When military veterans get together, it?s common to hear tales about military basic training. Eventually, one vet will trot out the old platitude, ?Back when I was in basic, we had to (fill in the blank with some outlandish tale of physical impossibility).? In future retelling, the tale might be embellished, adding another mile to the length of the march, another night to the length of sleep deprivation.
Basic training (also called ?boot camp?) has never been easy. It can’t be. It must prepare recruits for the mental and physical hardships they may encounter in active service.
Despite what many recruits believe, it?s not meant to ?break? anyone. But because of changes made since the Korean War, some veterans now say it?s become too easy.
Military Training Too soft? The answer depends on who you ask. A better question may be, is it easier than it was? The answer to that is, ?Not physically, but in other respects, yes.?
Boot camps vary in length:
? At 13 weeks, Marine Basic Training is the longest.
? Army Basic Combat Training for Military Occupation Specialties is 10 weeks.
? Air Force Basic Training is 8.5 weeks.
? Navy and Coast Guard boot camps are each eight weeks.
Additional training for specific jobs continues at other locations.
The physical demands of boot camp haven?t changed much, but the emotional demands are diminished. Hazing for no reason and physical abuse of recruits are no longer tolerated. Most services have implemented methods to help recruits cope with emotional issues associated with basic training. Delayed-entry programs are used more frequently, allowing recruits to begin training when they?re better prepared.
If these efforts have had any effect, they should be seen in attrition rates, indicating the percentage of recruits who don?t complete basic training.
Like It Or Not: The Numbers Say The Military Is Getting Softer.
The latest figures are from 2006 and 1998. During that period, the Army?s drop-out rate declined 4.3%, to 13.6%; the Air Force’s rate declined 1.7%, to 7.1%; the Navy’s rate, 3.0%, to 14.0%; and the Marines? rate declined 1.8%, to 11.7%.
For some while the physical hardships of basic training haven?t changed, a more-humane approach to the mental aspects appears to be helping soldiers cope.
Is that being ?too soft?? Not to most people. But if it is, some consider it necessary, considering the huge amount the government invests in finding and training recruits.
Female Navy Seals?
On the other hand, if we are getting too soft… then other enemy country armies may surely not be softly trending along with us. Some say that the United States military is becoming too politically correct and tolerant for a variety of behaviors. For example, can there ever be a female Navy Seal? Some say yes. If so, what’s next?