rewritten military personal statement. please help

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andrewt86
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rewritten military personal statement. please help

Postby andrewt86 » Sun Dec 15, 2013 10:50 pm

Thanksgiving is usually a time for family and pie. While attending basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, you only get a 10 minute phone call and the only pie flavor served is humble and is not to be eaten with a fork.

To be honest, going into the military I had a leg-up. A tenure at Texas A&M as a member of the Corps of Cadets with multiple leadership positions, a masters degree and professional work experience had created a somewhat inflated ego. The plan: keep my head down and make it through. However, that’s not how the Army trains soldiers.

Training soldiers is an excruciating task that includes building up those that need it, and deflating those egos that cause complacency. My training was the latter of the two. The day’s activity, just a few weeks into the program, included instruction on “bounding” as a battle buddy team while firing live ammunition at a target farther down-range. Bounding is a sensible method of moving from one place to another on the battlefield utilizing cover and concealment in order to close with and destroy the enemy. I was going through the motions: get behind the barrier, yell to my buddy, advance to the next barrier.

The technique I used was lazy. While moving out from behind the barrier to go to the next, I could advance more easily by holding my rifle across my body, but at the same time I was negligently pointing my live weapon toward my buddy behind the barrier in the lane next to me. Drill sergeants are typically very good at detecting this type of laziness, and mine was an excellent drill sergeant. After his threats of tackling me to the ground if I didn’t correct my actions he followed through with his promise.

I was blindsided. Tackled into the mud, hard. Embarrassed. All my buddies saw it happen. My pedestal was ripped from beneath my feet. It would have been easy to be upset at the drill sergeant, who for the sake of my proper training had not slept for days. But in that moment I made the decision to apply myself to the art of soldiering, the art of leading soldiers, and the dedication to the absence of complacency.

That was almost three years ago. I have since received my commission as a second lieutenant and continue to dedicate my career to the proper leadership and training of soldiers, while simultaneously continuing my professional work experience. Looking forward to law school, my mistakes and experiences have shaped my drive and dedication to future tasks; I have no doubt that my past will lend positively to my future.

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UnicornHunter
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Re: rewritten military personal statement. please help

Postby UnicornHunter » Sun Dec 15, 2013 11:13 pm

Two things...

1) Scrub it for Armyisms.. "battle buddy team" and "down-range" aren't terms a civilian would use in day to day life. The sentence "Bounding is a sensible method of moving from one place to another on the battlefield utilizing cover and concealment in order to close with and destroy the enemy." tells me more about the content of FMs then it does about you.

2) You show the day you screwed up, but you only tell us about how you then "dedicate my career to the proper leadership and training of soldiers, while simultaneously continuing my professional work experience." Surely, in the 3 years since leaving basic, you've done something positive worth talking about. An NTC rotation or deployment where it all came together, perhaps?

I'd start your story with your face in the mud and then dedicate the rest of your PS to showing how you developed in the Army. Good luck.

kublaikahn
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Re: rewritten military personal statement. please help

Postby kublaikahn » Sun Dec 15, 2013 11:22 pm

What is the point of your PS? It is not very interesting. The other problem is that the thesis is you are a leader because you have been humbled. But when I read this, I don't believe that is true.

Start over. I would write about something other than soldiering. Show some depth.

andrewt86
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Re: rewritten military personal statement. please help

Postby andrewt86 » Mon Dec 16, 2013 12:02 am

AfghanTourist: Great advice. I'll work on it.
Kub: thanks for the input, I suppose? Many think the military is interesting, I'll take my chances on that.

TigerDude
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Re: rewritten military personal statement. please help

Postby TigerDude » Mon Dec 16, 2013 12:12 am

I would think that some people who have been in the military would wonder why you were in enlisted basic training. It us not a term the Navy or Marines use for officer training.

I suspect you were in OCS.

But your story should have more about you and less about the army.

