Meal Time at BCT

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Jerseymom, Jul 12, 2014.

  1. Jerseymom

    Jerseymom Member

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    Why do the Basics eat "at attention," and what does this entail, exactly? Can they converse? When does eating at attention cease?
    How is the food, generally?
     
  2. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    Let 'em go, Mom.
     
  3. meant2b

    meant2b Member

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    Means they have to sit absolutely rigid, can't talk to anyone, and had to divide the simple motion of taking food from their plates to their mouths into rigid movements. The purpose of this is for someone who has gone through it to explain... I am not qualified.
     
  4. Jerseymom

    Jerseymom Member

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    I have "let him go," and actually, I let him go since he was a child. If he fell down, he got up. If he lost a game, I said that it happens. If he had a problem, he solved it. He also did chores for his whole life with NO ALLOWANCE!
    I was curious as to the military life. Is that wrong?
    (Although we did travel to with DS on June 26, we let him go and simply said our goodbyes. Received one letter so far, and DS said, "aside from lack of sleep, everything is great." Oh, and we are not going to Acceptance Day, and he is not coming home for Thanksgiving. (Oh, my other son goes to school in California.)
    So, Spud, I have let my boys go. And I have one left, and we want him to "get out of Dodge" too. Enjoy your morning, Spud! (Now, I will let THIS go.)
     
  5. meant2b

    meant2b Member

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    Jerseymom..check your PM
     
  6. dohdean

    dohdean Member

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    I am the parent of a 2013 graduate -- now a 2nd Lieutenant. We are not a military family. We relied on this site as well as WebGuy to help educate us. I am troubled by the unsupportive comments currently being posted -- the purpose of this website is to assist parents, applicants, Basics and cadets who have questions -- if you think parents, particularly new parents, are being overly protective, leave them alone. They and their Basic/cadet will work it out over time. Don't discourage parents from asking for help, suggestions -- every parent's posting shouldn't have to be prefaced with "sorry to ask this question -- I know I shouldn't be asking this, so I'm ready to face your criticism" or some derivation thereof. No apology for this comment -- our family relied on this website for the year before our daughter entered and to a lesser extent for the 4 years she was at the Academy. Give parents a break -- you never know which of the "new" parents will eventually become a regular, helpful poster on this website to other "new" or "newer" parents. Especially at Acceptance approaches -- parents will have questions. Given them a break!
     
  7. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    OK, I apologize. You are not the helicopter mom that your initial post sounded like. You are, indeed, a tough love mom and your sons sound like they are fine young men headed for good things in life, thanks to wise parenting. Had you said all that initially, I would have kept my mouth shut. Again, my sincere apologies.

    So, in answer to your question, though, the table environment is all part of the the Plebe/Doolie system which is part of the larger leadership training system that all the Academies are based on. Much of it is tradition mixed with definite behavior goals that the cadets/midshipmen are to meet in order to become combat leaders of airman, soldiers, sailors, and Marines. Since you mention you are not from a military background, I would highly recommend a book that should show you what the seeming madness is accomplishing. I apologize for the hoakey title--its horrible--and while based on the Naval Academy, it applies to all the academies leadership systems. You could write a similar book on USAFA using the same title with "USAFA" plugged in, with few changes. You can find it on Amazon: "Becoming a leader the Annapolis Way" by Johnson and Harper.

    http://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Lead...&sr=8-1&keywords=leadership+the+annapolis+way

    One of the authors is a psychologist and professor there, the other an active duty officer and grad in the Leadership dept. Using specific examples of what is required of cadets/midshipmen and their experiences, comparisons are made as to how that molds leadership and what actually happens on active duty. The shortest description of the 4th class year is "harassment with a purpose" not hazing. Hazing is purposely degrading experiences found in frat houses and civilian colleges, not the service academies. Big difference. I can assure you it works too. As a long ago grad, my Plebe experiences have stood me in good stead through combat, business, and life's challenges more than any other training I got (excepting what I learned at my mom's knee). I have sat in big shot business meetings listening to the brightest guys in the room pontificating and all I could think is "Buddy, you would not have lasted 5 days in my Plebe company". Your son will also be cursed with a desire for honesty, clarity, brevity, and doing the right thing thanks to his Doolie year. I hope you will read the book and again, sorry for the comment but you didn't give a lot to go on.
     
