Basic Training (1971) - full transcript

Frederick Wiseman observes basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky in the Vietnam era. Recruits are seen receiving instructions on everything from brushing their teeth to killing enemy soldiers in hand-to-hand combat.

- Number 33, the top bunk.

Number 34, the bottom bunk.

- 14.




(shaver buzzing)

(camera lens clicking)

(printer whirring)

- [Interviewer] Are you married or single, Rich?

- Single.

- [Interviewer] Do you have any dependents?

- No.

- [Interviewer] Is your social security number


- Yes it is.

- [Interviewer] Do you wear glasses?

- No.

- [Interviewer] Color blind?

- No.

- [Interviewer] Are you a conscientious objector?

- No.

- [Interviewer] A sole surviving son?

- No.

- [Interviewer] Do you have a twin brother?

- No.

- [Interviewer] Do you have a police record?

- No.

- Larksburg.


(machine whirring)

- [Photographer] Let me have a big smile.

Smile like you did when you got your draft notice.

Give a big look up here and say poo poo.

Say poo poo.

You're pretty good at that.

You looked like a fighter that time.

Look like a lover.

John we need a big smile now.

Say something nice about George Wallace.

- The way you address me is
either yes or no, Sergeant.

Is that understood?

- [Recruits] Yes Sergeant.

- Let's try that again all together.

- [Recruits] Yes Sergeant.

- Does everyone here have all of his clothing

in his duffle bag?

- [Recruits] Yes Sergeant.

- [Sergeant] Does everyone here have an ID card

and dog tags in his possession?

- Yes Sergeant.

- Do you now hold everything in your possession,

you had while in the reception station?

- [Recruits] Yes Sergeant.

- Are you sure?

- [Recruits] Yes Sergeant.

(upbeat music)

- Good morning gentlemen.

- [Recruits] Good morning sir.

- There you go.

I wanna welcome you this morning to Fort Knox

and the Arbor Center and the US Army Training Center Armor.

I do that in an official sense on behalf of the

commanding general of the Armor Center

and in an official sense also because your country

needs your services.

But I also extend to you a personal welcome

on a person to person basis so to speak.

I think you're gonna find that training here

could be described as rigorous.

Probably also described as demanding,

but you're going to find that it's well

within your capabilities.

It's essentially the same training that is given

to other soldiers in basic training centers

throughout the army.

What we are going to try and do is

give you the military training which

backed up by your native instincts and native intelligence

is going to turn you into a soldier.

So that your reactions in times of stress are going

to be a combination of instinct, native ability,

and intelligence reinforced by military training

that'll give you the skills to react effectively.

I guess the last point I'd like to make is

that you've now joined an organization that's proud

of itself.

Proud of what it's doing for our country

in so many different ways.

Defending over seas and also involved in

civic works here at home.

We're proud to have you with us and hope that

while you're with us you can develop the same pride

in the army that those of us who have given

a lifetime to it feel.

So good luck in basic training.

I hope you have a successful completion

of your period of training with us.

And I also hope that you find your time in the army

has been a rewarding experience.

Thank you.

(trumpet music)

(upbeat music)

- Take your seat.

I'm Lieutenant Hawking your Company Commander.

The best way to go through basic training

is do what you're told, as you're told,

and there'll be no problems.

When you start trying to fight the system,

that's where you get in trouble.

So if you go along with the system, it's fine.

When you buck it you come into the problems.

I know, some people come in rebellious,

they didn't want to come in the Army

they don't think it's worth it and they're against war

and all this.

It's a little too late for that now, you're here.

If you wanna come out of here in two years

or three years, whichever your enlistment is,

no problems, just go along with it.

That's all we ask.

You go along, you learn,

you learn how to become a soldier.

- All right you people have had your eight hours,

I need ranks.

Get up.

- Thing is here, you're gonna have to wash

that, you're gonna stick your head in urinals now.

Rust stain builds up in here.

See up here in the corners and down here you gotta

watch out, so this stuff don't build up.

You can get a lot of soap powder and stuff

that builds up down in here and it turns yellow.

And then underneath, sometimes have your hand in

underneath here, you see?

It's all slime and so people try to shoot from way back

over there and it drips over to the sides.

I'm not afraid to put my hand in it.

Same thing with the sinks here.

See all this stuff way in the corner here

that buillds up?

It's all gotta be cleaned.

You look under here.

This one here is very seldom used.

You have to get back and look underneath.

You have to get down in there and get to scrubbing it

seats and all and I want it good and clean.

- Very shortly you're gonna move in a building,

you're gonna see about a 50 minute television program.

The first half of this television program

will be a lecture in which they will tell you

how you can receive dental treatment

while you're in the Army.

They will also tell you how you can prevent

dental diseases, how you can keep from having cavities,

and gum diseases while you're in the Army.

The second half of the program will be a practical

exercise in which you will participate yourselves.

(upbeat music)

- [Narrator] This time gentlemen we're gonna be

brushing the front teeth, we'll be brushing

back and forth in this manner right here.

We'll be brushing back and forth on the front teeth.

The toothbrush is in your mouth, good.

(upbeat music)

Short, fast strokes back and forth.

(upbeat music)

- Help, hey.

- [Recruits] One.

- One, help hey.

- [Recruits] Two.

- One, help, hey.

- [Recruits] Three.

- [Sergeant] Ready go.

Get off your elbows young man.

Get off your elbows.

Get that chest on the ground.

- [Sergeant] Get that chest on the ground there lane two.

- [Sergeant] Come on kick them feet.

Let's go, let's go.

Get off them knees over there.

I don't want you on your knees.

Get down there, reach out, turn around.

Don't go away, reach out.

Kick it, dig them in.

Kick one out.

Dig them out, pull with your hands.

- An M16 A1 weapon, not to be confused with the M16.

Now, study it very carefully.

Nut for nut, screw for screw, rivet for rivet

and you will find very shortly that it is

exactly, exactly my friends the same as the one

I have in my hand.

Millimeter for millimeter, square inch for square inch,

the weapon you have in your hand is exactly the same

as the weapon I have in my hand.

