US - Army's Basic Training Gets Makeover

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by maynardwix, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. maynardwix

    maynardwix Notre Dame Fan!

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    Army drops bayonets, busts abs in training revamp

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_new_basic_training

    FORT JACKSON, S.C. – At 5 a.m. on the Army's largest training base, soldiers grunt through the kinds of stretches, body twists and bent-leg raises that might be seen in an "ab blaster" class at a suburban gym.

    Adapting to battlefield experience in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Army is revamping its basic training regimen for the first time in three decades by nixing five-mile runs and bayonet drills in favor of zigzag sprints and honing core muscles.

    Trainers hope the switch will better prepare soldiers physically for the pace of combat, with its sudden dashes and rolling gun battles. They also want to toughen recruits who are often more familiar with Facebook than fistfights.

    The exercises are part of the first major overhaul in Army basic fitness training since men and women began training together in 1980, said Frank Palkoska, head of the Army's Fitness School at Fort Jackson, which has worked several years on overhauling the service's fitness regime.

    The new plan is being expanded this month at the Army's four other basic training installations — Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., Fort Sill, Okla., Fort Benning, Ga., and Fort Knox, Ky.

    "We don't run five miles in combat, but you run across the street every day," Palkoska said, adding, "I'm not training long-distance runners. I'm training warriors" who must shuttle back and forth across a back alley.

    Drill sergeants with combat experience in the current wars are credited with urging the Army to change training, in particular to build up core muscle strength to walk patrols with heavy packs and body armor or to haul a buddy out of a burning vehicle.

    One of those experienced drill sergeants is 1st Sgt. Michael Todd, a veteran of seven deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

    On a recent training day Todd was spinning recruits around to give them the feel of rolling out of a tumbled Humvee. Then he tossed on the ground pugil sticks made of plastic pipe and foam, forcing trainees to crawl for their weapons before they pounded away on each other.

    "They have to understand hand-to-hand combat, to use something other than their weapon, a piece of wood, a knife, anything they can pick up," Todd said.

    The new training also uses "more calisthenics to build core body power, strength and agility," Palkoska said in an office bedecked with 60-year-old black and white photos of World War II-era mass exercise drills. Over the 10 weeks of basic, a strict schedule of exercises is done on a varied sequence of days so muscles rest, recover and strengthen.

    Another aim is to toughen recruits from a more obese and sedentary generation, trainers said.

    Many recruits didn't have physical education in elementary, middle or high school and therefore tend to lack bone and muscle strength. When they ditch diets replete with soda and fast food for healthier meals and physical training, they drop excess weight and build stronger muscles and denser bones, Palkoska said.

    Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling of the Army's Training and Doctrine Command, the three-star general in charge of revamping all aspects of initial training, said his overall goal is to drop outmoded drills and focus on what soldiers need today and in the future.

    Bayonet drills had continued for decades, even though soldiers no longer carry the blades on their automatic rifles. Hertling ordered the drills dropped.

    "We have to make the training relevant to the conditions on the modern battlefield," Hertling said during a visit to Fort Jackson in January.

    The general said the current generation has computer skills and a knowledge base vital to a modern fighting force. He foresees soldiers using specially equipped cell phones to retrieve information on the battlefield to help repair a truck or carry out an emergency lifesaving medical technique.

    But they need to learn how to fight.

    "Most of these soldiers have never been in a fistfight or any kind of a physical confrontation. They are stunned when they get smacked in the face," said Capt. Scott Sewell, overseeing almost 190 trainees in their third week of training. "We are trying to get them to act, to think like warriors."

    For hours, Sewell and his drill sergeants urge on helmeted trainees as they whale away at each other with pugil sticks, landing head and body blows until one falls flat on the ground. As a victor slams away at his flattened foe, a drill sergeant whistles the fight to a halt.

    "This is the funnest day I've had since I've been here!" said 21-year-old Pvt. Brendon Rhyne, of Rutherford County, N.C., after being beaten to the ground. "It makes you physically tough. Builds you up on the insides mentally, too."

    The Marine Corps is also applying war lessons to its physical training, adopting a new combat fitness test that replicates the rigor of combat. The test, which is required once a year, has Marines running sprints, lifting 30-pound ammunition cans over their heads for a couple of minutes and completing a 300-yard obstacle course that includes carrying a mock wounded Marine and throwing a mock grenade.

    Capt. Kenny Fleming, a 10-year-Army veteran looking after a group of Fort Jackson trainees, said men and women learn exercises that prepare them to do something on the battlefield such as throw a grenade, or lunge and pick a buddy off the ground. Experience in Iraq has shown that women need the same skills because they come under fire, too, even if they are formally barred from combat roles.

