Army Working To Graduate More Recruits From Basic Training


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280PLUS
October 11, 2005, 02:07 PM
Inside The Army
October 10, 2005
Pg. 1

Army Working To Graduate More Recruits From Basic Training

The Army’s basic training paradigm is shifting from the hard-nosed drill sergeants of the past to “positive leaders” as the service works to graduate as many recruits as possible, according to Maj. Gen. Randal Castro, the Maneuver Support Center and Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, commanding general.

Over the past year, Ft. Leonard Wood officials have incorporated several positive leadership tactics into their basic training program -- some of them service-wide and others unique to the installation. They have contributed to a significant boost in the number of recruits who complete the program, Castro told Inside the Army Oct. 4.

In a five-month window, the two-star estimated that 900 additional soldiers have graduated from Ft. Leonard Wood’s basic training course than before the changes were made.

“It relates to the broader sense of trying to contribute to growing our Army and in a time when it’s tough to get a new recruit in . . . we need to do everything we can to graduate that person,” Castro said.

Army-wide, drill sergeants have taken on the role of squad leader, according to Sgt. Maj. William McDaniel, MANSCEN and Ft. Leonard Wood’s command sergeant major.

Under the new program, each drill sergeant is responsible for training, mentoring, educating and coaching the squad and is evaluated equally on each role, McDaniel said.

“The only drawback is that it takes more time for the drill sergeant to be a teacher, coach and mentor than it does to be a standard bear, ‘You either meet my standard or you’re out,’” Castro said. “Now it’s ‘If you don’t meet the standard I’m going to work with you. I’m going to coach you. I’m going to mentor you because I am very interested in you making it through here’ vs. just sending them out the door.”

Accordingly, the number of tasks that each recruit was taught under the old set up has been reduced to account for the time crunch, Castro added.

Unique to Ft. Leonard Wood’s basic training course is a shift to positive reinforcement, McDaniel said. More specifically, the installation has moved from a punishment-based paradigm to one designed around privileges.

For example, if recruits attain certain goals they may attain phone privileges or the use of things like GameBoys.

Despite the shift, Castro and McDaniel said the Army’s standards remain intact, and recruits are leaving basic training better prepared for combat and other roles.

As a recruit, “if I don’t measure up to the bar the first time, I’m going to try and try again until I meet that level of standards that the Army expects,” McDaniel added. “We will not let a soldier leave who is not prepared to fight.”

Additionally, changes in the field exercise arena have been incorporated into the basic training course to better prepare recruits for war.

Changes include issuing each recruit a weapon on the fourth day of training, renaming the training range map in Arabic, convoy ambush exercises, creating shoot-houses, additional field time and more, McDaniel said.

“We have people signing up to join the Army at a time of war and when we see and integrate the soldiers into the training base, it is unlike how it was during the Vietnam era,” McDaniel said. “We want them to know that we are proud that they are joining our ranks.”

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bountyhunter
October 11, 2005, 02:23 PM
Despite the shift, Castro and McDaniel said the Army’s standards remain intact, and recruits are leaving basic training better prepared for combat and other roles.


Lot's of nice words, but when you boil the BS out it comes out the same:

need more guys out = lower the standards

This has been tried before back when the services went all volunteer. The "kinder and gentler" approach to basic training didn't work. The most important function of basic training isn't to train or teach skills, it's to weed out the people who can not remain functional under the incomprehensible terror that combat generates.

Greg L
October 11, 2005, 02:30 PM
:what:

So they are teaching them less while giving them hugs & kisses and the trainers are evaluated (where a bad evaluation can be a career killer) on how many they "graduate".

:scrutiny:

[sarcam]Oh no, there is NOTHING wrong with THAT plan.

Good thing there isn't a war going on, that kind of thinking will get people killed in a hurry.[/sarcasm]

Biker
October 11, 2005, 02:44 PM
I started basic in Jan. of 1973 at Fort Ord, Cal. There was a whole lot of 'stick' and very little 'carrot'. We ran in boots with a steel pot and weapon and it was the most miserable time of my life. I swore I'd never get through it and I'd come back and kill every one of my Drill Sergeants. Since then, I can honestly say that what I learned there saved my life in more ways than can be counted. If I could, I'd shake the hand of every DS I served under at this point in time and thank them for nearly killing me, because if they hadn't, I'd likely be dead now.
Biker

45acpSHOOTER
October 11, 2005, 03:20 PM
For example, if recruits attain certain goals they may attain phone privileges or the use of things like GameBoys.


hmm, nintendo generation at its best. Cant cut the hard mustard.

