Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Asheville and Greenville Recruiting Company Future Soldiers prepare for basic training

Story and photos by Cpt. Joshua Edwards
Asheville Company Commander

Future Soldiers learning drill and ceremony.
Most Future Soldiers say that one of their biggest fears about attending Army Basic Training is meeting their Drill Sergeant. They are scared of being yelled at or having a scene enacted like something similar to the one from the movie Full Metal Jacket.

Drill Sergeants first meet the Army’s newest Soldiers at the Reception Battalion at basic training. On Feb. 20, 2016, however, Future Soldiers and Drill Sergeants alike had the chance to see each other before basic training. Thirty-eight Future Soldiers from the Asheville and Greenville Recruiting Companies attended a Future Soldier Event with Drill Sergeants and Drill Sergeant Candidates from the 1st Battalion, 518th Infantry Regiment, 98th Training Division (IET).
Future Soldiers learn how to assemble and disassemble an M-16 weapon.
The Drill Sergeants provided hands-on training in Physical Readiness Training land navigation, drill and ceremony, and assembly and disassembly of an M-16. Most of the Future Soldiers have never held an M-16 before and thought that the experience was helpful. “I loved learning about the gun. I feel more confident around weapons now,” said Pvt. Sydney Nichols, from the Asheville Recruiting Center. Pvt. Elijah Williams, from Hickory Recruiting Center, agreed. “The weapons training made me more ready for basic (training).”
Future Soldiers learning map reading.

Another new experience was land navigation. Many Future Soldiers never used a map and protractor. They were instructed in the major and minor terrain features on a military map and taught how to find those features on the ever-present Tenino Map. While it was just a taste of what a person needs to learn about map reading, it was enough to give the Future Soldiers more confidence as they prepare for Basic Training. “I had no clue how to read a map. The knuckle thing was helpful in identifying features,” Nichols said. The Army uses the human hand to teach how to recognize the major and minor terrain features as found on a map on in real life, with the knuckles demonstrating, ridgelines, valleys and hills.
At the end the Future Soldiers were tired, but excited to begin their Army journey. Some found this training an incentive to better prepare for basic training.  “I found out I’m not as far along physically as I’d like,” said PVT Matthew Fuselier, from the Hickory Recruiting Center. 

For the drill sergeants it was a great chance to brush up on instruction skills before they mobilize to help train privates at basic training this summer. “For us it helps relieve the monotony of weekend Battle Assemblies,” said Staff Sgt. Angela Lee, who is an Army Reserve drill sergeant. “It keeps us engaged and forces us as drill sergeants to keep up with our skills so that we’re not teaching these kids the wrong thing. That’s a win-win for everybody.”

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