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He'S In The Army Now...


KevinG

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My return missionary son is going to Basic Training at Fort Benning GA next week to start his Army career... I'm incredibly proud of him and look forward to his completing Basic and going on to TX to train as a medic. I even cut his hair in the prescribed fashion then invited him to do the same to me. All of us boys went hairless in solidarity with him. My wife says I'm more Uncle Fester than Patrick Stewart but she will forgive me as it grows out.

I'd like to provide him with some good advice but not having been a soldier I can only "wing it" with any advice outside of a Fathers blessing. His grandpa went through Basic in the 50's but he was not a member of the LDS Church.

So for you LDS soldiers and vets who enlisted as a young man (especially a Temple Endowed YM)...

What is your advice in a sentence or two for my son to survive and thrive in Basic and the Army?

I will collect your thoughts and share them with him in a few days. If the advice is of a personal or sacred nature (handling the Garment or other private issues) - PM me and I will add your advice to my letter to him.

Thanks for helping this proud papa!

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Congrats to your son.

The military can be a rewarding life, and a chance to be a better man than he was before. By the same token the tempatations and distractions of military life can play havoc on a persons testamony. My advice as a former Air Force sergeant stay close to the Church, go to all your reguarly scheduled meetings as your military commitments allow. Be faithful to your commitments to the Church, and the military. Do you best to bring honor and respect to your profession, and you beliefs.

Edited by thesometimesaint
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My return missionary son is going to Basic Training at Fort Benning GA next week to start his Army career... I'm incredibly proud of him and look forward to his completing Basic and going on to TX to train as a medic. I even cut his hair in the prescribed fashion then invited him to do the same to me. All of us boys went hairless in solidarity with him. My wife says I'm more Uncle Fester than Patrick Stewart but she will forgive me as it grows out.

I'd like to provide him with some good advice but not having been a soldier I can only "wing it" with any advice outside of a Fathers blessing. His grandpa went through Basic in the 50's but he was not a member of the LDS Church.

So for you LDS soldiers and vets who enlisted as a young man (especially a Temple Endowed YM)...

What is your advice in a sentence or two for my son to survive and thrive in Basic and the Army?

I will collect your thoughts and share them with him in a few days. If the advice is of a personal or sacred nature (handling the Garment or other private issues) - PM me and I will add your advice to my letter to him.

Thanks for helping this proud papa!

- - -

Congratualtions and kudos to your brave son. When I was in ROTC I was bunked with a return missionary who conintued his mission work among those in our company. The best advice he can get he already knows from his mission. The military, like a mission, is physical, mental, and emotional all at the same time. Remember why he is there and continued with his beliefs and he should be fine. And I definitely agree with "The Nehor"; Never volunteer for anything, especially KP on a July 4th weekend. (sadly remembering.)

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Lovely - thank you all and keep the comments coming.

His Grandpa sent me a few goodies - my favorite was " Don't worry if you get your a-- chewed. It grows back. And it doesn't leave scars. ."

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Basic is meant to stress people, to continually make them improve. So many people go in and take the constant stress, and the constant inability to meet standards personally. These people make it hard on themselves.

They need to know that the trainers will never let them know they are reaching the standards. If the troops are excellent the trainers will still find something lacking. They will make something up if needed. Some of the trainers never break character. Sometimes this is good, sometimes bad, depending on the level of maturity and drive among the troops.

Whatever the case, let him know that he shouldn't take things personally on basic. It's essentially a game, a role playing game, and he needs to learn his role and willingly play it.

Along with not volunteering for things, don't try to stand out! Don't try to be better than your teammates because basic is all about developing teamwork. If his bed is perfect and his buddy's bed isn't then he's doing it wrong. In most cases you'd think that making your bed the best is correct. But on basic they are trying to develop your awareness to work as a unit. The measures of success are always relative and he has to quickly learn to shift his ideas to accommodate the purpose of the course (well, not just for the sake of the course, but for the sake of operating as a unit in high pressure situations).

Edited by oats
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Dittoes on what Oat said, except where he wrote: "If his bed is perfect and his buddy's bed isn't then he's doing it wrong." I don't think he meant that he should make his bed just like his buddy's, but if once he gets his bed made correctly and his buddy's isn't correct, then he should help his buddy get his own squared away. He should always make sure he gets his own stuff together first, then help his team-mates, unless the stuff in question is a teamwork problem, then it's all together.

He should never refer to his battle implement as a "rifle" or a "gun". It is a WEAPON.

He should NOT call a Drill Sergeant "Sir" if he knows what good for him. He calls a Drill Sergeant "Drill Sergeant". Only officers get called "Sir".

He will hear a lot of profanity, probably a lot more than he has ever heard. A lot of it will contain gross sexual references.

I was in Basic in 1975, after my own mission. I loved it, even the uncomfortable and exhausting parts. But then again, I had wanted to join the Army practically my entire life and I knew a lot about it already. One of my drill sergeants thought I was a CID undercover agent because I knew so much. (CID = Criminal Investigation Division, now know as Criminal Investigation Command) Or that's what he said, anyway. Later, it occurred to me that had I really been CID undercover I would have acted deliberately bad so as to ferret out things on the edge. Not like goody two-shoes.

Hey, don't laugh, I got promoted to E-2 out of Basic because I was goody two-shoes!

Congratulations to your son for wishing to contribute to our national safety! In case he was unaware of it, amongst combat arms troops the medics have a certain amount of high status because the guys want to make sure that "Doc" (the common field nickname for a medic), being the one who may save their lives someday when they get wounded, is treated well.

And watch out for "GI Gin". I don't know if it is still in the inventory, but it is cough medicine used in the field that is extremely powerful, including having an extremely high alcohol content. I got some once when I had a bad sore throat in a two week field problem during the winter in Alaska. Whew! A good Mormon boy like me didn't hardly know what to think of that. But it was medicine, right? So I took it. Oh. My. Gosh.

Edited by Stargazer
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My dad was in the Coast Guard, and I seriously considered enlisting for awhile but ultimately decided against it. It's great to hear about your son, though. I have so much respect for people who choose to serve this country and I pray that God keeps him and all others safe. Please tell him thank you for me!

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If he didn't get the military briefing that the SP or designee is suppose to give, along with the video and the tiny scriptures, you can probably get them and ship them to him.

If he doesn't know that he can get garments in uniform colors, then please tell him.

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