Army transforms recruit training

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

I mentioned a few months ago that the Army was dropping bayonet training from its boot camp — or Basic Combat Training. That’s not the only change, of course, and the Army’s own story sounds a bit defensive:

First, United States Training and Doctrine Command public affairs wanted to dispel any rumors the training has become “softer.” In a press release they stated with an extra week of training, the warrior tasks and battle drills have been refined and are now geared toward training fewer and more relevant tasks, well.

“It’s not soft. It’s just different and the physical training has become a lot more regimented and more battle-focused. It’s focused on training more people to achieve that initial basic training standard while mitigating injuries,” explained Capt. Kyle Lippold, commander of G Battery, 1st Battalion, 79th Field Artillery.
One major revamp was to the traditional physical training of pushups, sit-ups and long runs.The new physical readiness training is geared toward progression.

“A lot of these Soldiers come in and haven’t been in physical activities in high school so we start out with a preparation drill to warm up the muscles and go on from there,” said Sgt. 1st Class Zachary Parrish, who is a Fort Sill drill sergeant. “It used to be you take a Soldier and without the progression you may be putting too much on that Soldier. They’re going to inevitably get hurt.”

He said he’s seen less injuries so far with the new crawl, walk, run methodology. Even in the beginning if some of the Soldiers are more physically fit, he said they all progress to the end state where a rigorous workout is safe for everyone.

The Army is also taking a more holistic approach focusing on nutrition as well to keep Soldiers healthy and resilient.

“We talk nutrition from day one. The health of the Soldier is the bottom line. They’re going to be ineffective if they’re in sick call, so we make sure they get time to eat and that the food they’re eating is good for them,” said Parrish.

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