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59-year-old combat vet redoes basic training to join Army reserve after 10 years

Monte L. Gould, a former U.S. Marine and U.S. Army soldier completed basic training for a second time in June of 2020 after leaving the Army in 2009. (U.S. Army photo/Released)
September 04, 2020

A 59-year-old combat veteran who left the U.S. Army in 2009 has again completed basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C., as a prerequisite to rejoin the military service after a gap of more than 10 years.

Staff Sgt. Monte L. Gould, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps and then in the Army until 2009, returned after more than a decade away from service. In a Wednesday Facebook post, the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion Syracuse said, “The next time you’re feeling unmotivated, channel Monte L. Gould, a 59-year-old combat veteran who attended basic training this summer after a decade away from service.”

Gould reportedly left the service with less than three years remaining before he would be eligible for military retirement benefits.

The Army Facebook post said, “He left the Army in 2009 to move home and spend more time with his family. But after work calmed down in his civilian life, Gould began a year-long process to reenlist with an Army Reserve unit so that he can be eligible for retirement and give something back to younger troops.”

Gould served in Afghanistan in 2004 and also spent time as a police officer in California.

Gould told Army Times, “I’m 59 years old. For some of these kids, I’m older than their grandparents. I went through [Marine Corps boot camp] in 1978. It’s a whole different world.”

Gould was reportedly impressed with some of the new equipment and training methods he saw while going through basic training for the second time.

“The firearms training was excellent,” and there’s “a lot more overall functional fitness,” Gould told Army Times. “The equipment and the ranges they have at this facility are amazing. They have these laser simulators. They have these other targets that track your hits. … The amount of money they have in training to put these kids through is amazing.”

Gould told Army Times that current recruits are “more knowledgeable” and “smarter on a lot of things,” but that recruits in his day had to have more grit and resilience. Gould said drill instructors in 1978 were “borderline sadistic” and recruits had to run every day in boots and utility pants, which he said led to a lot more leg injuries.

During his initial Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), Gould scored a 409 out of 600 possible points. In his second test he scored a 460. Gould said those scores qualified him for most Army career fields.

With his training complete, the Army said Gould is being assigned to the 405th Civil Affairs Battalion’s detachment out of Las Vegas, Nevada, the same unit that his son, Spc. Jarrod Gould, is serving.