- Have these guns been used before?

- [Sergeant] Guns, rifle, all weapons in the army.

- All right this is an M16 A1 weapon.

Rifle, piece, or what have you.

At no time for any circumstances will you refer

to this piece of metal I have in my hand as a gun.

A gun is a high trajectory weapon.

- [Recruit] I'm sorry I didn't know.

- That's all right.

- [Recruit] Have these weapons ever been used before?

- Last cycle.

- [Recruit] To kill people I mean?

- Not yet.

- [Recruit] It never will either will it?

- I don't know.

We're getting pretty heavy on this discussion

right here and it's like discussing religion.

I don't discuss it with anybody because I don't believe

I have any right to discuss whether you should kill

a man or you should not kill a man.

I do know one thing gentlemen, if a man attempts

to shoot me, kill me, slay me, or murder me,

I definitely will attempt to stop him

in the fastest way possible.

Now there's a lot going on about this nowadays

and I do believe you've got a right to sound off

about it.

But what I'm saying is when you get out in the jungle

in Vietnam I don't believe the thought of killing

a man will enter your mind if you get hit

from three sides.

Automatically the only thing that's gonna go into

your mind is self preservation.

This is a touchy subject here also gentlemen.

But I know one thing, you probably won't have anything

in your mind except survive, survive, survive.

The man is out to kill ya gentlemen.

99% of the time the man is as scared as you are.

99% of the time if you say he's not gonna kill ya

you're gonna go to Camron Bay in a body bag.

Do you understand?

I'm telling you this so I can see you again

in two years.

This stuff will not give, gentlemen.

I'm not going to go into it anymore.

It's getting pretty heavy right now,

but I'm gonna tell you something right now.

If you want to come back from Vietnam

you might as well grow up and take a good look

at the man that's gonna kill you

because he'll do it in a second, gentlemen.

The man comes up, no, not all the time.

He doesn't want to kill ya.

I haven't run into one of them yet, gentlemen.

But I do believe I've given it some serious thought

about the other enemy.

The man on the other side.

What are his feelings towards killing me?

Gentlemen, it's a pretty hairy subject

but I'm gonna tell you again, if you want to get back

from Vietnam you better learn how to use

this black licking stick and use it properly.

Use how to keep it clean, how to fire it,

when to fire it, when not to fire it.

When not to fire it.

And you better listen up.


- Ain't no use in marching fast.

- Ain't no use in marching fast.

- Second round through and he's dragging ass.

Second round through and he's dragging ass.

- Ho hey.

- Left.

- Ho hey.

- Left.

- One, two.

- Three, four.

- Head count.

- One, two.

- Help hey.

- Yeah.

- [Sergeant] Next, to unlock his weapon and put the butt

on his thigh and fire one round down range.


He will next put the butt of the weapon,

put the butt of the weapon in his groin.

Now at ease.

And fire one round.

Now man if this hurts let's face it.

He's a married man he's not gonna do this.


Next he will place the weapon in his chest

and fire one round.

Last but not least he will place the weapon,

the butt on the chin and fire one round.


Now gentlemen, at ease and when I say now

he will fire all 20 rounds on automatic.

I want you to tell me how fast.

You ready?




- [Announcer] Step up and toe your sand bags.

All right firers take three steps to your rear.

Take three steps to your rear.

Spread your feet a comfortable distance apart.

Keeping both hands on the weapon,

the weapon steady pointed up and down range.

Drop down to both knees at the same time.

Kneel down on both knees at the same time.

Place your fine hand six to eight inches

in front of your fine knee flat on the ground.

That's the hand you're gonna pull the trigger with.

(guns firing)

- Here's your ammunition.

- Sir I have no grass or ammunition.

- Now I can stick it in there.

- Sir I have no grass or ammunition.

- Sir I have no grass and ammunition.

- Sir I have no ammo.

- How about grass?

- Or grass.

- Keep moving.

- Sir I have no grass or ammo.


- Left right left.

- Left right left.

- Hold up your right now pick up.

- Rear, hard.

Left, right, left.

Don't pause when you pivot.

Left, right, left, rear.

Hard, you rushed it again.

Left, right, left, rear.


Hands and arms at your side.

Left, right, left, left, right, left, rear.

Hard, you can do better than that,

you had it down now you slipping up again.

Left, right, left, rear.


Left, right, left, rear, hard.

Left, right, left, rear, hard.

Demonstrate a halt.

You're gonna have to think about

what you're doing Hickman or you'll never make it.

Okay, go ahead and join your platoon.

- Left, your left, left, right, left.

Your left, your left, hard.


- Left, your left, your left, right, left.

Left, your left, your left, right left.

- Gotta step Hickman.

Gotta step Hickman.

Gotta step Hickman.

- Left, your left, your left, right left.

- [Sergeant] Hickman's gotta step.

- Left, your left, your left, right, left.

Your left, your left, your left, right, left.

- [Sergeant] Stay in step Hickman.

- [Sergeant] Rear, hard, rear hard,

rear, hard, rear, hard, rear, hard.

Left, your left, your left, right, left.

Your left, your left, your left, right, left.

Left, your left, your left, right left.

Your left, your left, men six to the rear.

Left, your left, your left, right, left.

Rear, hard, rear, hard, rear, hard.

Left, your left, your left, right.

- Okay second seat, a little to your right.

Good, top row move out to your left.


Hey first seat, just a tad to your left.

Good, second seat move it on down to your left now,

on this side.

Good, hold it right there now.

You on the ground now, end man just a little bit

to your left.

Next man, just a little.

Hold it right there.

Okay look right over here now, right at me.

Okay, everybody say whisky.

- Whisky.

- Hold it one more now.

Right over here.

Okay everybody say I like the Army.

- I like the Army.

- Left right left, left hold left.

Left right left, left right left,

left right left, left right left, left right left.

- This is your first hour of bayonet training.

You'll receive four hours.

Four hours, four periods.

