Words of Encouragement
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Raise it up
2 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Staff Sgt. Angela Warren, a drill sergeant with Echo Company, 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, tries to motivate new Soldiers in Training to lift their bags over their heads on the first day of training in the company's new barracks building Ja... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Empty for now
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At the helm
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A little help
5 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Soldiers in Training assist Echo Company, 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment cadre in preparation for the first cycle of basic trainees in their new barracks building. Capt. Jacob Radcliffe, the company's commander, said the new barracks building ... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
A fine welcome
6 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A Soldier in Training winces as Staff Sgt. James H. Wanser, a drill sergeant with Echo Company, 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, barks orders during the company's first pick up of a new training cycle Jan. 5 at the unit's new barracks building ... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

The building was so new that the scent of glue and paint had yet to be supplanted by the basic training smells of pine oil and weapon-cleaning solution.

No drill sergeants sternly barked orders, and no newly arrived, flustered privates scrambled to complete the rote tasks every Soldier learns to perform instinctively in 10 weeks.

Even though his office was smaller and his furniture no better, the company commander moving into the new three-story building found much to like, compared to the trailers his company used to inhabit.

The recent move was part of process called the Training Barracks Upgrade Program, which continually moves battalions into newer billets as construction or renovation occurs, said Stephen Pinette, Fort Jackson's Deputy G3.

"Every Soldier coming through Fort Jackson is being touched by the renovations and moves," Pinette said. The moves makes it unnecessary to share areas needed for physical training, lowers the ratio of Soldiers to drill sergeant and makes scheduling such things as meal times easier.

Capt. Jacob Radcliffe, commander of Echo Company, 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, is a proud resident of one of the newest buildings on Fort Jackson. His company moved into its new home Dec. 3, in an area affectionately called a "star base."

The star base layout is one of three generations of barracks on Fort Jackson that comprise:

• The old "rolling pin" barracks off Magruder Road, built in the 1960s and '70s and used by 2nd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment. The "rolling pin" moniker derives from each building's being shaped like its namesake.

• The "starship" generation, built in the 1980s and '90s and located off Jackson Boulevard. The starship barracks contain an entire battalion in one building that includes classrooms and dining facilities.

• And the "star bases" near Golden Arrow Road, built in the 2000s. Star bases center all units on a middle point - such as a PT track - but the buildings are not connected.

Echo Company and other units have been moving into new or renovated buildings around post since the end of November.

Second Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment moved in to a renovated starship in late November, while Delta and Echo companies, 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment moved in early December.

Radcliffe's company moved into the latest of three generations of barracks on post -- the star base, a type of barrack Pinette said was designed to increase training efficiency by adding physical-training areas to the battalion footprint.

Although starships contained everything, their design "didn't take into account where these 1,200 Soldiers form up (or) where do they do PT? Where is their track?" Pinette said.

"We went from a time in 2004 - when I first got here -- (where) we scheduled every company's end-of-cycle PT test on one track.

"The units' PT was done wherever they could find green space and on the roads on Fort Jackson. Now (nearly) every battalion has its own."

Designed with morphing civilians into Soldiers in mind, the new barracks are built in the shape of a three-floored boomerang, with offices and multipurpose rooms on the ground floor, classrooms and sleeping areas on the second and more sleeping areas on top.

The barracks includes bays that sleep 30 or 60 Soldiers, laundry rooms with new industrial-strength machines, special closets to house recruits' civilian gear and even rooms dedicated to the cleaning of equipment.

Gone are the gang showers, replaced by rows of individual stalls.

Out are the classrooms where one could imagine training that employed chalk and a slate. In are the technology-filled rooms with multiple white boards and 65-inch flat-screen monitors with surround sound and computer inputs.

All of which makes training easier.

There is "more than enough room, along with the drill pad that we have" to train in the new buildings, said Sgt. Lauren Manuel, a drill sergeant with Delta Company, 3-34 Infantry, which moved into a new building next to Echo Company.

"If we have to train inside, we have way more than enough square footage. The classrooms are fully equipped with computer systems and mountains of training aids to accomplish the mission."

The larger teaching areas also allow for better drill sergeant/trainee interaction.

"Here in this facility, it allows for each platoon for their drill sergeants to train their own," Manuel said.

"We will have a smaller drill sergeant-to-trainee ratio that will allow them to really engage them in what we are trying to train, what we are trying to teach.

"In my personal opinion, I find the Soldiers understand the material more, understand the training more when 1, there is a smaller drill sergeants-to-trainee ratio and 2, it is their own drill sergeants training them.

"Yes, the facilities absolutely will help in that aspect."

Radcliffe said that not only did the building allow for drill sergeants to train their charges more easily, the location "greatly improves the training" because all companies in the battalion were "aligned on the training schedules."

"(The move) is going to greatly improve (basic training)," Radcliffe said during a tour of his barracks in December, nearly two weeks before the battalion picked up its next cycle in early January.

"Next cycle, we are going to have all our companies together and all in the same footprint on the same cycle.

"Normally, we would have split cycles -- two companies on different training weeks.

"Now are all on the same training week, it will make it much more simple. Scheduling for dining facilities, keep track of training will be much more simple in this footprint."

Echo Company's first cycle to use the new barracks started Jan. 5.