Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nearing the Finish Line -- Day 1 of The Final Zero Week

Monrovia, June 28th, 2008:

As the summer months began to pass us by preparations were under way for what was to be the final Initial Entry Training (IET) or basic training class to begin in early July. Beginning in the final week of June 2008 recruits for the last class, like all those who came before them, underwent final pre-induction screening at the Barclay Training Center (BTC). Few had any genuine appreciation for what awaited them, yet all were curious nonetheless. This final batch of 511 recruits would be the group to take us over the 2,000 soldier threshold, provided sufficient numbers of the graduated successfully.

{June 28th, 2008: New recruits for the final basic training class anxiously awaiting processing at the Recruiting & Vetting reception station at the Barclay Training Center in Monrovia}

Zero Week is when we began the final screening process and reception station in-processing for each basic training class. At the reception station the recruits are processed and the mail get the heads shaved. The DynCorp Recruiting & Vetting Team had, by now, long since mastered the reception station process and an observer could easily tell this was so. Medical screening, drug testing and final application issues were quickly resolved and the vast majority of applicants who showed up were qualified and processed for entry into the Armed Forces of Liberia. This class was scheduled to graduate in late August on a day later set as the activation of the first infantry battalion in the new Armed Forces of Liberia. They were loaded into vans and transported from Monrovia to Camp Ware. The drill instructors were waiting for their arrival as a new group was delivered five consecutive days in a row until all 511 had arrived.

{June 28th, 2008: The convoy departs the BTC for Camp Ware loaded with new recruits of the Armed Forces of Liberia}

{June 28th, 2008: New Liberian recruits in line for their first meal at Camp Ware}