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The U.S. Air Force basic training remains to be the best and worst experience of my life. The hot desert city that is San Antonio is a place where people have their individuality taken away but learn invaluable lessons. The time spent in basic training is unforgettable because I adapted to the military culture. I gained new friends, and we worked together to maintain an impeccable dorm. When it came to our extra telephone time taken away, I ran faster than I previously thought. Finally, I learned that self-doubt is the biggest obstacle standing in the way of my goals.

We had taken the Oath of Enlistment, then shipped out to the San Antonio summer resort where the days were suffocatingly hot. Soon the groups of recruits arrived, and as we hesitantly walked off the bus, the army of angry and bloodthirsty technical instructors eagerly shouted and chased us into what would be our home. After being pursued into our dorm and seeing the uniformed grey beds, with thin grey wool blankets and grey wall lockers we each received one without any distinction from the next, and our identities faded away. The group of us had become brothers for a brief time with a singular goal of existing through their hell to one day emerge as Airmen.

We then met the mountain of a man who acted as our instructor. With a great sense of duty; his charge was to train us to assimilate into the Air Force culture, and he accepted nothing less than perfection from us. Nevertheless, we coexisted for the next two months, cleaning every iota of dust and polishing every blemished piece of chrome; our home was immaculate. On Sundays we received ten sparse minutes to call our loved ones and friends to let them know how we were doing; occasionally the calls would get emotional. After a week we had our first physical fitness exam, and it would not be unusual for there to be failures during the beginning

The U.S. Air Force basic training remains to be the best and worst experience of my life. The hot desert city that is San Antonio is a place where people have their individuality taken away but learn invaluable lessons. The time spent in basic training is unforgettable because I adapted to the military culture. I gained new friends, and we worked together to maintain an impeccable dorm. When it came to our extra telephone time taken away, I ran faster than I previously thought. Finally, I learned that self-doubt is the biggest obstacle standing in the way of my goals.

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We had taken the Oath of Enlistment, then shipped out to the San Antonio summer resort where the days were suffocatingly hot. Soon the groups of recruits arrived, and as we hesitantly walked off the bus, the army of angry and bloodthirsty technical instructors eagerly shouted and chased us into what would be our home. After being pursued into our dorm and seeing the uniformed grey beds, with thin grey wool blankets and grey wall lockers we each received one without any distinction from the next, and our identities faded away. The group of us had become brothers for a brief time with a singular goal of existing through their hell to one day emerge as Airmen.

We then met the mountain of a man who acted as our instructor. With a great sense of duty; his charge was to train us to assimilate into the Air Force culture, and he accepted nothing less than perfection from us. Nevertheless, we coexisted for the next two months, cleaning every iota of dust and polishing every blemished piece of chrome; our home was immaculate. On Sundays we received ten sparse minutes to call our loved ones and friends to let them know how we are doing; occasionally the calls would get emotional. After a week we had our first physical fitness exam, and it would not be unusual for there to be failures during the beginning of our stay. Our instructor had made us a deal; if we all passed, we would win an extra ten minutes on the telephone to talk. That may not seem so long right now, but then anything extra was everything.

The morning of the gauntlet arrived, the sound of Reveille echoing throughout the building and the base we all jumped out of our beds as fast as we could. We reached the rust-colored clay track that would stain anything it touched and fell into a formation to start running. The thought that I was about to let my friends down raced through my mind and sleeping that night would project me into the hazing scene of “Full Metal Jacket.” Like a carrot to a horse, I ran around the track with our extra telephone time dangling in front of me. Fighting for every breath I wanted to collapse, but the finish line remained in sight. I started sprinting as fast as my legs would carry me. I had made it across the finish line; I vomited, but I made it. When my feet crossed the finish line, I knew the rest of my time at Lackland would be successful.

In summary, I joined the military and became a part of something bigger than myself. Our Technical Instructor rewarded us for passing the fitness exam and motivated me to run faster than I believed I could. Basic training was a double-edged sword full of positive and negative experiences that will not be forgotten. I hope that I can keep learning and push myself beyond what I believe is possible to achieve.

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