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Author Topic: Basic Military Training  (Read 2685 times)
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Socal77
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« Reply #20 on: Apr 16, 2017, 02:47PM »

With all due respect, if basic training stresses you out you should most certainly not be in the military. Granted, being a bandsman is a far cry from being in SEAL Team Six, or a nuclear submarine officer/crewman, or a fighter pilot, etc., but being in the military carries with it the possibility being of being put in harms way and the acceptance of the possibility of dying for your country. The reality is many military members in combatant roles are very resentful of guys and gals tooting their horns and collecting the same base pay as they do.
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« Reply #21 on: Apr 17, 2017, 03:32AM »

You could flip this the other way around, and say that those who joined for combat roles haven't had to spend many years honing their skills, just to get to recruit level and receive the same basic pay?
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« Reply #22 on: Apr 17, 2017, 09:33AM »

The reality is many military members in combatant roles are very resentful of guys and gals tooting their horns and collecting the same base pay as they do.

That hasn't been my reality.
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« Reply #23 on: Apr 17, 2017, 09:51AM »

I was in US Army basic training in the summer of '81. I was going into the West Point Jazz Knights.

When I enlisted I was told it was a 6 weeks deal. Halfway through I was told that it was now EIGHT weeks.  :cry:

I had to stupid idea that I could take my horn along. I showed up to basic training (Ft Leonard Wood Missouri) and at first we were assigned to the reception station. That lasted three or four days. No training or assignments per se. We had to get up every day and stand in lines. We were given our haircuts, and all the uniforms we'd need (not including the West Point band uniforms however).

When I had a chance I'd grab my horn and go practice. The other recruits probably were wondering what the hell was wrong with me. They hung out, smokes cigarettes, played cards, whatever.

On the day we were assigned to a company, we were told to assemble outside. From  the air everyone looked identical except for me. I had my gig bag next to me.

The recruiting station SGT Major came over and asked me "Why'd you bring your tuba?"

Rather than correct him I told him since I was going directly to West Point after basic, I needed to have it with me. He asked how much the horn cost. I knew where he was headed; he wanted to ship it. I told him it cost me $2000. (in reality my Bach 12 cost me $225m, but I didn't want it being mailed anywhere)

He shook his head and told me that my drill SGT would have me turn it in along with my civilian clothes.

The day came when were in line with our civies. The drill asked me what I had in the case. I told him "my trombone, Sargent"

He told me "Hell, get it out and play something" I was blown away. But I saw my chance. I got my horn together and began playing every military song I could manage. Army, Marine, Navy etc.

Then he said "well, keep it in your locker. I'll have you play it every now and then"

 Good!

I put in my locker still assembled. Stuffed my gig bag on the top shelf. I managed some practice time over those remaining 7 weeks, but not much.
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« Reply #24 on: Apr 17, 2017, 10:45AM »

The reality is many military members in combatant roles are very resentful of guys and gals tooting their horns and collecting the same base pay as they do.

I haven't seen that.  I'm not saying it might not exist somewhere, but it doesn't seem to be obvious.  The military is full of cooks, laundry specialists, clerk typists, personnel specialists who process movement orders, lawyers, veterinarians, etc.  A lot of cogs turn that wheel, and not everybody is a shooter.
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #25 on: Apr 17, 2017, 10:57AM »

The reality is many military members in combatant roles are very resentful of guys and gals tooting their horns and collecting the same base pay as they do.

I'm guessing that something like that might have been somewhat true during the draft days, when you had no choice about being there and got stuck with the grunt job you got stuck with, while movie stars got officer commissions with safe stateside duties.

But the US is 40 years out of the draft now.
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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #26 on: Apr 17, 2017, 11:18AM »

That hasn't been my reality.

There is some contempt towards bandsmen from the "rest" of the military.  I experienced it many times, myself.  I was in a National Guard band and found that even within the military, many of the troops don't understand that we are soldiers first, musicians second, and we don't drive a truck or fire a cannon "the rest of the time".  

