I know I looked for a bit more on RSP before my first drill. There are some good posts out there but I thought I’d add my own. Hopefully I cover something someone else missed. After a weigh in I was told I was in third platoon. I sat with some others in formation until we were told to stand. I knew the basics of standing at attention from MEPs and I just followed suit with everyone else for the other positions. There will be a lot of that your first drill. We had missed our October drill due to the government shutdown. That was supposed to be my Red Phase drill. Since I’m shipping out in January I was told I’d be in Blue Phase all weekend. That was only partially true, but I’ll cover that later. The SFC acting as First Sergeant that weekend came out and called the company to attention. Apparently he was not satisfied with our shouting out the company motto and soon the entire company was executing a half turn left and doing pushups. You’ll also learn to dread the words “front leaning rest position, MOVE!” After a few cursory seconds of pushing we were again called to attention and shouted out with remarkable vigor, “ONE FIGHT ONE TEAM RSP HOOAH!” The “hooahs” in an indoor gymnasium are thunderous. It’s such a small area that the sound echoes an unnaturally long amount of time. We were told our actual First Sergeant would be there tomorrow for drill, that he’d just gotten back from Drill Sergeant School in Fort Jackson. Joy. The SFC filling in for the weekend laid out our orders, told us to give everything our all, and told the cadre to take over. Our platoon sergeant called us to attention and not all of us knew our platoon motto. He ordered those of us who didn’t to learn it and we tried again. “STONE COLD LOCK AND LOUD BLOW IT UP HIT THE ROAD KILL!” From then on things moved very fast. I was told to go with Red Phase for a PT assessment and then I was called back into Blue. I spent most of the morning there in a classroom watching a Power Point presentation on resiliency and Basic Training. Everyone asked a lot of questions and I learned a lot. The NCO running that class was very helpful and even funny. The only notable thing that happened was someone falling asleep and we got taken outside and smoked. That did not feel good. It felt like we were holding the front leaning rest position for hours. It was not fun flopping to the concrete over and over, either. And then the jumping jacks. I have to admit, though, I later felt a sense of pride and joy in it. I had been a soldier on paper for a few months, and this was my first taste of corrective exercise. It was kind of neat, as weird as that sounds. After that we ate our lunch chow. It was a boxed meal containing a sandwich, fruit cup, cookies, candy, and a bottle of water. After that, we ended our first day by rejoining our companies, who were doing a room clearing exercise. They were all Green (split option soldiers who had attended BCT but not AIT) and White Phase. We were told to sit and watch. One final formation and the first day was over. The second day started much the same. Formation, company and platoon mottoes, hooahs (God it gets annoying!) all around. Then we had morning PT. It was very, very fun, but also very, very tough. I’d been doing what everyone told me to do and rocking out pushups, sit ups, and running, but you do a great deal of different PT than that. After a good deal of stretching we did all manners and varieties of pushups, crunches, flutter kicks, mountain climbers, cherry pickers. I truly lucked out that day and my three cadre members (all of whom are local recruiters who take turns doing RSP drills) had all been deployed and were exceedingly motivating. They taught me a lot. I couldn’t do every single exercise correctly for minutes on end but I never stopped trying. After that we went on a platoon run and shouted cadence. I was kind of disappointed. Running as any kind of unit is pretty slow and I hardly broke a sweat. It was very motivating to scream responses at the top of my lungs, however. Then we had a sprint competition and I’m happy to say a tied in my first one against a much younger soldier. A quick march inside and we were told to conduct personal hygiene and be back in formation within a certain amount of time. After that I was back in Red Phase. It’s much, much better being with your company than in Red Phase. I was immediately rushed into a classroom to review what Red Phase (which I hadn’t actually been in in) learned yesterday. Kids were getting smoked left, right, and center. Imagine as many people as you can possibly cram into a small classroom all trying to find space to do pushups. Anytime anyone got an answer wrong we were being dropped in pairs or singles or as a room. After all this we