The first period is nothing more than getting you

into a formation, showing you how to fix unfixed bayonets,

how to come to the relaxed position,

and the attack position.

You will learn how to whirl and cross over.

- [Sergeant] Ready whirl.


Ready whirl.


- Back position, who.

Carry left, thrust series, who.


Demonstrators relax.

On the command of withdraw you will pull the bayonet

from your opponent on the same line as you stuck it in.

Withdraw and hold, who.

How many people moved their feet?

You do not move your feet.

Thrust and hold, who.


Check point, keep the right forearm on top

of the comb of the stock.

If you've got a dead man hanging on that bayonet

it's gonna be hard to hold him up.

- [Announcer] Nice, and hold, who.

- Yah.

- [Announcer] Attack this side, who.

- Yah.

- [Announcer] Pose, who.

- Yah.

- Yah, yah, yah, yah.

- This is your second period of Kujo,

second period of Kujo.

The reason for this is to increase your proficiency

in bayonet to give you a living target to work at.

One that can return a vicious blow.

I will blow the whistle on the one-on-one bouts

when a killing blow has been given

and you will stop.

I'll blow the whistle to start you

and also to stop you.






- [Recruit] That's it.



- Come on Tom, get him.

Hit him in the head.

- Get him, get him, from behind.

Come on Tom, get in there.

Get in there Tom.

Open your eyes.

- Come on, hit him hard, hit him, hit him.

Hit him in the head, in the head, in the head.


- Harder, take it off.

You just done exactly what I told you not to do.

- What was that?

- You stop when I blow the whistle.

- I didn't hear the whistle though Sergeant.

- Don't tell me that, get out of here.


- [Sergeant] Left, left, left right left.

Swing your arms, swing your arms.

Rear, hard.

Left, left, left right left.

Left, left, left right left.

Left, left, left right left.

Left, left, left right left.

This is our first stop.

You've got more than 40 inches, come on there.

Left, left, left right left.

Rear, hard.

Left, left, stay in bounds fellas.

Left, left, left right left.

Left, left.

- Lieutenant Booker, as ordered Sir.

- Okay Booker, I have your punishment here.

My punishment is hereby imposed.

Forfeiture $25 on one month's pay.

This will be taken out of your pay.

You will not receive it.

This money goes to the old soldier's home.

Also, seven days in correctional custody.

This'll mean that each night you'll be taken away

to the correctional custody facility

and each morning you'll be brought back.

This will all be explained to you by M2 Sergeant.

He'll tell you what you need and what you'll have

to take over there.

I'm gonna do one thing Booker.

You're not back on the block, you do not go around

just beating up people, hitting them.

You do as your told, do what you're told,

when you're told.

Not your right to go around, you feel it's wrong

and try and beat up somebody or things like that,

you just do what you're told, as you're told

and don't cause trouble, you'll have no problems.

If you continue to make trouble,

same thing will continue to happen.

If you want to spend your entire basic training

in correctional custody, that's up to you.

I'll put you there as long as you wanna be trouble.

You understand that Booker?

- [Booker] Yes sir.

- Carry on.

Go up to the first Sergeant's office Booker.

- Booker you know, or you should know by now

that you just don't go around striking people.

This could have been a Court Martial.

You just don't do this.

High command have sent you to CC for seven days.

Starting today you will spend a week in there.

Right after normal duty hours we're gonna get you ready

and carry you there every day for seven days.

I don't wanna see you back in here with items

like this.

There is no reason for this stuff.

You might as well be here playing volleyball,

working on your equipment, or reading a book,

writing a letter, or carrying on normal duties

just like the rest of the company.

Instead of being in CC.

- Yes sir first Sergeant.

- [First Sergeant] Report back to your team Sergeant.

- Okay fine now, take, just fit this down

and take this and fold it.

Like this here son.

Yeah turn this.

Worry is you're going to have that thing creeping in

around your leg and you're gonna have to lace it.

Where's your Cal Pack?

- I forgot it first Sergeant, it's upstairs.

- Okay, well go get it.

You eat breakfast this morning?

- No first Sergeant.

- Why?

- Upset stomach, couldn't go anything.

- He's got, I suspect a family problem.

He tried to relate it to a training that he wasn't able

to keep up with training.

He's got suicidal tendencies.

Suicidal tendencies.

In other words, seems like he wants to knock his self off.

He's got a separate family, mother and father separated

and I suspect a deep-seated problem there.

I'd appreciate if you could see him, talk to him.

Had a little problem with him before,

his motivation problem but outside of that

there hasn't been any serious problem.

He performs quite well once he has a normal

uh, tiny tendency to miss some of it

and has to go back, do it again.

This bothers him quite a bit

and he needs to see you and I'd like

to have your recommendation from there

because I'm gonna send him back to mental hygiene again

after he gets through with you.

- [Sergeant] What do you feel like you're messing up

on Hickman?

- About everything I guess.

- You're not messing up on everything now

because like I said first Sergeant told me you were

doing pretty well in some things.

What kind of problem did you have last night?

Or yesterday, when was it?

Last night I guess the guys, they bug me quite a bit

because, about

because I ain't doin' things

exactly right, you know.

That's all they ever do is bug me about it.

At times.

- [Sergeant] Bug you about what now, I don't understand.

- Well there are times something goes wrong

and they're all like,

you can't do this, you can't do that.

It comes up and they just act like

they think I'm helpless or something, I don't know.

- [Sergeant] You can't do what? Give me an example.

What do they do?

What do they tell you?

- Well last night about making the bed

they sure got mad and folding things you know.

Seems like I'm in a lot of trouble in that.

They threaten to give me a blanket party

if I didn't do anything right you know.

Threaten me.

- [Sergeant] Other words it feel like you're

messing up the company or something?

- Yeah, I guess so. That's about it.

- [Sergeant] You felt that to solve your problem

you'd just put yourself to sleep huh?

- Yes, sonething like that.

- [Sergeant] Is that the way you

usually solve your problems?

- No, not that out.


- Because I would much rather you come in here

and tell me, say Chaplain, I'm a little depressed today.

