BMT: The Obstacle Course

The Weaver – the oldest obstacle on the course!  [Source]

One of the most motivating challenges you’ll do at BMT is the obstacle course!  I had the opportunity to meet a young woman this last weekend who is considering enlistment.  She confided in me that successfully navigating the obstacle course was one of her fears.  I reassured her with the same bit of information that I’ll share with you now – the obstacle course is not a graduation requirement.  Nope, not required!  

The obstacle course (during 4WOT) serves as a great motivational and team-building tool for your flight and your sister/brother’s flight.  When you’re out there you’ll be encouraged to sing jodies [known as cadences to other branches], cheer for each other, and keep the motivation going to push each other further.  The course is challenging and you’re never just standing there, so it’s very physically demanding.  Motivation and encouragement will help everyone get through the course, and that’s what your MTIs want to see.  It’s a great opportunity to work side-by-side with your brother/sister flight since you’re gearing up for BEAST soon.
You’ll prepare for the obstacle course by loading up your duffle bag with your second pair of boots and a spare change of ABUs.  Your flight will march over to the obstacle course, which is a fairly lengthy walk – it’s going to feel even longer when your wet ABUs weigh down your duffle!
Once at the course, you’ll line up in flight formation, set your duffle down, and remove all of your pocket contents and any jewelry and place it in your hat, which goes in your duffle.  The instructors at the course will take you around the entire course as they explain the safety procedures and how to safely traverse each obstacle.  Listen to everything they say, and again, follow it to the letter.  If you do not follow the procedures, you’ll be kicked off the course and you’ll miss out on the opportunity to participate.  There’s a medical team on-site, so if something should happen, you’ll be able to receive immediate care.
Once you begin the course, you’ll be jogging in place constantly, running from one obstacle to the next.  During this time you’ll be encouraging others or singing jodies.  As trainees complete each obstacle, you’ll automatically buddy up with the next trainee off, so you never have the same/established wingman.  It’s a great way to bond and connect with other trainees on your flight.
You’ll have a certain number of attempts before you move on to the next obstacle if you should prove to be unsuccessful.  Don’t let it get you down, just move on to the next one and keep your energy and motivational levels high!  My MTI team was taking bets on how many trainees would end up wet (from falling into the various pools).  My team chief actually made a bet with me that if less than 25 trainees fell into the water, we’d all get to have cheesecake as a reward!

The video below was not created by me, but the gentleman in the introduction shares a lengthy video of a group going through the obstacle course.  Viewing this video will be better than me attempting to recall and describe each of the obstacles.

As for me, yes, I ended up in the water, but not until the very end with the rope swing.  If you hit the water at that point, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to complete the last obstacle, which is the monkey bars across another pool.  I was proud of myself for doing an earlier water obstacle, where we had to ranger crawl across a rope over a pool,  You could choose to ranger crawl or dangle and drag your way across, and I managed to successfully ranger crawl!  My favorite obstacle was The Weaver, pictured at the top of this post.  The Weaver is the oldest obstacle on the course, dating to 1962.  I loved the history of that particular obstacle, knowing that my FIL who graduated in 1964 had probably crossed it himself.  You lay on your back the entire time, using your arms and legs to propel you over the yellow beams and over the green beams until you reach the top.

Once everyone is finished with the course, you’ll change (if needed) into dry ABUs and march back to the squadron.  You’ll awake the next day to discover that you have seriously dark bruises on body parts you didn’t imagine could be bruised.  Inner arm, anyone?  Yeah, I can thank The Weaver for that one.

The downside to the obstacle course?  Your 4WOT PT evaluation is usually the next day or the day after that when you’re bruised and sore from the course.  Thankfully this PT eval is not your final one!