- We got an inside look at the United States Army’s intense 22-week training program known as OSUT, which stands for One Station Unit Training.
- Senior Video Correspondent Graham Flanagan spent four days at the Army’s Manoeuvre Centre of Excellence located inside the Fort Benning military installation, where soldiers are trained to serve in the Infantry and Armour branches.
- Despite rainy conditions that rarely let up during filming, we saw various dynamic aspects of training, such as marksmanship, tear gas exposure, and MOUT, which stands for military operations in urban terrain.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Following is a transcript of the video.Drill sergeant: Why are you moving? Why are you moving? Huh? Huh? Huh?Drill sergeant: Get out of my way!Narrator: This is Army boot camp. Before they join the United States Army, all recruits have to graduate from a 22-week program known as One Station Unit Training, also known as OSUT. It happens here, at Fort Benning, a 182,000-acre military installation that straddles the Alabama-Georgia border about 100 miles southwest of Atlanta. Every year, more than 18,000 soldiers graduate before joining the more than 470,000 people actively serving in the Army.Recruits: 13, 14, 15.Narrator: Although most of the recruits that we saw during our time there were male, recruits train together in gender-integrated platoons.Christopher Ricci: These young men and women that volunteer to serve, they show up to us as civilians, and then we take them through a transformative process to turn them into soldiers.Drill sergeant: Just go to the position of attention, and you stay in the position of attention!Narrator: On a rain-soaked week in February, we spent four days inside the Army’s Manoeuvre Centre of Excellence, which trains soldiers to serve in the infantry and armour branches. We saw different companies at various stages of training. On day one, new infantry recruits on a bus from the Atlanta airport arrive at the 30th AG Battalion Headquarters, where all new recruits are received.Drill sergeant: Listen up! The only thing I wanna hear from you at this point is, “Yes, drill sergeant” or, “No, drill sergeant.” Do you understand?Recruits: Yes, drill sergeant. Drill sergeant: When I tell you, you will pass your folders to the front.Narrator: The minimum age to enlist in the Army is 17, and the maximum age is 35. The base salary for an entry-level private is about $US20,000 a year.Drill sergeant: Let’s go! 30 seconds!Drill sergeant: Hurry up! Find your bag!Narrator: Once they’re off the bus…Recruits: Yes, drill sergeant!Narrator: The first order of business is establishing the code of conduct.Drill sergeant: Because I promise you, if you don’t pay attention to what I’m about to tell you, you’re gonna make your Army career very short. You treat everybody with dignity and respect, regardless of race, religion, colour, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, and all other protected categories. Yes?Recruits: Yes, drill sergeant! Drill sergeant: Sexual assault is any unwanted physical contact in a sexual nature, so if you put your hands on another individual and you’re not instructed to and you’re not saving their life, and they file a sexual assault, and it comes down that you put your hands on this individual when you weren’t supposed to, that is gonna be on you. You will get kicked out of the military, and then you’ll probably have to file as a registered sex offender. Do you understand?Recruits: Yes, drill sergeant!Narrator: Before they go inside, the new recruits learn some basic commands and standing positions.Drill sergeant: Attention!Drill sergeant: Everyone look down at their toes. You should be able to fit a slice of pizza in between your toes. If you look around, they’re gonna see you, ’cause you’re taller than everyone else!Drill sergeant: Quickly!Drill sergeant: Everyone move your feet!Drill sergeant: Grab one and go, it’s all the same.Narrator: The recruits grab the snack that’s waiting for them inside, consisting of a fruit cup, sunflower seeds, a granola bar, and a juice box.Drill sergeant: Watch the video. Remain silent.Video: Since 1775, the Army has been the bearer of our nation’s strength in every crisis or conflict. Make no mistake about it: The journey you are embarking upon will not be easy, but you wouldn’t be here if we didn’t think you couldn’t meet the challenge.Drill sergeant: Listen up! Your last four of your social.Narrator: After being welcomed, recruits begin what’s known as processing, which can take one to two weeks before their actual training begins.Drill sergeant: In a little bit, we’re gonna give you a period to go in a room by yourself.Narrator: First, they’re given one last chance to discreetly dispose of prohibited contraband like drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and inappropriate photographs.Drill sergeant: If any photo you possess on your phone is less than a bathing suit, you will not have it. You will delete them all.Narrator: Recruits get rid of contraband in an amnesty room, where they dispose of it by throwing it down a metal chute.Recruit: Is anybody confused on what you can and cannot have?Narrator: The next morning, the recruits report to the barbershop, where one barber has one worked at Fort Benning for almost 60 years.Jay Shortz: I’ve been here ever since 1963. That’s a long time. I should have been retired a long time ago, but I wake up in the morning now, be wanting to come out here and go to work.Narrator: Recruits are issued uniforms. They receive a series of immunizations and vaccines. And get their official photo taken, along with myriad housekeeping details that fill up their one- to two-week stay in processing.Drill sergeant: Hey, sit up straight!Narrator: That is, until processing ends and the time for training finally arrives.Drill sergeant: Let’s go. Grab your bags and go.Narrator: We found a company of recruits about to begin training in the armour school. These recruits are about to be picked up and taken to their barracks, where they will reside for the rest of their training.Drill sergeant: Let’s go. You guys are going to the front bus. Go!Narrator: This is the last chance for recruits to change their minds before