Soldiers Write, Too
Getting jobs and passing courses are just two ways in which writing has helped me accomplish many goals in life. However, the time that the importance of writing was most relevant to me was when I was in Basic Combat Training for the Army. It was close to the end of our training, and our drill instructors told the platoon that we had to attend a three hour class on Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’s). We were informed that upon conclusion of the class that day, we should expect a comprehensive test on the material. Our drill instructors suggested that we all take notes on the class, as we would be able to use them during the test. The soldier sitting next to me laughed and said, “I don’t need to take notes; I’ll remember everything.” I chuckled and proceeded to take out my notebook and pens.
Taking notes on everything from the many different types of IED’s to how to call for help when locating a device that had not yet exploded, I easily compiled approximately fourteen pages of notes. When I glanced to my left, I noticed that the soldier next to me had fallen asleep. The drill instructors then granted us ten minutes to stretch our legs and use the restroom before we were due to return for the test. Upon returning, we saw the tests on our desks and were ordered to sit and begin answering the questions. The guy next to me wore a look that was a mixture of confusion and panic. When we had completed the test, we were dismissed for the remainder of the day. The next day, we were told to get into formation so our test results could be read to us. I had received the best grade in my platoon, but the other soldier had failed the entire test.
Fortunately for me, that test was one of the last assessments that determined whether we passed training or had to retake it. Because I had taken notes, I passed that test and my basic training. The other solder had to retake training over again, because he had chosen not to take any...