    Fleming said those who had some sort of sports in high school can easily pick up on the training, while those who didn't have to be brought along. One hefty soldier in a recent company he trained dropped 45 pounds and learned to blast out 100 push-ups and 70 sit-ups, he said.
    "We just have to take the soldier who's used to sitting on the couch playing video games and get them out there to do it," Fleming said.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2010
  2. metrogruntual

    metrogruntual o__O

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  3. raven11

    raven11

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    now i should have joined the army

    [​IMG]
     
  4. NeverMore1701

    NeverMore1701 Fear no Evil Platinum Member

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    Good. We did some stupid, worthless **** in basic. And mine was only 5 years ago.
     
  5. the iceman

    the iceman Proud Veteran CLM

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    I don't know about anyone else, but I had one on mounted on my rifle on many occasions in Iraq.

    A rifle doesn't intimidate swarms of people coming up on you but put a bayonet on the end of it and people stay the hell back!
     
  6. chuckman

    chuckman

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    Can't you do both? Run far AND run fast? And bayonet training doesn't take a lot of time, either.
     
  7. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

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    There hadn't been a bayonet charge in decades, but bayonet training helps develope aggression.

    Running long distances helps with stamina.

    I can't see why the Army can't do PT with one day during sprints and the next day do long runs.
     
  8. geronimo509

    geronimo509

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    The bayonet course was fun. They made it extra muddy. The 5 mile runs were slow (and I hate running). I got my butt beat in pugle sticks, but that was fun and you never know when that might come in handy. They should box at least twice because some people have never been in a fight before. Or maybe turn it into a MMA type thing. Dring the boxing I lost in the semi finals because i got winded, but I would have won if they let us fight like in real life. I knocked a kid down and when he was on his knee I gave him a huge overhand right and would have mounted him and beat him to a pulp and won. BUT, after I hit him while he was on one knee a DS gripped me up and basically threw me across the room. I said sorry, I know its boxing but I was Fighting to win not to box.
     
  9. Big Bird

    Big Bird NRA Life Member

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    A lot of things have changed in the Army recently--much of it for the better. They no longer do bayonet drills but everyone in the Army now gets "Combatives" which is hand to hand quasi martial arts training. Its pretty good stuff.

    WHen I went to Airborne and Ranger School over 25 years ago we did EVERYTHING in boots including the 7 mile Ranger run! Ouch!

    Sad thing is less than 30% of the US adult population of military age (18-42) are actually qualified to serve in the Army. Obesity knocks a large number out of the running, education and criminal history also eliminates large numbers of people. I didn't make that number up. Less than 30% of the US population of military age can qualify to serve! That's sobering!
     
  10. proguncali

    proguncali 1911-2004 CLM

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    I would say dropping long distance runs is going to hurt stamina.
     
  11. Dennis in MA

    Dennis in MA Get off my lawn

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    Why is the dude in the front of the class on his cell phone during Tae Bo? :rofl:
     
  12. chuckman

    chuckman

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    I don't always agree with you, but this is spot on. Good post.
     
  13. raven11

    raven11

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    in Afghanistan that's considered officer material:whistling:
     
  14. m2hmghb

    m2hmghb

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    A cut off British unit did a bayonet charge in Iraq. I don't remember which, but they overwhelmed a superior force and forced their surrender.
     
  15. norton

    norton

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    Off topic
    We boxed in middle school phys ed. Can you imagine that happening in this day and age?
     
  16. 1 old 0311

    1 old 0311

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  17. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

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    How much actual damage do you think a bayonet charge can do with bullpup rifles?

    It's all about the mentality of both the friendly troops and the enemy troops. If you see a bunch of nutjobs come screaming with cold steel, you may hesitate a bit or run away if you're not hard core troops.

    If you're the bayonet charger, you'd probably feel better knowing that you can execute a buttstroke and a slash and feel more spirited instead of cowering, waiting for the end.
     
  18. Carrys

    Carrys Inquisitive

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    Yes sir, and disgusting as well. Just take a look around now a days, of that 70% or so 1/2 the Country is on some sort of welfare. And don't even get me started on social security. Most on it are against a welfare nation, but believe it's their "due", just because they paid for some other person who didn't want to be bothered about saving for their old age either. Let the govt support me. To them, it'll never be what it is, welfare for the aged. "But I paid into my account!", they did no such thing, but they don't want to know it. They really need the money after all, ya know?

    It's these numbers that show what we've become, not what we want to think we are. A nation of whiny, lazy, got to have it all because we're "owed", have a fit if the cable goes out for a day, cry babies. The rest of the world is taking notice, boy are they taking notice.


    I...........awww, what the shucks. Who cares, right?
     
  19. blueiron

    blueiron

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    No. Not everyone in the Army is going to a Combat Arms MOS, but everyone has to go through Basic. AIT for Combat Arms and unit PT will still have long distance running, but the chances of a Bio-Medical Electronic Repair Technician or a Mortuary Affairs Specialist needing to run a fast five miles is improbable. It should and would be nice, but there is only so much time in Basic.
     
  20. chuckman

    chuckman

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    Not every Marine is in a combat MOS, but they all have to run 5 miles in boot camp, with the 3 mile PFT run. But then, they are Marines.