USAA employees experience basic training at 'Zero Day'

Civilians start morning early with drills, formation run

SAN ANTONIO - Drill sergeants pushed about 300 USAA employees to their physical limit to attempt to help them understand what life is life for military recruits -- and many of the company's own members.

The group volunteered to go through "Zero Day" training, complete with physical fatigue, a formation run and lots of yelling.

"For us to be effective in our jobs, we need to know what it means to serve. For those who haven't served, they voluntarily got up at easily 3 a.m., to come out here and experience (an) authentic Day Zero," said Brian Parks, an IT director at USAA who also served in the Army.

The trainees started the day at 4 a.m., boarding buses to go to the training field. They had drill and ceremony training before going through more drills, then running 1.5 miles in formation.

"It was very humbling and amazing," said Emily Eaton, an IT manager at USAA.

Employees who participated said Zero Day helped them understand the unique challenges of military life, since most of USAA's members have lived it.

"They're in a constant grind of having to do one thing after another, and they have very little time, and especially in my role of operations, we're here to support the infrastructure, so we want to make sure it's always available to members," said Roy Keeling, an IT manager at USAA.

A slideshow is embedded here.

For a list of recent stories Jenna Hiller has done, click here.


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