MrTenX
October 11, 2005, 03:25 PM
Hey Biker,
I can relate. I started basic at Fort Ord (A-5-1) in Dec. of 72.
I have never been so cold, wet and miserable in my entire life.

Biker
October 11, 2005, 03:29 PM
Hah! I joined up in Hawaii and I thought that the weather would be OK in Cal. I was wrong! I can still feel the damp creep through my bones...
Then I went to Ft. Lewis for AIT for more dampness. You?
Biker

MrTenX
October 11, 2005, 04:07 PM
Yep. Being a native **********n thought I had it made. Was I mistaken.
Like you, I also went on to Fort Lewis and 10 more years of active duty in fun and interesting places.
PT uniform back in those days was unblousing your trousers from your boots and untucking your shirt.

Hawkmoon
October 11, 2005, 11:33 PM
This has been tried before back when the services went all volunteer. The "kinder and gentler" approach to basic training didn't work. The most important function of basic training isn't to train or teach skills, it's to weed out the people who can not remain functional under the incomprehensible terror that combat generates.
I disagree. I went through Basic at Fort Leonard Wood during the height of the Vietnam "conflict." (We were constantly reminded by the officers that it was a "conflict," not a war ... while we were constantly reminded by the drill sergeants that whenever people are shooting at you it's a war.) It has been more than a few years, but I remember much of it vividly. And what I remember is that between 60% and 70% of our "training" was nothing more than BS mind games perpetrated by sadistic DIs. Only 30% to maybe 40% of the "training" we received was in any way useful or preparatory to actually functioning as a soldier.

Want an example of how wonderful our training was? My 8 weeks of Basic spanned Christmas and New Years, and the entire post shut down for the holidays. Like it or not, all trainees took a 10-day leave and went home (or somewhere) from a couple of days before Christmas to a couple of days after New Years Day. My cycle completed the hand-to-hand combat module a day or two before we were summarily kicked out for the holiday. The lead instructor (who taught hand-to-hand, and was not one of the regular company cadre) finished up our last class, and then gave us a parting bit of fatherly advice:

"Remember, men, you have just completed the United States Army instruction in hand-to-hand combat. You are now trained killers. You're all going to be heading home for Christmas in a couple of days, so I want to leave you with a final thought. When you're back with your pals and you go bar hopping, don't get into any barroom brawls, 'cause you're gonna get your ass kicked. That is all."

Yessir, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside when I recall just how much those DIs cared about us trainees. I actually encountered one of my DIs much later, when I was in Vietnam. He was just as much of a sadistic, lying S.O.B. over there as he had been at FLW.

Anything that distracts DIs from fraternity hazing pranks and causes them to engage in instruction can only be positive. The side benefit is that the DIs who can do nothing except bark, and who don't really know jack about instructing, hopefully won't be able to hack having to actually teach, and may be replaced.

c_yeager
October 12, 2005, 03:34 AM
So let me get this straight.

They are currently graduating people who would have previously failed to complete Army boot camp? :uhoh:

Mixlesplick
October 12, 2005, 06:00 AM
Gameboys? In boot camp? :confused:

svtruth
October 12, 2005, 09:20 AM
If the new techniques are so great isn't the ociffer saying "we've been doing it all wrong for years"?

Sleeping Dog
October 12, 2005, 09:52 AM
Boot camp graduation was OPTIONAL? Nobody told me that when I went through it ('66). As far as I know, we all graduated, except for one thief and a couple of injured guys who probably recycled and graduated later.

Quitting was not an option. Or so I was told.

Regards.

bountyhunter
October 12, 2005, 04:42 PM
It has been more than a few years, but I remember much of it vividly. And what I remember is that between 60% and 70% of our "training" was nothing more than BS mind games perpetrated by sadistic DIs. Only 30% to maybe 40% of the "training" we received was in any way useful or preparatory to actually functioning as a soldier.

That is pretty much a restatement of what I said:

The most important function of basic training isn't to train or teach skills, it's to weed out the people who can not remain functional under the incomprehensible terror that combat generates.

Their mind games were nothing compared to what you would have gotten at the hanoi hilton.

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