Military Recruits: Whats the Best Way To Train Them?

How hard should recruits be trained?

  • Extreme: Challenge them till they break, and rebuild their esteem.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Moderate: Challenge them only enough to see their character.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Mild: Challenge them till they pass the skill exceptionally

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • lukewarm: Challenge them till they pass

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Cold: Dont Challenge them at all.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters

Mark Conley

Active member
A lot of personnel on the forum seem to indicate that if they had to join a service, they want to join the ones that make it a challenge to get through. Some people don’t want this experience. So Id like to see just how you think that training should be done.

Go ahead: describe in a short paragraph, what you think training for a recruit should be like. Tell us why your way would be better than the methods employed today.

Lets not think beyond boot camp on this one, unless you think that post boot camp training is just as important achieving your ideal training goal.

This is not a right or wrong way type thing. Discuss politely with each other why you think their method wouldn’t work, if you disagree with it, but no slamming.

My Contribution: I want the training to be longer: about six months, for all the services. For the purposes of training, I want that recruit to temporarily lose his basic civil rights, in order for those people to be legally available for the next part. I want those that enlist to know this fact, and that the following will be done to them in basic before they sign the dotted line. I want that TI or DI to have physical and mental challenging privileges short of homicidal abuse, so they can be equipped to really shake that recruit up so that his ultimate character can be revealed. If a person is revealed to have a character flaw that is not correctable, I further want a DI group to meet and make the decision to remove him at the squadron level.

I believe that a person who might not really want to join the military might back away from this, if an when they know its coming. Just my opinion.

I answered Moderate: Challenge them only enough to see their character, but there are some flavors in between Moderate and Extreme (what's the point in breaking a person's spirit? You might not be able to get them back togther again).

Let me exaplain: I think that training, particularly Basic Training should be as hard as possible on purpose. That is, specifically designed and controlled to test the prospective candidate (soldiers, marines, airmen, guardsmen or sailors) and weed out the ones who can't make it - with retraining available for those who just missed.

I have always felt that Basic Training was too short (8 weeks for me plus in and outprocessing) and should be about 12 weeks long with much more weapons and infantry type training. This would call for teams of Drill Sergeants/Instructors to run the training and evaluate each trainee. Has anyone ever read Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein? That's the system I envision here :)

AIT should also be expanded with more emphasis on weapons and combat skills (fire and manuever, patrolling, land navigation, convoy operations, etc.). This is in addition to teaching more of the basic skill set for that MOS. One of the things that used to (and still does) frustrate me is that we get PFC Smith back from AIT, but still have to spend numerous hours training him on what he or she needs to know to function in his or her duty position. :(

However, Mark, I am curious to know what you mean by
For the purposes of training, I want that recruit to temporarily lose his basic civil rights, in order for those people to be legally available for the next part.

My rights were very restricted during Basic Training and OCS - far beyond what is normal for soldiers in regular units. This was necessary for the purposes of the training, but what else are we talking about here?
I say train in the way that will be the best for them. Like when you're parents told you when you were a kid "It's for your own good". I'm not a psychcologist or anything so I don't know what type of training that would be, but logic says to the absolute extreme, for when they complete it successfully they will be of steel, with the absolute self confidence and abilities, and those who do not make it, so be it for they will only drag down the rest.

I personally love challenges. I love tackling them head on and defeating them, crushing them under the soles of my jackboots, and then bathing in the sweet glory of triumph. And when I fail in the path of something greater than me, it drives me to push harder.

Two quotes which illustrate what I think.

Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory!
-General Patton

Let them fail.

:rambo: :)

Edit: This is my personal unqualified and unprofessional philosophy, molded to suit me, and me alone.
I'm in favor of a Moderate/Extreme approach. Simply driving the recruit to the breaking point with the intention of (hopefully) building him back up again can backfire; what happens to those who are broken and CAN'T be built back up?

I like the Starship Troopers idea, where the recruits training is made hard enough that in order to succeed, the recuit must reach deep down within himself.
Actually I love the whole idea in that book: That those that make the decisions for others must show their service that they care about the others.

Only veterans voted. But you could only vote after you got out of the service. Notice though, that it wasnt all infantry...your service was geared to your ability. In Juans case, it was Mobile Infantry. when he sat down and made his decision to go career, he thought about why he joined in the first place. He wanted the right to vote. But he didnt really need to do that right away..because he voted with every drop he made on the enemy.

Its a great story. I still keep a copy in my nightstand. Ilike the fact that someone had the guts to bring it up in the topic. :D
Speaking from experience, it’s not fun being in a foxhole and your buddy breaks under pressure. You want someone who can handle it. If you train to light, you may never see just exactly what you can take. If you train to the extreme, you know. You know because hopefully you were broken before. You know what to expect the next time. During the course of your training, your instructors have a duty to break you and rebuild you as the military sees fit. If for some reason they hurt your self-esteem, get over it. It’s their way of weeding out the people who can’t hack it. It’s best you go home with your feelings hurt than an officer knocking on your mother/wife’s door telling them you ain’t coming home.
As for you’re technical training, I agree with Gunner. They should put more emphasis in weapons and combat maneuvers. I’m a member of the Security Forces. Yeah, many people see us as only cops. However, they don’t realize we are the infantry of the Air Force. While the flyers are tucked away in their tents taking advantage of their crew rest, we’re out patrolling the perimeter. If something catastrophic should happen, 90% of the Air Force wouldn’t know how to properly use a weapon, let alone take up a defense fighting position. More or less, it’s a race to the bunkers for them.