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ph14
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Re: rewritten military personal statement. please help

Postby ph14 » Mon Dec 16, 2013 12:39 am

Tagging this. I'll come back and give it a read after i've finished with finals. Thank you for your service.

andrewt86
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DRAFT 3 Re: rewritten military personal statement. please he

Postby andrewt86 » Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:28 pm

For most of my life, the holidays was about family, pie and the true meaning of the season. Instead, while attending basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, I only got a 10 minute phone call and no pie. Luckily, the theme of true meanings was not lost on me.
To be honest, going into the military I had a leg-up. A tenure at Texas A&M as a member of the Corps of Cadets with multiple leadership positions, a masters degree and professional work experience had created a somewhat inflated ego. In addition, I was already slotted for Officer Candidate School. The plan: keep my head down and make it through. Drill Sergeant Thurmann had other plans.
Training soldiers is an excruciating task that includes building up those that need it, and deflating egos that cause complacency, in order to create the sense of urgency needed for military service. As a future officer, I was watched like a hawk and my training was the latter of the two. The day’s activity, just a few weeks into the program, included instruction on team bounding while firing at a target farther down-range. There is a particular method to the movement, but I was going through the motions: get behind the barrier, yell to my buddy, advance to the next barrier getting distracted in my own thoughts, and wondering when we would be eating dinner chow.
The technique I used to begin movement to my next position was lazy. It was faster to keep my rifle across my body, but while rising from a kneeling position to move, I was negligently pointing a loaded weapon toward my buddy behind the barrier in the lane next to me. I was warned sternly not to commit the violation again, and it wasn’t that I didn’t want to listen, I just didn’t have the sense of urgency soon bestowed.
I was blindsided. Tackled into the mud, hard, by an enraged Drill Sergeant Thurmann, who hated repeating himself. Embarrassed, all my buddies watching, the pedestal was knocked from beneath my feet. Not in the way that I had felt above making mistakes, but in that moment I realized how little of a joke this all was. How complacency will get your friend killed, and how your mind has to be focused on the standards set so that your soldiers know you are doing everything in your power to bring them home from whatever mission you might be tasked with. I picked myself up, retrained on the practice lane, and completed the training to standard, as if the enemy were firing back and I wanted to make sure my soldier returned safely. That was almost three years ago.
Now a combat engineer platoon leader, during my company’s most recent PT test, I was trailing one of my new privates during the two mile run event. Though he was a good runner, his occasional walking allowed me to catch up. As I passed, I calmly said “don’t walk”. After completing the run only 10 seconds after I crossed, he thanked me for my encouragement and motivation and told me he would have failed if it weren’t for me. As a leader, although it seems small, there are few greater moments, and a lot to read between the lines. Add bullets, add the enemy, apply other training scenarios. The principle is the same. The warrior ethos “I will never quit” means the same in all those situations. Private Williams doesn’t know my experiences, and doesn’t have to. He knows through simple gesture, that I understand the true meaning of the urgency required as an officer to lead soldiers in whatever manner is asked.
Looking forward to law school, my mistakes and experiences have shaped my drive and dedication; I have no doubt that my past will lend positively to my future profession.

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UnicornHunter
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Re: rewritten military personal statement. please help

Postby UnicornHunter » Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:32 pm

TigerDude wrote:I would think that some people who have been in the military would wonder why you were in enlisted basic training. It us not a term the Navy or Marines use for officer training.

I suspect you were in OCS.

But your story should have more about you and less about the army.



For the Army, if you do OCS and not ROTC or West Point, you have to do basic before you go to OCS.

kublaikahn
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Re: DRAFT 3 Re: rewritten military personal statement. please he

Postby kublaikahn » Tue Dec 17, 2013 1:46 am

andrewt86 wrote:For most of my life, tThe holidays had always centered around was aboutfamily, pie and the true meaning of the season. Instead, while attendingBut the rigor of basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia permitted no leave for the comforts of the season. I only got a 10 minute phone call and not a whiff of pie. Luckily, the theme of true meanings was not lost on me.

