US Defense WatchMain menuSkip to content Home ABOUT ADVERTISE WITH US CONTACT US THE VETERAN’S PERSPECTIVEPosted on April 24, 2016 by Ray Starmann
The March of the Porcelain SoldiersBy Colonel David Hackworthfort-jackson-600This article was written in 2001, by the late Colonel David Hackworth. Hack’s observations of the coddling at Fort Jackson Basic Training 15 years ago were extremely accurate, as well as his predictions where it would all lead to in the future…the PC, feminized train wreck US military of 2016.“
Following is a piece I wrote for GQ Magazine that was accepted, edited, but blown out of the magazine because of 9/11. I thought the message so important — especially after our conventional Army troops poor performance in Afghanistan — that we should eyeball this and get the word out to our lawmakers asap. Keep Five Yards, Hack
”“Nothing is more basic than Basic Combat Training. Basic to the ways of war. Basic to national security. Basic to the very survival of the United States. So how come Fort Jackson, the single largest producer of Basic grunts, male and female, is under the command of a general who piled up more friendly fire casualties than anyone else in Desert Storm?”The Victory Tower looms up like a gallows, its timbers and planks cutting off the sun. It’s a huge thing, three stories high, girdled with ropes and rope bridges, and fitted out with ladders.
Next to it rises an awesome rappelling wall with a sheer, 40-foot drop to a sawdust pit. A line of young recruits are lined up, ready to leap, rope in hand, out over the edge.WHUUUMP….WHUUMP….WHUMP…boots hit the wall. Three or four thumping steps followed by four dick-shriveling swings and the grunts are back on the ground. The first fewtwo or three male recruits take it as a rope-burning rite of passage that leaves their asses hot and their spirits high
.A fat guy stands frozen on the ledge above. The drill sergeant has to wet nurse him for 10 minutes before he flops over the side and drops like a bag of rocks. Then I spot the first female. Up there at the rim of outer space, she peers over her shoulder, her jaw quivering, tears streaming down her cheeks. She backs off until the drill sergeants surround her, talking quietly, gently cajoling her back to the edge, and this time she’s out there flying, WHUUMP…WHUUMP…WHUUMP, tear-stained but game. “I’ll be damned! Well done, soldier,” I mutter to myself. The next female appears. This one collapses. No amount of friendly persuasion gets her to take the leap. Sobbing, she’s led from Victory Tower in total defeat.
Welcome to Basic Combat Training. Welcome to Camp Snoopy, the U.S. Army’s let’s-play-soldiers theme park tucked in the piney hills of South Carolina. Does the idea of an obstacle course scare you? Hey, no sweat. The one they’ve build down here is called the Team Development Course. If you can’t make it over the wall someone nice will lend you a hand. Do guns, bayonets, fists upset you? No problem. At Camp Snoopy you stick two marshmallows on a stick and duke it out with someone your own size. You say, you’re no Hawkeye? Relax. If the drill sergeant can’t get you through rifle training, the Chaplain can.
At Camp Snoopy, they’ve invented a whole new meaning to “Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition.”It’s just past 0800 hours at Fort Jackson and I’m sitting in a small conference room waiting for the commanding general. The general’s running late because he’s at a prayer meeting. The delay is fine with me. I use the time to review the e-mails that led me down here to South Carolina. on a fact-finding mission. The private who wrote “Basic training stinks” pretty much sets the tone for all the rest.
A colonel who’s hotter than Chili Red over “gender-neutral training” writes of a drill sergeant from Jackson whose take on coed basic training was, “Frankly, sir, they’re screwing themselves silly.” My favorite is a sighting from an old Vietnam chopper pilot who passed through the small service airport near Fort Jackson not long before I got there. What he saw shocked him one hell of a lot more than a paddy full of Vietcong. “The females were all carrying little teddy bears dressed in mini jump suits and cammies and the guys looked like they’d spent three days sleeping in their Class-A’s.”Like armor piercing rounds, these e-mails now riddle the protective shield the Army has thrown up around a real disaster in recruitment and basic combat training. Over the past year, the signals from the field have been coming louder and stronger.
From squad leaders, platoon sergeants and company commanders out where the rubber meets the road, the word is that basic combat training is producing soldiers who can’t shoot, salute or scoot. Their physical shape is deplorable and their discipline stinks. And since Fort Jackson is the single largest producer of Basic grunts, I had come down to South Carolina to see for myself if things had really gone to hell in a bucket.An aide comes in and tells me th………MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!