Warrior chat: BCT Soldiers connect with recruits
November 17, 2011
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Civilians got a peek into the mysterious life of a Fort Jackson Basic Combat Training Soldier Monday night, thanks to a partnership between the U.S. Army Recruiting Command and a Fort Jackson unit.
As part of USAREC's Future Soldiers program, five Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry Battalion -- who graduate today -- took to a chat room to field questions from 100 recruits scheduled to attend BCT here within the next few weeks.
The experience is an extension of the recruiting command's current Future Soldiers Chat Room, which allows recruits to participate in an online chat. Monday night's chat allowed recruits to type in questions from their locations throughout the country.
BCT Soldiers then answered those questions via live video feed from the 193rd Brigade headquarters. Recruits asked a full range of questions from, "What kind of clothes should I bring?" to "Are the drill sergeants mean all of the time?"
In addition to this week's video chat, those same Soldiers have also been using social media to reach out to recruits throughout this training cycle.
"First Sgt. Scott Giese is a recruiter, and he asked us to be a part of this pilot program with USAREC to give recruits a look at what training will be like for them," said 3-60th Command Sgt. Maj. Ron Newman. "Five Soldiers were able to tweet and post Facebook statuses as part of the program to say what they were up to. We are hoping to expand it and allow drill sergeants and other cadre to send updates to give a full picture of the training environment," Newman said.
Col. Drew Meyerowich, brigade commander, was able to screen questions before they appeared on the Soldiers' screens to prevent repetition and ensure variety.
"This was a good time," Meyerowich said afterward, though he said some of the questions were unexpected. "They asked a lot of questions about dealing with racism and discrimination, and we don't even deal with that here."
Pvt. Andrew Regnier, one of the BCT Soldiers who participated in the chat, took the opportunity to explain the feeling of solidarity in training with recruits who worried about racism in training.
"Everyone here is a Soldier and if you discriminate, then this isn't the place for you," Regnier told recruits. "Don't come here thinking that you're better than anyone else, because we're all a team and we work together here."
Soldiers encouraged the future warriors to come ready to have fun and understand that drill sergeants are there to help Soldiers succeed and graduate.
"Train as much as you can at home and know your Soldier's Creed, because it's more than just words, it is who you are," advised participant Pvt. Lisa Sims. "Know that you will get yelled at no matter what you do on that first day because they expect you to do your best always and just be ready to embrace the suck," Sims said.
The battalion's staff members said they selected their best to represent Fort Jackson during the chat. BCT participants agreed that the video chat was a valuable experience and something they wished they had as recruits.
"This would have been great to see when I was a recruit," said Pfc. Stephanie Rodriguez. "Just to hear the experience of someone who didn't go to basic training 15 years ago and learn what to expect from people who just did it would have been encouraging."
Other Soldiers recognized the importance of their selection as a reward for outstanding performance during BCT.
"I just wanted to let people know to give 110 percent in everything they do here," said Pvt. Arshud Shiggs. "When I came, I was really nervous but knew I had to give it my best, and now that I have, I'm glad my command chose me. It was truly on honor to do this."