A Different Way

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Life Lessons from Ft. Knox

Posted by Marietta chiropractor on September 16, 2010

The family and I visited my son at Army Basic Training at Fort Knox recently.  After 40 years, it was interesting to hear the stories about Basic Training.  While not quite as its depicted in the movie “Stripes” with Bill Murray and John Candy, it is amusing to hear the stories and compare to my own experience of long ago.  And ironically, there are lessons there that I had not perceived before.

I know that Basic Training is different for every military branch.  But still, it’s the same.  The purpose is to force a young person to leave the comfort of their teenage womb and give themselves to a higher calling.  My son tells me that since I only went through 6 weeks of Air Force Basic that mine didn’t really count.  But, he WAS amazed at how accurate I was when telling him what to expect when he got there.

One must understand that the job of the military is war, pure and simple.  The military is our defense against attack from forces that would seek to profit from our demise.  Every branch of the military has its job and every member of that branch has duties specific to that mission.  The ultimate goal, however, is to protect and defend the country and our way of life.  So while some training is specific, much of it is designed for the purpose of transitioning a young person into a dedicated member of a unified force whose calling is to put the mission before the man.

The young soldiers all lamented that the Drill Sargent always seemed agitated and that even the slightest transgression by just one troop would cause everyone in the platoon to have to drop and do push ups.  Sometimes, it seemed that “Drill Sargent” would say they were doing a 20K march when it turned out to be 26K.  Sometimes, it seemed that Drill Sargent’s purpose was to drive them to “break”.  In fact, a few tried to intentionally “wash out” to no avail.  And, Drill Sargent would never tell them they could NOT eat something at chow but was quick to remind them of the effect that indiscretion could have on their PT scores.

While the Family Day pass was only for two days, it seemed like my son was bored the whole time.  When I asked him why, he said “I’m used to getting up at 4am, going all day, having to know when different formations were scheduled, taking care of my weapon and even doing laundry.  I don’t know what to do with all this spare time.”  I was also struck at how sharp he and his “battle buddies” appeared.  When I mentioned that, he said that two things “Drill Sargent” impressed on them was teamwork and attention to detail.

I’ve spent many hours thinking about some of those little chats we had and on the profound meaning they have for all of our lives.  We do take plenty for granted these days, from our health to our freedom.  And many times, that comfort makes us vulnerable to sickness, disease, infirmity and attack.  What my son is learning is that we are capable of far more than we believe we are.  He’s learning that life is unpredictable and that strength, flexibility and adaptability to the situation at hand is VITAL not only in dealing with the matter at hand but simply survival.  One of the lessons that Chris is learning is that life is constant and constantly changing.  You must be ready on a moment’s notice, whether it’s awakening at 4am to go on a 15 mile ruck march or to answer a question about the UCMJ.

Our bodies are virtually the same.  We ALL have our own personal “Drill Sargent” always pushing, always preparing us to be the best we can and the most we can, prepared to handle ANY situation that might confront us.  We chiropractors call our internal Drill Sargent “Innate Intelligence” because it knows what to do, when and how.  It goes when we think we can’t.  If you’ll listen and obey your inner Drill Sargent, you’ll become stronger, tougher and better able to handle whatever life brings your way.  Survival can then be assumed as you work toward the greater good for yourself and all around you.

Your body understands the concepts of “teamwork and attention to detail”.  If you will just understand that Drill Sargent is your friend and your protector, you will become a great soldier in life and in the war against weakness, sickness and frailty.

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