Talk Me Down: My Daughter is in Boot Camp and I'm Worried

Everybody exerting any authority over her during this went through it themselves.

(If only OBGYN nurses were held to this standard, imagine how daintily ones episiotomy sutures would be)

Generally there is little break during the rest of the year for all those involved in training. They want to be home for the holidays too. Therefore they have block leave during the holidays (it used to be called Christmas Exodus in my day). That allows the Drill Sergeants (it’s the Army, they are not DIs) and all the support personnel to have the time off too.

All excellent points.

Another helpful note, perhaps. Drill Sergeants are carefully selected, and highly trained. Pure pragmatism on the military’s part, of course.
Generally speaking, they’ll be about the best noncoms the service can find.

-never military, but a brat, which gives me some insight

Now that she’s in boot camp she is eligible for the military’s EAP benefit, Military OneSource. Short term non-medical counseling, tax preparation, financial counseling (getting you out of financial trouble as well as keeping you out of it), and a wide variety of other services all at no cost to her. Check out their website ( and encourage her to do so while she’s on break. It will come in very, very handy throughout her military career, regardless of how long that ends up being. She can even call and schedule an appointment to talk to a peer consultant, who not only has a background in behavioral health but also has either been in the military or is currently serving. It’s great to be able to reach out and talk to someone who’s been there/done that.

Good luck to her!

I will mention it in my next letter! Thanks!

I grew up in and lived many years in a military town. For that matter, not just a military town, a military region with lots of military retirees and military related folks that decided to settle there.

Tell her that there are many people out there that are proud of her, respect her, are pulling for her, and wish nothing but the best for her.

It’s the Army, not the Marine corps, so remind her that when she gets to the rifle range, load the pointy end of the bullets facing forward.

And honestly, probably the safest place to be anymore is in basic training. I’d be more worried if she was attending a holiday parade of public gathering.

You really shouldn’t treat her, or even think of her, as your little girl; don’t give her a sense of a refuge. She has to tough her way through it.

I’ve watched three young relatives go through this, and believe me, none was happy when I tried to contact the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Well, that’s the problem. You need to write the POTUS and cc. the unit CO. That’ll get a little attention and a steak dinner.

Lord yes send her letters. When I was in basic, letters were the only thing that kept me going.

I wonder what the going Drill Sergeant Rate is for letters and care packages in her unit.

My experience with basic training, US Army, is forty years out of date. But some things never change.

There’s homesickness. I’d been out of high school for a year, had one year of college, then joined the Army. For a while I thought I’d made the worst mistake of my life. But I hung in there.

What your daughter needs to remember is that it’s only a couple of months. Folks can handle most anything if you know it will end.

After basic everything else was easy.

Did I mention she needs to remind herself it will eventually be over?:smiley:

I did get to travel, like I wanted to. That was cool. I broke out of my sheltered upbringing, and met so many new kinds of people.

And it will be over!:stuck_out_tongue:

What is her MOS? and where will her advanced training be?

I don’t often actually go to Facebook. I mean, I signed up for it but I don’t live there like some people do. But do you know why I joined?

Like many I was looking for someone. I wanted to know if my drill sergeant was still around, and sure enough I found her, and we exchanged a few words.

I think that whole attention thing is considered a Bad Idea, but next generation, I’ll try that.

The biggest shock to me in recruit training was the lack of the reasonableness I had grown up to expect. It’s a different world, and until she finishes recruit training, she’ll have to accept the training cadre is NOT going to be reasonable. It’s all mental games and after it’s over, she’s going to be swapping horror stories with her Army buddies trying to top each other with how horrible it was.

Do NOT send her care packages while she’s in recruit training. They’ll call attention to her and she won’t get to eat any. Photos in a letter would be okay. And consider this: those postcards you can get at the post office with the stamp already printed on it. Pre-address the front for her and she’ll have the whole back of the post card
to drop a couple of lines to someone back home.

Oh, this Xmas Block Leave? On her return from leave, she can expect to have EVERYTHING she brings back in her duffle bag searched. She may very well be strip searched while they check the uniform she wore back from leave for any contraband. And she’ll have to go through a drug screening too. And grass can be detected for 30 days. She shouldn’t take it personally, every returning recruit will go through it.

There may be 3 non-issue items she MIGHT be allowed to bring back with her to recruit training. Bras, panties, and/or running shoes. She should ask her Drill Sergeant about this BEFORE she goes on leave. No fancy schmancy undergarments, comfort and support is what she’ll want to look for. No cleavage enhancing stuff.

From my brother:

It’s like school, the stuff you get during training makes the rest of the service look just SOOOOO easy and so nice by comparison.

Shit, great story bro. And really piqued my interest in the thread. Deja vu as I had a post in your original thread as well. Thanks for bringing back memories.

To the OP, only thing I know is that everyone I know that’s ever been in boot appreciated a letter or a postcard. Keep 'em going. If it would help and not draw the attention of her DI, maybe post the addy and the teemings can drop a line.

Thank you! I was wondering when SOMEBODY would say it!

I can’t really help much, but, I’m mystified…a two week break in boot camp?

I’d like to ask,

  1. How physically fit was your daughter going in?
  2. Has she ever been yelled at or pushed around by an authority figure like say a coach?
  3. Does she make friends easily especially friends outside her race or current social circle?
  4. What are her goals in joining like a certain career or something?

I really enjoyed my time in basic training, I think because I got in shape before I joined, so it wasn’t nearly as difficult and because I was 23, five years older than most of the other guys so I just didn’t take it as seriously and recognized that a lot of it was just a mental game. I really laughed my ass off most of the time because listening to drill sergeants insult people is pretty hilarious, and then they hear you laughing and smoke the shit out of you.

I attended Navy OCS (Officer Candidate School) in 2002, which is boot camp for officers, run by Marines. It was by far the toughest experience of my life to that point. For me it was an incredible shock to the system. It never became “fun”, and I always looked forward to the end, but it was endurable and it definitely made me stronger and better.

Your daughter will be fine. Even if she washes out, she’ll be fine. If she makes it through, she’ll come out stronger and better.