. It is still good to go to and the food court is ok. They have Taco Bell, Anthony's Pizza, Popeyes, Baskin-Robins Ice Cream, RobinHood something or another sub shop, Charlie's, and a few other eating places. There is a Game Stop store connected right at the PX for those that want to purchase everything gaming.


    • #3
      Re: 94 Echo --What it is like here @ Ft Gordon

      Being a female who wants to do the right thing such as study and PT is difficult. The reason I say this is because females are a minority here. I don't even think we are 10 percent of Ft Gordon's students. That being the case, the pool of us available is quite small and it is very hard to find reliable battle buddies to do the things you wish, unless of course you want to party till you drop. No problems there. If you want to be a good student or do PT, good luck in finding battle buddies. The males have enough of each other to choose from to go to the gym or study hall (called "Open Learning") or Bible Study, etc etc. The females all all in the baracks next to Bravo, so we have a ways to walk in order to find our male battle buddies to make arrangements with. It sucks big time. Do not be caught going anywhere by yourself....I was busted a few days ago because I got so frustrated and said "f-it".

      This has frustrated me the most out of anything here. If I could have my way, I'd run at Barton Field every day, but the females here are either too lazy or too partied-out to come with me.

      Fireguard (CQ) is ok. I say "ok" because the bad equals the good. The good is that it is very sit in a comfy day room and can watch movies for your entire shift, or use your computer. While they frown upon sleeping, quite a few still do it and get away with it. The females have longer shifts since we are so few in number. Our shifts run anywhere from 6 to 12 hours long, while the males only get it in 2 hour shifts. However, the females get what is called "recovery" and that means that we get up to 4 hours of sleep time immediately after our shift if we need it. Occasionally the CQ sergeant will have fireguard do a task here and there, but for the most part, you just stay in the room and do whatever you want as long as you are there. I believe the males do more duties in their shifts, but it still is not hard at all. How hard is it to sweep the hallway in a mostly clean (because it is still so new) barracks building?

      The basic rules of your day are: unless you are on a specific duty, in formation, or any other required task of the day, you can do what you wish within you phase limitations. If it is 2pm on a Saturday, and you are a phase 4, all your duties are done and next formation is not until can sleep, eat (defac if still open or ordering out for delivery), shower, do laundry, hang out with friends in the company area, PT if you can find a battle buddy, go shopping with a phase 5 and above...anything! If you are a phase 5 and above, you have no formations! Pretty much the entire weekend is free for you to do as you please.

      They allow laptops here. I got one and I am glad. The company area here does not yet have wireless, so you have to either get a subscription service from Verizon, or go to the internet cafe(have to pay) or library (free wireless, but god-awful slow). I use my laptop to email my family and friends. They say that they will have wireless available for the barracks soon, but I would not count on it. Verizon makes you sign a 2 year contract and it costs about 60 bucks a month after you get the 1st month that has all the fees out of the way. If you have terrible credit, expect to plop down a 400 deposit for it. Other carriers are coming to the area, so the increased competition may drive down prices or at least offer better promotions.

      Cell phones are allowed but forbidden while on duty. They do not even want you having them in your possession while on duty. People continue to get busted for that almost everyday.....the young folks seem to not be capable of going without their phones for very long. I am old-school and have somehow learned to live without texting and being on the phone constantly.

      Buy a footlocker right away when you arrive here. They require locks with keys and frown upon combination ones. You can keep your electronics and other personal stuff in your footlocker. Your main wall locker may have some room left in it after you unpack, but if you follow their SOP, you are limited to putting personal items just anywhere in it.

      They stress keeping your valuables locked up here. If a sergeant is doing bed check and catches some of your stuff unsecured, he/she will take it from you. Yes, there are thieves here. It is wise to listen to the cadre on this (and most other matters in my opinion.)

      Your typical weekday will start off with early PT formation at 4:45. On time here means arriving at least 10 minutes early. The recent crack-down stressed this. So that means getting up early, which should not be too much of a problem if you are coming here straight from BCT.

      Once we arrive at early formation, they take roll call and we stand around for about a half hour. I hate it, but they have a reason for doing it which I do not understand so I will not get into it here right now. We march to Barton Field for PT. There are different activities each weekday. One day consists of doing push-ups, sit-ups and other exercises. They do CD1 here before the morning activity. Another day is 60/120's, while usually Fridays are a company run around Barton Field, which equals about 3 miles. Thursdays are usually the PT test day for new ones. This last Thursday we played football. The sergeant in charge though it would be nice for a change. I chose not to participate so that I could avoid unnecessary injury, so I basically did not get any PT in! I had a good time being a cheerleader.

