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Basic as an old lad

Questions about NG/AR OCS training. Please note that NG applicants can also visit www.armyocsng.com.
Schwar3066
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Basic as an old lad

Postby Schwar3066 Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:42 pm

Can anyone in the forum describe from their experience what BCT is like for 30+ yr olds? At 31-32 I'd imagine I'd be one of the oldest guys in my BCT class (assuming I get selected for OCS in the first place :D)

Thanks all.
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Re: Basic as an old lad

Postby PhantomWarrior Fri Dec 29, 2017 6:17 pm

If you are getting a 270 on your PT test already basic shouldn't be too much of a challenge. It may actually be a challenge to maintain your level of fitness for OCS. Make sure to take the PT at basic seriously and do extra pushups and situps and run on your own, if necessary.

As far as social dynamics, you are probably going to be surrounded by a bunch of 18-22 year olds. Embrace it. The drill sergeants may put you in a student leadership position due to your age. If so, do your job and don't let it go to your head. Otherwise be in the right place at the right time in the right uniform and help out your classmates. A little quiet peer leadership goes a long ways. As one of our members says, be a good dude.
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Re: Basic as an old lad

Postby 35FUSAR Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:39 pm

Spot on what Phantom said.

I went through at 39 (back when the limit was 42). I wasn't the oldest, but ended up being the oldest that didn't break down for physical reasons or got discharge/recycled because of it. When I saw what happened to my two older classmates I simply stopped caring or competing for top of Ego Mt. The objective became the Army Standard, and Graduation.

I was put in leadership in BCT. I was made a Platoon Leader one day, and then fired the next as an example. The next younger kid selected was forced to carry the position till the end, and endured many learning experiences.

When I was in AIT I was put in a level of leadership a layer down as a squad leader and stayed there from start to end. I got a sense the Cadre wanted me there as stability among student leadership whiling being able to train the younger kids around me on leadership as they fell from leadership for one reason or another (APTF, Class performance, disciple).

What I learned, and what I hope to pass along to you is the Kids don't care you are older. I spent a few weeks trying to get them to figure out the game, so we could all just roll with it, and move on one day at a time. But to them, I wore the same rank as they did, and wasn't in any better situation than they were. After realizing that I just stepped back and enjoyed the show.

About half way through I realized this experience is about growing up and being molded as a young adult. That's the most annoying part of going through TRADOC at our age. Half of what's going on around you isn't designed for you. You're surrounded by breeding rabbits who think getting the Army Achievement Medal for top of class is going to set them on course to be the next GEN Patton.

OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cell Phones are the curse of BCT. Cadre collected the phones day one, and inventoried them by S/N and soldier. The first time we were allowed to use them they passed them out, and then the PVT's collected them and returned them on the HONOR SYSTEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I tried to warn the kids. They were having none of it. Yep, two kids withheld their phones. One got an Article 15, and the other chose to get out. The barracks of course got turned upside down even though the Cadre knew who it was from the start (remember they inventoried them).

While we get a day of rest before an official APFT event, I found out at my age I need TWO DAYS. My scores significantly improved in AIT when we were given more freedom to manage out own fitness.

Anyway, manage your fitness like Phantom said, and step away and let the youth experience growing up.

**************
I was most entertained by the "hook ups" and marriages.

One female was engaged to a male in BCT. Then she dumped him, and married a guy from AIT.

I suppose, when the BCT guy gets a few years and grows up he will come to realize how lucky he is.
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Re: Basic as an old lad

Postby Son of the Raven Sat Dec 30, 2017 6:47 pm

I agree with what Phantom shared and I would add this ...

I went to BCT when I was old enough (35) to be the father of some of my classmates. The one advantage you will have over them is your maturity and the ability to take yourself out of the immediate situation in order to see the bigger picture driving what goes on. The lessons the Drill Sergeants are trying to impress upon your classmates will be lost to them but not as much to you. Be a good leader and find ways to translate for your peers. It is a good chance to develop your leadership and communication skills. Remember, these soldiers will be very similar to the ones that you will have to lead as a Platoon Leader and Company Commander.

Some of the dumb things that your classmates will try to get away with will just make you roll your eyes and attempts to talk them out of it may not work. They will try to resist the forced structure until they begin to understand why that structure is so important to military life.
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Re: Basic as an old lad

Postby Schwar3066 Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:53 pm

Gentlemen, I really appreciate the info.

I expect BCT to be more of a mind game than anything else, which is pretty much corroborated in the above posts. I too am concerned about physically breaking down during OCS as I understand the physical aspect is considerably more challenging. I’m working on my flexibility and will continue to improve fitness overall. Hopefully that will do the trick. Any ideas as to specific muscle groups / flexibility regimens would be appreciated (to improve durability, etc.).

