The Bayonet

Tuesday, Aug. 05, 2014

A reward worth the challenge

Drill sergeants help civilians become Soldiers during red, white, blue phases of training

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Army basic combat training is a nine-week program that takes individual civilians and turns them into a team of one - Soldiers. Basic training comprises three phases: red, white and blue.

During the red phase, Soldiers learn about the Army's heritage, the Army's seven core values, nuclear biological and chemical defense, land mine defense and confidence by rappelling from a 75-foot tower.

"The one thing Drill Sergeant School never prepared me for was how exhausted you become during red phase," said Staff Sgt. Jamar Campbell, 1st Platoon, E Company, 1st Battalion, 46th Infantry Regiment. "Our day starts at about 4:30 in the morning and runs until about 10:30 p.m. Red phase is all about total presence, we are trying to teach the Soldier pride and confidence in themselves while instilling teamwork and the Army values."

By the end of the first phase, you no longer see a platoon of individuals, you start to see Soldiers being formed and becoming part of a team.

White phase consists of a tactical foot march, basic rifle marksmanship, engagement skills with situational exercises, field training exercises and an obstacle course. Drill sergeants spend long days on the range, not only training a Soldier to qualify with the M4 carbine but conducting battle drills and teaching Soldiers to run, shoot and communicate.

"All of basic combat training is important, but BRM is critical," said Sgt. Greg McGinnis, 1st Platoon, E Company 1st Bn., 46th Inf. Regt. "This literally may be the difference between a Soldier's life and death in the future. We have a responsibility to train as hard as we can. Fifteen minutes in basic training is a lifetime in the regular world. We stuff training into every free moment we have."

By the end of white phase, trainees are starting to look, talk and move like Soldiers. During the blue phase, Soldiers are introduced to the .50-caliber M2, hand grenades, M136 AT4, M240B machine gun and the M249 machine gun.

Soldiers will also conduct a 15K tactical foot march and participate in a final field training exercise.

"FTX three is the culmination of all the training a Soldier has received," Campbell said. "This is their final test - a practical application of the skill they have learned." At the conclusion of the blue phase, Soldiers graduate.

"You invest so much time and energy into these guys," Campbell said. "You are hard, but fair. Naturally, you want to see them be successful. You want to see them be Soldiers."

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