      When done, we march back to the company area, listen to any announcements or comments from the CQ sergeant. Then we are dismissed until 07:45, needing to eat, shower if you wish, and do your assigned daily barrack's maintenance chore. If you time it right and have a good battle buddy handy, you could have a half hour or more to eat. This is one nice potentially have lots of time to eat. It all depends on how fast you are at your other options and how you manage your time.

      Once back in formation, we march to the edge of the company area and board buses to take us to school.

      We are bused back at lunch, go back to school, and then return later in the afternoon. There is final formation for phase 5 and up. Phase 4 gets at least another one later where they are assigned some type of (usually) easy detail such as sweeping sidewalks and kicking pebbles back into place.

      School consists of sitting in front of a computer for the day doing your classes at your own pace. There are at least 2 instructors (both civilian and military) to help you when you need it. They enforce the rules. They allow MP3 players because they found that the students do better and talk less with them available.

      We start off with BET (Basic Electronics Training). You go at your own pace and learn the basics. Some people who are good with math and in electronics comprehension can sail through it in a matter of a few weeks, while other take a lot longer. I take lots of notes and go at a slow pace so that I can absorb it all and remember it.

      Once one finishes BET, they move on to what is called "Course". Course is where you get the actual hands on training of what a 94 will be doing. Some say it is very boring. Everyone still looks forward to it. Not sure why because I enjoy learning.

      When one is done with Course, they spend a week out in the field. They are issued the M16 and all that good old battle rattle again. Once that is done, they tie up loose ends and then graduate once their orders are ready.

      They say in my orders this whole process will take me about 6 months. They are trying to push people through fast since they have so many here, and many are getting out in 4-5 months. If you are high speed and good, you could get out even sooner.

      My advice is to phase up as soon as you can. This involves doing some memorization of some company and battalion songs, creeds, ranks, etc. They do a Class A's and wall locker inspection as well. Once you pass all these tests along with the PT test, you can phase up to 5. 5+ gets harder, more to memorize and do. The freedom you earn is wonderful. You can have it revoked for misbehaving and they sock it to you with alcohol infractions.

      I hope this info helps some of you with questions on what it is like. I will write more next time I log on


      • #4
        Re: 94 Echo --What it is like here @ Ft Gordon



        You haven't seen this guy yet.

        Most of the equipment that we learn in the Echo class we don't use anymore, but it's easy so far Comsec gets alittle harder
        Last edited by Recruiter yosis; October 25th, 2009, 12:34 AM.


        • #5
          Re: 94 Echo --What it is like here @ Ft Gordon

          Great description. I love details and even though the story may be long at times, I always learn something new. Thanks.


          • #6
            Re: 94 Echo --What it is like here @ Ft Gordon

            This is great to hear, especially from another female. I will be heading to Gordon 21 Jan for 25B (Information Technology Specialist) AIT. Are all females housed together no matter MOS?

            That is a bummer to hear most of the females you are there with are too lazy or tired from partying to go workout. If I was there, I would totally join you for it because that is what I plan on doing while there. Maybe it will be better? Doubt it...


            • #7
              Re: 94 Echo --What it is like here @ Ft Gordon

              Great to hear you will be coming here.

              Since you are a 25B, your experience will be a little different. The 25's are in another Battalion and their policies may be very different from mine (73rd).

              I have heard that 25's, especially 25U, are way backed up. There may be a possibility that you will be on hold here for a bit. I can't say for certain, it is just what I have heard from a few buddies of mine who are there.

              If your battalion will be like ours, all the females of the same MOS are together in one of the barracks. Our barracks has a mixture of 94's...some Echo, Foxtrot, Lima, etc...but all are 94's. The males in our company and in Bravo are all 94's as well.

              Right now, we only fill up 1/2 of the new barracks bldg, so the other half is used for males who do not have a permanent room just yet.

              Yes, it is aggravating that females here just do not prioritize PT. I had at least 2 new females last week promise me they would do lots of PT because they agreed with me that it was impt.......I have yet to see them get off their butts to do anything constructive. They have plenty of time to go to the PX or hang out, but not self-improvement.

              On the bright side, what running I can get in has paid off.....I scored decent on my EOC today. They host a lot of marathons and I have signed up for every one to take advantage of some sanctioned time to run! One of the sergeants takes us to the "hill" every other Saturday.....very very good exercise. I may have to organize some more regular trips there now that I have phase privileges to do so.

