~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I O 93 93/93 I O ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Despite inflamatory headline - The NY Times gets it right (for once)

for acknowledging that there are two schools of thought when it comes to recruit training. Here's mine: Abuse of recruits is training when it maninfests in a little yelling. Abuse of recruits is a crime when it manifests in physical assault, and courts-martial are appropriate.

As Recruiting Suffers, Military Reins In Abuses at Boot Camp

The Fort Knox courts-martial have drawn praise and lament from soldiers and veterans. After one of the trainers, Sgt. First Class David H. Price, was demoted in April for telling a recruit to swallow his vomit, dragging another by his ankles and hitting a third with a rolled-up newspaper, one soldier wrote to The Army Times saying that when she was in basic training in 1988, "the drill sergeants were allowed to do a lot of things."

"Now if they look at a recruit the wrong way, they get in trouble," wrote the soldier, Specialist Kirstin Clary. "Back then, it was still the real Army and not a farce."

But others wrote that although they understood the stress of being a drill sergeant, the punishment was fair, or even too light. Maj. John E. Niamtu, retired, wrote that molding recruits should be done "by example, not brutality."

Senior officers and independent experts in military justice agree that the culture of basic training has been transformed since the Vietnam War.

"As recruiting suffers"? Sheesh. But's that's a topic for another post.

Our all volunteer military works. I spent nine months in recruit training at Paris Island, most of the year 1999. (Note: If you want to join up, don't break your ankle, and definately don't do it four times.) I submit to you that the prohabition against physical contact between instuctors and recruits has made boot camp even more arduous. Trust me. Drill Instructors are ingenious at coming up with psychological tactics to replace the physical ones they've been denied. And it's the psychological training that makes all the difference during wartime. Beatings can instill the right mindset for war. But it's not the most effective method.

Those veterans who were trained using physically abusive methods and pine for today's recruits to receive the same need to wake up and experience the future. I salute your service, and say thank you. What I and my fellow service members have accomplished is a direct result of standing on the shoulders of those who served before us. But today's military members are better trained, more motivated, and higher paid, all because of a shift in mindset more suited to our all volunteer forces.

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