To be honest, going into the military I had a leg-up. A tenure [look up tenure in the dictionary] at Texas A&M as a member of the Corps of Cadets with multiple leadership positions, a masters degree and professional work experience had created a somewhat inflated ego. In addition, I was already slotted for Officer Candidate School. The plan: keep my head down and make it through. Drill Sergeant Thurmann had other plans.[I think you mean to say something more humble like, "Entering the military I had a false sense of confidence. I had some military training as a member of the corp of cadets at Texas A&M. I studied leadership and operational excellence during my masters program. I had more work experience than most the young men and women around me. And I had already been selected for Officer Candidate School. I planned to keep my head down and pass straight through basic on my way to OCS. Drill Sargeant Pyle had other ideas.]

Training soldiers is [almost every time you use the verb "to be" you are missing an opportunity to bring you writing alive] an excruciating [excruciating means really painful, not difficult or arduous] task that includes building up those that need it, and deflating egos that cause complacency, in order to create the sense of urgency needed for military service. As a future officer, I was watched like a hawk and my training was the latter of the two. [who watched like a hawk? Passive voice and also cliched] The day’s activity, just a few weeks into the program [why put this subordinate clause right in the middle of your sentence, and write in the active voice, e.g. I few weeks into training I was coasting through a live fire drill meant to teach an attacking technique known as bounding"], included instruction on team bounding while firing at a target farther down-range. There is a particular method to the movement, but I was going through the motions: get behind the barrier, yell to my buddy, advance to the next barrier getting distracted in my own thoughts, and wondering when we would be eating dinner chow.

The technique I used to begin movement to my next position was lazy. It was faster to keep my rifle across my body, but while rising from a kneeling position to move, I was negligently pointing a loaded weapon toward my buddy behind the barrier in the lane next to me. I was warned sternly not to commit the violation again, and it wasn’t that I didn’t want to listen, I just didn’t have the sense of urgency soon bestowed. [warned by who? "Drill Sargeant T unloaded a stream of vulgarity that still failed to disrupt my inner conversation. I floated down range with no particular sense of things."]

Without warning, Bam! I was blindsided. [you get the picture] Tackled into the mud, hard, by an enraged Drill Sergeant Thurmann, who hated repeating himself. Embarrassed, all my buddies watching, the pedestal was knocked from beneath my feet. Not in the way that I had felt above making mistakes, but in that moment I realized how little of a joke this all was. How complacency will get your friend killed, and how your mind has to be focused on the standards set so that your soldiers know you are doing everything in your power to bring them home from whatever mission you might be tasked with. I picked myself up, retrained on the practice lane, and completed the training to standard, as if the enemy were firing back and I wanted to make sure my soldier returned safely. That was almost three years ago.

Now a combat engineer platoon leader, during my company’s most recent PT test, I was trailing one of my new privates during the two mile run event. Though he was a good runner, his occasional walking allowed me to catch up. As I passed, I calmly said “don’t walk”. After completing the run only 10 seconds after I crossed, he thanked me for my encouragement and motivation and told me he would have failed if it weren’t for me. As a leader, although it seems small, there are few greater moments, and a lot to read between the lines. Add bullets, add the enemy, apply other training scenarios. The principle is the same. The warrior ethos “I will never quit” means the same in all those situations. Private Williams doesn’t know my experiences, and doesn’t have to. He knows through simple gesture, that I understand the true meaning of the urgency required as an officer to lead soldiers in whatever manner is asked.

Looking forward to law school, my mistakes and experiences have shaped my drive and dedication; I have no doubt that my past will lend positively to my future profession.
Last edited by kublaikahn on Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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twobitrye
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Re: rewritten military personal statement. please help

Postby twobitrye » Tue Dec 17, 2013 1:24 pm

These kinds of personal statements are hard to write. Military experience can certainly lend itself to a positive narrative, but it can also consume the entire essay in a negative way. Regardless of how well you describe your training anecdotes, you have to keep in mind the goal of the essay. The only indications that I had that this essay had anything to do with law school was that it was given a cursory mention in the final paragraph and that it was posted on a law school forum. This, in my opinion, is the biggest issue with the current draft. Your experiences matter, but they need to molded into a narrative that answers the "why law school" question. As it stands now, you could replace the words "law school" in the final paragraph with just about anything.

This is a fundamental issue. Once you address this, I think a lot of other things will fall into place.




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