Chaplain, I'm running into something difficult

than to just swallow a bunch of pills

and say well I'll just forget the whole thing.

That doesn't sound like somebody who's really

trying to get to the top.

Does it?

- [Hickman] Yes it does.

- [Chaplain] All of life is really about ups and downs

isn't it and I don't care how good a person is,

he has those days when he's not as good

as he wants to be or not as good as he has been right?

- Right.

- And the difference between us

is not so much whether we lose a day

or whether we win a day but what we do as a result

of having won or having lost.

And if we're gonna go around

feeling sorry for ourselves then there's no hope for us.

Now the doctor can help ya, the mental hygienist

can help ya and I can help ya but you have to be willing

to help yourself too.

If you fall down in the mud you have to be willing

to get up.

See, if you flunk one test you got to be willing

to just stay in the arena and keep struggling,

keep fighting it, go at it again.


- Okay.

- All right, now I'll be out there in your training area

and if you need to see me and want to stop and talk,

you know, then I'll be willing to do that.

And I'm gonna be checking on ya, find out how you coming

in your training.

All right.

- [Hickman] All right.

- [Chaplain] Well I'm gonna look forward to

seeing you more during the week okay?

You take care of yourself and go back over to

the first Sergeant and he'll tell you what to do.

- Okay.

- And I'll talk with you again

at your convenience all right?

- Okay.


- [Announcer] Now main team you're gonna thrust

your buttocks to the rear, flex your knees,

and then you'll fight and strike your partner

in the groin.


Front hold, who.





- Any time during the questioning?

I didn't ask you to speak.

I'm explaining something to you.

Shut up.

Wipe that smile off your face.

Stand at position of attention.

Now you think you're real hot today.

Come out here with a soda in your pocket

trying to sneak one through.

Then you're caught reading Unit Fun property

out here on the range when it belongs in the day room.

Has no business being out here near the range.

Your little stint in CC doesn't seem to have

done you any good does it?

You'd like to go to the stockade wouldn't ya?

Because you're trying your best to get there.

And I got news for ya, I'm gonna try my best

to put you there and if you don't wipe the smile

off your face I'm gonna knock your god damn teeth out.

Have you got that?

- [Recruit] Yes drill Sergeant.

- Have you fired on this range yet?

- [Recruit] No I haven't, I'm still waiting.

- You go up there at the top of the hill

right where I can watch ya and you stand at parade rest

until such time as I call your firing order.

And if I see that smirk come to your face one more time

me and you are gonna take a walk.

Execute an about face.

Get out of here.

- He snuck in the day room this morning and got that.

- Yeah he went in the day room right after he got back

from sick call because he's got bad teets to get

him a soda.

- I imagine.

- Then he tried to sneak it inside his shirt,

inside his trouser pocket and bring it out here

to the range.

- I bet the first Army, very happy to see him?

Don't you think?

- I'll see him.

- [Sergeant] Huh?

- I'll see him.

- He has a cousin, well he has several of them

in Happensville.

One of his cousins came to my Sunday School class

and talked about it.

He has this period called Karma, his term for it.

That's where there's reincarnation, you come back.

Supposedly there is when God created earth

he created a certain number, an infinite number

of souls.

Just souls.

Okay these souls come to earth.

They live their life, they sin,

they live another life.

To make up for these sins that they had

in a former life.

He said you will always be a human,

you may be a different sex, you may be a different race.

For instance if you get somebody that's prejudiced,

extremely prejudiced, hates colored people

you will come back as a negro.

You ought to see the people in our class when he said that.

He also predicted.

- [Sergeant] You think that you could be somebody else?

- Well did you see the movie Patton?

- [Sergeant] No I didn't see it.

- Have you heard about it?

You know Patton's theory really was a whole lot

of reincarnation.

He said I was here.

- [Sergeant] I have been here right.

- I have been here.

I firmly believe it.

Have you ever seen somebody, some total stranger,

a trainee that you walk up to, first time you see him

you instantly like him or instantly dislike him?

Have you?

Just by the way he looks?

You knew that person in another life.

That's what he says about it anyway.

- But you can't see a soul.

- No you can't see a soul.

- Only the physical body.

- Only the physical body right.

But yet there's something about them that supposedly

you knew that person and you either liked him

or you didn't like him.

- You have a sense of attraction right.

- And that was supposedly because you knew him

in another life and you either liked him then

or you didn't like him.

- What about a girl?

How are you gonna tell if you know a girl?

I like them all?

Then what?

- Well you may have been a girl in another life

and she may have been a man.

You don't know.

You're always in a human form.

You don't come back as an animal.

He also predicted the rise of Atlantis.

And he said that the people that were Atlantians,

you know supposedly Atlantis has space travel

and this type of stuff.

The people that were Atlantians are also now

in our NASA Program.

- [Sergeant] It's weird.

- Yeah, it's real weird.

He made a lot of predictions and a lot of them

have come true.

- (singing) Around the block she pushed

the baby carriage.

- (singing) Around the block she pushed

the baby carriage.

- (singing) She pushed it for that trooper

who was far, far away.

- (singing) She pushed it for that trooper

who was far, far away.

- Away, away.

- Away, away.

- [Sergeant] She pushed it for that trooper

who was far, far away.

- She pushed it for that trooper.

- I'm almost done.

- Don't touch it, nobody touch it, nobody touch it.

- Oh it's a beauty, M6.

Don't touch it.

- I'm not touching it.

- Isn't that beautiful?

- How much this weigh?

- Six pounds.

- Six pounds?

Don't touch it.

- $165.

- Did you clean it?

- I'm almost done.

- You'd better do it right Sergeant Jelly said.

- Oh yeah.

- Bob, absolutely spotless it has to be spotless.

No fingerprints.

Watch out.

- Semi.

- Semi automatic.

20 rounds in three seconds.

900 rounds in less than a minute.

- How you making out on shooting it?

- Got a total of 52 today.

- You gotta do better.

- You can do better than that.

- That's a rifleman.

We gotta do night fire yet.

Go out at night and shoot.