  8. Space2Bmom

    Space2Bmom Member

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    DOHDEAN - thanks for the support for new parents.:thumb::thumb:

    Spud - your comments were filled with such contempt, it might be time to take a break from the board until you can remember the delight, frustration, fears new parents face on this journey. :mad:
     
  9. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American

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    Spud is a helpful contributor. He said he didn't mean to offend. Space2Bmom...it sounds like you're the one that posted a contemptible comment to me.

    If you have been around a while you may have figured out that there are lots of parents that become overly involved. We call them helicopter parents. Well meaning, sometimes they try to be involved more than their hard charging, successful offspring need them to be.

    My first reaction was "why would a parent be worried about mealtime procedure?" After reading her explanation I understand. Even if she was worried about her son's eating situation, she has that right. She birthed him! BTW, she sounds like a great mom.

    Spud has a right to comment, he is a grad, and a veteran, and he certainly has more valuable input than me.

    and to Jerseymom, I feel your pain over the Thanksgiving break. Getting to the East Coast and back can be pricy and difficult during high travel times.
     
  10. Jerseymom

    Jerseymom Member

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    First of all, Spud sent me a lovely PM. Apology accepted.
    Secondly, I am not worried about what he is eating. Nor does my post indicate worry. I just wanted to know the military process of eating.
    (My DS went for one of the Appointee Days, and all the Cadets ate like "normal.)
    Then I wondered if the food was "good." Just curious. From other threads on PW, I read that the cadets want to sleep and eat well. Hence, my question.
    Thank you to the people on the forum who are kind and nonjudgmental.
    I have valued learning from the posts and threads, and am only a recent "poster."
     
  11. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Folks, sounds like this thread has been "asked and answered."



    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83

    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  12. Dad

    Dad Member

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    In 2010, I participated in the USAFA educators' program. We were given a tour of the Academy including classes and joining the cadets for lunch in Mitchell Hall. As a former dormitory cook during my undergraduate days, I found the food to be comparable to typical college cafeteria food if not above average. The word I heard from the cadets at the table was that the food was okay, but the menu doesn't contain enough variety. It would be best if current or former cadets speak to this directly.
     
  13. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Food improved quite a bit from 2006 to 2010 while I was there. They gave the kitchen a big raise in its budget that made an enormous difference. Food quality in 2006 was fine, but we certainly ate better after that (moved to V8 juice vs. Sinton's "grape flavored beverage" or whatever). Rumor since I've left is food got a bit worse but not much.

    They feed 4000 cadets every day for three square meals. Really not so bad considering! I never went hungry - and some put on some heft. haha.
     
  14. mja2014

    mja2014 Member

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    It's not that bad, meal time isn't bad at all unless stan-eval come by and get you for something. Some people laugh at meals, a lot of people have fun with it


    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  15. LFry94

    LFry94 USAFA C1C '17

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    It's only bad when the food isn't fresh, especially the fruit. I don't like picking up grapes and finding out they're actually raisins, or eating stale bread. When it's fresh though, there are some meals that I don't want to miss. Mac n' cheese, chicken strips, bread bowls and soup, teriyaki chicken, and steaks to name a few. And Mitches makes the best cornbread muffins.
     
  16. pointguard

    pointguard Member

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    Spoke with my AFA DS son yesterday during his Doolie Day Out opportunity. He sounded great and when I asked that parental question of 'how is the food, and are you getting enough to eat' he said 'yes, I've put on 5 pounds and I think the food is pretty good actually'! We never did the critical thinking here at home, we did more the be thankful for what you have in all things mantra so our kids are kind of low drag and not fussy. He said the Boost drinks is a great idea whoever thought of it. He says they aren't that bad tasting and do keep you feeling full and get you that protein that hard-workers need to keep their weight and energy up. Anyway, that was the news from yesterday, and bring Chick Fil A for A-day for 6!!!:thumb:
     
  17. Classof83

    Classof83 Member

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    Please answer the Question

    With all due respect Flieger 83, I don't think the question from Jerseymom has been fully answered (or did you mean that it has been answered somewhere in another thread?).

    The question about the quality of the food ("How is the food, generally") seems to have been answered in that it is good but not great (some meals better and others) and they are allowed to eat it (some cadets even gain weight). The original poster also asked, however, what "eating at attention" entails and "when does eating at attention cease". I'm interested in the answers to these questions on several levels including being the parent of a 10th grader who is a member of a high school AFJROTC unit and who is interested in attending the AFA. We plan on an unofficial visit to the grounds of the AFA later this year.

