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Miners in the Military

Photo by Photo courtesy of McCade Gordon

Photo by Photo courtesy of McCade Gordon

Katya Van Patten, Staff Writer

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“Atten-hut!” is a phrase most people only hear in movies. One of Bingham’s very own heard it every day for 9 and a half weeks in basic training for the Army. Senior Adam Randall enlisted at the end of his junior year and completed basic this summer.

Many wonder why young people enlist in the military and what it’s actually like. It’s so often romanticized in movies and books that most of us don’t have an actual picture of how it is to be a member of this country’s military. Adam was more than happy to answer some questions and get the truth out into the open.

Why did you enlist? 

“My family has been in the military for a while. I have two WW2 vets in my family. One was in the navy at Pearl Harbor, and the other one was a marine at Guadalcanal. I decided that it was my turn to do something important and worthwhile with my life.”

What was basic training like? 

“I was stationed at Fort Jackson, South Carolina for 9 . weeks. It was probably the hardest, most rewarding experience of my life- not just physically strenuous but also mentally strenuous. Every day was a new trial that we all had to conquer. Basic Training consists of three different phases. They are red phase, blue phase and white phase. Each phase consists of certain training skills. Red phase focused on instilling the military values into all of us. Blue phase was all about weapon cleaning and firing. White phase was about making us all into strong and reliable soldiers.”

What was the hardest part of basic training? 

“I felt that the hardest part of basic training was being away from my family and friends, and not being able to contact them except through letters that I wrote every day before lights out. But don’t get me wrong, the physical strain we endured was close to unbearable! By the end of basic training I had hairline fractures on both of my feet and dislocated shoulders from when I did the final 12-mile ruck march. We carried over 130 pounds on our backs during these rucks. This weight consisted of 100 pounds of gear in your ruck pack, a 15 pound bullet proof vest, a 5 pound helmet and the 7.56 pound M16 we carried around every where with us. That is a final total of 127.56 pounds I lugged around with me in close to 102-degree heat and anywhere from 50-90 percent humidity.”

What was your favorite part of basic training? 

“My favorite part of basic training was by far U.S. Weaponry training. I got to fire an M240 Bravo (Heavy Machine gun), the M249 Saw, Grenade launchers, and finally my absolute favorite, the AT4 Rocket Launcher. I fired over 300 rounds out of the machine guns, 4 rounds out of the grenade launchers, and 1 round out of the AT4.”

How do you feel now that it’s over? 

“You know, I miss the structure of basic training. The civilian world is hard to come back to when you have had so much structure. You’re told when to wake up, when to be out at first formation, when you eat, when you sleep and when you hit the ground. It’s hard for me to adjust from that system back to the civilian world. I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it eventually. But in all honesty I wish I could go back.”

What lessons did you learn while you were there?

• When in doubt, empty your magazine.

• Grenades that have a five second fuse will most likely blow up in three seconds.

• Your weapon was bought by the lowest bidder so make sure you know how to fix it.

• Never share a foxhole with someone braver than you are.

• When you’re wrong, you’re wrong. When you’re right, you’re wrong.

• Stop your whining, ain’t nobody got time for that!

What are your plans after high school? 

“I plan to finish up my senior year in high school, and then the Army will be shipping me out to finish up my AIT (advanced individual training) as a dental specialist down in Fort Bliss, TX. Then I plan to head back to Utah for my extended training as an X-2 (Dental lab tech) for 4 months. The Army plans to station me out in Japan to learn a foreign language and work on teeth while I’m out there. Finally I plan to re-up after my first year enlistment and go to Airborne Infantry.”

Why do you wear your uniform when you’re off duty?

• I wear my uniform for the respect of those who have fallen.

• We earn the right to wear these uniforms and we are extremely proud to wear them.

• I love the military and can’t picture myself doing anything else and I’m proud of what I do.

Are there any Military perks?

• Lasik for those who qualify.

• $2,500 for school tuition.

• Dental and medical benefits.

• Life insurance.

• GI bill.

• Free housing or rental reimbursement on base.

• Receive retirement after 20 years of service.

• Discounts.

• You are instilled with the Army core values.

• Steady paycheck.

Adam is very proud of his status as a member of the Army. The training was backbreaking, but he endured it and now stands strong, with lots of experience under his belt. Basic training is no walk in the park. It’s more of a 12-mile hike up a hill carrying 130 pounds on your back in 102-degree weather. Members of the Military are tough as nails and the Bingham student body is proud to have one in it’s midst.

What do you think about Bingham kids in the military? Comment below, let us know.  If you want more Bingham Prospector Online, subscribe with your email.

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