When joining the armed forces, you never quite know what will happen or what to expect next. It can be an amazing or a gruesome journey, but it depends on how you want it to be. At the beginning the journey might seems scary and intimidating, but as time goes on, you soon get use to the lifestyle and learn a great deal from the experience. Before I joined in November 2008, I was going through a marital problem, I was weak, intimidating, and I have no one or where to turn to.
I applied for job in so many places with no luck, due to me moving to the States three years before applying for the jobs, giving birth, and also I was a staying home mom going to school. But as time went by I couldn’t take it any longer, so I decided looking in to joining the military. When I joined, I wanted to be independent, strong, care for my daughter, and to learn something new without being intimidated by anyone in anyway. I actually entered the Basic Combat training on the 15th of November 2008, when the plane dropped us at the South Carolina air port and, the bus took us from there to Fort Jackson.
The bus finally pulled up outside the in-processing building in Fort Jackson South Carolina by 12:30am. All I could think about was my little girl, how she was sleeping, what was she thinking about when I left, did she cried herself to sleep, can I stay without my daughter for a day, and what in God’s name I just got myself into. We were all tired and sleepy, some of us looked like we have been deprived of sleep for a week, but we all came there for a reason. As the bus driver open the door a male drill sergeant stepped into the buss, and started screaming and yelling at us to get off the bus.
I never saw people who have been sleeping and look so tired to move that fast, but everyone was scrambling all over each other looking for an exit, because no one want to be the first to get chewed up. As we stepped out of the bus, we formed two lines, one with the girls and one with the boys. As we stood there, I was scared, nervous; my heart was pounding so fast, because I have never been in that position before in my life. I felt like my neck tense up, which made my head feels like it was about to fall of my body, but I was telling myself that I can do this, and reminding myself of the reason why I was here.
We were out there for thirty minutes before they put us in a room, and sat us down according to our numbers, and were we came from. We were given a book called the smart book, which mean it has to be with us all day, and learn what the book says. It was intense: we had to learn so many things throughout our stay in Basic Training. We got our pt uniform (Physical Training gear) that early morning, and we went to sleep by 2:15am. It was a scary and crazy experience. I slept but we had to wake up about 6am, because we have to go through so many in-processing.
I was so tired, my eyes were puffy, and hurt, my ankles hurt, but I have to toughen it up. We had to get tested for diseases, eye testing, and a number of other things. All those time, I thought about my little girl a lot, I cried every day, because I have never been separated from child since I gave birth to her, and that was the first time I have ever been away from her. I wondered what she was doing, how she feared, if she was eating the way she was supposed to, how much she missed me, even though I was only gone for 6 days, I felt so alone without my daughter.
We had to wake up very early in the morning by 0040, stood in parade rest, in the cold for 4 hours with just pt pant, long shirt, and jacket. That did not help with the cold, because it was so cold, that my fingers were frozen, I could not felt it moving. We have no phone privilege during the reception, because we were being baby sit by the drill sergeant most of the time, and when I said being baby sit, I mean being smoked, pushed up, sit up, floor rocate, you name it, but you can’t let them see crying, because when they, you will be sorry for shedding a tears.
All this time we were at a place called reception which was for 4 days, but we spent 6days, where all the loose ends with our paper work were done. The actual physical training was done at a different place in Fort Jackson. The sergeants were still very tough on us. About a month into the training I found myself used to the routine, even though the journey was tough, I endured everything. I hated pt, because we ran a lot, and my ankle hurt, but I kept pushing myself.
My pt sucks at the beginning, but my sergeant won’t let me fail, because she was always on me, making sure that, I do not fail. I failed my first pt, second pt, third pt, but I passed at the end, with a good percentage. Before we knew we were making friends, looking out for each other, laughing together, and getting ready to graduate to go to AIT. Which is Advance Individual Training? But there were some ladies who cannot stand each other; there were time of argument, gossiping, jealousness, but we all live under the same roof and trained together.
I endure the most horrifying road match, training, being smoked by my drill sergeant, and the long pt. Most times, I broke down and cried, because I thought that was a punishment, but looking back today, it was a training that was mean to save my life and others too. I become a very strong and independent woman, whom no one can intimidate no matter. I can stand up for myself in any situation, and I don’t let anyone take advantage of me.