Usually they don't understand how military musicians' rank is attained (through the civilian acquired skills programs).  When I joined there was no accelerated rank; I was enlisted at E-1 and it was a year before I made E-2, another year to E-3.  A few years later, new recruits came in at E-3 and were promoted to E-4 following completion of the School of Music.  There was resentment towards those folks even within the band itself.

Here's an example; read the comments section.

https://www.reddit.com/r/AirForce/comments/3lkp3b/9_month_tsgt_in_usaf_band/

https://www.rallypoint.com/answers/is-it-possible-to-get-promoted-this-quickly-in-the-air-force-is-this-typical-for-band-members?page=9&urlhash=997620#997620
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Dan Hine

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« Reply #27 on: Apr 17, 2017, 02:04PM »

There is some contempt towards bandsmen from the "rest" of the military.

I suppose I cannot say there is none.  I haven't REALLY experienced it myself.  Yes, there is definitely a lot (perhaps a majority) that just don't understand what we do.  But not understanding is different than contempt.  How I carried myself and presented what we do seemed to make a difference - for me, in the USMC and Army over 12 years from 2005 - now.  



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Usually they don't understand how military musicians' rank is attained (through the civilian acquired skills programs).

When I came in to the USMC there was not civilian acquired skills program and as far as I know, there still isn't.  I was an E-2 but that was due to college credit and nothing to do with my job.  So anyone could have been an E-2 in any job with college experience.

In my opinion, I think the Army should do away with accelerated rank because of job skill.  Being a musician is really a small part of what we do and someone who has been in for a short period is (typically) NOT ready to lead others in a military environment.  E-3 at most.


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Yes, lots of hate on the internet.  What else is new?  I didn't serve the military on web forums so when I refer to my personal experience, it's exactly that.  You can find haters for literally everything online.

I'm sorry you had bad experiences, but mine were significantly different.  There were some "school ground bullies" I suppose. But there were also many great people.  They were the norm for me. 
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« Reply #28 on: Apr 17, 2017, 03:40PM »

With all due respect, if basic training stresses you out you should most certainly not be in the military.

I beg to differ. Stress, and how you perform under it, is what basic training is all about.
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« Reply #29 on: Apr 17, 2017, 03:42PM »

My experience being in an academy service band was unique in that we got great rank, and quick.

I was in basic as an E3 and after 2 months at my duty station (West Point) I was bumped to E6. I did get some grief from regular army guys here and there but not a lot.

One day I dropped by the USMA Credit Union to cash a check. I was in uniform. There was an E4 outside the building raking leaves. His service stripes showed he had been the service for 6 + years. (Each stripe equals 3 years time).

My uniform had no service stripes. I had only been in for a year. Yet I was a spec 6.

He gave me some sh*t. Technically I could have gotten him in trouble even though I wasn't a hard stripe E6.

I told him that I had skills going in, I auditioned and was offered the job. I added "if you want to audition, get a horn"
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« Reply #30 on: Apr 17, 2017, 04:12PM »

Well it's been several decades since I did basic training, but basic training was primarily about teaching you to follow directions.  Sometimes they will ask you to do the stupidest things, but the best thing to do is just whatever the instructions are that the give you follow them as closely and as quickly as possible.  The other difficult part of Basic training is the physical conditioning.  The physical conditioning will be difficult at first but will get easier as time goes by, don't get discouraged if you can't do everything at first, just keep trying it will come. 
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« Reply #31 on: Apr 17, 2017, 04:14PM »

In my opinion, I think the Army should do away with accelerated rank because of job skill.  Being a musician is really a small part of what we do and someone who has been in for a short period is (typically) NOT ready to lead others in a military environment.  E-3 at most.

That seems to leave two options... do away with the bands since the accelerated rank was needed to fill them with competent players, or accept substantially less capable players who are OK with the lower pay.


Is higher pay always about higher leadership in the military? Is the ability to do a difficult task that is hard to find people to do (doctors were mentioned above) not a valid factor?

