The Making of a Soldier–Part 3

This weekend officially started the 2nd phase of Charley’s Basic Training — called “White Phase”.

The BEST part of this phase is that once a week he gets his phone to make a short call! We got ours last night and he’s doing great! He loves the things he has learned so far and is performing very well! I can’t believe he has been gone a month yesterday already!!!!

He is LOVING the letters & cards, even though because HE has received so many the Drill Sergeant is making him perform 10 push-ups per letter. The first time for mail call he received 11 letters and didn’t have to do any push-ups, but Monday he received 9 and he did 90 push-ups! He said it was SO worth it! Keep those letters and cards coming and if you need his address, please let me know.

Here is what they are doing in White Phase:

“White Phase“, is where soldiers begin actually firing weapons. With the service rifle, the M4 Carbine or M16A1 Assault Rifle, they will fire at various targets, which are progressively farther-and-farther down range, making each successive target more difficult to hit. You are required to shoot at least 28 out of the 40 targets that pop up. You will gain the skill of “Marksman”, “Sharpshooter”, or “Expert” depending on how many of the 40 targets you shoot. Additionally, there are pop-up targets at long range. Other weapons the soldier becomes familiarized with include various grenades (such as the M67 fragmentation grenade), grenade launchers (such as the M203 grenade launcher) and machine guns such as the M240B and M249 SAW “Squad Automatic Weapon”, Soldiers will also be familiarized with the M2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun, referred to as the “MA deuce”, as well as the MK-19 (called Mark 19) which shoots 40mm grenades over 3000 meters.

The second week of White Phase involves familiarization with anti-tank/armor weaponry and other heavy weapons. There is also an obstacle course which the soldiers are expected to negotiate in a certain amount of time. This is also known as the confidence course since the main objective of running the course is to build self-confidence. There is also the expectation of working as a team with the assigned Battle Buddy.

Additionally, there is continual, intense physical training, as well as drill and ceremony training. At the conclusion of White Phase, soldiers are expected to demonstrate proficiency with the various weaponry in which they trained, using numerous “go or no-go” (pass/fail) exercises, prior to being allowed to move on to Blue Phase. There will also be an off-record PT test in White Phase, which is for the drill sergeants to assess where you are in your physical fitness goals.

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The Making of a Soldier — Part 2

So, I got a few texts from my soldier yesterday! BOY, did that make my day! He is enjoying it so far and has already been given 2 nicknames–1 is SGT because he is taking a leadership role and helping those who don’t know what to do and the other is Crimson Chin (never heard of this before, but Hunter had) because he has a large chin. I think it must just look larger without hair on it! LOL!

Charley 1

So, they finished with Reception yesterday and today he is beginning his actual Basic Training Combat or BCT!  Weeks 1-3 are called Red Phase. Here is some of what he will be doing and learning this week:

  • Ballistics & Rifle Marksmanship Fundamentals
  • Personal Financial Management
  • Law of Land Warfare
  • Uniform Code of Military Justice (Military Law)
  • Dismounted Land Navigation (using a map & compass)
  • Fundamentals of Physical Readiness
  • Nutrition
  • Rappelling & navigating rope bridges
  • Drill & Ceremonies (marching)
  • Nuclear, Biological & Chemical (NBC) Defense (Gas Chamber)
  • Fieldcraft
  • Patrolling

These next 3 weeks are very compact in learning. We should hear from him this weekend with his address–he will have apprx 2-3 min to talk–then we won’t hear from him during the next 3 weeks and possibly more. They do this to help the soldiers get into their routine, help with homesickness and keep them focused on the training they are going through.

This is a hard time for them because life as they know it changes drastically during this time, but there are lots of things they will enjoy as well. I know Charley will really like the shooting, rappelling & gas chamber. Well, maybe he won’t “enjoy” the gas chamber, but I know our oldest Chris felt a sense of accomplishment when he completed that part! It is tough!

I can’t wait to get an address and be able to get letters from him! It will be nice to hear how he’s adjusting. He told me yesterday that he had made some friends, but that he was the only person from Tennessee there. I just told him to make TN proud! 🙂

The Making of a Soldier – Part 1

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Our middle son left for Basic Training Monday. Oh, how it is hard to let them go, but it’s going to be SUCH a good thing for him!

Sunday, one of our friends said some great words about him and us and the church had prayer for him. Jim said that the Army will do what Christ does for us, they will strip away all the old and make him new. He will not only be a soldier for The Lord, he will be a soldier in the Army.

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Monday morning we dropped him off and he was on his way to Ft. Jackson, SC. Some people don’t know what goes on at Basic Training, so I’m going to keep you informed on each “phase” of his training.

Reception
This week, Charley will be Re-doing some things he’s already done due to already having reported for National Guard drill a few times as well as some new things.

They get dental, visual & medical evaluations, blood drawn, shots and also such things as setting up their pay. They are paid twice monthly active duty pay for Basic Training (BCT) and Advanced Individualized Training (AIT). AIT is the second step where they train you in your particular field of specialty. Think of it like going to a Community College and then transferring to a University. 🙂

So far, we haven’t heard from him. When you have a family member go to Basic, they are adults, so they (the military bases) aren’t required to let you know they have arrived safely. Since our oldest son Chris has also gone through this process, it has helped us to know what to expect.

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We should hear from him sometime this week once he is finished with Reception and knows his Brigade & Company assignment. That is how we will know what his mailing address is…..and I have already started my letters! I want to encourage him as much as I can during these first few weeks because they are the hardest.

I just ask that you please pray for ALL of our military and especially for these new young men & women who are preparing to enter a new stage in their lives. I am collecting encouraging bible verses for him, so if you have any that would encourage these young soldiers, I would be honored if you would share them.

I have a friend that has also offered to have her class write letters to Charley as part of their writing for school. I know he would LOVE to get letters and especially homemade cards or letters from kids. He most definitely has a place in his heart when it comes to children. Just let me know and I will send you a private message with his address. He is not able to receive care packages or anything beyond cards & letters (no money, candy, etc.).

Thanks for all the prayers so far and for the encouraging words. We know he is doing a great thing, so that makes it much more rewarding even though we will miss him. Keep checking back because I will devote several blog posts to “The Making of a Soldier”!