Army basic training is a fierce, multi-week program designed to turn everyday civilians into combat-ready soldiers. When most people think of basic training, they envision loud drill sergeants, tough physical exercises and strict guidelines ranging from how you march to how you make your bed.
While plenty of aspects of the Army have evolved over the years , the overall premise of basic training has remained the same for decades. From the welcome haircuts to the standard issue uniforms and even the obstacle courses, our fathers and grandfathers were subject to much of the same experiences new recruits have today.
Check out this video documenting what basic training was like for young men drafted in the 1960’s:
Interestingly enough, the nearly thirty-minute documentary style video offers perhaps a kinder look at boot camp than what one might have expected. The narrator’s commentary stems from his own time in basic training, and he gives the audience an honest yet seemingly playful breakdown of life in the Army.
“In basic training, you get something new every single day,” the narrator explains.
While he does not mince words when it comes to the strict requirements of the lockers, bed space and uniforms, he balances that out with insight into the camaraderie, support and valuable life lessons the Army can offer a young man.
Of course, this film was likely used to calm the nerves of the thousands who were drafted to serve in the Vietnam War.
From hand to hand combat to rifle and grenade training, new recruits experienced just about everything during their stay. And at that time, as warfare quickly evolved in Vietnam, some basic training modules were more specific to what these soldiers would experience over there too.
Towards the end, the narrator reminisces about his time in basic training and offers up some insight on the two month experience.
“I’ll admit it: I felt pretty good,” the narrator days. “I wasn’t really a fan of the grind of basic training, but I did it. I made it.”
“I’d worked at it because I discovered early that it was the best way to keep the grief to a minimum,” the narrator says, no doubt a passing jab at the fact that it was likely not his choice to join the Army.
“Of course, you’ll have to find that out for yourself. And I know some of you are bound to try it the hard way,” the man explains.
The title of the life, “It’s Up To You,” is in reference to the fact that each individual who goes through basic training must deal with it on their own, in their own way, and successfully complete it in order to be combat-ready.
“If you have to fight, basic training will teach you what to do. Remember fellas, it’s up to you.”