Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Military Transition

First week at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, Illinois was an experience I will never forget for the rest of my life. RTC is a place that transforms a civilian into a United States Sailor. The first experience I had was getting off the bus having Chiefs and First Class Petty Officers yelling at you to move faster when you are unloading yourself from the bus.
Upon arriving at RTC you do not sleep for two days. The sleep depression is to put you on “their” schedule. You move when you are told, you speak when spoken to, and you do not have an opinion in anything. After finishing my first year at Wabash one can imagine that this transition was not easy at first. They cut all your hair, deprive you of sleep, and give you the first taste of what it feels like to be property of the United States government. They treat you just as if you were an object. I have never felt so out of place in my life. Where all my rights left when I walked off that bus. I heard words for the first time such as a bulkhead, geedunk, scuttlebutt, port-side, and starboard. This new language I had to develop an understanding to and quickly. I was taken away from all I knew my whole life; since it consisted of being a civilian. Even my own self identity was transitioned from being know as Joe Matthew to Seaman Recruit Gonzalez. You were not identified by your name but as a member of a division. A ball cap was worn with the word RECRUIT across the front to symbolize your status on base. A Recruit is to do what they are told when they are told and how they are told at all times. You feel as if cattle herded in ranks to where you have to be. A recruit is not an individual but apart of a unit functioning as one. My first week at RTC from revelie to taps was an experience and a sense of being out of place. I have never felt so belittled in my life. The worst part if you believe it after a while. That is until the day you graduate.

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