Recruits Today Compared to 30 Years Ago
Recruits Today Compared to 30 Years Ago


Basic training has changed so much over the years that you probably wouldn’t even know it. A lot of things have changed, and technological advancements have improved. Let’s take a look at how some aspects of the initial military training have changed over the last few decades. 

  • CO-ED

This change caused a lot of uproar in the U.S. DoD and Congress. The military used to be a very segregated place based on gender. Men and women were not allowed to train or serve together. Members of Congress and the military often said that women would weaken our military effectiveness in combat and lower training standards. Today, women can do anything in the military, name it! It all started in 2000 when the army began integrating women into some training programs. Over time, the military realized that women were equally fit for combat roles as men. In 2015, it became official when Defense Secretary Ash Carter said that “we cannot afford to cut ourselves off from half of our combat-capable citizens.” 

  • Rifle Combat Optics and Red Dot Sights

The iron sight is the little nub at the end f the barrel on service rifle. Targeting enemies with those sights is extremely tough, but the view was durable. Recruits can only qualify by using precise breathing control, false vision, and iron sights. Now, it’s much more comfortable. Soldiers now use rifle combat optics or red dot sights to target their enemies. These sights are more accurate and can snipe an enemy combatant from a great distance, but they are relatively fragile in combat. Although recruits still have to train on the iron sight, the requirement is not as stringent as before.

  • Harsh Weather

The military is charged with the responsibility of defending the country. Thus it needs to be able to perform optimally in any weather. Decades ago, the weather never stopped any training exercise in the military. When it was hot, you drank some water and soldiered on, and if it were cold, you would run. In now times, drilling instructors will have to soften up or call off the training if it’s too hot. This is to stem the tide of a high rate of dropout in the military.

  • Cell phones

Back in the day, you were allowed to make a phone call when you get to the boot camp or basic training to tell your family that you made it there. After that, you can write a letter or receive a call from someone you love. Communication was not permitted as compared to now that recruits come to basic training with their cell phones (varies from branch to branch). They can pick up their phones and make a call home when they miss their loved ones. However, they have to be permitted and mostly during weekends, but here’s a piece of advice for you, ERASE EVERY IMPLICATING PICTURE OR TEXT OFF YOUR CELL PHONE!

  • Hard Drilling

Basic training used to be very hard, although it inspired some pretty crazy myths, one of which is that recruits today can pull out a “stress card” to get the drilling sergeant to stop yelling at them. Though there are no stress cards, it seems military training has softened a bit.

  • Drill Sergeants and Drill Instructors are now answerable for abuse.

Some officers and instructors could go too far, and that forced the U.S. DoD to take specific steps. The U.S. DoD has dealt with a lot of abuse issues within the ranks, and this has sparked a debate about what is hazing and what is training. Drill instructors and sergeants are cautious of pushing recruits to the edge.


Blake, Stilwell.”The truth behind basic training Stress Cards” May 15, 2020, Retrieved 17 June 2020

Dan, Lamothe.”Military hazing is often horrifying — and the Pentagon has no idea how often it happens.” The Washington Post, February 12, 2016, Retrieved 15 June 2020

Marina, Koren. “The Combat Jobs Women Can Now Fight For.” December 3, 2015, Retrieved 15 June 2020

Mark Thompson and Fort Leonard Wood, “Boot Camp Goes Soft.” TIME USA, LLC, June 24, 2001,,9171,138095,00.html Retrieved 15 June 2020

McGurk; et al. (2006). ‘Joining the ranks: The role of indoctrination in transforming civilians to service members’ (in ‘Military life: The psychology of serving in peace and combat [vol. 2]’). Westport: Praeger Security International. pp. 13–31. ISBN 978-0275983024.

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