October 19, 2016 –
Army Basic Combat Training transforms civilians to Soldiers from day one. It embodies the definition of a Soldier. BCT instills discipline, self-confidence, teamwork and the Warrior Ethos. For 43 years Fort Jackson, the largest of the four BCT locations in TRADOC, has given Soldiers their first taste of life in the Army, across the world. This life-changing experience is one no Soldier will ever forget.
BCT provides Soldiers with the opportunity to overcome their fears and build confidence over a course of 10 weeks. During training, Soldiers are tested physically and mentally both in and out of the classroom. Training events such as the Confidence Course unifies Soldiers by working as a team.
“I think the most challenging obstacle (during the Confidence course) is the Skyscraper because it tackles their (Soldiers) fear of heights and you have to be a team to accomplish it. You can't accomplish it by yourself,” said Staff Sgt. Elease Jones, Army Drill Sergeant, Company A, 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment.
The 12 to 13-hour training days can be exhausting, but motivating and supporting each other throughout is key.
Drill Sergeants motivate Soldiers with ‘tough love’ encouraging them to push through no matter how challenging an obstacle is. “We instill the motto ‘one team, one fight.’ They (Soldiers) learn that working as a team cohesively is essential to surviving,” said Jones. The confidence course familiarizes Soldiers with the kind of tactical movements they will use throughout their military careers.
“The most challenging obstacle today would have to be the 5 walls,” said Army Reserve Pvt. Alexis Rosas, Company A, 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment. The five walls force Soldiers to use their upper body strength while working as a team to complete the course. “It would definitely be a struggle if I had to climb them on my own without my battles (fellow Soldiers) help,” he said.
With a total of 22 obstacles, the course requires Soldiers to be selfless and work together, it provides them with a new level of confidence in themselves and other Soldiers. Motivating each other and shouting, ‘you can do it, push through,’ encourages Soldiers to push on when they see their peers struggling.
Pvt. Anthony Batten, Company A, 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment. who admittedly has a fear of heights, said, “I have made friendships here that I hope to keep. We get on each other’s nerves but at times like this we motivate each other to face our fears.”
Though tired, after a typical day of training one can easily see the sense of accomplishment in each and every one of the Soldiers faces. BCT provides Soldiers with the ability to develop that sense of confidence in themselves and the country they serve.