Nine WeeksWhile teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area, Rich Stowell decided to enlist in the United States Army. His adventure begins at the processing station through which pass all military recruits, and from where he was shipped off Fort Sill Oklahoma.
Nine Weeks: A Teacher’s Education in Army Basic Training is available in paperback and Kindle, with an audio version coming soon. The award winning book makes a great gift for the Soldier in your family.
Only Soldiers know the sobriety, hilarity, absurdity, and profundity of training in the modern American Army. But every reader of Nine Weeks can catch a glimpse of it.
“The finest post in the Army” was a world away for Stowell. At the barracks of F Battery, 1/40 Field Artillery at, he trained with and learned from young men who could have been his students just weeks before.
Nine Weeks tells the story of how Uncle Sam prepares young men for soldierhood during the most demanding period in our nation’s military history. Drawing on his experience as a professional educator, Nine Weeks is a candid assessment of the Basic Training Program, and an amusingly insightful record of how the vaunted drill sergeants make Soldiers.
The book chronicles it all in hilarious detail: F Battery marched about under the meticulous rule of the drill sergeants– the overseers, parents, teachers, mentors, and babysitters of Basic Training. Each one a vivid character, the drill sergeants imparted their unique warrior wisdom day and night. They often relied on harsh methods—hours-long “smoke sessions” and sleep deprivation, but often they used humor and fun, like forcing the trainees to sing their sins to jumping jacks.
Trainees ate, slept, fought, learned, and grew together, sometimes painfully. As days passed though, this motley assortment of soldiers-to-be perfected rifle marksmanship, grenade use, bayonet techniques, close-combat methods, and surviving gas attacks. And we could sing the dickens out of the Army Hymn. Nearly ten weeks after the initial reception, we donned formal military attire and walked across a graduation stage to the loudest cheers I have ever heard.
Informed people ought to know how the American Soldier is made. Nine weeks—the standard timeline for an Army Basic trainee— illustrates the process with a sophisticated insight and humor that is a novelty in military books. Funny, yet reverent; critical and honest, Nine Weeks gives refreshing wit and wisdom to the story of how young men are gathered from around the country and molded into modern battlefield warriors.
It is a trip back in time for soldiers who have run the gauntlet of Army boot camp. Civilians will appreciate learning Army basics—and their rationale and history—from Army rank to modern battlefield tactics. Americans of all ages and political persuasions, whether or not they have friends or family in the military, will enjoy learning about what it takes to become a United States Soldier.