- Yeah boy you gotta do better than 50 rounds don't ya?

I betcha I could do 50 rounds.

- You couldn't do 50 rounds.

- I bet I could do 50 rounds.

- Do you see what you have to do?

- Listen, you just let a woman

get her hand on that rifle.

- [Recruit] You see what you have to do?

You have to site this in the middle,

site this in the middle and that way it's equal

right down the middle.

- Listen I'm so near sited.

- [Recruit] My elevation is 14, my windage is 14.

- Looking pretty good now.

- Dad would know that wouldn't you dad?

- [Sergeant] I feel good.

- How about it dad, 14 is that good?

- Nah, I don't think so.

You should be doing better than that.

Mom is always crafting you now,

the only thing is you do what you're supposed to

at all times.

- Right, when you join the Army you now

get outta that rut in between that teenager and man.

And when you join and you get halfway into your basic

training and I think then you start becoming,

at least you should be coming more and more mature

every day.

And starting for that ladder of 100%.

But really if you don't come out of here

and become a true man by the time you're done here

you'll never be a man.

- [Sergeant] My TV room?

- Never mind that.

Emphasize the word becoming a man.

Get out of here and be a true man.

Make a man, a true soldier, right, a true American soldier.

Become a true man.

- [Sergeant] Happy Birthday Pike.

- I understand that this morning you failed to make

early formation for the rest of the company.

It's my intention as your commanding officer

to give you an Article 15.

Failing to make rotation.

I'll inform you now that you do not

have to accept this Article 15.

You may if you so wish request trial by Court's Martial.

This is up to you.

- Could you go to jail off of this?

- [Sergeant] I doubt if you'd go to jail.

We'd put you in corrective custody.

- I mean, I just rather go to jail.

- [Sergeant] You'd rather go to jail why?

- Only because I mean, I don't really care about nobody.

That's the way I see it.

Other guys, I see they have Article 15, they seem like

it's an every day thing.

If I gotta get something, I mean,

because I don't like giving nobody no trouble,

I don't like causing trouble with nobody.

I don't say nothing to nobody, as long as they don't

bother me.

If I'm gonna get in trouble I might as well

get it over with all the way.

- So now I think you going about this the wrong way.

Now if you're gonna get in trouble,

if you do for any reason, the best way to get

in trouble is the least offensive thing,

or not in training get the least punishment

by being good so to speak.

By asking you tell me you wanna go to jail,

I don't think you seem to realize what this can do

on your records and that.

- Well at this point, I just don't care.

I'm tired of people.

Everybody seem to be just coming at me

for this and that.

Harassing me, all this stuff.

- Do you ever think Johnson that if you did

your job properly and did what you were told

and I've heard you complaining and seen you complaining

on things and you making it hard on yourself,

then if you went along and did things like you were

supposed to as you were supposed to.

I think everybody's a little hard time,

you would be much better off and people wouldn't

be on you because of this.

You're harassing these people, the drill Sarge, McCadrick.

- I'm harassing them?

- [Sergeant] At times.

As far as not harassing in that sense

but bothering him by your actions and disrupting

the rest of the people by some of your actions.

- That's what I'm talking about.

Rather than be a bother to anybody, I'd rather go

to myself.

I'd rather go to myself where I can just have nobody

to worry about but me.

- Well I'm afraid you'll find out in the army,

here in the army is not just one man,

it's millions of people and they have to look the same,

you come into a system so to speak.

And you can't be the individual such that you'd like to be.

You can to a point, every person is an individual

but there are things that are regulated that

you have to do.

- You have to take Article 15 you gotta take

a Court Martial.

- That's right.

You don't have to take the Article 15 but you can

get punished more under a Court Martial

in which it would stay in your records and even follow you

in civilian life because you get back in civilian life

and a man says, let's see your discharge you got.

What are you gonna show him if you get kicked out?

- Article 15, you get railroaded on an Article 15.

- You can get railroaded anyway.

Article 15 don't follow you in civilian life.

The civilians would never find out about it.

- That's beside the point.

- And if it's court martial they put in all the papers

and everything?

If it's a court martial they'll put it

in all the papers?

- [Sergeant] No, no they wouldn't put it in the paper.

- How would it get back to civilian life then?

- Because when you go looking for a job,

the man will ask you did you serve in the service?

Say yes sir I did.

Let me see your discharge.

What if you have a bad conduct discharge?

He's not gonna hire you.

If you have a good discharge, have you ever

been court martialed?

You maybe tell him no.

- If you have a good discharge and you still

get a court martial then, how did that go,

how did that rate?

I mean if you still got a court martial

but they still kept you in the Army and everything

and you still went through all the regular stuff?

And how does that go?

- A court martial still can hurt you.

It depends on what you get it on.

- [Recruit] You still got it on your discharge?

- Right.

- I'm taking the court martial.

Any way, the court martial, the thing that I did.

Actually what I did is just minor,

it's less than minor.

- [Sergeant] No, don't say it's less than minor now.

- If you use technicality now it's not.

- [Sergeant] You slept on fire guard right?

- No I refused fire guard.

- [Sergeant] You refused fire guard.

That means somebody else had to pull your load right?

Somebody else had to do your job.

- Because I thought I was done a mis injustice.

Matter of fact, I think that everybody should have

participation in the fire guard.

- [Sergeant] Right, everybody should have participation.

- They didn't.

- The thing is, if you had done an injustice

like I told you before, if you think that somebody's

doing you an injustice the Army way is

that you do what you're told and then you act after.

You tell them I think I was done an injustice

and see higher personnel, like going to the first sergeant.

Say first sergeant I believe I was done an injust.

I pulled this so much duty and this man

didn't pull so much duty.

And the first Sergeant would check into this

and you wouldn't be in this spot today.

- But all that is good and well if I had thought

that way, but I just don't think that way,

that's all.

To each his own.

- [Sergeant] Right, to each his own.


The Army way is you do what you're told

and then you find out after.

- Some things you do what your told,

you might not live to come back and tell it.