              Hope you enjoy your time here. January is coming quick.


              • #8
                Re: 94 Echo --What it is like here @ Ft Gordon

                I've heard for a while now that Gordon is just backed up period. I don't mind having my time there extended slightly, I'll be there 25 weeks, what are a few more? As long as I get paid and am able to do PT while waiting around.

                Yeah January is coming quick. I am ready to go, but also not. I have been battling some pretty back shin splints for about 3 months now, and I am just now being able to start doing jogging/walking intervals. That is why I want to be able to do PT on my own while at AIT because I know I will need it.

                What sorts of things are there to do on base during weekends and such? I know there is a bowling alley, anything else fun?


                • #9
                  Re: 94 Echo --What it is like here @ Ft Gordon

                  Good luck on those shin splints....they are very common! Thankfully I never had them bad, when I did have them. My problem is my bunion on my right foot....I can thank myself for wearing those small in the front, pointy high heels all those years. I now have to have shoes that are extra wide in the toe box to accommodate the bunion. It is very painful when pressure is put on it. I sometimes wear the gel pads, but they are a pain to keep on when active.

                  You asked what there was to do on base besides the bowling alley.

                  --Go to the PX. As boring as that is when you have done it so much, it is a chance to get out and walk a bit and get out of the barracks.

                  --There is a dinner comedy theater. Not sure when the shows are or how often they run them, but it is there and looks interesting.

                  --Movie theater.

                  --Riding stables (?) I put a question there because I have only heard of them. Never seen them.

                  --IET Center. Kinda of an entertainment place where some go to watch sports games and eat. They have pool tables, etc.

                  --Various fast food places like Burger King, Godfather's pizza, and chinese restaruants.

                  --Library. Just got myself registered last week. Love going there!

                  That is all I can think of at the moment. I'll bump a complete list when I find one.


                  • #10
                    Re: 94 Echo --What it is like here @ Ft Gordon

                    I know I have a different MOS, but is all the coursework done in the classroom, or do you have homework/reading you have to do outside of the classroom as well?

                    I like the idea of the library... I am sure I will find things to do that don't cost a ton of money!


                    • #11
                      Re: 94 Echo --What it is like here @ Ft Gordon

                      You asked about homework.

                      Again, 25's might be different from 94's. 94's do all their schoolwork on the computer, there is no homework. 25's may have a different setup.

                      I checked out a Basic Electronics book from the library before I went to BCT and the info there did prime me for what we are learning here.

                      I am assuming that you will not have homework. There is Study Hall available though for those that want to put in a few extra hours of classroom time later in the evening.


                      • #12
                        Re: 94 Echo --What it is like here @ Ft Gordon

                        Sweet, thanks for the help!


                        • #13
                          Re: 94 Echo --What it is like here @ Ft Gordon

                          Originally posted by c5c5c5

                          One of the goals of AIT here is for soldiers to progress without constant supervision. For some this will be impossible because they are walking disasters...but for those that have discipline, you can gain privileges and enjoy them. But be careful! Too much alcohol and mix it with driving will get you restarted or re-classed which will suck big time.
                          Hi. How r u doing? You made a good point here. I just want to advise you : Stay away from the hotel room parties, please!! I saw some females from my company (Bravo) get involved in scandals and moral degradation (you know what I am talking about).

                          Other than that, you did a great description of AIT-Fort gordon. I spent 19 weeks there from May to Sep 2009 as an 94F. Good luck.

                          PV2 Montoya
                          Army National Guard
                          Charlotte, NC


                          • #14
                            Re: 94 Echo --What it is like here @ Ft Gordon

                            Interesting to see how the school has changed since I went through in '03. We still had drill sergeants (although slightly more laid back than bct) and a lot less privileges on phases 4 and 5. 5+ still sounds about the same. Keep yourself out of trouble, and keep up the good work.


                            • #15
                              Re: 94 Echo --What it is like here @ Ft Gordon

                              Lots of useful info! thank you. I am a 94f and am gonna be there for 25 weeks starting in march, but from what you said i might get out earlier, as math and electronics are a breeze for me.

                              I have heard that in phase 5 you can have POV's. I have thought about buying a bike while i was down there, and riding it back when i was done with training. would it be feasable at all?

                              my one other question is what about having instruments? I play guitar and the time at basic is gonna be tough enough not being able to practice any.