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My Army Experience


WinterSky
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When I was in the Army I really enjoyed basic training. It was easy. It was too easy. The only problem then was that I did not bond with any of my fellow soldiers. I hardly interacted at all unless it was a drill sergeant. But I did develop some kind of feelings for the drill sergeants. Of course they were mean and brutal to us. The Mighty Douches that's what they called us. :) (It was actually The Mighty Deuces.) The parts I did not like were bivouac (only because of zero sleep over 5 days) and bayonet practice.

When I went to Advanced Individual Training (AIT), I had trouble adjusting and became extremely suicidal and was afraid of going AWOL. It was not the coursework at all. I made straight 100% in the classes I took while I was there. So when I became suicidal they sent me to the hospital. I was there for a few days. When I got out I was transferred to another platoon. As far as race, I am truly colorblind; but when I transferred over, I bunked with all black girls. They picked on me and threatened to beat me up quite often, like every day. I kept going to another room at night to sleep where there were single rooms and I'd sleep there instead. I was just so suicidal and depressed.

So I approached my drill sergeant about getting out of the army. I did not want to do that because I loved the army. I loved wearing the uniform. But I think the thing was I did not have control. I did eventually get out.

But my question is about my experience in basic. If you don't bond with your fellow soldiers but feel this connection or identification with the drill sergeants, what is that called? What is that about? My father has always been abusive and was wondering if this is about transference or Stockholm syndrome or something?

Thanks a bunch...

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No name is coming to mind, sorry. It's not stockholm (sic?) syndrome, as that is what occurs when you identify with people who have held you hostage (as in Patty Hearst). Transference is a generalized thing that can occur when a new relationship takes on the dynamics characteristic of an older relationship, and in some ways becomes a way that the old relationship influences the newer one. That could be happening, but that is not specific to the sort of identification (and lack of identification) you are describing.

My impression was that part of what is intended to happen during Basic is that the Drill Sargents break you down and force you to rely on one another, so that your old identifications (to familiy and friends) get pushed aside, and your identification to the other soldiers in your group become fast-tracked. So your reaction was maybe not what they had in mind (???). As I'm reading what you have to say, particularly the part about being picked on, the thing that is coming to my mind is that movie Full Metal Jacket of some years ago. Did you see that? The first part of the movie was set in basic training, and the central figure was a soldier who was not cutting it, and who was picked on by his peers. Of course, that ended badly (!). It's not at all an indentical scenario as you did not have the performance issues that the fellow in the movie did and your ending was quite different too. The only similarity was the teasing. But that is the only reference point I have for basic - for better or for worse - the movies.

Mark

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Hi there sir, thank you for your response. I need to clarify that I did not "interact" with the drill sergeants, they would talk to me and might ask questions and I would answer is all.

Basic training was easy per se (physically, I was in great shape and am well coordinated). But the no interacting and becoming isolated I became a "donut hole" in the effect that the center core of my being disappeared and I still did not bond with my fellow soldiers. Yes you are right in that it did not work as they expected. I remember when I went for a medical call I stopped at the PX to look for identity bracelets.

The drill sergeants never bothered me at all except after bivouac when the lead one was totally chewing us out and and telling us we did this and did that. I got tired of being blamed for crap I did not do. And besides I had zero sleep for 5 days. So I yelled out, "that is not entirely accurate, drill sergeant!" I did not say that in humor but it sounds funny to write it out now. He yelled back and said, "In the office!" So he chewed me out one on one and said I have been squared away until now. Then I tried to speak and he yelled, "this is not an A/B conversation!!" He never ordered me to do push-ups or anything. No punishment at all. Talk about easy. :)

And to be honest, I did not want to leave basic!

Edited by WinterSky
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