Before you embark on your Soldier career, you’ll want to get to know the Army a little better. You’ll want to know how to prepare yourself, and your family and friends for the journey. Regardless of how soon you or your trainee ships-out to Army basic training (also referred to as Basic Combat Training),
How long is Army basic training?
Basic Combat Training (BCT) is a training course that transforms civilians into Soldiers. Over the course of 10-16 weeks, depending on your military occupational specialty (MOS), trainees will learn basic tactical and survival skills, along with how to shoot, rappel, and march. They will also learn the basics of Army life and military customs – including the Army Values.
Where is Army basic training?
There are four different Army basic training locations. Your job or MOS will determine which training location you will go to. The four Army basic training locations are:
- Fort Benning (Columbus, Georgia)
- Fort Leonard Wood (Missouri Ozarks)
- Fort Sill – (Lawton, Oklahoma)
- Fort Jackson (Columbia, South Carolina)
Depending on the MOS, some trainees will go through One Station Unit Training (OSUT), and not basic training, where training is anywhere from 13-22 weeks long. OSUT is when Soldiers will stay in the same unit for basic training and their advanced training.
Each training location will follow a similar schedule regardless of location.
Preparing for Basic Training
Army basic training is physically intense. If you are not physically active, you’ll want to start preparing yourself. Your arms will thank you if you take some time before shipping out to memorize the Army officer and enlisted ranks, phonetic alphabet, Army General Orders, Soldiers Creed, and Army Values.
Read more about mentally preparing for basic training.
Basic Training Schedule
The typical day in BCT start 0500 hours and lights out at 2100 hours.
Red Phase Weeks 1-3
The first three weeks of Army BCT are considered the Red Phase. Trainees arrive for general orientation and are given haircuts and issued Army uniforms. During BCT Red Phase, trainees will learn about the Army heritage, command structures, their leadership, and undergo an Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT). The APFT helps
White Phase Weeks 4-6
The White Phase is the second of three BCT phases. Trainees go through marksmanship and combat training, execute a tactical foot march, learn engagement skills and how to rappel at the Warrior Tower, overcome the Confidence Obstacle Course, and conduct situational and field training exercises. This training is intended to not only to teach trainees valuable
Blue Phase Weeks 7-10
During the final phase, trainees will put all of their training to the test. Trainees will be required to negotiate Field Training Exercises (FTX), Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) training, and nighttime combat operations in the Night Infiltration Course. There is no access to the dining facility (DFAC) during these exercises, so meals are given in the form of either meal ready to eat (MRE) or field
Army Basic Training Graduation
After passing all their tests and challenges, trainees congregate for the Rite of Passage. Army basic training has pushed the trainees’ minds and bodies to new limits, giving them
After Army Basic Training
After graduation Soldiers will not get to go home. Instead, they will head to their next training school, also known as Advanced Individual Training (AIT). Depending on the Soldiers’ MOS will determine the location for AIT. Some Soldiers may stay at the same base as basic training for AIT, others will be given two days of travel to get to their new base.
For those that went through OSUT instead of BCT, Soldiers will receive orders and head to their first duty station.
Getting Mail During Basic Training
There is a lot to look forward to as you begin to prepare for Army BCT and as you can tell there will be many challenges to come. One of the best ways to stay motivated throughout training is to receive letters from home.
Mail call is one of the most anticipated times of the day.