training begins, like one recruit who decided to stay behind. This short bus ride, from processing to their new barracks, will be the most peaceful moments these recruits will experience for a while. What happens next is known as the shark attack.Drill sergeant: Get your bags up right now! Get your bags up!Drill sergeant: This way! Let’s go!Drill sergeant: You’re a tough guy, aren’t you? Do something! Do something! That’s what I thought.Drill sergeant: Why are you still not understanding? He just said it!Ricci: It’s really just a little shock to the system so we can break them down to build them back up.Drill sergeant: Answer me! Talk to me!Drill sergeant: Shut up! Shut up! Shut the h— up!Ricci: We’re breaking a lot of habits from the civilian world, and nothing better than a little shock to the system to establish that that drill sergeant is in charge to let us start our training.Drill sergeant: Pick up your bag and hold it.Narrator: The recruits spend much of the shark attack holding their heavy bags above their heads…Drill sergeant: Over your head!Narrator: Which takes a physical toll.Drill sergeant: Why is that so difficult?Drill sergeant: You can’t pick that bag up? You decided to join the Army, and you can’t pick that bag up?Drill sergeant: Right side bag, right side bag. Right side bag.Narrator: After about 20 minutes, the intensity begins to subside, and the drill sergeants’ tone changes…Drill sergeant: We will produce the best soldiers in the United States Army.Narrator: Before training officially begins.Recruits: Yes, drill sergeant!Narrator: After the shock and awe the shark attack, things do appear to calm down.Recruit: It’s a video.Recruit: Oh, is it?Recruit: Is it a video?Producer: It’s a movie.Recruits: Movie, yeah! Movie! Hey.Recruit: I always wanted to be a star!Narrator: We found this group of infantry soldiers in week 11 of their training practicing on the firing range.Narrator: The mood was much more relaxed. And their conversations with their drill sergeants are conducted at normal volumes. Like when this drill sergeant educated the recruits on the meaning of the military expression “ate-up.”Kelly Craig Lord: That dynamic changes because we want the soldiers to become more critical thinkers. At that point, we are turning into more coaches and mentors. We dial it back a little bit. So, we don’t want them frightened; we want them to be comfortable and in a state of mind that is receptive to learning and performing at that level.Narrator: Up to 241 hours of infantry OSUT are devoted to marksmanship, where recruits fire about 2,500 rounds using the M4 carbine as well as the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, or SAW.Ricci: We create lethality. We create expert marksmen at their individual weapons, because as an infantry soldier, that’s what we’re asking them to do.Narrator: Recruits get one of the most painful parts of training out of the way early.Drill sergeant: Once we check your seal, you will not touch your pro-mask.Narrator: This group of infantry recruits was exposed to CS gas, or tear gas, in week one of their training.Drill sergeant: You’re gonna continue to fall in until we tell you to stop. You’re gonna place your back against the wall.Narrator: The recruits spend about five minutes inside the gas hut. Upon exiting the gas hut, the recruits are told to flap their arms like birds to remove excess gas from their uniforms. According to a drill sergeant, the effects of the gas begin to wear off after about four minutes. Some training moves indoors, like combatives, where recruits learn hand-to-hand self-defence tactics.Christian Pensado: We’re trying to teach them to achieve a dominant body position. So, to get out of one negative position and then switch roles so they end up having the upper hand in a fight.Narrator: During combatives training, recruits warm up with a particularly painful-looking exercise referred to as the EO. While laying on their backs, they have to engage their core to wiggle across the entire room.Pensado: They use their momentum, shoulder blades, their core, to help them create space, warm up the body.Narrator: Recruits work up a major appetite during training. But Fort Benning is big, and they’re not always within range of the dining facility. When they’re training in the field, recruits are issued MREs, which stands for “meal, ready-to-eat.” Each comes with an entrÃ©e, like this vegetarian pasta with taco sauce, along with an assortment of items like mixed fruit, an energy bar, and this instant French vanilla cappuccino. Recruits just add water, shake it up, and enjoy. Once they’re fortified, recruits return to their training. Recruits spend up to 60 hours in training known as MOUT, which stands for military operations in urban terrain.Recruit: Go left, go left!Dewayne Waugh: Infantrymen are expected to fight in different types of terrain and survive and win the fight. And right now, they are getting their first taste of what that’s like in an urban environment.Drill sergeant: Rolling T. All right, coming up.Waugh: In operations across Afghanistan and Iraq, we are conducting clearance operations, and it’s applicable wherever we go. It’s important for the future soldiers’ muscle memory, because they are working as a team with minimal communication, and they have to understand how that coordination works together.Drill sergeant: Do it again.Narrator: After 22 weeks of training, these infantrymen are ready to leave Fort Benning. Friends and family gather to watch their soldiers graduate on Inouye Field.Ricci: They look like soldiers, they act like soldiers, they’re carrying their head high.Recruits: I will never leave a fallen comrade.Ricci: I have trainees that were not alive when 9/11 happened. I think that’s pretty powerful, that I still can find American citizens that want to volunteer to serve their country, when we continue to ask them to go to combat.Narrator: These new infantrymen don’t have long to greet their loved ones.Drill sergeant: Get on the bus!Narrator: Or say goodbye to their friends… before leaving Fort Benning to begin their service in the United States Army.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in March 2020.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.