By Tristan Jung

At 59, Staff Sgt. Monte Gould has become the oldest graduate of the Army’s current Basic Combat Training Course. 43 years after completing his first boot camp with the Marines, Staff Sgt. Gould finished in the top 10% of his class, amazing his fellow recruits. 

Staff Sgt. Gould previously served in the Marine Corps and then served again in the Army National Guard as an infantryman until 2009. However, with just two years’ service left until his retirement pension, he came back in 2020 and went through BCT all over again, completing the course in August. He plans to join his son, Spc. Jarrod Gould, in the 405th Civilian Affairs Battalion’s Las Vegas detachment according to an Army press release.

For Gould, going from the Marines to the Army made for a completely different experience. However, Gould thought that the training was “absolutely not” harder than his first round with the Marines in 1978, but he recognized that he’s not as in-shape at age 59. 

Gould noted that there were fewer reps and more limitations on what you could say than in 1978, but he lauded the training, leadership, and administration of the new program. 

“The overall package is phenomenal. I think it’s phenomenal what they do here. I mean, overall if it’s a 1 to 10, on everything else, I’d say it’s a 10. After the first two weeks (here) I said to myself, ‘This isn’t going to be hard’ and anytime it did get a little bit hard, I just said ‘Dude, what are you whining about? You’ve been through way worse than this,” — Staff Sgt. Monte Gould

Gould went through the whole 10-week program with other recruits, often 30 or even 40 years younger than him. 

“I think a lot of the kids were kind of awe-struck or gobsmacked that I was here doing this because to them…a 59-year-old man, that’s an old man…and then I’m doing the PT and doing everything with them, you know doing the road marches, doing everything they’re doing.” — Staff Sgt. Monte Gould

Gould says he would like to stay as long as the Army will have him.