Boot camp is too precious a time to burden it with anything unnecessary. All drill and ceremony practice should be kept to a minimum. Every waking hour should be orientated toward making young men and women into warriors not simply government workers with weapons. We have been at war since 9/11 and al-Qaeda, Taliban and other militant Islamists show little sign of surrendering.
Boot camp should become the entrance not only into the military, but also to the reality of a war footing. A war footing is not only about producing more weapons and conjuring up deployment schedules. It has to be about a warrior psychology that trains new soldiers to be tough enough to be part of a more effective, more lethal military that honors the unique skills and contributions of combat troops.
Upon arrival at boot camp, along with their running shorts, boots and uniforms the soldiers should be issued their backpacks or rucksacks, rifles and helmets. These should be as much a part of boot camp as running shoes and boots. at formations, during calisthenics and during marches and runs the troops should be wearing their gear. Chin ups, pushups and runs are a whole new ball game with twenty pound packs, helmets and unloaded rifles. But why wait? Isn't more important to produce tough warriors than to produce shiny new soldiers who can march perfectly to the sound of the music?