USArmyHPSP

7+ Year Member
Nov 12, 2009
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Academic Administration
Simply out of curiosity, how was the overall BOLC experience this year?

The AMEDD is getting limited feedback and I thought an informal poll might be in order. If you reply please be honest. We are looking at things like the amount of physical activity in the heat, classroom experience (death by PowerPoint?), range waiting time, cadre nasty or nice?

Was the overall experience like boy scout camp, or do you feel that you got something more out of it. Basically, anything else you liked or disliked...

Thanks

US ARMY HPSP
 
Jul 28, 2016
1
2
I just finished BOLC 16-164 and am willing to share my thoughts about it:

Overall BOLC was a positive experience for me. I enjoyed the camaraderie and sense accomplishment from completing tasks with my fellow platoon members or battle buddy. I don't have any prior military experience or military background so many of the subtle but routine things such as saluting the flag during Reveille and Retreat were actually things I enjoyed and gained a sense of pride from doing. The day and night land navigation classes & tests were probably the most enjoyable aspects of the course for me. The hotel accommodations and demeanor from the cadre were beyond my expectations. I felt that we were treated with respect and had beyond ideal accommodations. I also enjoyed the firing ranges and felt that the downtime on those days were generally a positive -- they allowed for some decent LOC practice during the M16 range and our platoon found some nice shade for an hour or two during the M9 range.

Now some of the negative aspects of the course. I don't think anyone can say they actually enjoyed the classroom experience, the PowerPoints often gave information that was just difficult to tie into our future careers or gave subtleties that most of us would not remember in the future. For me, remembering the different classifications for fluid leaks or going over the multiple DA form numbers associated with supply receipts seems more like on-the-job training information than classroom lecture material. Also, many Soldiers are so new to the military (myself included) that having informational handouts and then a legitimate quiz within the first week of BOLC on:
all the Army ranks from private to general, how marching is conducted, common D&C commands, and the hierarchy of the Army (team, squad, platoon, company, battalion...), military alphabet, and an explanation for when, why and what to do when the army plays reveille, retreat, and taps
The above information would go a long way in getting many people a a quick general idea of how the Army is laid out and why it has certain customs (some of these aspects I reviewed before starting BOLC from the BOLC Student Handbook but without the pressure of a quiz I didn't commit it to my memory as much as I wish I would have). Having this general knowledge early would help in many aspects throughout BOLC. I know a lot of this material is rudimentary and gets picked up and understood over time but for many BOLC Soldiers they have never been introduced to these aspects before and have never been on a military base before.

The summer heat of San Antonio can be pretty intesne, especially once the sun breaks through the clouds for the day (usually around 10am ish). I honestly think the cadre did a good job in structuring our physical conditioning around the heat/sun. Our class, however, had some serious issues with 4mile ruck march. One of the problems with the ruck march is that the canteen fill up lines were as bad as 15 minutes long and many Soldiers had to void topping off their canteens to ensure they would be in their platoon formation in time for accountability. From platoon formation there was never a second chance given to have Soldiers to refill their canteens before walking to the start line of the march. I understand that the best option for Soldiers is to just fill their canteens the night prior or to wake up early enough to fill the canteens but the extensive lines for the water buffaloes hadn't been an issue prior to this morning.. so some people got ousted on that. Also, I heard in the future they're going to have the water immersion tanks near the finish line which will benefit anyone on the verge of a heat stroke and prevent them from having to be carried the 300 feet to the cadre deck to reach the water immersion tanks like several people during our class.

This last issue is less about BOLC as a whole and is more about the individuals who ran the finance briefing during the first few days of in-briefing. They were unfortunately disorganized, rude, and in general created a lot of more questions than they answered. On the main projector they were going over how to complete a financial form and were unaware that the form they were covering differed from the form we were given in our folders to fill out... when someone brought this to their attention they discarded them as not following directions and our class had to do an unnecessary amount of convincing for them to realize their form wasn't the same as ours. Also, I was surprised that the financial guys were not issuing family separation pay for married Soldiers during the 45 days of training, somehow I feel we should have received family separation pay... clarity on this through a private message or on this thread would be appreciated.

It's easy to point out specific instances or aspects that were less than ideal when we're talking about 6 weeks of training. However, I feel for many Soldeirs (myself included) BOLC is a fun and rewarding right of passage even if it's pretty fluff compared to a lot of other training courses (or so I imagine).
 
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