Basic Training - The Journey for every Soldier Email This Story Print This Story

U.S. Army Basic Combat Training
The Journey for every Soldier starts here

Basic Combat Training (BCT), the first nine weeks of a recruit’s tour of duty, begins the transition from civilian to Soldier, the process of becoming Army Strong. Recruits learn about the seven Army Values, how to work together as a team and what it takes to succeed as a Soldier in the U.S. Army.

Throughout the training, there is a keen emphasis on the individual as part of a team — working as one among many, for a greater goal.

Basic Combat Training is divided into three phases: red, white and blue.

During the red phase, weeks one and two, recruits arrive for general orientation and receive haircuts and Army uniforms.

Basic Tactical training begins followed by Nuclear Biological and Chemical Defense, Landmine Defense and rappelling at the confidence tower.

Recruits learn about Army heritage and the seven core Army Values.

Recruits undergo the Army Physical Fitness Test to help determine their physical aptitude. This test is routinely administered to Soldiers throughout their enlistment to ensure they remain in top physical condition.

Before moving on to the next phase, Soldiers must pass a knowledge and skills test.

Weeks three through five, the white phase, are when Soldiers learn basic rifle marksmanship; they will practice and qualify on their weapon, the M-16A2 rifle. They also participate in field training exercises, a confidence-building obstacle course and the tactical foot march, and must pass another knowledge and skills test.

In addition to Army Values and physical fitness, the blue phase, weeks six through nine, includes individual tactical techniques and additional field training and confidence-building exercises.

After becoming familiar with the use of automatic weapons and hand grenades during weapons training, recruits put their training to the test as they negotiate the Night Infiltration Course. Basic training culminates in an exercise combining all the basic combat skills the new Soldiers have learned.

Soldiers participate in a 10-kilometer tactical foot march, complete a team reaction course and execute tactical exercise lanes. The last night of the exercise includes a return march to the unit area and a ceremony recognizing the team’s successful completion of the final stage in their transformation from civilian to Army Strong Soldier.

Advanced Individual Training (AIT) is where a Soldier learns the skills to perform an Army job.

At one of the many diverse AIT schools, hands-on training and field instruction makes a Soldier an expert in his or her specific career field. He or she will gain the discipline and work ethic necessary for whatever path lies ahead.

Advanced Individual Training courses can last from several weeks up to a year, depending on the job specialty. Many AIT schools even offer certifications for civilian jobs.

For Soldiers who want to advance even further, specialized schools are available to those who meet the right criteria. These schools will develop Soldiers personally and professionally, providing the skills to help in an Army career and beyond. From language and management training to advanced leadership and survival skills, the knowledge received at these schools will help prepare Soldiers for nearly any mission in life.

Leadership is crucial to the success of the U.S. Army. The most effective leaders “lead from the front”— they lead by example in thought, word and deed. Soldiers who seek out additional leadership training are making it clear that they wish to take on more responsibility and thus rise in rank. The Army provides many opportunities for Soldiers to learn how to improve their leadership and teamwork skills.

A typical day at BCT

5:30 a.m. Wake Up
6:00 a.m. Physical Training
7:00 a.m. Breakfast
8:30 a.m. Training
Noon Lunch
1:00 p.m. Training
5:00 p.m. Dinner
6:00 p.m. Drill Sergeant Time
8:00 p.m. Personal Time
9:00 p.m. Lights Out

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