Here is the Intense Training Soldiers Went Through During the Vietnam War
Here is the Intense Training Soldiers Went Through During the Vietnam War

Here is the Intense Training Soldiers Went Through During the Vietnam War

Larry Holzwarth - September 23, 2019

Here is the Intense Training Soldiers Went Through During the Vietnam War
All human members of the US military were subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. US Army

24. Early training included the rules of military life in the form of the Uniform Code of Military Justice

The Uniform Code of Military Justice, known to all who served in the military as the UCMJ was (and is) a concise listing of military law, passed by Congress and signed by President Truman in 1950. Its edicts apply to all members of the military no matter where they are stationed or physically placed anywhere in the world. Early in basic training the trainees were familiarized with the UCMJ and continually reminded of it during their time in the service. Copies were prominently displayed on barracks walls, in Navy heads and Army latrines, in mess halls, classrooms, and the training documents issued to every service member.

Along with the UCMJ trainees were quickly indoctrinated in the Code of Conduct, indeed, to the point of memorizing it and reciting it to the satisfaction of their drill instructor. The Code was established by Executive Order of President Eisenhower. It contained (and still does) six articles. Within one week of arriving at basic training most recruits were expected to recite verbatim any of the articles upon the demand of a drill instructor, often made with his face less than an inch from that of the recruit. The price of failure was often physical pain, inflicted in a variety of ways.

Here is the Intense Training Soldiers Went Through During the Vietnam War
Navy recruits were given the opportunity to memorize from The Bluejackets Manual, including this semephore chart from 1943. US Navy

25. Memorization was often a necessary part of military training

The ability to give a correct answer to a question through memorization of the answer, rather than comprehension of the subject, was a valuable trait during military training. One of the first requirements of recruits was to learn the General Orders of a Sentry. During the Vietnam era all branches of the military used the same orders, as did the Coast Guard. Their authorship is unknown, they appeared in the Navy Sailor’s bible, The Bluejacket’s Manual, in 1902. Some have ascribed their authorship to George Washington in the Continental Army’s encampment in Cambridge in 1775. The eleven orders were, like the Code of Conduct, expected to be known verbatim by anyone wearing a military uniform.

The Navy version differed from that of its land based compatriots (who don’t generally have an Officer of the Deck to report to) but the differences during the Vietnam War were minor in nature. A common scenario in basic training was a recruit dropping in utter exhaustion following a five mile run while carrying up to forty pounds of equipment, only to hear the voice of his drill instructor demanding to know the fifth general order of a sentry. Woe betide the unfortunate trainee who did not leap to attention and respond, “Sir, the fifth general order is Sir, ‘To quit my post only when properly relieved’, Sir”.

 

Where do we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

“Fort Polk Plays Role In Training During Vietnam War”. Keith Houin, Public Affairs Specialist. US Department of the Army. Online

“Trial by Fire: A Carrier Fights for Life”. Training Film, US Navy. 1973. Online

“The Army Reserve Officers Training Corps: A Hundred Years Old and Still Going Strong”. Woolf Gross, National Museum of the US Army. Online

“US Combat Advisers Knew the Score and Got Ignored”. James A. Warren, Daily Beast. April 3, 2018

“Where Huey Pilots Trained and Heroes Were Made”. James R. Chiles, Air & Space Magazine. September, 2015

“Brown Water Navy in Vietnam”. Entry, NavyHistory.org. January 11, 2012

“The Brown Water Navy”. Jim Falk, Stars & Stripes. September 14, 1969

“Tiger Land, then and now”. Rachel Steffan, Leesville Daily Reader. April 29, 2017

“Training Films”. The Unwritten Record, National Archives. Online

“Ranch Hand in Vietnam”. Air Force Magazine. October, 2013

“Training: The Vietnam Era”. Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. Online

“Uphill Battle”. Frank Scotton. 2014

“Glossary of Military Terms & Slang from the Vietnam War”. The Sixties Project. 1996. Online

“TOPGUN, Top School”. Everett Allen, Navy News Service. May 16, 2016. Online

“Race riot at sea – 1972 Kitty Hawk incident fueled fleet-wide unrest”. Mark D. Faram, Navy Times. February 28, 2017

“An Assessment of All-Volunteer Force Recruits”. Report to the Congress by the Comptroller General. General Accounting Office. February, 1976

“Dogs at War: Left Behind in Vietnam”. Rebecca Frankel, National Geographic Magazine. May, 2014

“America in Vietnam: A Working Class War?” J. F. Guilmartin. 1994

“USCG in Vietnam Chronology”. US Coast Guard History Program. Online

“Their brother’s keepers: Medics and corpsmen in Vietnam”. Jerome Greer Chandler, VFW Magazine. January 11, 2018

“The Uniform Code of Military Justice”. Entry, Military.com. Online

“The Bluejacket’s Manual, 25th Edition”. Thomas J. Cutler. 2017

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