It's What You Make of It
By Cadet Caullen Caldwell
So these last few months you’ve been hearing “Field Training” is hard… we’ve done our best to beat that into you and if you don’t believe it by now, you’re going to be in for a shock. Field Training is hard, and you can’t go into Field Training with the attitude that this is a joke, lest you are in for a rude awakening and would be a poor representation of the Cadets our Det puts out. But, on the concept of attitudes there is something to be said. While you should take this seriously, after all you are going to become an Air Force Officer; you can’t go into Field Training with an uptight, locked-on-all-the-time, scared attitude…
Well I guess you can, because I did, and I can honestly say to you that because I had that attitude going into Field Training, the attitude that I just wanted to survive Field Training and get it over with, it made my first weeks of Field Training hell. No! Please, don’t be that person. Your Field Training experience directly correlates to your attitude. If there is anything that I can get across to you at all, it is this: relax, take a breath, and enjoy the small things.
I went through the first weeks of Field Training completely locked on, and it sucked. I was that guy that bit my cheek till I bled to keep from breaking bearing in the hallway when somebody did something stupid and looking back, I was the only person who wasn’t breaking bearing at those times. The thing is, in those cases, you’re CTA and FTO can’t punish everyone for laughing, especially if they can’t contain themselves either.
I know, shocker, right? Who would have ever thought their CTA or FTO was going to have a sense of humor? You’ve probably had it in your head that they are going to be these hardcore fierce people who never break bearing, and I assure you they will try, but they won’t succeed. Your CTAs will break bearing. Your FTOs will break bearing. And if you do, it’s not the end of the world.
My Squadron got to where we knew how to break our CTAs and FTOs bearing and we did things to test their bearing. Nothing bad happened and I’ve got a lot of great stories because of it. As I’m sure everyone else who’s been there does.
There are times, and you’ll understand what I mean better once you’re at Field Training, when it is okay to laugh, where it’ll be okay to break bearing, and when it’ll be okay to act in certain ways. What I’m getting at, is enjoy the little things, those are the moments you remember when you’ve come home from Field Training.
See, it took more than half of Field Training for my roommates to get this across to me. I had the attitude that I was there to be trained, not to have fun, and I made it where nothing was fun. But once my roommates got me to loosen up I had a blast. I only wish I could do Field Training over again starting out with the attitude I left with. It would have been a completely different experience for me. I knew this come TD 28 and I knew that I had ruined my Field Training experience for myself. Maybe I’m just a masochist, but I would do it all over again if I had the chance (with the same people).
It is what you make of it. It can be the most fun you’ve ever had in your life. Or it can suck worse than anything you ever have done or want to do, EVER. The thing is, that is entirely up to YOU.
But not only did I make it suck for myself but I know I brought down the collective attitude of my Flight and Squadron when my subconscious attitude judged them for taking part in the silly-stupid things that people do to get by at Field Training. And that is one of my biggest regrets. I remember the morning of TD 28 being sad that I was leaving knowing I could have had a better experience, granted I was sick. (BTW if you get stuck under an AC unit at JFTC, use your towel to re-direct the airflow away from you, I found out this trick only too late!)
Please don’t hear what I’m not saying. Take Field Training seriously but have fun at the same time. Perform well, but when you’re not being evaluated have some fun!!
- Learn more about SLU’s Air Force ROTC Detachment 207