Army Fort Leonard Wood Military Lifestyle

Fort Leonard Wood Basic Training – Developing Warriors

Welcome to Army Basic Combat Training at Fort Leonard Wood! Fort Leonard Wood is a thriving installation that grew from a small Army basic training post more than 75 years ago to a premier Army Center of Excellence that trains about 82,600 military and civilians each year.

The fort is located in the Missouri Ozarks, in Pulaski County, Missouri. Bordering the installation to the north are the towns of Waynesville and St. Robert, Missouri.

Army Basic Combat Training, also known as Basic or BCT, is a 10-week, gender integrated entry into the US Army. This means male and female trainees train together. This training produces values-based, disciplined Soldiers, who are trained in basic skills, Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills.

Unlike high school or college, where you may have been in class and studying around six hours a day, the Army trains for about 12-14 hours a day, 6 days a week.

You’ll come to love Sundays unless you’ve managed to “earn” some extra duty time during the week. There isn’t a whole lot of sitting in classrooms, either.

So here we go… It’s time to get excited about all the amazing things you’re going to learn at Fort Leonard Wood Basic Training! Remember, it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

Basic is anything but “basic.”

And while we can’t reveal too many secrets (cause where would the fun be in that), we can give you an idea of what happens in BCT:

Fort Leonard Wood Reception

Fort Leonard Wood Reception

The first step to becoming part of the Army team is your first week in Reception at Fort Leonard Wood. Trainees going through reception get entered into the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) and receive uniforms, medical screenings, information, and other important equipment and information necessary to start BCT.

You’ll also get your first introduction into Army Values. Here’s a head start to memorizing them:


Sandboxx Tip: Just use the acronym LDRSHIP (leadership) to help you remember!

Do you get your phone in Army reception?

There are no cell phones or other electronics allowed in Reception or any other part during Fort Leonard Wood basic training.

Basic Training Weeks 1 -3: Hammer Phase

Welcome to actual Basic Combat Training. The Reception fun is over and it’s time to start becoming a U.S. Soldier! HOOAH!  

You’ll be introduced to your drill sergeants and taught what it means to actually become a Soldier. Here is where you will really learn what the Army Values mean and overcome obstacles that help build personal confidence.

You will learn everything from basic first aid training to completing 2.5 and 5-mile foot marches in full gear.

You will also learn Drill and Ceremony, which teaches trainees all about military bearing and how to conduct yourself in a military manner. Drill is a way for service members to show honor and respect; from heroic deeds, the burial of military personnel, and approaching and addressing someone of senior rank.

Drill and ceremony is one of the first things trainees learn when they enter the military. This helps develop pride and confidence in your actions, learn professionalism and most importantly, it teaches you how to work as a team.

Another highlight of this phase is the confidence tower where you’ll learn rappelling, cargo net and rope bridge navigation.

The highlight of the first three weeks though will be the Hammer. This is an extensive field training exercise. It’s designed to test your physical fitness, teamwork, and other skills like fieldcraft and individual movement techniques and combatives.

Basic Training Weeks 4-6: Anvil Phase

During weeks 4-6 you’ll begin to get into the “meat and potatoes” of your training. You may even be starting to feel more confident and like a Soldier.

This phase will include a lot of skill development building on what you’ve previously learned. You’ll also begin to develop new skills including rifle marksmanship and hand grenades – BOOM! Lastly, you’ll learn the fundamentals of land navigation, but don’t worry your drill sergeants won’t let you get too lost!

Throughout this phase, you’ll learn greater self-discipline, team building and continuing values training, all of which characterize the Anvil Phase.

Basic Training Weeks 4-6: Forge Phase

You’re almost there. This is the final three weeks of Fort Leonard Wood basic training. This phase concentrates on individual tactical training, increased leadership, self-discipline, and teamwork.

Highlights from this phase include more hand grenades, a 10-mile foot march in “full battle rattle,” (full combat gear load), and a field training exercise called the Forge.

The Forge is the ultimate test of everything you’ve learned throughout Fort Leonard Wood basic training. This includes yet another (and the longest of all) foot march of 16 kilometers marching again in full battle rattle. Other obstacles you’ll face in the Forge include:

  • The Normandy Infiltration Course
  • Combatives
  • Equipment Move
  • Resupply Mission
  • Handling a mass casualty event (MASCAL)
  • Pugil stick battles
  • And more

Successful completeion of the Forge is followed by the Rite of Passage ceremony, when trainees earn the title of “Soldier”.

Fort Leonard Wood Graduation

The final week of basic training at Fort Leonard Wood is all about the Soldier and the Family.  

You’ll have an in-ranks inspection of your uniform, equipment, and general military knowledge. This will be conducted by the Battalion Commander and Battalion Command Sergeant Major.

The battalion typically conducts a battalion 2-3 mile formation run, rehearsals for the graduation ceremony, and begins out-processing and turn-in of equipment.

After completing the final training events Soldiers celebrate with Family Day. A day spent with your Family to catch up and share your experiences.

On the following day, Soldiers graduate and are sent to the next phase of their training that in almost all cases is Advanced Individual Training (AIT). Their last day at basic training is typically a Friday, when they will ship to their next location.

Sandboxx Tip: Even if you don’t see the purpose in something, there is a purpose behind the “why” of that something. Even if that purpose is nothing more than to confuse you. There will be times when you will want to question why you are doing something that you think is stupid or has no purpose. Remember, somewhere within that task there is a purpose so Embrace The Suck.


  1. I am desperately trying to get info on graduation and family. My son entered or started June 7th. Where do I find this?

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