were brought outside, and put into formation. The unit’s First Sergeant, fresh from Drill Sergeant School, was there. Oddly enough, even though he was supposed to be the scariest NCO there, I liked him the best. It seemed like he was really there to teach us. We learned the differences between parade rest and at ease. I made sure to get into the front of the formation for that one. I got a lot out of it. Then we practiced marching and singing cadences before being brought inside for chow. Lunch (my unit doesn’t feed you breakfast or dinner) was excellent and continued to not disappoint. I’m a big eater, I love to eat, so excuse me if I keep going on about how good the food was, but I’d been afraid we’d be eating slop or something. But no, we got three meatballs on a quality roll, pasta, turkey in gravy, pulled pork, and salad. There was a great deal more but you are rushed all the time. After chow we stood in formation in the squad bay and we began to fear we’d get smoked for doing nothing. So four kids who went to local military academies began helping everyone practice drill and ceremony, marching, saluting, etc. Then we were all told to sit and a soldier stood and asked us various questions about Red Phase. What we liked, what we didn’t, etc. Then two Green Phase soldiers gave us a little speech about when it’s appropriate to wear your uniform in public and how to behave like a soldier in your uniform: no texting, don’t turn your hat backwards, etc. Then our Drill Sergeant stood amidst us as well, answering questions, giving advice on various policies. All of this is for your benefit so make sure you pay attention. The longer you do and engage cadre members to train you and answer questions the less time you’re doing PowerPoint slides or being PTed. That was the end of the second and final day, unfortunately. One final formation, our mottoes, a speech about when our next drill was, a breakdown of our performance, and we were done. I’ve honestly never had more fun in my life. I learned and did more in two days than I do in an entire month at my civilian job. Some points to remember: ALWAYS HAVE A BATTLE BUDDY! Never go anywhere on your own. Not to the latrine, not to your gear. Don’t let them catch you by yourself. RUN EVERYWHERE! No matter what you’re told to do, do it with a sense of urgency. Even if you have to break into a light jog crossing a room, do it! BE ON POINT! Listen to instructions and execute. Be at the right place at the right time. Turn off the part of your brain that complains. Never approach an NCO alone. Always greet them with the greeting of the day and “sergeant.” You’re First Sergeant and any Drill Sergeants are addressed as such. If you’re not running, i.e. walking up to a sergeant to ask a question, snap to attention, wait for them to address you, and then go to at ease. At first these rules may seem frustrating but the Army wants unconditional obedience when an order is given. There is leeway during Red Phase for this, but not for White, Blue, or Green. I saw soldiers in ACUs, Green Phase (who act as student teachers) getting dropped constantly. They expect more out of you after your second drill, so be prepared. WATCH OUT FOR YOUR BATTLE BUDDIES! Don’t let people fall asleep. Ever. If you feel tired, stand up and shake it off. If you see someone falling asleep, offer to stand with them. It shows solidarity, another thing they like. If someone is in the wrong position, uniform, anything, make sure they’re squared away. LISTEN TO THE RIGHT PEOPLE! After the cadre, a kind of pecking order develops. Green Phase soldiers have been to BCT but not AIT. Some may even be E-2, E-3, E-4, etc. Listen to what they say but don’t blindly follow them. They are not cadre members. They don’t issue orders. They do know what they’re doing so if they want to practice something while you’re not doing anything, do it. But if you received an order from an NCO you’d better make sure that is done first. There are going to be OCS candidates there, older guys. They are often tasked with being in charge, too. And I already mentioned kids who go to military schools. They’ll take over when no one else does and it’s always a good idea to learn from someone who knows what they’re doing. But don’t confuse any of these with your actual NCOs. And probably the most important thing of all… DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS! The NCOs are there to train you and help you. All the smokings, yelling, and alleged “mean” behavior from an NCO is done for a reason. Don’t take it personally, but do learn from it. If you don’t understand something, ask. Simple as that. You would much rather as a question than do something incorrectly.
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