22 May

AIT (Advanced Infantry Training)

Veterans Services

Have you ever received a letter telling you to report or proceed to your next destination? During your last week of basic training, you usually receive orders for your next assignment. Advanced Infantry Training (AIT) is training that advances, completes and develops the person you will become and what you will stand for while you are in the service on your tour of duty. This could be Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines or Cost Guard—training that will fit the duty and assignment that each branch represents.

While training in your expertise, positive things begin to happen. Although the training is immensely repetitive, it also starts to make sense. Listen, you always complain. That’s the best part. Complaining, in the deeper sense, means that whatever constructive things you are doing will have long-term positive effects. So we marched more, ran more, learned more, crawled more, and complained more.

You know what? We loved it.

AIT and More

A twenty-mile forced march with 60 pounds of gear on your back, live fire and night crawling with rifle and pack—and what happens if the opposite team captures you? Actually, all the training and effort that you have put into this experience rewards you with talent and skills so you can answer all of the challenges that may come into your life moving forward.

You are able to say, “I got this.”

Coach Chris, VLP

15 Apr

You Can Tell the Future By Listening

Veteran Support Pledge

A good poker player looks and responds to the tells of other players in a poker game to make the best decision to win. But looking is just one of the many forms of listening and by listening you can sometimes tell the future. Over the last ten years coaching veterans, the thing that generated the greatest positive effect for the veterans was the interactive listening from other people. Each time a person gave the veterans some time to tell their story, the veterans received a sort of reassuring sense of understanding for themselves to move on with their goals and civilian life aspirations.

You may think “Well I am too far removed from helping veterans or our military; I am not trained enough to understand.” Think of the times at a national event when the announcer says, “Let us pause for a few moments for x event that has national importance.” Similarly, if you pause for a moment and think about our military service and the services of our veterans, you will actually be doing your part. Simply by listening.

07 Mar

Basic Training

Basic Training Story

One way or another, all of us go through some kind of basic training. A place and time in our lives that, whether we like it or not, things change into a different pathway. A place where, like it or not, there is no turning back.

In basic training, this was what we would consider a typical day.

4:45AM: The sounds of sleeping and snoring, which was amplified by the 30 some-odd guys in one barracks. “RISE AND SHINE! Rise and shine, gentlemen! Everybody up, up, up! Fall in time in 10 minutes!” (“Fall in” meaning outside dressing in uniform for the daily run.)

As you were scurrying to make the fall in time you thought, maybe this was a dream and in a few minutes you would wake up in a nice Nebraska farm to sunshine and biscuits made by your grandmother. No such luck.

“Run!” And run you did. Oh, no fancy running shoes. Combat boots all the way. Our drill sergeant would run with the company unit, so whatever we were asked (ordered) to do, our drill sergeant would do it first and look like he just came out of a tanning booth to show you how easy things are in basic training.

The run always reached close to an hour and took us uphill, downhill, through hills and over hills.

On the roads or off the roads didn’t matter. “1-2-3-4. 1-2-3-4. 1-2-3-4.” Drill sergeants always had a rhythm to their cadence song:

Wanna to go home on your left your right,
Wanna go home on your left your right,
Sound off 12 sound-off 34,
Bring it on down 1-2-3-4. 1-2-3-4.

For some reason, deep inside you knew this run was good for you. You knew as you ran you were part of something bigger than yourself. One good thing about the daily run was that you wound up at the Mess Hall (that would be “cafeteria” to us civilians). That turned out to be a really good thing for one reason: FOOD!

To be continued…


14 Jan

The Bus Ride

Military Support Pledge

Have you ever been on a long bus ride, like the Grey Hound Trail Way or a bus going downtown? When you got off the bus at your stop, you may have taken a second to reorient yourself to exactly where you were. You may have looked around and thought to yourself, “Oh yeah, this is familiar,” or you thought, “Hmm, let me figure out where I am.” Once you adjusted to your surroundings, things usually worked out–or so we thought they did.

As the new recruits on the bus at Fort Jackson, South Carolina basic training camp, we experienced some immediate re-orientations and adjustments to our surroundings. Getting off the bus was a real life-changer and a real welcome to the United States Army–and what a welcome it was.

“‘Cruits!” thundered the drill sergeant with an absolute authority that rattled your bones. The 30 of us were like tourists getting off a tour guide bus in Italy looking around and enjoying the sites. But at this bus stop, it was clear that tourism was not on the agenda. “‘Cruits!” roared the drill sergeant again. “Where do you think you are, on a joy ride?! This is my house. You are now in my house and being in my house, nobody ever walks around in my house. You never walk in my house; you always run in my house. Is that clear ‘cruits?! I don’t hear you. IS THAT CLEAR?!” There were only two words that made sense in that moment: “Yes, Sergeant.”Whether you were a good runner or not, from that moment forward, the landscape of your life had changed into something different, and that was just by getting off a bus.

You would think that this change was something to fear, but it was actually the beginning of a 12-week journey that transformed us into polished Army soldiers. So, whenever taking a bus ride and going in a new direction, always remember to reorient yourself to all of the possibilities that you believe will be good for you in the future.

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