• Facing the lies of the American Dream: A Letter from Basic Training

    This is the first in a series by guest writer "Gigi". The series chronicles her experiences in the military from hopeful young women trying to chase her american dream to facing the regret of joining the military as she becomes increasingly disillusioned.   

    On August 12, 2014, I shipped to Basic Combat Training. I arrived to Lawton, Oklahoma at around 5 pm. My heart was beating fast; the bucolic environment impregnated my senses and filled my soul with fear, angst and desolation. However, my recruiter had sold me the “the American Dream” and I was up for the challenge, I was ready for the beginning of this odyssey, but I was not ready to face the “inconvenient truth”, the “reality”. As soon as we stepped out of the bus, one of the drill sergeants told us to get the f$%# out of his bus. I had never been that scared in my entire life. I could not believe I was being treated as a “second class citizen”, as an indigent, even though I had volunteered to serve my country and my people. My dream suddenly turned into a nightmare. The yelling and screaming did not stop until past midnight. Their voices resounded on my mind over and over and over again. We were allowed to go to bed 12:30 am and were told we had to be in formation by 4:30 am. Needless to say, I did not get any sleep. Instead, I hugged my minion Stuart pretty tight and cried all night. I just wanted to hug my parents and cried in their arms like a baby because I knew they were right and I was wrong, but they were a thousand miles away from me. They begged me not to join the army but I would not listen so all I could do at that point was to look back and regret my decision. My heart was filled with melancholy and nostalgia since I knew deep inside that I had made the greatest mistake of my life and that after graduating Magna Cum Laude from UCLA, this was just a step back in my life. Things did not get any better the day after, in actuality, they just got worse. The drill sergeants walked into our room screaming and yelling at us at around 3:30 am on August 13, 2014. I rapidly changed into my Army Combat Uniform, the uniform I wear up to date and that makes me feel as a hypocrite since I am just impersonating an American soldier, and rushed downstairs.
    As soon as we went downstairs, we were told to stand in formation; so, we stayed there, no breathing, no talking, no moving,
    until the drill sergeants came back, almost an hour later. My feet, my arms and hips were completely numb, my hands were
    completely swollen, and my soul was corrupted  with self-hate, anger, desolation and misery. They marched us from there to a different locations where we were being physically and mentally evaluated to determine if we were fit to be in the army. I could not believe what I had gotten myself into; I felt so desperate and deep inside wished they would find there was something terribly wrongwith me cancer, anemia, lupus, heart disease, something that would get me out of that place as soon as possible and would let me extend my wings and fly free near the sun; nevertheless, it did not happen. My heart sank the day they determined I was fit to be in the army and something broke deep inside into little pieces and I died, that day I died, I could not stand being treated as a worthless piece of meat and being isolated from my mommy, my daddy, my beloved siblings and my friends, and even from my so-called battle buddies since we were not allowed to interact with each other. I lost all hope, all love for life, all of my faith was gone too, I literally just wanted to die since I knew that my life would be like that for the next 3 years and 35 weeks.
    The next pieces in the series continues exploring basic training and a surprise shark attack. 
  • Comments on this post (2 comments)

    • Tsukasa says…

      your screwed just do what he says and dont coplmain about anything, ANYTHING he orders you to do, im joining the marines too and im not very outgoing either but this is what im going to do.

      on April 01, 2015

    • Esteban says…

      The douchebag ansewrs you’re seeing on here are just the tip of the iceberg, my friend. This is the way the military is. There is little sympathy and social skills are a big part of the whole thing. In fact, camaradere is one of the most important things in the army. If you don’t care about the man next to you, and he doesn’t care about you, there is a problem.If you decide to enlist, I’d learn to fake the funk. That means you show enthusiasm even if you don’t feel it. If you’re the quiet type, that’s okay. But joke around with the guys or at least laugh at their jokes, and be there for your battle buddies. If one needs help, freakin help him and do it as soon as you see the need. And if someone helps you, say thanks bro. Tell people good job when they do one, and stay away from the maligngerers and whiners. Even if you agree with what they are crying about, don’t voice it. Stay positive and stay strong. Speaking of strong, make sure you go in in shape. If you’re a PT stud, people will look up to you and Drill Sgts won’t mess with you as much.

      on March 26, 2015

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