The first time a Soldier in Training meets his drill sergeants is arguably the most terrifying ordeal they will face in Basic Combat Training.
On June 6 Soldiers were greeted with a chorus of shouted orders from Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 13th Infantry drill sergeants as a new cycle began as part of the summer surge in training.
In the surge “usually see the recent high school graduates come in at this time,” said Capt. Pamela Cameron, Alpha Company commander. “The numbers are also a little higher — we picked up 241 today.”
In her first cycle as commander, her company picked up 123 Soldiers while the last cycle the company picked up 150 making this cycle nearly double that number she added.
To get ready for the surge in training the company added 20 more beds “so we can accommodate 260 trainees right now,” she added.
“It might mean a little longer training days as there are more Soldiers to rotate through on the range … as well as longer lines at the chow hall,” she said.
Alpha Company will be among the first units to implement a new basic training core map, Cameron said, that changes the structure of red and white phase, adds rifle marksmanship 12-14, night infiltration moves to week three instead of week five, and hand grenade qualification takes place after the battalion’s live fire exercise.
The increased number of trainees also increases the trainees to drill sergeant ratio causing the cadre to take care of more Soldiers.
The troops will learn various things such as discipline, the Army values and how to push themselves past where they think they can go.
Some SiTs appeared nervous and frazzled after having run from parked buses into their platoon areas under a constant barrage of “encouragement” from unit cadre, while others relished the chance to prove themselves.
Pvt. Jose Solis from Fresno, California said the first day at the unit was “great, I’m here with a purpose. I’m here for something and I’m not going home empty-handed. I’m here to make sure I am the best that I can be. That’s why I’m here in the United States Army.”