News: Quiet moments of boot camp: Senior square-away time
PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. - Similarly, recruits at Parris Island are broken down during the day with training, but given a moment to calm their minds before going to sleep.
“Senior square-away time helps you get through the day and get ready for the next,” said Pfc. Scott Collins, a 20-year-old from Plantation, Fla., with Platoon 3029.
He said the free hour gives the recruits a break from training.
“It’s important for them because it gives them a chance to decompress from the training they just had,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Nichols, senior drill instructor for Platoon 3029, India Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion.
The best thing for the recruits to do during senior square-away time is fix any discrepancies they may have, Nichols said.
He said recruits often work out, fix their uniforms, practice drill movements or write letters home.
Recruits are not told what to do during this hour long period, Nichols said. The free hour is required by the recruit training order and is to be left unstructured.Nichols said drill instructors still advise recruits to improve on areas they are weak in, but often, recruits take it upon themselves to help their fellow recruit.
“If someone is having a problem with crunches, we’ll get together and help them with that,” Collins said. “We’ll do pull ups, weights – whatever helps.”
Pfc. Joshua Messinger, 19-year-old from Fredericksburg, Pa., and Platoon 3029, said the hour takes this mind away from training.
“The hour is just a moment of relaxation,” Messinger said. “It helps us calm down.”
Nichols said he also pushes recruits to socialize during senior square-away time because it is the only time they have that luxury.
“I always stress to my recruits to not just know their fellow recruits’ last name,” Nichols said. “Know also where he’s from, does he have a girlfriend, does he have a wife, does he have kids – socializing and getting to know each other will build teamwork.”
Aside from helping recruits, Nichols said senior square-away time is good for the drill instructors.
It gives them time to prepare for the next day, eat and get a little break, he said.
Drill instructors, like recruits, are constantly training and spend a lot of time away from their families.
“Down here, with 16-hour days, you are going to need some kind of decompression to think about home,” Nichols said.
Date Posted:04.12.2012 11:58
Location:44671, SC, US
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