So there I was age 18 trading my freedom & independence so other may keep theirs, exhausted fighting to keep my eyelids open, sitting on a bus elbow to elbow with people whom I’ve never met, traveling to a place I’ve never been, thinking about what was to come in the next couple of hours when finally, I arrived.
When I arrived at Fort Jackson I assumed I would be meeting my drill sergeants right away. But due to an overlap in basic training classes, I was staying in a place called Reception. I would be there until the drill sergeants came to take us to our units. There were about 35 of us in our group none of which were later assigned to my particular unit.
So the day finally came where our Drill Sergeants came to house us in our new units. Throughout reception we are all told that basic would be easier for us if we were all on our best behavior. I didn’t know it then but reflecting back on that day something tells me I should have known better. The Drill Sergeants came into the reception area and directed us to walk single file placing our bags on the duty truck and board the bus with our green duffel bag on our lap. There were two Drill Sargent’s on my particular bus one female and one male. They gave each of us a piece of paper with a number on it and proceeded to welcome us to Fort Jackson. By this point I was pretty relaxed and adjusted looking out the window when the Drill Sargent’s started yelling at us to complete specific tasks. They continued yelling at all of us until we arrived at our unit rushing us off the bus. I had to run to my platoon indicated by the numbers on the paper they gave us earlier. We spent the remainder of the day switching between front leaning rest position and getting yelled at. Finally, night came and we all laid down for bed. I remember thinking weather I could take five more months of this, before quickly falling asleep. I’ve always slept with the music on or some noise in the background, but not once did I ever have a problem sleeping as, you are too exhausted at the end of the day to worry about anything but sleep as you are quickly placed in a constant state of exhaustion during basic training.
You never truly know how strong the body is and the amount of abuse it can take until you are training to become a soldier. It was a once in a lifetime experience that despite all its challenges and doubts I had coming in changed me for the better making me the person I am today. The Military turned me from an arrogant, mouthy kid into a respectable adult. I did some awesome things and had the opportunity to meet some really cool people some of which I still keep in contact with today.