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Avoiding Negative Attention From Drill Sergeants

In my book The Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook, I devote many pages to avoiding negative attention from Drill Sergeants. The reason for this is simple, because it’s extremely important. Drill Sergeants can make basic training your worst nightmare or a learning experience. When doing research for my book, I discovered Drill Sergeants could tell right away if a recruit is a troublemaker. Once they have your attention, it’s hard to make a good second impression. So, lets focus this article on making a good first impression to your Drill Sergeants. The first and most important thing you will have to do is listen. That might sound easy, but Drill Sergeants can yell out a lot of commands in a short time period. Also, when you first meet your Drill Sergeants, there will be a lot of activity around you. Some recruits will be doing push-ups (maybe you) and others will be running in place. Make sure you are listening to only your Drill Sergeant and not other recruits. Some recruits pretend like they know what the Drill Sergeant wants and will command other recruits to follow him or her. Do not listen to them, only your Drill Sergeant. Another tip is to act with confidence in everything you do. If your Drill Sergeant asks your rank, don’t whisper “Private First Class Drill Sergeant, Private First Class”. Shout it loud. Drill Sergeants like motivation and confidence; it exemplifies a person’s strength. Also, don’t show signs of frustration. Drill Sergeants are going to give you tasks that are designed for you to fail. When you fail you feel broken and when you feel broken they are able to build you up again. Essentially they are breaking down your civilian attitude and building you into a soldier. That doesn’t come easy, at least in the U.S military. Even if your facing the ground about to accomplish what seems to be your 500th push up, continue on and sound motivated.
If you are about to leave for basic training, all of this advice might scare you. It’s hard to see the entire picture when you are at basic training. Drill Sergeants are human too and, believe it or not, they are there to help you. Drill Sergeants themselves go through a rigorous training program just to become Drill Sergeants. They already have been broken down many more times than you will ever be in basic training, so they know what it feels like. Do not aspire to be a Drill Sergeants friend. If a Drill Sergeant does their job right, you will leave basic training without ever knowing if they liked you or not. Believe me, Drill Sergeants have their favorite recruits. Do not get on a Drill Sergeants bad side. They will turn your own recruits against you. Without your fellow recruits to help you through basic training, your next couple months are going to be lonely. Lastly, and I cant stress this enough, do not attempt to try on a Drill Sergeants hat. This should be blatantly obvious. I know it looks like fun, but believe me, I have seen the punishment first hand, and you don’t want what you would have coming to you.


Mike Volkin is the author of the Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook, available at

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