So here it is...
It was july 12th
I was at church sunday morning. I remember sitting through service. I couldn't think straight. This was my last Sunday at home. I was trying to soak it all in one last time. All I could really think about is what im going to say to all of my friends when the service was over? It was goodbye. My recruiter was going to pick me up at home in a few hours.
Finally it was that time. I walked out to my car with some of my closest friends. They had surprised me with something that I will never forget. Hundreds of sticky notes on my car of memories that we all had together. We shared laughs and tears together that afternoon. It was bitter sweet. I was so excited to start, but my friends and family mean so much to me. Driving away was the hardest thing I've ever done. After that I sat in living room with my parents. It was quiet. I kept looking at the driveway expecting the recruiter to take me. It was quite enough to hear our clock tick. I could sense the pain my parents were feeling. Their youngest was leaving for the military, something most parents dont ever want to see their child do.
Finally, I said my goodbyes and I was off...
The military never makes anything easy. I found this out fast. My recruiter took me to my hotel in Cherry Hill, NJ. I spent the night there, boy I was miserable. The next morning I got woken up at 4am. An angry man at the door said, "Get your bags its time to leave"
Awesome, a bus full of recruits of all different branches of the military was bound for FT Dix, NJ. We would do some paperwork, get a medical check, and get a brief.
By 5pm I was waiting in my terminal for Atlanta, Georgia. It was time to go! When I got on the plane I sat in my seat horrified. I had my little bible in my hand the whole time. I read it the whole time I was on the plane. My bible was the only comfort I could find in this horrible life transition.
When I finally made it to Atlanta, all the recruits had to meet up in a specific part of the airport. There we waited until our bus driver got us. I felt a sense of relief when I got to the place and met some of the other recruits. You could see in their faces that they were just as terrified as me. We all knew what was to come.
Eventually our bus driver made it to us, and told us to hurry up we were late. by this time it was 10pm. We were all tired, but little did we know it was just the beginning of a miserable week. The coach bus was nice... Most kids were too anxious to sleep so there was a good amount of chatter among the bus. Typical chatter, Where are you from? How old are you? What do you think boot is gonna be like? The same questions you get asked 1000 times. After the two hour ride, I looked out a window. I saw a sign that read, "Welcome to Ft. Benning, Home of the Infantry"
Ohhhhhhhhhh Shit. Home. The bus got silent, we all grew silent for we knew what was coming. Ft Benning is huge so we drove around for a while. The bus stopped in this parkin lot next to a building that said, '3oth AG reception battalion' little did I know this place was hell on earth.
Anyway the bus was silent. The bus driver disappeared. About 20 meters off of the bus I saw a Drill Sergeant approaching the bus . FML. He was bald, about 6'4 and was horrifying. Just imagine a scary looking guy. Yeah that was him.
He stood in the door of the bus, calmly said, " Welcome to Ft. Benning, Georgia" then without hesitation he roared loudly, "NOW GET THE F**K OFF OF MY BUS" Little did I know this wasnt going to be the fastest I've ever seen a bus get cleared out. It was like a movie!
3 seconds of being off of the bus I was doing push-ups. Apparently I dont know how to follow directions. The DS (Drill Sergeant) proceeded to tell me about how I was a useless cock that didnt know how to line up correctly! Ooops.
By this time It was midnight. While standing outside I looked around and saw tree's. I could feel the humid summer air on my skin. It reminded me of the summer nights with my friends. Those nights were long gone.
We sat in the reception building all night. We got searched for weapons or other crap we cant have, we did paperwork, got issued uniforms, and got rid of out civilian clothes for 3 months. Finally at 330am they sent us to our barracks. They said, go to bed. First call (wake up) is at 0400. They gave us 30 minutes to sleep. This was the initial part of their "break down" plan.
sleep deprivation. 3oth AG was miserable. After that first night we didnt have many DS interactions. We didnt get yelled at. We got about an hour of sleep each night. It was 5 days long and it was paperwork, wait in line, get shots, more lines, more paperwork, and more waiting. HELL. I could write a whole post about this place but it was so miserable im not even motivated to write about it. we were allowed to use the phone for 5 minutes there. I talked to my mom. I could hardly talk. I wanted my mom to think that everything was great. I tried my best to convince her that I was happy. Thats all I cared about.
Well it was friday and the rumor was that we were gonna leave. Early friday we packed our bags and we sat outside. After a few hours of useless sitting down we were ordered to grab our bags. Our bags at this point had all of our issued uniforms. We had two full heavy duffel bags.
You ever watch a movie about bootcamp where the new recruits are on those white school buses? Yup, thats not just in the movies. They really exist.
They pulled up and we all piled on about 5 school buses with our gear. The buses drove around in circles for about 20 minutes to build up our anticipation. Then it happened. They slowed down, I looked outside on the door side of the bus and saw 12 Drill Sergeants standing there with their arms crossed. One was holding a dagger, by this point i just about pissed myself. The busses stopped next to the DSgts and the doors opened....
All hell broke loose. I thought the first time I was told to get off the bus was scary, this time there were 12 of them screaming at the top of their lungs. Yeahhhh f that. There were 200 horrified privates running around like D-Day. We were instructed to hold our duffel bags over our head and run around the track a few times. While we were running in the 90 degree Georgia heat we were rounded up like a dog rounds sheep. The Drill Sergeants running within the wild stampede of privates screaming in their faces. When someone tripped a DS was in their face to scream. If someone wasnt moving fast enough, they heard about it. But honestly that day no one was moving fast enough for DS satisfaction. I remember at one point there was a DS on my left, and on my right screaming. I temporarily put my bags down. What a horrible idea. During this time all I could think about was, "what kind of jackass would sign up for this bull crap?"
After running around the track enough, jumping over a 7 footwall, and standing in formation with our bags over our heads, and getting mentally mauled they decided we should sprint a few hundred yards to our barracks. SWEET! Thats where we were split and sent to our rooms, where for the next 3 months we would have our lives transform.