Army privates in basic training receive “participation trophies”

Delta Company 35th Engineer Battalion. Photo credit: Facebook

Privates in BCT at Fort Leonard Wood receive “unit” patches after getting through the first stage of Basic- something which has many veterans up in arms.

Originally posted on Bravo Company 35th Engineer Battalion’s Facebook page, an entire series of photos showing soldiers who had just graduated their first phase of the three-tiered basic training, known as “Red phase”.

It wasn’t long after the post had been made before veterans and service members alike were bombarding the comments section.

“This is what happens when kids get participation trophies,” one veteran said.

After a few hours of social media shelling, the post made by Bravo Company –along with the photos- ‘magically disappeared’.

Director of Public Affairs for Fort Leonard Wood, Tiffany Wood, stated that the Facebook page is run by Bravo Company 35th Engineer Battalion – whom will remove posts with comments that do not adhere to their use policy.

Fortunately, the Battalion’s Delta Company made mention of the event, though no photos of the actual ‘patching’ ceremony.

Dco feel good patch

“As this chapter in their development draws to a close the Defenders conduct a formal Phasing Ceremony commemorating their transition from Red to White Phase”, the post read.

“The Company is first addressed by the Commander, streamers are awarded to various Platoons, and then those completing all Red Phase tasks dawn their U.S. Army patch. This patch symbolizes their progress as they join a profession rich with heritage and honor.”

Although this practice was confirmed last year by the Army Times, the photos did not sit well with veterans and personnel.  According to Army TR 350-6 5-2, “upon completion of this phase [red], each Soldier will be awarded the Army logo patch.”

Former Drill Sergeant, fitness instructor and veteran celebrity John Burk released a video earlier today echoing the sentiment.

(Warning: Graphic Language)

“When you start rewarding the standard with something that isn’t normally rewarded such as a patch…it’s the act of giving someone a trophy for having not completed the entire basic training span”, Burk said. “The leaders that make these calls, that want to reward everybody for mediocrity -for standardized training- are what’s wrong with the military and why its decaying into what it’s becoming now.”

Burk argues that political correctness and civilian mentalities have seeped into and corroded the military, which affects the readiness and mentality of soldiers who will likely be unable to deal with the stressors and brutalities of warfare.

“This is not the civilian world. We are the Army, we are the military. Now it’s come to the point where it’s a f****** embarrassment that you’re no longer training men. You are training politically correct slave drones… They need to be taught to fight, to survive and to be able to handle themselves on the battlefield- not be given a participation trophy simply to make themselves feel good.”

Many share Burk’s sentiment, while remembering a tougher military when they entered basic training.

“Everyone says their basic training was harder,” one Infantry Officer said, wishing to remain anonymous. “But these kids coming out of OSUT are train wrecks. I wish I could say otherwise, but this it’s the truth. We have to undo everything they taught them just to make them fighters.”

Editor’s note: It was originally reported that the Director of Public Affairs for Fort Leonard Wood, Tiffany Wood declined to comment, but this was incorrect.  Popular Military contacted Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs, but they were not prepared to answer questions on March 31, 2016.

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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