    Clearly, from my active duty military experience and probably from anyone else's "eating at attention" has nothing to do with the "military process of eating". From my experience at a service academy which once practiced the ritual of "eating at attention", Meant2b gave a pretty good description of the concept in general with "Means they have to sit absolutely rigid, can't talk to anyone, and had to divide the simple motion of taking food from their plates to their mouths into rigid movements. The purpose of this is for someone who has gone through it to explain... I am not qualified." I can add, having endured this practice as a cadet at West Point in the late 1970s, that it also included sitting one fist's distance away from the seatback. At that time, unlike Spud's take on the atmosphere at today's service academies ("The shortest description of the 4th class year is "harassment with a purpose" not hazing. Hazing is purposely degrading experiences found in frat houses and civilian colleges, not the service academies"), I experienced many appropriate lessons derived from the application of corrective discipline, but I also experienced plenty of hazing (harassment without a purpose other than to provide the hazer with gratuitous pleasure derived from demeaning and belittling others) especially during meals (with very little consumption of food). While I'm glad his experience at a service academy allowed for a very successful career (I'll spare you the details of my credentials) and gave him the fortitude to withstand the pontification of others, I'm surprised that the practice still exists at the AFA (does it really - I didn't see any post that gave a definitive answer as to whether "eating at attention" actually is practiced at the AFA during the first summer training period or how long this practice continues).

    My class at West Point was thankfully the last that had to endure the practice of "eating at attention" during the entire first academic year. I can tell you that from the firsthand account of my DD who is a rising Firstie at West Point and was a squad leader last summer during "Beast Barracks", the practice of eating at attention is no longer practiced at West Point even during a cadet's first summer. New cadets are required to sit quietly using a normal seating posture and without exaggerated "rigid movements" and perform table duties while executing the primary function of sitting in the mess hall which is to eat. They are not to look around when eating but can ask the table commander questions. In turn, the table commander is to ensure that proper dining etiquette is followed but is not to require new cadets to follow exaggerated eating rituals (rigid movements), answer unrelated questions (recite "knowledge") or perform skits (in order to begin eating) like the "peanut butter and jelly dance" or, as in my day, salute and greet boxes of Captain Crunch. According to my DD, commissioned officers, during this initial period of training, are observing that upperclass cadets are allowing new cadets to perform the primary function of this activity which is to acquire sufficient nutrition to allow for the strenuous summer training. Upperclass cadets who do not follow this procedure are corrected by the commissioned officers.

    I therefore respectfully request, from someone with current and firsthand knowledge, an answer to the question of whether "eating at attention (what does this actually mean)" is still practiced at the AFA and if so, how long does this practice continue into the academic year? In my opinion, "eating at attention" as I experienced it, is a practice devoid of useful training lessons, defeats the purpose of providing new cadets who are undergoing a strenuous training period needed nutrition, and lends itself to abuse (hazing).

    It has been my experience on this forum that questions are usually asked and answered in a respectful and courteous manner, without judgmental and superfluous responses (maybe I'm guilty of violating the superfluous part as well, LOL). Through questions and answers, candidates (and their families) have gained tremendous insights into the process of attaining admission to a service academy and also navigating the process while there. So notwithstanding some postings which want to shoot down legitimate questions, keep the questions and answers coming.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
  18. BlahuKahuna

    BlahuKahuna Member

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    1.Basic cadets will probably always eat at attention during BCT.

    2.2017's academic year mealtimes were different for two main reasons:
    -all 4 degrees were at ease for meals
    -the intercollegiate athlete tables (ramps) were removed and all cadets sat with their squadrons.

    The rumor mill is saying that the class of 2018 will be going back to eating at attention during the academic year; however, the only way I can see this being implemented is if they also bring ramps back. I'm hopeful they can eat at ease during the school year as I don't see the point of eating at attention all year and really enjoyed having athletes spending some time with the squadron.

    I'm more than happy to answer any other questions about food at USAFA!
     
  19. Boozebin

    Boozebin Member

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    I'll let Steve answer for himself to make sure but I think he was heading something off before it escalated into something out of control in as a tactful way he could without calling people out.:shake:
     
  20. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    During basic, I think it is partly to provide another way to provide a test and add a little stress. BCT adds lots of tests and stresses to make sure people can perform under pressure, get little details correct, and do a little stress inoculation. After all, you can't actually put basics in real physical danger to test them.

    During my time at the academy, eating "at attention" during the academic year wasn't strictly enforced. For most people it was more, "sit down, sit up relatively straight, shut up, and eat."
     

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