There's got to be more to the military than telling other people to do things, there's got to be people who can actually do the things, right?
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Robert Holmén

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« Reply #32 on: Apr 17, 2017, 04:51PM »

That seems to leave two options... do away with the bands since the accelerated rank was needed to fill them with competent players,

Well, that's not correct.  Accelerated rank was NOT needed to fill them with competent players.  I performed with many amazing players who came in as E-2s.   


 
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or accept substantially less capable players who are OK with the lower pay.

Again, not necessarily.  Your opinion is based on assumption and no experience.


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Is higher pay always about higher leadership in the military? Is the ability to do a difficult task that is hard to find people to do (doctors were mentioned above) not a valid factor?

Like it or not, yes.  Current rank structure generally means pay AND responsibility.   

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There's got to be more to the military than telling other people to do things, there's got to be people who can actually do the things, right?

Yes.  There is more than telling people what to do.  In fact, leadership has LITTLE to do with "telling people what to do."  Have you ever been in the military?  How many people are you responsible for on a daily basis?  And I don't mean their work performance.  I mean the people themselves.  That's part of military life, too. 
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« Reply #33 on: Apr 17, 2017, 05:28PM »

I went thru basic in the Army during the Vietnam war. Even though I was going to a band in SF. 2 months of very rugged experience, but it is only 2 months. Lost some weight, got in shape, and got be around some of the biggest (nice word) jerks of my life...that also helped me grow into an adult.

But are you doing Navy basic training, isn't that longer and more involved? Good luck.
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JP
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« Reply #34 on: Apr 18, 2017, 12:17AM »



Have any of you gone through basic? Do you have any tips you could share with me to help get me through this? I'm already feeling very scared and can't stop thinking about it.


How's it going, eh? Don't be discouraged by all of the US Army bands vets. They're all hosers, not recognizing you're in Canada. These hosers can't have BEER for a few months, along with other things that usually affects their judgement. Physical training reduces stress, gets you tired, and you'll do fine. Don't be on time for work, be early. Practice, study, and watch hockey to relax. Several years ago, I played with some of the military band guys in Victoria/Vancouver. Good group of people. Go 'Hawks..... Go Navy......  At AF bases everywhere, FTA......
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« Reply #35 on: Apr 18, 2017, 08:54PM »

That seems to leave two options... do away with the bands since the accelerated rank was needed to fill them with competent players


Also, Robcat, using your neck of the woods as an example, an E-2 with dependents (wife, child, or both) would earn (before tax) $46,151.  That doesn't include benefits like no cost healthcare, tuition assistance while on active duty, GI Bill, VA Loan, etc.  Maybe I'm out of touch.  Is $46k plus benefits all that bad?
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« Reply #36 on: Apr 19, 2017, 05:18AM »

I realize tge OP is in Canada, but in referenxe to what others are talking about...

hypothetically speaking, in reference to a military that might be similar to real ones that exist today, it wouldn't be entirely a bad thing for military bands to handicap their new soldiers by not having instant promotion to E4, AND if so, to further handicap their field by also not instantly promoting bandsmen with degrees to E4. As it stands, 90% or more of incoming bandsmen have a degree. This is not the case in other fields in the military -- for example in the infantry or food service branches, where degrees are rare for new soldiers, it makes some sense to promote these soldiers to E4 immediately. They stand out.

Having all new bandsmen come in as E4s appears to just strain the promotion system. Soldiers are all promoted or become promotable too fast, sometimes before it becomes apparent that they have no business being NCOs. Because they all have degrees (which is worth points towards promotion), there suddenly is a glut of E4s and E5s fighting for points, and many of them do not have a good work ethic because they never had to be a private or take orders.

It only takes two years to go automatically from E1 to E4. This is more than enough time to weed out bozos who can't hack it in the army before they can get themselves promoted and protected by medical profiles and other egregious examples of malingering that plague the hypothetical military band in my hypothesis.

