Military Report: Boot Camp

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - There's no doubt that Fairbanks is a military town, but it's not just the Air Force and Army that's being represented.
In this week's 'Military Report', Julia Laude takes us to meet some local sailors and marines.

The Army and Air Force have quite the presence here in Interior Alaska, but it's not just soldiers and airmen being represented.

"What the Navy's core values are, of honor, courage, commitment."

"To be a Marine, not everybody can be a Marine. You have to earn it. To become a Marine you have to earn the title, it's never given to you."

If you look down the Old Steese, you'll see recruitment offices for not only the Army and Air Force but also for the Navy and Marines.

"During initial visits, military recruiters will be looking at medical history, education level and any criminal history.
You'll also receive other information like how long each training program is.
But if you want to actually make it to basic training or boot camp, each recruit has to take and pass the written Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test."

"You've got to make sure they're qualified before we sit down and have another two hour long conversation."

At basic training and boot camp, new recruits will learn military history and discipline as well as physical techniques including hand to hand combat exercises and weapons handling.
In the Marines' boot camp, new recruits actually get college credit for different classes.
The Marines having the longest training program, and with it comes intense ordeals.

"The culminating event of boot camp, the last piece is called the crucible. The Crucible is a three day event in evolution in that everything you learned at boot camp, is tested in those three days so little sleep, little food and that way that's testing you on mental toughness, whether that's an obstacle you've got to get across with a team. Everything is involving you and everybody else, there's no individuals in boot camp. That's the time to show what you've learned and earn the title of Marine."

For Station Commander, Sergeant First Class Eric Walker, his Army career helps him relate to others thinking about joining the armed services.

"I have a family too. Yeah, I've been deployed before. I went to training, I understand those apprehensions because I had the same apprehensions when I was enlisting."

Chief Volz says those interested in joining the Navy should be aware of new changes beginning this year.

"Everybody would come in and you didn't have to pass a test for physical fitness except for anybody going for special programs like, S-W.C.C. [Special warfare combatant-craft crewmen], SEAL ["Sea, Air, and Land" Team], D.O.D. [Department of Defense] and diver, they would have to pass a prescreening and test prior to but now as of January 1st, as soon as you get to boot camp you now have to pass a mile and a half run. The other thing that they're doing with that is, in boot camp, they want to start breaking individuals down as far as physical fitness and paring them up in groups together so they're growing together."

The earliest age at which individuals can enlist in any branch of the U-S military is 17 while the maximum age for most branches is 35.
This is Julia Laude reporting.