- [Sergeant] That's firm, that's right.

That's right, but you do what you're told.

- Now I'm still here to say that,

that I was done a mis injustice.

- Right and the problem of that situation

if you don't do what you're told sometimes

you can be shot too.

- Right, we're not in war.

You're talking about it war.

- In other words, if you do it here,

you do it in war, that's what they're trying

to get over to you.

- [Recruit] No, not necessarily.

- That's what he's trying to say.

You not being a good soldier.

- I don't want no medals.

I don't want to be here period.

I don't want no medals.

I want my life, that's my medal and my heart.

I want to function.

I was probably, not in here, outside.

- [Sergeant] This is a country too.

- No it's not.

No it's not.

Let's be frank with each other.

Now you know this is not my country.

Why you gonna say that?

How you gonna tell me that this is my country.

- [Sergeant] What's the one you claim then?

- I don't claim nothing.

I don't claim nothing.

- [Sergeant] A man without a country huh?

- Right.

- Well see first get that floor waxed in there.

Break time is over.

- Get the wax.

- [Sergeant] Get the wax right here.

Hey you got some of that wax in here?

- He trying to break me.

He's gonna try to break me.

That's just like trying to bend steel,

he'll wear his own self out.


- By direction of the President the following individual

promoted and commissioned in the Army of

the United States.

Hartman, Richard L, covered an AA16 in the brigade.

Grade from First Lieutenant to Captain

for the commander Jack L Balltis, Colonel,

General Staff, Chief of Staff.

Very good.

Now we'll pin these on.

Do you do this very often?

Get his uniform ready for him to go to work.

- No.

- I see you don't (laughing).

Dick congratulations, real fine.

By gosh now I guess I can expect 100% efficiency increase

and a few other things right?

- I think you remind me that I have two

instead of one sir.

- That's right you sure do.

You've got two up there and you have two to help you

so that oughta make everything go real well.

Well it is a pleasure of course and I want

to congratulate you.

I wish you more and better of him

all the way up and down the line.

- [Richard] Thank you sir.

- Okay, you have equal opportunity now.

Any speeches?

- No I don't think so.

I just wanna get out of these things.


Well behave real good.

- Here's the thing that makes it official.

Very good.

- And I think he found his niche in this world too.

- [Sergeant] Well I think he has too.

He does a good job madame.

- Thank you.

We're proud of him.

- [Sergeant] Okay, we'll see you all.

- Bye now.

- Monday I start my Vietnamese training.

I've already had some actually in combat already

but I'm gonna go learn the new techniques that

have developed since I've been back since 1969.

It's only been a short 18, 19 months

since I've been over there in a combat area

and I'm going back again.

I hope,

we all hope

to get some of this squared away

by the time you young men get over there

but if we don't, it's gonna be your job

to carry on the traditions like myself,

your forefathers, and there's before them.

They fought to keep this country free.

They got your independence.

It all started back, way back there

about the Boston Tea Party and it kept working up.

We fought many a hard battle.

And there's many ahead yet to fight.

We trying to get that war all squared away

and I'll tell you no matter where they put me

over there, I'll do my best and if some of you men

come over there, I'll risk my life to save yours

if you're in a spot.

And I expect the same from any one of you.

Because that's the way I was trained

and that's the way I'm trying to train you.

We take care of our people over there.

Believe you me.

I know, I've seen a lot of young men like you

that didn't make it who were fine,

real fine upstanding soldiers.

They went out there to do a job.

I seen some of them try to save another life

and they got it.

This is part of combat.

The part we don't like.

- Left right left.

One two, three four.

One two, three four.

One two, three four.

Left right left.

Break time.


Left right left.

Left right left.

One two three four.

One two three four.

Left right left.

Left right left.

Left right left.

One two three four.

One two three four.

Left right left.

Left right left.

- Get up there.

- Let's go.

Let's go.

Get your backs up against that wall.

Anyone feeling irritated in the eyes, nose,

and throat?

- No.

- [Sergeant] Do ya?

- No.

- That's better.

Gentlemen, the M17 protective mask

will protect you against a chemical agent.

Is that right?

- [Recruits] Yes.

- Gentlemen you've a weak voice today.

I can't seem to hear ya.

- [Recruits] Yes Sergeant.

- Very good.

I want these two men right here.

Move up here.

One man this side, one man this side.

Gentlemen I'll be giving you the command

of all clear, two at a time.

When I do, you will only remove your mask

and do not move out until you're told to do so.

Okay gentlemen, I want two lines behind these

two men right here.

Two lines, two lines.

All right first two men, all clear.

Take it off, take it off.

All right, second two men, all clear.

Is that a position of attention?

Give me a right face now, move out.

Not the second two, only the first two.

Move out first two.

Walk from the chambers.

Move up here.

Next two men, all clear.

I didn't tell you to go anywhere.


Here it is till you all like it.

He should put his helmet here back on.

All right, give me a right face, move out.

Conley, unless you put your headgear on

everybody else will be here all afternoon.

Conley, now.

All right, now, right face.

Move out.

Move in.

Next two men, all clear.

Give me a right face and move out.

Open your eyes, you can't see anything

unless you open your eyes.

Next two men, all clear.

I didn't tell you to go anywhere.

All right, give me a right face and move out.

Move up.

Next two men all clear.

I didn't tell you to go anywhere.


All right give me a right face and move out.

Move up men.

All right, next men all clear.

- [Sergeant] Take it off friends, take it off.

- [Sergeant] All right, give me a right face

and move out.


- Take a right, good job.

Don't rub your eyes.

Just clear out.

- [Soldier] The prettiest girl.

- The prettiest girl.

- [Soldier] I ever saw.

- I ever saw, well I sat beside her, but it was wrong.

- [Soldier] I picked her up.

- I picked her up.

- [Soldier] I laid her down.

- I laid her down.

- [Soldier] Her long blonde hair.

- Her long blonde hair.

- [Soldier] Lay on the ground.

- Lay on the ground.

- [Soldier] I picked her up.

- I picked her up.

- [Soldier] I laid her down.

