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How to survive Basic Training

By Edited Oct 27, 2013 0 2

This is a tongue-in-cheek guide for those about to go in, or considering joining our wonderful armed forces. SO, if you are about to go into the Armed Forces, or are considering the Armed Forces, read on.

Things You Will Need

Entry in one of the Armed Forces.

Step 1

Understand that you just joined, or are about to join, one of the largest brotherhoods in the US and perhaps the world. You are not there alone, (although it may seem it at sometimes) you are there with millions of members before you and several scared out of their wits standing right beside you. The rational behind the way they treat you in basic training is one that has turned losers into winners, loners into a friend, and makes life long friends out of total strangers that wouldn't have taken a second look at each other before this moment in time.

Believe in the system. It might be hard to understand their training methods, but BELIEVE IN THE SYSTEM!

Step 2

That being said, let me tell you what to expect.

In order to join the Armed Services, you will take several tests, mental, written, and physical. Those tests will determine whether you can join and in what areas your natural talents lie. Once completed, they will tell you what kind of job you can obtain through the military.

You decide which one you'd like and sign on the dotted line. They will swear you in and give you a departure date. Although you haven't left home yet, everything you now do affects your military career. Your butt is theirs.

On your departure date, you will arrive at MEPS early in the morning. This is when you'll say goodbye to your parents.

You are now part of the "hurry up and wait" scheme of things. Get used to it. You will walk around MEPS probably the entire day waiting for transport to take you to the airport and begin your travel to the base responsible for training. While you're there, make friends. All those new faces are in the same boat you are.

Soon, transport will arrive to take you to the waiting airplane and you're off!

Step 3

When your plane finally lands, the harsh environment of basic training starts sinking in as you are rudely gotten off the plane, expected to grab your luggage in seconds, then asked to stand around again on the tarmac, waiting for entrance onto the bus that will take you to your basic training location. Things progressively get worse from there.

Once they have you at your base, you will be asked to stand in many different lines as you get ready for your spiffy new haircut (TOTAL shaving of the head), your shots, and a new set of BC glasses. (BC glasses are actually 'birth control' glasses cause there's no way in heck you are gonna get laid while wearing them.)

While you are on all those lines, kicking your luggage forward every couple of steps, be sure to check out all the scars on everybody's shaved heads. Should open up new lines of conversation.

After this, you'll be shown to your new barracks and have your luggage taken from you. You will not see your luggage again until the week you leave basic training. You will have but two or three calls to family for the entire time you are there, but you'll have some letter writing time.

Step 4

Now that you have no luggage, the military will provide you with new sets of everything like t-shirts, BDU's (Battle Dress Uniforms) and boots. Then they'll give you some money to purchase undies, socks, toothpaste and toothbrushes in their tiny military store. Spend wisely! They will provide you with a list of things you should buy. At this point, you should have made some buddies, so get together with them and have one person buy shampoo ( you have no hair- use a bar of soap!), one get shoe shine, etc. Your money will last longer.

Your first day was a tailspin of things happening to you in order to get you ready for basic training. As you snuggle for the evening into your new bed/cot, you hear someone bugling "Taps" in the distance to signify the end of the day. Lights out, dorms quiet, everyone in bed. Go to sleep.

Now comes the fun part....

Step 5

Your first night in your new bed brings a loud trumpet call singing out the familiar "Reveille" at 4 in the morning over the loud speakers, soon followed by the entrance of your TI banging into the room, kicking beds and shouting at the top of his voice. It's time to wake up!

You have two minutes to go to the bathroom, brush your teeth and put on all those new clothes you got yesterday. The TI is still screaming at you to hurry up and get downstairs. Don't forget to pee. Run down the stairs half dressed and finish outside.

Downstairs, you kind of hang out with the other new recruits while waiting for instructions and the rest of your bunkmates to get out of the barracks. Try like heck to not be last! Once the TI has gotten everybody downstairs, you will learn how to form a line and spread out properly. Once that is done, the TI will look you all over and yell about the way you dressed and how your mama isn't here to do it for you.

This is all part of the game. It may seem harsh and unfair the way he yells at you recruits, but there is a reason for it. Just play the game, be respectful and take your lumps. You'll live.

