Training to be a Tanker....
"Welcome to the Fort Knox One Station Unit Training at Disney Barracks.  You are mine for 13 weeks.... now drop and give me 40!"
When a new soldier first arrives at Basic Training he has already gone through a reception station where he received all of his primary uniform issue (fatigues, socks, gloves, etc).  Once at basic, the rigor of physical and mental training, and one's test of endurance began.  On the first day, new trainees may be required to run up and down three flights of stairs with 100 lbs of gear on their backs, or dropped for a repeated series of pushups.  Drill sergeants required their platoons to sound off with the most bizarre phrases, especially after getting up from knocking out 50 or 60 pushups.  One Drill had his platoon sound off with:  "We like it, we love it, we want more of it.  Kill me, Drill Sergeant, Kill me!"  Naturally, the Drill shouted back, "Ok, I will... drop again!"  Although humorous today, when one goes through this the first time it is an intense mental and physical shock.  There is only one goal in mind with all this:  to prepare a soldier for the shock of combat, to accomplish the mission.... and to survive.
Drill was continuous.  And when you weren't marching from one place to the other... you were running.  It was not uncommon to run anywhere from 4 to 8 miles a day... or more.  During the first weeks of training, you were up at 3 am,  with "lights out" at 9 pm.  For "young turks" used to coming and going as they pleased, basic was quite a shock. 

And then there was the tedium.  The constant shining of boots until they gleamed, just to see them ruined while low crawling in the sand pit or crashing one's way through the PT course.
A note about the picture (on the right):  When first in basic training, soldiers are not allowed to have civilian clothes.  The single pair of "civies" one wore when arriving at the base was locked up in storage for six weeks.  Therefore, this picture was taken late in the training cycle. 

Finally, the only way to get around the post was to walk, or take the infamous "$1 dollar-
per-person-gets-you-anywhere-on-the-post" taxicabs.
Inspections were constant...  of the barracks, the bunks, the lockers, the uniforms, the floors, the boots, the stairwell, the hallways, the windows.  Inspections were almost always preceded by the infamous "GI Party," when the soldiers scrub, mop, dust, and polish every corner of the billets.  One poor soldier, receiving a visit from his parents, told his mother he couldn't see her for long because he had to go to a GI Party.  She patted him on the cheek and said, "you have a nice time, son."
photo from USATC Grad Book, 1977
And who could forget the gas mask training?  In this little "exercise," soldiers enter a gas chamber with CS and then take off their mask.  When the chemical hits one's face, it is like somebody threw liquid pepper into your eyes, nose and throat.  Breathing is difficult, but not impossible.  However, some become victims of little "incidents," like the time when an instructor (with his mask on of course) asked the choking, wheezing trainees in his chamber if anyone had a birthday that day.  And of course, one "bonehead" (a guy with too much calcium in the cranium) says "I do" (he lied).  The others now sing "Happy Birthday" while Mr. Bonehead gets on his knees and tries to blow out the candles.... the CS candles!  Needless to say, he never could get enough breath to blow those things out!
photo from USATC Grad Book, 1977
photo from USATC Grad Book, 1977
Once trainees are finished with the "Basic" part of training, where they learn the essential skills of soldiering, they move on to the "Armor" part.  In the last half of the 13 weeks they learn everything from tank maintenance (such as, how to get the Little Joe wrench to increase track tension on the right side), map reading and land navigation, as well as how to handle the various weapons carried on a tank.  Here trainees break down and re-assemble the M-219 coax machine gun.
Not only are trainees familiarized with the weapons, they also get to DRIVE  56 tons of steel.  Even guys who couldn't legally drive a car were allowed to drive these babies.  With the push of a lever, you could move the machine over the terrain at 15-18 mph, and down the road at 30-35 mph.  The training facilities at Fort Knox are almost totally dedicated to new trainees.  As a result, regular tank units once stationed there (now deactivated) had to travel to Camp Drum, NY or Camp Grayling, MI in order to train!
From where it all began.... the day everyone has longed for-GRADUATION.  Some guys already have their assignments, while some stay behind for another month's training on the M-60a2 Shillelagh missile tank.  The "A-Duece" was still in use in Germany, and was dubbed the "Star Wars" tank by the trainees.  Compared to the M-60a1, the a2 was loaded with computers and electronics.  However, it was far too sophisticated for the technological status of the day, and proved a great disappointment for the Army.  It was quickly retired from service.

But this is not the end.  It is simply a beginning.......
About the photo at left: the trainee next to the Drill has a small white device on his left breast pocket.  This was a white background with staff sergeant stripes, indicating that he was working in the capacity of a trainee squad leader.