Again, thank you for your guidance.
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Re: Basic as an old lad

Postby Son of the Raven Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:03 am

That is a bad assumption. OCS is more mentally challenging than BCT and a different mental challenge. Basic is a lot of mental BS to "acculturate" one to military life which is easier to do than you might think. However, OCS is about leading and leading peers under artificially added stress. OCS is also more physically demanding than BCT but not where you should break yourself. It's still more about the leadership than being Superman. You are not being asked to carry 155 rounds to the firing point. Instead you are expected to handle a possible riot while trying to conduct a patrol and not let your team, or the civilians, die in the process.
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Re: Basic as an old lad

Postby Thundercathooo Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:06 pm

I'm 30 and finishing basic 18Jan. As an 09S and being drastically more mature then most people there, you'll get looked at for leadership roles from day 1. This isn't the drill sergeants first rodeo, they'll find you and expect you to perform. I was voluntold to do some kind of duty almost daily. That being said, the rest of your platoon respects you more then others and leaves you out of their shaving cream fights. Theyll come to you for advice and leadership. My biggest concern was my ability to keep up with the youngens when I first arrived. I should never have doubted myself. I improved across the board and added 60+ points to my overall. It's all about what you put into it. However, I definitely needed extra days to get my body feeling right after some PTs or extra smokings, where some of these 18 years olds needed all of 15 minutes before they were up and doing half jacks for fun. I'll go ahead and tell you, it's not your daddy's basic anymore. You'll get your phone often, individual showering, "personal time", and depending on your DS you listen to the radio at night. At no point was like, "this is too hard." You'll miss your family and good food (you'll start to fantasize about food, it's absurd). You'll be fine and before you know it, it'll all be over. Count your meals then count your Sundays. Makes life easier when you aren't one of those people going, "ONLY 60 DAYS AND A WAKE UP."
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Re: Basic as an old lad

Postby Son of the Raven Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:20 pm

That being said, the rest of your platoon respects you more then others and leaves you out of their shaving cream fights. Theyll come to you for advice and leadership.
I would caveat this part with Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV). Not everyone will necessarily look up to you in the beginning. Some drill sergeants will be dismissive of 09S and this can impact how classmates view the future officer. When I say dismissive they will make comments like "What makes you so special?", "Why should I follow you?", "You think you are important because you have a college degree", "I would never take orders from you", and the list goes on and on. I am not condemning all drill sergeants. Those who do this do it to remind all the recruits that they are in charge and that the 09S is no different from the other recruits.
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Re: Basic as an old lad

Postby Thundercathooo Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:40 pm

That being said, the rest of your platoon respects you more then others and leaves you out of their shaving cream fights. Theyll come to you for advice and leadership.
I would caveat this part with Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV). Not everyone will necessarily look up to you in the beginning. Some drill sergeants will be dismissive of 09S and this can impact how classmates view the future officer. When I say dismissive they will make comments like "What makes you so special?", "Why should I follow you?", "You think you are important because you have a college degree", "I would never take orders from you", and the list goes on and on. I am not condemning all drill sergeants. Those who do this do it to remind all the recruits that they are in charge and that the 09S is no different from the other recruits.
Fully agree. I've read many stories of drills doing that. I was fortunate enough to get the most professional, by the book, Drill Sergeant in the entire company and that talk wouldn't fly with her. She came in as a Specialist many years ago and relied on us to keep order when she was gone. We had two other drills, but one got suspended like week 3 and the other was on his first cycle.
You have to set yourself apart. Do the right thing, and you'll gain the respect of others.
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Re: Basic as an old lad

Postby PhantomWarrior Mon Jan 01, 2018 4:27 pm

I too am concerned about physically breaking down during OCS as I understand the physical aspect is considerably more challenging. I’m working on my flexibility and will continue to improve fitness overall. Hopefully that will do the trick. Any ideas as to specific muscle groups / flexibility regimens would be appreciated (to improve durability, etc.).
I can't offer you any old guy training regimens. I will say that the biggest challenge for most people at OCS is the running. Whether that's the distance, the speed, or the cumulative amount. Being able to run five miles at an eight to nine minute pace and a weekly mileage of 10-15 miles is probably a good rule of thumb. I trained up for a half marathon before OCS and it was great preparation. Probably overkill. But it worked well for me.

EDIT TO ADD: A good way to prepare for the running at OCS and avoid injury is the Foot Drills. I do these when I'm in training and have found them to be very beneficial in preventing injury.

http://www.coachr.org/the_foot_drills.htm
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Re: Basic as an old lad

Postby Schwar3066 Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:29 pm

Gentlemen,

Thanks again for opining, and thanks to all of you for your service.
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Re: Basic as an old lad

Postby Rld85 Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:15 pm

Some advice I'd give that may contradict some of the above is not to underestimate BCT. I was told BCT is something just to get through, since I was older it would be a joke and how I needed to prepare for the intensity of OCS. It turned out to not be the case for me.

Prior to shipping I focused on things I thought would help me at OCS like required knowledge and running, I had all but written off BCT as a small stepping stone. BCT was a lot more challenging than I expected (and I was in great shape). I think mostly because we went through BCT at Benning with only men and we had a super HUA CO/1SG and mostly tabbed out beasts for DS's. They didn't let up all cycle and really hammered the 09S's specifically. We had a little over a 20% wash out rate. I know of two 09S's who were on this board who ended up getting discharged and didn't finish BCT. They talked about ranger school and being a PL, but ended up never even graduating BCT. I never really worried about failing anything, but that's not to say it wasn't challenging. The mental games mess with you more than you think regardless of your age. My whole class agreed with that.