You will go along your day learning about chow hall protocol, the correct way to salute a passing officer, how to fold your t-shirts into a square, 6" by 6". You will also learn how to make your bedding so tight a quarter could bounce from it, how to align your shoes by the foot of your bed, and EXACTLY how they want your underwear drawer to look. Oh yes, in a few days, your instructor will pick the absolute worst loser in the squadron to become your leader. This person will procede to march you into oncoming traffic and against walls. Over and over.

You may think this is all ridiculous stuff to learn. You may think that the instructor will realize he's made a drastic mistake and pick a better leader but it won't happen. There is a reason for it. There is also a reason for why they don't give you enough time in the day to do everything the way they said to do it.

Once you realize you are stuck with the idiot leader, you, as a team, will start to march as a unit. You don't want to look stupid marching into walls. You don't want near misses with the Base Commander's car. So you begin to march as one, learning to turn sharply, even when your leader doesn't tell you. You stop before the wall, even though your leader forgot to stop you. And you dress up your lines long before the leader has even shown up.

This is called teamwork and this is exactly what the TIs have in mind. You will work as ONE UNIT, and not fifty individuals.

Step 6

By now, you are under constant inspections and probably failing a lot of them with so little time to get your shirt just right in your drawer of undies. Your sheets won't bounce a quarter and your boots are just plain ugly.

Pay attention who keeps passing what inspections and you will start to see that some are really good at boot shine inspection, another good at the undie drawer, another good at passing muster on his bed- making, and finally, someone will be an expert at turning out those 6 inch square t-shirts.

Start trading skills. Let the bed maker make all the beds, the shoe shiner do the boots, the 6' t-shirt ironer do the shirts. Pretty soon, everyone will start passing inspections and the TI will realize that you've finally figured out the game and started working together as a unit.

In another office far away, after "Taps" has sounded for the evening, all the TI's get together in an office and talk about their recruits. Surprise, surprise, they are not angry or shouting, they are actually laughing and having fun. These guys are human!

Step 7

***Here are important hints to make it through Basic Training***

a)Make friends and trade skills.
b)Buff the floors BEFORE you align the beds.

***And the number prank to play on your TI*****
Spray the floor with spray starch before you buff them! He'll walk onto a slipperier-than-snot floor, maybe fall on his butt and yell at you, but in the private office with his other buddies, he'll tell them that you've discovered the spray starch trick and they'll all laugh.
I hope that I haven't scared you away from joining the military. Understand this, the military, no matter what branch you choose, is an expert at turning around complete losers. They will humble the big star athlete and give a back bone to the meek and mild.

They will instill a sense of pride like you've never felt before. A pride you can't see, but everyone you meet from then on will think there is something special about you.

Upon leaving Basic Training, just by the new way you walk and throw your shoulders back, you will command respect from people who have never given you respect before.

The military can change any loser into a complete winner.

You deserve to be a winner.

Tips & Warnings



Nov 15, 2010 9:35am
"The military can change ANY loser into a complete winner." I must respectfully disagree for two reasons. Firstly, this is why the military branches have apptitude tests to determine if someone is a "good fit" for that particular branch of service. Contrary to popular opinion, the military does not take everyone, they have a pre-screening and hiring process just like any other employer would. Secondly, many jails and prisons in the United States have run "boot camp" programs for their inmates, both with juveniles and adults. Some were successful, some failed misreably, and others became more violent afterwards. If you don't believe me, read the research reports. I think this is because unlike the military, they don't have the option of finding the most qualified recruits. Furthermore, sexual harrasment is prevalent in the Army, Navy and Marines (based on government documents). The Airforce has a great record and treats women well. I have personally known, and still know, many people (mostly males) who have served in the military. On the whole, they are short-tempered, eventhough only a few of them have actually seen combat. I have also known of people, who after leaving the military, became gangsters, alcoholics, and drug-addicts. WHY? I think this is because the military imposes great stress on people often requiring them to work 24 hour shifts, 5 days per week, months at a time. Also, many former service members never fully adjust to civilian life, characterizing civilians as rude, lazy, undisciplined, obese, etc. I don't blame them. It really depends on what standards you use. Compared to the military, civilians are mostly lazy, obese, disrespectful, and so on. But who wants to live life under constant stress, not to mention the trauma of war. Great article, helpful and well written. Please don't be upset, I just think people should be prepared for the consequences. You were in the AirForce, which really is the best branch to go into.
Dec 24, 2014 11:46am
I dont think I would call anyone who joins the military during a time of war a loser. Some may not have better options but in my mind they signed up knowing that they could go into harms way.
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