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PDAers in the armed forces
  • SGCmum
    Posts: 84
    Does anyone have any experience of someone with PDA in the army? My daughter, who is a bit lost at the moment and trying to decide what to do, is thinking of doing a degree through the army. My first thought is how I'm earth would she cope with the constant demands, but also I'm aware she likes routine and structure. I'm thinking it could be good, but quite possible horrific. So far I've sounded vaguely encouraging as I don't want to push her either way.
  • Hi SGCmum!

    I can offer my experience, for what it's worth. As a caveat, I wasn't in the Army long as I got injured during basic training. The short time I was there did have quite a profound effect on me though, and though it was tough it was overwhelmingly positive in my case.

    One thing that would potentially cause a clash with the PDA mind is relinquishing control of your daily life to an external structure. You have to take orders, and you have to carry them out to the best of your ability regardless of personal motivation.
    I thought that it would be harder than it was, as often the way that I viewed situations changed the way I reacted to them. It also allowed me to pull the section tighter together.

    One example was the reaction to getting shouted at. I went there with the expectation that I would be shouted at a lot, and it was up to me to filter out the noise to get the message. One of the lads was feeling low, having trouble adjusting. He had been up into the small hours after lights out working on his uniform, we had an inspection each morning and he was trying to get his uniform perfect so he wouldn't be shouted at.
    When it came his turn to be inspected the Corporal gave him a thorough looking over, picked an imaginary piece of fluff from his beret and commenced shouting. I noticed him looking crestfallen, and pulled him aside during the first moment we weren't being rushed around like headless chickens.

    I asked him to run back over his experience that morning from his perspective; he recounted the hour he had spent that morning cleaning his beret and the horror of still getting shouted at. Then I told him what I had seen, starting with the point that it is our job in basic training to get shouted at. It is the Corporal's job to do the shouting. His uniform did pass muster, to the point where even a close inspection left the Corporal having to make something up to shout at him for. Not only that, but he only got shouted at for three minutes, the rest of us got five minutes apiece!
    That's damn near a shake of the hand and a pat on the back from a Corporal.

    This was one example of the way viewing things from the logical PDA perspective eased a lot of the stress.

    My advice to anyone looking to join the armed forces is to prepare. Find out what will be expected of you and put the work in to make it easier when you get there. You will need to be fit. Army fit is not the same thing as facebook picture fit, the only way to get there is to actually do a lot of running. Press ups are used as a way of expressing ire from the NCO's, or because you have arrived at the next lesson early and the Corporal would rather keep you moving than standing still. You will be asked to do a lot of them, so get good at them before you go.

    One pitfall to be avoided is to rest on your laurels. One lad in the section was very good at running, he could outpace me and a lot of the others without breaking a sweat. This helped him on the five mile runs, but he became used to having it easy when it came to running.
    At one point, we were told to sprint a mile and a half as fast as we could. We all took off at a fair pace, but it was obvious to the Sergeant running with us if you were giving it your all. One hundred metres from the finish, the lad who was running next to me put on a burst of speed and made up quite a few places. I had nothing left to give, fell across the line and threw up on the floor. When all had finished, we were jogging round the gym to cool down and getting called individually to the Corporal to get our time. The lad who was called before me jogged over to get his time, then got yelled at for keeping the Corporal waiting. When it came to my turn, I approached the Corporal at a flat out sprint. About ten metres from him I realised that my legs did not have the strength left to slow me down in time. I think he clocked the horror on my face, I was halfway through saying "sorry" as I bodychecked him into the wall.
    I was expecting an eruption from the Corporal as I helped him up. I noticed that both the Captain and Sergeant had ducked out of the door, but I could hear them laughing. Oddly enough, I did not get yelled at for that. I think the Corporal learned to avoid having exhausted recruits sprint at him, and the lads and I got a great story to ease the pressure when we were absolutely sure that no NCO's could hear.

    I was hoping to keep this response brief, but got side tracked. I hope there's some useful info in there. I would try to refine it, but I'd end up cutting almost all of it out and maybe a long response is better than none.


  • SGCmum
    Posts: 84
    Thanks. It's good to know people can cope. However, it does sound pretty daunting to me.
  • HarHer
    Posts: 339

    My son recently attended a Military Preparation Course. He enjoyed it because he loves physical activity and he really respected the person in charge.

    I think he is still considering a career in the armed forces, but he has to wait four years because he has had a recent prescription for an inhaler.

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