- I laid her down.

Her long blonde hair fell on the ground.

- [Soldier] The wedding was.

- The wedding was.

- [Soldier] A formal one.

- A formal one.

- [Soldier] Her father had.

- Her father had.

- [Soldier] A big shot gun.

- A big shot gun.

- [Soldier] The wedding was.

- The wedding was

- A formal one.

- A formal one.

Her father had a big shot gun.

- Now I've got.

- And now I've got.

- A mother in law.

- A mother in law.

- And 14 kids.

- And 14 kids.

- Call me pa.

- Call me pa.

- And now I've got.

- And now I've got.

- A mother in law.

- A mother in law and 14 kids who call me pa.

- [Soldier] The moral of.

- The moral of.

- [Soldier] The story is.

- The story is.

- [Soldier] Don't drink whisky.

- Don't drink whisky.

- [Soldier] Just drink beer.

- Just drink beer.

- [Soldier] Left right.

- [Recruits] Left.

- [Soldier] Left right.

- [Recruits] Left.

- [Soldier] One two.

- [Recruits] Three four.

- [Soldier] Left right.

- [Recruits] Left.

- [Soldier] One two.

- [Recruits] Three four.

- [Soldier] Left right.

- [Recruits] Left.

- [Soldier] Left right.

- [Recruits] Left.

- [Soldier] One two.

- [Recruits] Three four.

- [Sergeant] Ready, seize.


- Good afternoon men and welcome once again

to movie matinee.

This afternoon we've got two big pictures for ya.

I know you've been wanting to see all week.

Our first one is an old one but it stars

some of your favorite characters such as Robert E Lee

and General Andrew Jackson and some of the achievements

and traditions of the United States Army.

Our second one which I know you're looking forward to

in which some of you may play a part in the next one

is on Vietnam.

The reasons why we're there and how we got there.

The objectives of these two movies

are first of all for the first one,

to find out the winning tradition we have

in the United States Army.

If you'll think about some of the teams in sports

which I know you follow either amateur of professional,

all the great champions that you never thought of

never went undefeated the whole time.

The United States Army has never lost a war.

It is undefeated.

Think about that.

That's quite a record and you're part of this Army

at this time.

It's up to you to carry on this tradition.

- [Sergeant] Left right left.

Left right.

Left right.

- Some theologians claim and I think rightfully so

that the church has been of far more value to men

when it had far less in the realm of material goods.

Unfortunately many of us have come from traditions

or backgrounds where the church has represented

a crutch for us.

A way of soothing our feelings of guilt.

Our guilt for what we are, our guilt for what we have been

and our guilt for what we might do in the coming days,

or in the coming years.

I represent a gentleman of theology which claims

that our task is to kick the crutch from under you.

To let you know this morning that through Jesus Christ

you have the power to stand up and walk.

This is what we have been talking about

for the last four or five Sundays.

This new kind of honesty.

The fact that we need to stare ourselves in the face

once again to look at what we are, to look at where

we are and to say with Isaiah whoa is me a sinner,

wretched and undone, Lord have mercy upon me.

Silver and gold have I none says the church this morning

but such as I do have I offer it unto you.

God loves you this morning.

God has power to heal you this morning.

God can offer you the encouragement.

God can offer you the strength and the power

through his own mercy.

Not only to get through these two or these three years

that now face you, but God has the power to cause

you to stand and live a renewed life.

A life in his son Jesus Christ.

(spiritual music)

♫ Praise God from whom all blessings flow ♫

♫ Praise him all creatures here below ♫

♫ Praise him above ye heavenly hosts ♫

♫ Praise father, son, and holy ghost ♫

♫ Amen ♫

- Oh Lord we offer unto you at this time

our sweat, our work, our joys,

our hostilities, and our souls

congealed and solidified in the form of money.

Accept these our tokens and accept us in your service

through Jesus Christ our Lord and for your sake

we pray, amen.

♫ This almighty king ♫

♫ Master of everything ♫

♫ His name is wonderful ♫

♫ Jesus my Lord ♫

♫ He's the great shepherd ♫

♫ The rock of all ages ♫

♫ Almighty God is he ♫

♫ Bow down before him ♫

♫ Love and adore him ♫

♫ His name is wonderful ♫

♫ Jesus my Lord ♫

♫ He's wonderful ♫

♫ Jesus my Lord ♫

(peaceful music)

- Left.

- [Sergeant] Left right.

- Left.

- [Sergeant] One two.

- Three four.

- [Sergeant] Three four.

- One two.

- Let's take a look at the Claymore Mine

and see exactly what it looks like.

The weapons primary uses are defensive in nature.

You can use the weapon offensively but it's primarily

defensive in nature.

It's the United State's Armies primary ambush

initiating weapon.

That is when you set off an ambush you usually

set off the Claymore Mine first.

Now the mine right now is responsible

for approximately 8% of all the casualties

we inflict on the enemy in Vietnam

and that's a rather high percentage of casualties

for such a small weapon.

This weapon is directional in nature.

That is whatever way you set the device up

and set it off, the blast from the weapon

will travel along the ground in that direction.

For this reason you have got to always face

the weapon toward the enemy or away from friendly troops.

There's enough C4 in the back of this mine

if you were to take it all out and roll it up,

it would be about the size of a baseball.

If I were to plug a blasting cap into it,

place it right in front of me and set it off

it would kill just about everybody in these bleachers.

It's pretty powerful stuff.

About three times more powerful than TNT.

What exactly causes the casualties when this mine

goes off?

Well it's not the C4.

C4 just causes a big blast.

The purpose of the C4 is to rupture the body

of this weapon and throw the body all over the place.

If you'll notice in the front of the mine

you've got several hundred steel ball bearings

embedded in molded plastic.

I can see from the looks on your faces you're starting

to get the picture.

You place these ball bearings in the front,

place the C4 behind it, put the back back on

and because the mine is curved the way it is,

when you set the device off it'll act as

a giant shotgun.

It'll propel these pellets to the front approximately

250 meters on a fan of 60 degrees

that is one sixth of a circle.

