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Army Training Regimen Brutal in US, Needs Overhauling

Two months after the Walter Reed Army Medical Center scam broke out, soul searching questions are raised across the US over the way the injured veterans are treated. And now commentators are charging that the army's very training programme is inhuman and that those who manage to come out unscathed at the end of it all should count themselves lucky.

What happened at Walter Reed to soldiers injured in war is not shocking at all if one ponders what happens at Army posts to soldiers injured in basic training, says JoAnn Wypijewski.

Basic training is one of those regimens of cruelty that people have come to accept as normal. The Army may claim to have eliminated some of its most abusive practices, but the theory of "breaking them down to build them up," still remains intact, it is felt.

A drill sergeant kicked a soldier in his bad knee, sending him to the floor screaming. He also punished and terrorized the soldiers in numerous other ways. Those who have the misfortune of being seriously injured and have to be pulled out of the rigours of it all, even if temporarily, are routinely described as "fakers," "lady men," "shitsacks," "malingerers." During occasional visits outsiders could see the injured moving on crutches, wearing casts.

Weakness is despised. 15 to 37 percent of men and the 38 to 67 percent of women who sustain at least one injury during training at Fort Sill, Fort Knox, Fort Jackson, Fort Leonard Wood or Fort Benning are in trouble.

Those injured are consigned to the physical training and rehabilitation program. PTRP is a limbo of sorts. While basic training takes nine weeks; PTRP can warehouse soldiers for months, in anticipation of the time they manage to recuperate, pass the grueling PT (physical training) test and go on to battle-readiness.

They could also fail the test, try again, stumble through the bureaucratic labyrinth until the point at which they are chaptered out or medi
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