Painful – that was the one word used by recruits to describe their time during the Day Walk Course of Basic Warrior Training Nov. 6.
The day walk is just one portion of Basic Warrior Training, but it keeps recruits heaving for breath and aching in every possible way.
“It was more like the boot camp I was expecting,” said Rct. Justis Beaureguard of 2nd Recruit Training Battalion’s Golf Company, Platoon 2109. “It was painful.”
It all started before the sun was ever up.
Cutting through the woods and traveling in circle after circle, the recruits finally arrived at the Day Walk Course at 6:30 a.m.
“I thought the course would be easier,” said Rct. James Ryan of Golf Company’s Platoon 2109. “But it was hard.”
Before starting, the recruits were given a brief demonstration of the course by the staff who work at Page Field.
The recruits low-crawled across the first portion of the course, back-crawled under barbed wire, rushed over the “tall wall” while checking for traps and finally made their way to the end.
They were not told that if they didn’t do it right the first time, they would have to repeat the course until they did it right.
The recruits were ordered to begin.
Staff Sgt. Derek Weems, a drill instructor for Golf Co.’s Plt. 2101, stood on the wall. He wanted to make sure no recruit completed the course without properly checking for traps.
One-by-one, recruits approached the wall.
“Oh, you don’t want to check for traps?” Weems asked. “Go back to the beginning.”
It is frustrating for recruits to start over again and again, but it had a purpose.
“We ensure they do it correctly and in an expedient manner. If not, they do it again,” said Sgt. Zack Doty, a drill instructor with Golf Co.’s Plt. 2109. “You can’t give them any slack here because you don’t want any slack in combat.”
The recruits had no choice in the matter. The drill instructors would accept nothing less than perfection.
Ryan, who ran the course four times learned this.
“Once this recruit got to the end, he had to do it again,” Ryan said, breathing heavily. “Every time you think you’re finished, you have to do more.”
Repeatedly crawling through the dirt and under barbed wire left its toll on the recruits.
“You have to push yourself if you want to make it,” Ryan said. “What the course does to your body makes it difficult to do again.”
The recruits’ cammies didn’t escape the course either. They were a tell-tale sign of the recruits’ struggles. They had become torn and tattered from the barbed wires, covered in sand from the crawling and drenched in sweat.
Ryan and Beaureguard had white sand and dirt from the soles of their boots to the roots of their hair. Grime was packed underneath their fingernails and their cammies were torn from the barbed wire. Regardless of appearance, the recruits pressed on.
Beauregard’s cammies and body were cringing from the course, but he knew he couldn’t mess up or he would be doing it again.
“This recruit did what he was told the first time,” Beaureguard said. “This recruit went through the first time.”
Even Beaureguard had difficulties with the course though.
“Low-crawling through the sand was hard,” Beaureguard said. “This recruit also got his cammies stuck on the wire a few times.”
However, he managed to carry on.
“I kept thinking what it would be like in a real combat environment with rounds flying overhead,” he added. “After that, the course was cut and dry.”
Ryan didn’t have such an easy time with the course, but he didn’t quit.
“I pushed myself further than ever before,” Ryan said. “I thought about what I would have to do if I was in combat. I wanted to be prepared if this ever became a reality. Now I know if I was in a real-life situation like this, I could push myself.”