- [Sergeant] Back up to your dummy.

He's grabbed you from the rear, your arms are pinned,

execute the counter.


Look down, down, down.

You struck him in the groin so you should be

looking at the groin.

Your left arm should be extended for balance.


Turn and face your dummy.

Toes straight forward.

Execute a side kick.

Strike a blow to the head.

Get your thumb down along your index finger

number two man.

Execute a pivot kick.

- Come up to the man again.

Place your hand up under his chin,

knee in the small of his back, pull him back to you

and beat him severely about the temples.

Beat him severely about the temples.

If you want to take a prisoner,

again the same manner.

Up underneath the chin, knee back,

and beat him severely about the top of the head.

This won't kill a man but it will render him harmless

and you can take him as a prisoner.

One other question gentlemen, what if this man

should wear a steel pot?

What if he should wear a steel pot and all you've got

is a black jack?

Okay, the remedy is, you come up,

the man's got a a steel pot.

Most of the time the enemy will have his chin strap

buttoned because they're a lot nicer looking

than we are.

So you reach across, pull his steel pot to

the rear, if he has his chin strap buttoned,

you're gonna strangle him or break his neck.

One or the other.


- [Recruit] How much is the automatic relief

on the helmet?

- Viet Cong helmets gentlemen and most Chinese helmets,

the people we're concerned with today have leather straps

that buckle.

Leather straps that buckle.

They're not quite as advanced as we are

in that respect but they do look pretty

and you can strangle a man.

If he happens to be a modern day soldier

and you break his strap, what are you gonna do?

Give his steel pot back to him right?


Don't keep the man's steel pot,

give it back to him.

Thrust it severely at the top of his head

and put him out of his misery.

Easy as that.

Again, lower him to the ground,

give him a heel stomp and you're finished with him.

Thank you demonstrator.

Give my demonstrator a big hand.


- (singing) Oh, oh.

Whoa, whoa.

Mr. Nixon dropped a bomb.

Mr. Nixon dropped a bomb.

But I don't wanna go to Nam.

But I don't wanna go to Nam.

If I get my orders to Nam.

If I get my order to Nam.

I'm going AWOL back to mom.

I'm going AWOL back to mom.

If a door is open wide.

If a door is open wide.

I've got my rifle by my side.

I got my rifle by my side.

And if my rifle jams on me.

And if my rifle jams on me.

Whoa, whoa.

Whoa, whoa.

Mr. Nixon dropped a bomb.

Mr. Nixon dropped a bomb.

'Cause I don't wanna go to Nam.

'Cause I don't wanna go to Nam.

If I get my orders to Nam.

If I get my orders to Nam.

I'm going AWOL back to mom.

I'm going AWOL back to mom.

And if a door is open wide.

And if a door is open wide.

- [Soldier] Don't worry, we're gonna get

your eyeballs covered there.

He said put the white on.

They said use both of them, wow.

(guns firing)

- [Sergeant] Move out men, move out.

(guns firing)

- [Sergeant] I move, you cover.

(bombs exploding)

You cover, I move.

Down low.

You cover, I move out.

- [Sergeant] Move out.

Come back.

(bombs exploding)

- I'll move, you cover.

- [Sergeant] All right, get ready to throw your grenade.

(gun firing)

- [Soldier] You cover, I'll move.

- [Sergeant] Down.


(bomb exploding)


- [Soldier] Where?

(grenade exploding)

(bomb exploding)

(bomb exploding)

- I can't do that.

- [Sergeant] Soldier's it's call.

(trumpet music)

(triumphant music)

- The American Spirit Honor award is a medallion

presented by a civilian agency, the Citizen's Committee

for the Army, Navy, and the Air Force.

The award has been authorized for presentation

at training centers within the continental

United States in recognition of outstanding qualities

of leadership best expressed in the American spirit,

honor, initiative, loyalty, and high example

to comrade in arms as a means of promoting

closer relationships between the armed forces

and civilian communities.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce

Private Frederick J Launcher, American Spirit

Honor Medal winner.

- General Cantley, Colonel Hassin, Colonel Benomo,

Officers and men of the 16th battalion,

ladies and gentlemen, whether one prefers to call

today's exercises graduation or commencement

it matters not.

But may I suggest you keep both words

in their individual connotative and denotative

meanings in mind today.

Graduation signifies an end while commencement

is of course, a beginning.

Basic combat training has now ended for us

in the 16th battalion.

We came here from different places

with different backgrounds.

From Michigan, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Indiana,

and Alabama.

Entered the Army as farm and factory workers,

mechanics, college students, and professional men.

We arrived in blue jeans, sandals, tennis shoes,

and t-shirts.

We are now emerging as trained fighting men

in the uniform of the United States Army.

We are now at the end of our basic training.

We leave the classes we've had, the weapons we've fired,

the friends we've made and the officers

and drill sergeants who have gained our respect.

On the other hand, we are but embarking on

our Army careers.

For some it may be a sojourn of a year or two,

for others a way of life.

However, it is now up to each of us to carry on

the tradition of those who have gone before.

The award which I have the honor and pleasure

to receive today is entitled the American Spirit

of Honor Award.

This is what we are now entrusted with

and must carry forth.

The American spirit of honor.

It was born in the snow of Valley Ford.

Nurtured, missed the smoke of Gettysburg

and San Juan Hill.

The dough boys of World War I found it lying in

the trenches in France and Belgium.

When fascism reared its ugly head,

the American spirit came forth and slew the dragon.

The 38th parallel saw the American spirit

march forth under the flag of the United Nations

peace keeping force.

And now, Southeast Asia.

Laying aside the political controversy surrounding

this conflict, we see once again displayed that

American spirit of honor.

Fighting men, dying for their nation and democracy.

It is up to us to continue the fight.

To take up the banner.

It is our task to go forth with courage

and pride and respond in the manner of our forefathers.

Lord, give us the strength to meet the challenge.

I thank you.

- Well said.

- [Soldier] Thank you sir.


(upbeat music)