Friday, July 13, 2007

Perspective: A kinder, gentler basic training

Three tours in Iraq, as well as growing up on the streets of the Bronx, N.Y., has prepared Eddie Carabello well for his current task: In essence, whipping a bunch of no-good, Xbox-playing, iPod-listening, TV generation-types into steely warriors. Fast.

"Whatever you do, do not embarrass me!" bellows the U.S. Army drill sergeant at a cohort of freshly shorn recruits on the first day of basic training. Sergeant Carabello's trademark raspy voice booms through the Carolina pitch pine. His Smokey-the-bear "campaign" hat is tilted low over a scowling brow. "Don't ever leave your battle buddy behind, comrade!" he shouts at a soldier who has returned from the latrine alone.

Carabello, believe it or not, represents a softer, more sensitive drill sergeant. Back in the old days, he probably wanted to tattoo your behind.

Now he just wants you not to embarrass him.

Carabello is part of a significant but subtle change in one of the most feared and caricatured roles in the U.S. military — the burr-headed officers who train young Army recruits for combat.

Read the rest at CBS News