A Walk In My Boots
Daily life of Soldiers
The History of the Army Combat Boot
The history of the combat boot is, more accurately described as the evolution of the combat boot. Man has been at war since creation; war with the elements, war with terrain and war with other men. In the beginning, warriors fought on bare feet. Though hardened and calloused by the ground, there was no protection from the dangers of the environment and enemy weapons. Man learned to use animal hide as a foot covering which provided protection from the sun and the cold and small rocks and sticks, but really did nothing for support or traction. All cultures began making sandals from wood and bamboo, all in an effort to protect the sole of the foot from hazards of the trail. Standing armies’ uniforms were merely adaptions from common day dress. That trend continued up until the turn of the 17th century when ancient Assyrians and Romans developed a foot encompassing boot as standard military apparel. These boots differed from what we think of as boots today, being made of animal bones, soft leather straps and had open toes and open heels. This trend continued up until the 1800’s.
In American history, the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War the War of 1812 and the Civil War had soldiers continuing to wear adaptations of civilian foot wear. Materials and construction differed slightly, but essentially, the boots were not purposely made with soldiers in mind. It wasn’t until the onset of World War I that the U.S. Government began to manufacture a boot made for a soldier. The basic boot design around 1914 was an ankle-high leather boot, with a wrap, or Gaiter, that was buckled around the boot and extended to right below the knee that provided protection of the lower leg. This was the standard through World War II and Korea. Little attention was paid to comfort and extended wear. Protection and function were the names of the game.
The Pre-Vietnam era of uniform development began to take the many aspects of combat and soldier function into consideration. The stories of Veterans of the previous wars with full awareness of the types of terrain soldiers must fight led to development of terrain specific boots. The government’s focus on the differing environments in which our soldiers may have to fight made them focus on a tropical climate boot and a European climate boot. This focus and strategy paid-off as America entered the war in Vietnam. To this day, the “Jungle Boot” is the most recognized issue boot of the U.S. Military. This boot remained in service from the 1960s until the 1990s.
After Desert Storm, both the leather issue boot, or “CruitBoot” and the Jungle Boot went through major changes. Speed laces were added to allow soldiers to quickly put on and take off their boots. The green canvas of the Jungle boot was replaced with a black nylon, and both types of boots had a change in sole design. But the boots still had one thing in common, each required extensive polishing of the leather surfaces to maintain usability and appearance of the boot. That’s when, the military began to think about a brushed leather surface. As the services changed uniform designs, they also changed and evolved the boots.
Since early in 2000, all military branches use a desert boot as the main issue boot for its personnel. These boots have a brushed leather, or suede finish and are either desert tan or foliage green. They have speed laces, reinforced soles, but are highly flexible, yet provide superior ankle and shin support. Depending on a soldier’s job, there are other types of boots in use. Paratroopers have a specifically designed boot to accommodate their needs for jumping out of an airplane and landing safely on the earth. Tank crews have a specifically designed boot with straps and are all leather due to fire danger in their vehicle. Pilots have a purposely designed slip on Cowboy-type boot to allow them to fly more effectively. Even mechanics have a special boot that is designed to fit their unique needs.
The Army boot has truly evolved from a “one size fits all” piece of equipment to a highly evolved and specialized piece of equipment. Unlike the weapons and equipment our military uses on a daily basis, the Combat boot is the one piece of equipment that can trace it’s history back to the beginning of man’s ability to make war.
The Daily Lifes of Soldiers
5am wake-up(Stand To)
5-5:45 Shower, shave get ready for PT
6am First Formation
6 to 7 Phyical Training
7 to 8 Personal Hygiene, Room Cleaning, Breakfast
8am Duty Call Formation
8-12 Training, maintenance, classes, support
1pm Recall formation
1-4pm Training, Maintenance, classes, support, meetings
4-5pm Platoon business
5pm Final Formation and release, or break for Supper.
This is life for a barracks soldier. Most unit leadership does not live on post and it at work at 5:30, changes in their Company areas after PT and stays at work after final formation until all work is done. A leader normally does not go home until around 7 pm on a good day.
After 5pm, a soldier prepares for future training, does additional Physical Training (PT), does laundry, goes to the Post Exchange(PX) for supplies, gets haircuts etc.....this is called "Soldier Time"
Lights out in the barracks is at 11pm
All units have a CQ Charge of Quarters, that stays awake and mans telephones for 24 hours a day, every day. The CQ normally has 2 "Runners" who can accomplish required check and additional tasks.
• Field Training
Field training environment is not like being in garrison. It differs depending on what exactly you are training for. Gunnery, Tactics and Maneuver, land navigation, set-up and tear down of a command post, etc. Each is unique in it's schedule. Soldiers are only guaranteed 4 hours of sleep a night....not 4 hours of interrupted sleep. This is an example of what a field training schedule would look like for a tactical/maneuver training event.
4:00 am First Call- everybody starts to wake
4:00 to 5:00 am Personal hygiene, vehicle maintenence, stow gear
5:00 am Stand To: RedCon1 all personel ready to move out, vehicles running, radio checks and reports to higher
5-6:00am Movement to training area.
6-7:30 am First iteration of training
8-8:30am After Action Review...what went right, what went wrong, what we need to fix it next time
8:30-9:00 am MRE or Food . Then Prepare for next iteration
9-10:30 am Iteration 2
11:00 to 11:30am After Action Review
11:30 to 12:30pm Maintenance of equipment, rehearsals
12:30 to 1:30 pm Movement, Briefing
2:00 to 3:30pm First iteration of 2nd Task
4:00 to 4:30pm After Action Review
4:30 to 5:00pm Prepare for next iteration
5:00 to 6:00pm Iteration 2 of 2nd Task
630 to 7:00pm After Action Review
7:00 to 8:00 pm LOGPAC....refuel, Eat, Do Maintenance and prepare for night time operations....get Night Vision Devices and Night markers ready.
8:30pm to 9:30pm Night time Movement/Operations
9:30 to 10:00pm After Action Reveiw
10:00 to 10:30 pm Prepare for next iteration
11:00 pm to 12:00 am Night operations
12:00 am to12:30am Hotwash....a brief After Action Review
1:00 am go to 25 percent security, Sleep
Start over at 4:00am