Army Basic Training: "This is real"(06:06)
Milton King had great potential but no direction in high school until family, teachers and coaches put him on the right path. Now he's growing even more in the Army. Follow Milton through Basic Combat Training- "It's hard, but then it's fun at the same time"- and beyond.
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(music, photo montage)
Ooh, yesterday is my first time on a plane. You know, everything was busy. Everything was quick-paced, everything was just busy. That’s the one word I can use for it, busy. At the end, it’ll all pay off. We’ll be great soldiers. Just looking forward to it.
Ooh, our Drill Sergeants are tough. It’s hard, but then it’s fun at the same time. It’s something that I never would be able to experience if I wasn’t here, so I love it.
We have an amazing instructor when it comes to this type of stuff, because he’s been through it, so I try to take in everything I can. It just takes times, you know, to master.
Once I got to basic, it all just hit me, like, this is real. Putting on the uniform feels amazing. My whole thought process is about my future now. I’m looking in the mirror, I’m seeing somebody that I didn’t see a couple weeks ago. And it really makes me proud. I feel that -- you know, I know when my family sees me like this, they’ll be extremely happy, so I’m just waiting on that day.
I’m pumped. I’m ready to see my family, and then to get out of here. It’s been a long 10 weeks. A lot of people wore the uniform before us, so look your best, act your best in this uniform.
He was a horrible student. Very smart, but he was very playful, very immature. And so it happened I called his mother one time, and his mother came up, and she really got to him.
His math teacher said to Milton, you know, “This is not who you are. You know, you are a leader.”
I think the missing ingredient to Milton’s success was the proper guidance.
His father really wasn’t involved in his life like he wanted him to be.
He needed somebody that was going to push him, to hold him accountable for his actions.
Coach Mills, he gave me my first leadership role. So, I mean, he made me captain of the wrestling team. I think it was to make me stay.
I was afraid he was going to quit, so I wanted to have him have a position to where he knew he was held accountable, and people was actually looking up to him.
He seen something in me that I didn’t see in myself, that he brought out.
He made a choice. Either I’m going to be a result of not having a dad, or I’m going to do something about it and try to make a difference.
He taught me how to be a man, he taught me how to tie a tie, he taught me everything that I needed to know. If wouldn’t have taught me the thing she taught me, I probably wouldn’t have joined the Army.
It was a little shocking, because I didn’t expect it. But, I mean, once he had it on his mind, that was it.
He wanted to make everybody proud, so it was his time to grow up. When we went to see him for graduation, for basic training, I seen a difference in him. He was really polite, he was tough, he got bigger, he got muscles.
Just looking at him, like, is this my son? I can’t believe this is Milton. But he just looked different. He just looked older, and he looked different. He just looked older, and he looked confident. He really did.
The men in our family, they treated him with more respect, and they kind of looked at him as a man.
Milton was freaking huge. I said, “I got to get back to the gym.” And we wrestled the last time he was here, and he almost beat me.
My first thought when I came to Fort Riley, it was a lot different from what I’m used to back home.
He’s keeping all of his tools accountable, he shows up on time for PT, she shows up on time for work. You know, yeah, he’s a goofball sometimes, but I could rely on him if I need a job to get done.
He fits in very well. He’s always the first one to jump on the task, always trying to not get out, learn more, do more.
If he can help out in any way, shape, or form, that’s what he does. And as a PFC, that’s a good sign. It means he’s going to go far.
You know, he has the right attitude, he has the right motivation, he has dedication. I see his career going, you know, as high as it can go.
I wouldn’t even call this a team. We’re more like a family. If we went to battle with these people, it would be fine, because the work we put in together is going to pay off.
Three or four months ago, this equipment wouldn’t be able to deploy. Then when we found out we were deploying, like, we’ve all been, like, 100 miles an hour trying to get everything ready.
I know they always got my back, so, you know, I feel pretty good deploying with him.
Ha! There we go. You’re still hanging there.
I feel like a lot of people think it’s a choice between the Army or college. But in reality, they can get both. In the long run, they want soldiers to have a education.
The fact that the GI Bill was available to him was a huge factor, considering he would like to go to school. It kind of was a win-win situation for him.
You know, I’d like him to go get a college degree and become an officer in the military. That’s what I would like for him to do.
He wants to take some classes and he wants to make a career out of it, and he’s excited.
I am very proud of him. He actually helped some kids from our school. Like, they were in the wrong path too, so he kind of got at them.
He has made several wonderful choices for himself. And I think that a lot of young men, without that extra guidance, can sometimes make worse decisions. And so, you know, I think that Milton is a phenomenal example.
My son says to me “I’m protecting my country,” and he feels good about it. He feels good wearing his uniform, people come up to him, shake his hand, say “Thank you for serving.” Complete strangers.
Milton is that kid -- or that young man -- that’s going to be successful whatever he does.
He’s my best buddy, my friend. But I got to let him go. I got to let him do what he has to do. But I’m proud of him. I think he made a great decision.
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