No offense to any Air Force individuals out there who are fortunate enough to be in a unit that takes time to train you. I know there are some out there!
I'd say that Marine Corps way. Because they have a fine record of creating great warriors. Also comfort is something a Marine, soldier, sailor, or airman cant afford, makes them go soft.
I have to say The Marine Corps way is about the best. They have it to a extreme without bein to extreme. The recruits need to be treated as if they were a POW. That is the only way to break someone down, if they can pass this kind of trainin then they will be able to handle any situation they are put into. I do believe that trainin needs to be longer in all aspects, boot needs to be longer ITS needs to be longer, everything, before the get to the Fleet. This way they have more than a basic knowledge of things and will be able to adapt easier to Fleet trainin.
I would agree that the Marine Corps has it about right with respect to Basic Training, especially the graduation exercise. :drill: :firedevi:

With respect to Mark Conley's comment regarding Starship Troopers:

Notice though, that it wasnt all infantry...your service was geared to your ability. In Juans case, it was Mobile Infantry. when he sat down and made his decision to go career, he thought about why he joined in the first place.

I sure wasn't all MI! If you read Starship Troopers carefully, you should note that most candidates for Federal Service were not in the Armed Forces at all - most served as civil servants, researchers, etc. 8)
I'd say in the Moderate/Extreme area.

You can't let training be too soft. In Canada, they've actually softened Basic Training up a bit. They still holler at you, but it's not as bad anymore.

I haven't done Basic Training or BOTC yet, but I've got a good friend on BOTC now. He says it's hard, but anyone could make it through, providing they don't get the DI's mad enough.
Extreme then to Moderate.....

Psycologically, you need to breakdown the recruit and then build them into what you want out of the type of troop you are creating. The Marine Corps boot has it right, but as others have said, every type of training needs to be longer.

I can remember when they instituted the extra basic infantry school to the entire Corps including the women Marines. This is probably the most important thing that General Gray did while commadant, but it still needs to be longer and more indepth. Each service member should be able to handle at least a defensive situation. As Future said, most of the AF would not be able to fire their weapon in a useful manner, which means him and his security forces would have no or little support from the base, this would allow even a small force to be able to disrupt flight operations.

One of the exercises that I took part in basically was that type of scenario. The 101st inf anti air was the inflitrators using smoky sams to "shootdown" the planes. Our job was to locate and pin down the inflitrators until a line platoon could get to the location and finish the job. This is not easy to do, think of the situation in Iraq now but within a jungle situtation. If the base would have had more than a MP detachment, say a line company or at least have the ability to put together an adhoc QRC, then we would not have had to essentially be inserted by helo and wait for the rest of the battalion to be moved to the airfield.

So, in short, everyone needs to have at least a 4 to 6 week infantry training course in my opinion and the basic training for every service needs to recognize the actual situations that the troops will bein the future and train accordingly. "The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war" is the best ideal to follow.
lil hulk you hit it right on the head. Boot aint suppose to be a summer camp and its not suppose to kill you but if you are the same as you were before you went to boot camp afterwords then whats the training been worth.
I think a watered down ranger school would be great. If we cut our military by 25% and trained them with 75% of ranger training our military would be twice as strong.
Big_Z said:
I think a watered down ranger school would be great. If we cut our military by 25% and trained them with 75% of ranger training our military would be twice as strong.
RAngers are trained for specific tasks. So are other members of the military.
Different task==>different training.
That simple. Not every person in the army can be a ranger.
I dont mean the exact ranger training. I mean how that training is implemented. Ranger training is meant to be far harsher then any combat a Ranger might face. Therefor they wont break down on the battlefield it would actually be the oppisite. They would think "this isnt shit compared to my training" in the most dire of conflicts.
Evening, troops.

I'm inclined to agree with the extreme method described in the poll, although I personally wouldn't refer to it as extreme; merely challenging, and of course, necessary. I've trained as an Inf squaddie, a Para officer ('jump-kill-die!!'), and now I'm in a more technical branch of the Army. Throughout, the training ethos was pretty much the same, just to make you autonomous, proactive, strong in spirit, self-reliance and resourcefulness, a team-worker and above all, an apprentice alcoholic... :roll:

Breaking you down and then rebuilding you into something better can't be bad for you, surely?

Well, that's my 2-pence worth. :camo:
i agree

i agree with the majority of opinions so far. I discuss this in my book and I think its essential we keep such a tough regimened bct cycle, as i quote in my book "tough training equals tough soldiers