It’s The Wall Or Else

By Doris Rivas-Brekke

It's The Wall Or Else by Doris Rivas-Brekke Shining Service WorldwideWhen it comes to the military’s basic training, you know that you are going to be physically tested. I was fit, a runner, so how bad could it be??  Pretty bad…they called it “PT”, physical training and it wasAlabama, hot and muggy!  Looking back, PT would not have been so bad if that is all we had to do; kind of like a “spa” , but it wasn’t.

Each day began at dawn with loud bugle music, minutes to dress, roll call, classes and work chores. Worst of all was the physical training, yet everything seemed possible until I met “the Wall”.  The wall was eight to ten feet high, but it might as well have been twenty feet because I could not get over it.  This was one of the tests that you had to pass or you didn’t graduate. I had to figure out how to get over the wall. There was only a handful of us that could not get over that wall. 

We were told to practice after work, but these girls wanted to fail, get thrown out of the military, except for me. So for days I practiced alone, frustrated and hurt from banging my body against the wall . Then one evening, I jumped, got my right leg up to the top edge of the wall, enough to lift my body up and over the wall! I had figured the code! I was so joyous, yet sad no one saw me make it. But after a brief cheer, I went back to the beginning of the course and hit the wall up and over again and again until dark. This time I knew I had mastered this test!  

I learned about perseverance that day.  Ladies, you need to hold that word “perseverance” close to your heart throughout your military career. Remember “perseverance”.  

Come back and read about my next test on the rifle range and the ethical questions involved in shooting a weapon…Remember, I am with you, so have fun and stay strong ! 

My name is Doris Rivas-Brekke.  I served in the U.S. Army as a mental health counselor in the medical corps. Using my military benefits I went on to achieve my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.  I am currently creative director for Military Mom Talk Radio and share my story with you to inspire you and the women following in my military footsteps.

Shining Service Worldwide supports all women connected to the Military Family.



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