Friday, July 29, 2005

NYT takes another look at Basic Training

I mentioned a while ago that the New York Times had a reporter here doing a revisit to the trainee abuse story, which resulted in courts-martial for several drill sergeants here - including now-Staff Sgt. David Price - and their company commander, Capt. William Fulton.

The story is here, and I think Mr. Eckholm did a decent job of it.

Pentagon leaders reject the notion that training is aided by humiliation and hazing. And now, as the military struggles during wartime to fill its ranks, commanders appear to be more sensitive than ever to accusations of abuse.

Their rapid, public response in the Fort Knox cases reflect a concerted effort to demonstrate, to the public and to the trainers, that such behavior will not be tolerated.
The piece goes on to include quotes from Staff Sgt. Michael Rhoades, who was convicted by a court-martial and given a bad-conduct discharge. He says he felt that his conviction was part of an "agenda" to do anything to keep the Army from "getting a black eye."

Eckholm watched a few Basic Training exercises, including one I never went through:

In one exercise on a recent morning here, recruits carried rifles retrofitted with lasers and watched filmed simulations of scenes from Iraq, like cars approaching a checkpoint and a forced entry into a house. The recruits had to decide if and when to open fire.

When they shot without clear cause, the special instructor, a combat veteran, told them they could face jail for a "bad shoot." When they were too slow to kill an attacker, the instructor told them he would send condolence letters to their parents.
It's a worthwhile read.


UPDATE: Open Posting at Mudville!
UPDATE: Open Posting at Citizen Smash!