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Opinions of Saturday, 2 January 2016

Columnist: Akwah, Nana WO I

How You Can Survive Military Basic Training

If you have interest in joining the military then beware that the training camp isn't a scarecrow or hay-man. It is not a decoy or mannequin in the shape of a human. Neither is it usually dressed in old clothes and placed in open fields to discourage birds as such. You are oriented to suit the purpose of the military in mind.

Can you believe it? There are seemly civilian "military training schools" springing up all over the place. They are the gyms and the keep fit clubs! Group of people are paying hundreds of cedis for the privilege of having someone yell at them while they do pushups, sit-ups, and run an obstacle course.

Not quite the same thing as real military training camp, however --at the end of a couple of hours, they get to go home and shower. By the time they are working on their first cup of a juice and a diet candy, the real military recruit is several hours into his/her day -- with several more hours to go.

The fact is that, a certain percent of those who enlist in the military do not make it through the first five years. Equally, a significant portion of these do not even make it through training camp.

For many, this is because of unrealistic expectations. The military (and especially Basic Military Training) is not what they thought it would be.

Sometimes recruiters do too good a job of selling the military as just another occupation. Then, once the recruit wakes up at 0300 hours with a drill instructor screaming in their face, they say to themselves "Whoa! Where's the 'splendor and impressiveness' and the 'gourmet food?' Where's the NCO Club, and the Gym, and the other items spoken of? Where's the job I was told about?"

In this multi-part article, we will examine to some extent the military basic training. We will consider all aspect, what it is, where it is, what you can expect, what you should bring, how you should act, and some basic tips on surviving 23 to 26 weeks of "Hell."

Regardless of what your recruiter told you, being a member of the Ghana Armed Forces is not just like having a civilian job. You need to understand this right down to your toes before you sign that contract and take that oath.

In the military, there will ALWAYS be someone telling you what to do, when to do it, and how to do it -- and you have got to do it. Sometimes they will tell you to do something that you don't want to do, or tell you in a way that makes you angry.

Failing to do it is not an option. The willful disobeying of a lawful order won't just get you "fired," as it would in a civilian occupation, it can get you sent to jail.

In the military, you will work the hours you are told to work, you will work "overtime" with no additional pay, you will do the tasks you are assigned to do (even if they don't relate exactly with your "job"), you will live where you are told to live, and you will deploy where and when you are told to deploy.

If you are not absolutely willing to make these sacrifices, then do yourself and the nation a big favor and don't join up.

However, if you are willing to put the needs of your country and your servic ahead of your own, you will find several rewards in a military career (or even a short term of service). You will also be one of the 60 percent who make it to the end of their service commitment and walk away contented with an "Honorable Discharge".

Military training camp is like nothing you have ever experienced. However, the rigid routine and absolute control over every aspect of your life is several times worse than normal military duty. The basic training at the camp is done on purpose.

It is the task and job of the Training Instructors (T.I.'s) and Drill Instructors (D.I.'s) to either adjust your attitude to a military way of thinking (self-discipline, sacrifice, loyalty, obedience), or to drum you out before the military spends too much money on your training.

They do this by applying significant degrees of physical and mental stress, while at the same time teaching you the fundamentals of military rules; and the policies, etiquette, and customs of your particular military service.

Some times it may seem sadistic to those who are going through it, but understand that the T.I.'s and D.I.'s really do not kill and eat small children in their off-duty time. Nor do they derive any particular pleasure in your physical or mental suffering and the state of uneasiness.

In fact, most of the Instructors are pretty nice folks. The training programs are scientifically and psychologically designed to tear apart the "civilian" and build from scratch a proud, physically fit, and dedicated member of the Ghana Armed Forces.

We all went into it with a little fore-knowledge, the right attitude, and a few tips, and graduated with no problems. You will find that training camp simply gets just a little bit easier each and every day.

In fact, when you are finished and you go through that final parade, you may find that most civilians seem to be just to a small degree an unorganized and undisciplined to suit your tastes.


WO I Nana Akwah
Ex-Regimental Sergeant Major
Email:nakwah2001@yahoo.com

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