What Army Recruits Go Through At Boot Camp

We got an inside look at the United States Army’s intense 22-week basic training known as OSUT, which stands for One Station Unit Training. Senior Video Correspondent Graham Flanagan spent four days at the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence located inside the Fort Benning military installation near Columbus, Georgia, where he observed different companies at various stages of training.

After a processing period that takes one to two weeks, recruits experience what’s known as a “shark attack,” when drill sergeants create a high-stress environment through a series of rapid-fire instructions and commands. Once the intensity subsides and training begins, the dynamic between the drill sergeants and the recruits evolves into one found between a teacher and students in a classroom.

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.

MORE BOOT CAMP CONTENT:
What New Marine Corps Recruits Go Through In Boot Camp

What New Secret Service Recruits Go Through At Boot Camp

What Canadian Mounties Go Through At Boot Camp

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What Army Recruits Go Through At Boot Camp

“Take A Knee … My Ass” Brought This Country Singer Back Into The Spotlight (HBO)

This past November, Neal McCoy, a country singer from Texas who had a string of hits in the nineties, decided to take a stand. During a show in Missouri, McCoy unveiled a song titled “Take a Knee, My Ass,” which criticized NFL players who had decided to protest police brutality and systemic racism during the national anthem. McCoy, whose father served in the United States Army, believed that their gesture was disrespectful to the sacrifice US Army veterans had given to the country.

His song’s lyrics, which include the chorus, “I think of those whose freedom was not free and I say, ‘take a knee, my ass,'” were meant to be a patriotic statement and a rallying cry for conservatives and patriots, who McCoy believes have not been vocal enough on the topic.

“Take a Knee My Ass” went viral, with millions of views across streaming music platforms, YouTube and Facebook Live. But it also generated an almost instant backlash that included veterans who did not agree with the song’s message.

VICE News met with McCoy and his good friend Wayne Newton in Las Vegas to talk about the song, the meaning of patriotism, and Colin Kaepernick’s place in the fight for racial justice in America.

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The U.S. Army Is Breaking Its Promise To Foreign-Born Recruits (HBO)

The United States Army has canceled the enlistment contracts of hundreds of foreign-born recruits who joined through the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program (MAVNI), according to a report published Friday by the Washington Post.

MAVNI launched in 2008 as the brainchild of Margaret Stock, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and MacArthur Genius Fellowship winner. Stock and other Pentagon officials had assessed the weaknesses in military readiness post-9/11 and determined that the Army needed more highly skilled language experts. In exchange for military service, the enlistees would have their citizenship process expedited.

The program started small, with a cap of 1,000 recruits, but early successes pushed up targeted recruitment numbers to 5,200 in 2016. Last year, the Army’s target was 62,500 overall new soldiers, which means roughly 8 percent of new enlistees would be immigrants seeking citizenship. Critics of the program, including Army veteran and Oklahoma Congressman Steve Russell, looked at that number and said the program had outgrown its stated purpose and had turned the Army into an immigration processing center.

The Pentagon announced plans to curtail the MAVNI program last September, citing the need for additional security screenings. The Army stopped taking new recruits, but the approximately 1,000 enlistees who had signed their contracts and not yet shipped out were left in limbo. MAVNI requires anyone who signs up to terminate their current immigration status — so the suspension of the program left many without legal status and open for deportation proceedings.

VICE News went to South Bend, Indiana, to talk to two recruits from China as they prepared for the potential cancellation of their contracts.

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