Graduation day for basic trainees on Fort Sill

Graduation day for basic trainees on Fort Sill

FORT SILL, Okla. (TNN) - Every week for the last two months, 7NEWS Anchor Caitlin Williams has followed the D-Battery, 1st Battalion, 40th Field Artillery on Fort Sill. She’s given us a look at what it takes to get through basic training, but now that journey has come to an end.

Friday, a graduation ceremony was held for 123 soldiers. They will move on to fight for our freedom in the U.S. Army. But before they had the honor of walking across the stage, they had to complete basic training.

Week zero, there was a lot of yelling all part of the process of turning a civilian into a soldier. Then on to week two, where trainees the 40-foot Treadwell Tower. It was their first true accomplishment in the military.

The gas chamber was slated for week two. This is when trainees learned how to react to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks, along with gaining confidence in their equipment.

During week three, soldiers went through the combat conditioning course. It separated the physically fit soldiers, from those that needed some work. Out to the gun range for week four, it’s a graduation requirement and trainees had to make sure their marksmanship was spot on.

Week five and halfway through at this point, was the Army Physical Fitness Test. It consisted of push-ups, sit-ups, sit-ups, and a two mile run.

Trainees took the the grenade range on week six. They were instructed to throw two grenades from the bunker and immediately take cover. They use fragmentation type of grenade so in combat, it’s the shrapnel that is meant to cause harm within 4-5 seconds of pulling the pin. It’s a responsibility these trainees do not take lightly

“You gotta get on that knee, keep your head down, get as low to the ground as you can," said PFC Rob Rhodes. "There is shrapnel flying around so it’s nothing to joke about. You have to be serious and mature.”

Week seven, trainees went head to head against each other in combatives and pugil sticks.

“It’s important they know some sort of move to at least get their opponent on the ground or take them down, without a weapon," said Sgt. Roseann Gorman.

Final inspections were done during week eight. Drill sergeants checked for cleanliness of weapons, bunks, and uniforms. Week nine signified the end of basic training, with trainees reunited with their families.

It all led up to graduation, Friday. Soldiers will now move on to their Advanced Individual Training at army posts across the country.

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