It's great to be an awesome player, but that's only like 20% of what you need to be a military bandsman outside of the special bands in DC. Far more important is being a team player and helping to make your unit function properly for day to day stuff.
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« Reply #37 on: Apr 19, 2017, 05:46AM »

With all due respect, if basic training stresses you out you should most certainly not be in the military. Granted, being a bandsman is a far cry from being in SEAL Team Six, or a nuclear submarine officer/crewman, or a fighter pilot, etc., but being in the military carries with it the possibility being of being put in harms way and the acceptance of the possibility of dying for your country. The reality is many military members in combatant roles are very resentful of guys and gals tooting their horns and collecting the same base pay as they do.

I would disagree with this. Basic training is designed to stress out recruits to see if they have what it takes to make it through.  I don't know anyone who made it all the way through basic training who didn't feel stressed out by the experience.  Basic training in the US Navy anyways (which was where I did it) was the same for everyone regardless of if you were going to be a bandsman or a future seal team member (which you wouldn't know at the time of basic training).
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« Reply #38 on: Apr 19, 2017, 10:04AM »

A long, long time ago, in a place far away I went through Army basic training prior to joining The United States Army Band in Washington, D.C.  If it hadn't been for the knowledge that I was slated to definitely be in that specific group after basic, I know that I would have had a very difficult time adjusting. They gave me a letter and a phone number to call if I heard so much as a word that I was not headed to TUSAB. As it turned out, the Lieutenant in charge of our platoon called me in on the second day of training after hearing that I'd graduated from a music conservatory.  He always wanted a band to march around his troops and evidently, I was the one that was going to make it happen.  I put the word out and found a couple of trumpet players and a zillion "Drummers".  We were given a weekend pass to go home for our instruments --- unheard of in the first week of basic --- and the "Drummers" went to nearby Philadelphia and bought whatever they could find at the nearest pawn shop ! I spared my Elkhart 88H the indignity of having its slide ground into oblivion by the dusty conditions at Fort Dix and instead took my Mirafone "Bass Trumpet / Flugelhorn" [Just like the Mnozil Brass "Lonely Boy" plays].  We must have played "Saints" a million times !  I was even asked to play at birthday parties for different sergeants and even got a day off duty to scout up some manuscript paper and write arrangements for the band !  It made basic a whole lot less stressful !  When I finally reached TUSAB I found myself among some of the greatest musicians and terrific human beings I'd ever experienced.  I thought it to be so then and I still feel that way today, some 57 years later.   Hang in there -- just do what you are told -- don't volunteer for anything -- and before you know it you'll be among "your own kind" --- MUSICIANS !  And --- the stories you'll have to tell -------- !!   Cheers !!  Bob
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« Reply #39 on: Apr 19, 2017, 02:18PM »

   
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There's got to be more to the military than telling other people to do things, there's got to be people who can actually do the things, right?

Yes.  There is more than telling people what to do.  In fact, leadership has LITTLE to do with "telling people what to do."  Have you ever been in the military?  How many people are you responsible for on a daily basis?  And I don't mean their work performance.  I mean the people themselves.  That's part of military life, too. 

Oh dear! Indignation at pesky questions!

If I had been in the military I wouldn't be asking about how it works.

If you don't like questions, you should avoid internet forums.


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That seems to leave two options... do away with the bands since the accelerated rank was needed to fill them with competent players,
Well, that's not correct.  Accelerated rank was NOT needed to fill them with competent players.  I performed with many amazing players who came in as E-2s.

But "many" is not really the same as filling all needed places. If it's truly unnecessary why is it happening? Why did it get started?



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or accept substantially less capable players who are OK with the lower pay.

Again, not necessarily.  Your opinion is based on assumption and no experience.

It's based on the economic reality that people rarely pay more than they need to for something if they don't have to.

I'm presuming there isn't a horde of lobbyists promoting military bands like there is for tanks and next-gen jets to distort the normal functioning of economics.


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Robert Holmén

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