OCS on the other hand after hearing such crazy stories from years past was a bit underwhelming compared to the stories. All the running I did leading up to it wasn't put to good use. We did more running at BCT. Leadership positions were a bit rough at times and some of the academics like history were a little challenging, but really not bad. We realized our crazy experience at BCT wasn't normal after swapping stories with people at Jackson and FLW!

You will see leaders make a big difference on your experience, mine were contrary to what most experience because of the leadership. I guess my major point is to always focus on the 50meter target. And also to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Good luck!
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Re: Basic as an old lad

Postby 35FUSAR Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:55 am

We realized our crazy experience at BCT wasn't normal after swapping stories with people at Jackson and FLW!
Was that 20% wash out for the entire Basic Training Company, or just 09S? I couldn't imagine 20% of the company being hold overs until they are fully discharged. What about reservists and NG? We had an element of complexity to the administrative process since we aren't owned by the Active side.

Being from FLW of 120 we had:
2 get out because they broke physically
1 get recycled because they got injured
1 flat out quit to avoid an article 15.

We had 1 graduate with us as a hold over from the prior cycle who was injured before.

That said, I guess FLW is VERY lax considering. There was one brat that pointed his rifle at a Drill SGT while his back was turned, and pulled the trigger (unloaded of course, but it went "click"). This was observed by another Drill SGT, and regardless of the hell they put him through, all in all, they let him graduate. He wasn't allowed to participate in graduation, but still, he went on to become someone else's problem.

No one was "kicked out". They either broke or quit.
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Re: Basic as an old lad

Postby ncmilano Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:16 am

I was a basic training Co CDR at Jackson for two years and had lots of "old lads" and 09s come through the company. We would have them in more leadership postions and expect them to do a little more. I would spend about an hour during each phase talking to the 09s in my office about OCS, being an officer, and leadership. It was my way of paying it forward as many of them didn't know about this website. With that being said:

1. Show up in shape.
2. Relax and live day to day, its long, slow and sometimes very boring.
3. Do your best and outdo the younger guys if you can.
4. Understand you have about a year or so of TRADOC service between basic, ocs, and branch school. This will pass and you will get your freedom and life back.
5. Smile and enjoy the experience. You are about to see some fun and exciting things. If I had a dollar for all the off the wall, crazy, hilarious things I expedited at basic, or as a basic company commander I would be rich.

Good luck, we'll see you in a bit as 2nd Lt.
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Re: Basic as an old lad

Postby Schwar3066 Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:41 am

Thanks for the added responses -

How does BCT location get assigned? Randomized or by geography?

Also, how do the experiences of NG/USAR OCS candidates differ from those vying on the OML as active duty candidates?

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Basic as an old lad

Postby PhantomWarrior Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:48 pm

How does BCT location get assigned? Randomized or by geography?
09S candidates are spread out among all the BCT locations. Though Jackson and Benning do seem pretty heavily represented.

Also, how do the experiences of NG/USAR OCS candidates differ from those vying on the OML as active duty candidates?
There are two major differences. One, NG/USAR candidates do not face a PT cutoff to class up as long as they pass the initial PT test. If the class is overbooked the active duty candidates with the highest PT scores are picked. The rest have to wait for the next class to try again. NG/USAR class up with the class they are scheduled for. Of course if they fail the PT test they are a No Go just like anyone else.

Two, NG/USAR candidates are not competing on the OML for a chance to pick their branch. They are already assigned to a duty position in their unit and thus are already assigned a branch. The only reason to care about the OML for NG/USAR candidates is the chance to be a Distinguished Military Graduate.
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Re: Basic as an old lad

Postby kniqhto Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:38 pm

Though it doesn't specifically apply to the question at hand, I just wanted to clarify the APFT class up procedure for the rest of us. Ordnance88 (a currently attending Officer Candidate, who should be offered congrats on his branching Armor), offered some clarity on that when I spoke to him over the phone on Christmas Exodus.

Priority goes as such: (1) NG/USAR, (2) Active Duty In-Service, and then the 09S population has to compete for a slot in the class. As Phantom Warrior pointed out, assuming the NG/USAR/Active Duty In-Service guys pass their APFT, they will class up on time.
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Re: Basic as an old lad

Postby army101 Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:37 pm

NG/Reserve and in-service will class up as long as they get 180 (60 points in each event). All college option candidates compete for the class up if the class is overbooked. For example, if there are 240 candidates in a 180 maximum capacity, then bottom 60 people in APFT score won't class up. However, they're guarantee to class up in the next class as long as they get 180 APFT score.

My one warning is that some graders can be a real pain in the rear because they're extremely strict (or just being an idiot) when grading push ups. There are few people who legitimately complained that graders didn't count a lot of their push ups (a few actually got disqualified) because they didn't go all the way down or up enough, which is absolute BS. So make sure you do push ups and sit ups in good forms.

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