August, 2009 Blog Entry

The day I had to report to the Navy was one of the most nervous days of my life. I rested for three weeks after the end of my first year at Amherst College, and I was wavering about my decision to enlist. However, whenever my thoughts floundered, I could not deny the fact that I am a Korean man and I have to experience this compulsory venture at some point of my life.

Basic training camp includes a month of brutal training under the guidance of drill instructors, who showed no mercy at all. The unavoidable month is divided into four weeks, each designed to symbolize the different traits needed to become a great soldier, and those traits are revealed as each week’s salutation slogan. The first week was the submission week, followed by a week of cooperation, and a week of endurance. After these three ferocious weeks of extraordinary training, the new soldiers are allowed to salute with the genuine slogan of the Navy, which translates to ‘absolute victory’.

Each day begins at 5:00 a.m. and ends at 10:30 p.m. No personal items are allowed, while the Navy provides all basic necessities such as clothes, toothbrushes, and soap. No books, no phones, no computers, no fun. Some of our trainings were easy, but some were very difficult. I can not go into great detail on the specifics of our training because of military confidentiality policies. Although the severe training sometimes pushed me to the brink of quitting, I took this as an experience that will be etched in me forever. As a result of this training, I can now visualize the whole month as a memorable experience.

Starting August 3, I will be working in the Naval Academy, where I will work as a translator and assistant for the professors. Because I had studied in the US for quite a long time, the Navy acknowledged my English skills and placed me at the Naval Academy. There I can spend the rest of my service working on my English, and play some soccer hopefully.

I can’t wait to follow the Lord Jeffs this fall, and the team is in my thoughts each day. I wish my teammates a successful season, as I am already missing Amherst.