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US Army Basic Training Guide for New Recruits

Formally known as Basic Army Training, the army boot camp is the most fundamental of all military training procedures, which is often composed of rigorous physical and mental exercises. The goal of the training is to equip you with the necessary soldiering skills so that you can be ready to be a part of the country’s defense forces – an important task that needs heavy preparation. With that in mind, we came up with US Army Basic Training Guide for New Recruits.

The training is normally divided into two main parts, namely:

1. Basic Combat Training

2. Advanced Individual Training

In basic combat training, individuals are taught the basic skills that are needed by a soldier. This involves a wide range of skills as well as practices that all soldiers have to possess or observe, respectively. This is also where most of the physical and mental training take place, in order to prepare the bodies and minds of the prospective soldiers for future training levels.

Basic combat training is also the place where you learn how valuable lessons and values that all soldiers must possess, such as:


      Determination and Endurance


      Punctuality, etc.

In fact, this is the first time that you will be exposed to the kind of rigorous daily schedule that you have to follow regularly. The entire phase will usually take around 3 to 4 weeks.

Advanced combat training, on the other hand, will vary depending on your training path. Generally, this phase is intended to introduce recruits to training in their chosen field. As such, the path will vary in terms of where the location of the training will take place, how long the training will take, and under which military department or agency the training will be facilitated. The longest standing advanced combat training is 84 weeks, but most training will last to an average of 54 weeks.

US Army Basic Training

The United States Army Basic Training, also known as the Initial Entry Training is the US army boot camp. Its physical and mental training as well as the Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training are intended to prepare recruits to become part of either of three military departments, namely:

     • United States Army – the officially designated armed forces of the US. It is the largest branch of the country’s military and performs mostly land based operations. It is one of seven uniformed services in the country as well (the others being the Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Publish Health Service, and NOAA Corps). The purpose of the army is to:

               o Provide for the defense of the United States, preserving the peace and security of the country;

               o Supporting and implementing national policies;

               o Carrying out state objectives;

               o And overcoming aggressive dangers that compromise the country’s peace.

      United States Army Reserve (USAR) – the US’ Federal Reserve force. Together with the Army National Guard, they compose the entire reserve armed force of the US. Their services are usually part time as opposed to active duty soldiers, while rotating between mobilizations and active duty.

     Army National Guard – also part of the reserve forces, the National Guard responds to domestic emergencies such as disasters and calamities that take place within the borders.

After basic combat training, the recruits of the US army boot camp will proceed according to the military occupational specialty or MOS, which is largely the advanced combat training. As an enlisted soldier, you’ll be assigned a job which will have a corresponding alphanumeric label. There are actually about 35 branches with unique jobs, some of these include the:

      Infantry Branch;

      Engineers Branch;

      Field Artillery Branch;

      Air Defense Artillery Branch;

      Aviation Branch;

      Cyber Branch;

      Special Forces Branch;

      Armour Branch;

      And more!

As you progress in your Advanced Individual Training, you get more privilege and independence as a member of the military. Going through the different phases of the advanced individual training require satisfactory requirements and consistent good conduct. With that, you’ll proceed through the phases and receive awards accordingly.

Army Boot Camp Length

Consider army boot camp lengths to be around 10 weeks for the basic combat training. The entire process is divided into three phases, namely the Red, White, and Blue phases, followed by the graduation ceremony. Here’s an overview of each phase:

1. Red Phase – recruits are oriented into the training, making sure they are physically and mentally prepared for what’s to come.

  • There will be general orientation. Haircuts will also be given and uniforms distributed.
  • Recruits will be taught the basic principles such as the military’s heritage and the Seven Army Core Values.
  • ​Physical aptitude tests will be administered.
  • Basic tactical training will start.

Here is a video showing about Phase 1 or Red Phase of US Army Basic Training

2. White Phase – This is where combat and marksmanship training commences. You’ll learn how to rappel and other combat skills. The activities are also intended to give you confidence.

  • Foot marches will be practiced.
  • You’ll learn basic engagement skills and participate in simulated activities.
  • ​You’ll learn how to use a standard issue rifle.
  • There will be confidence obstacle courses.

​Here is a video showing about Phase 2 or White Phase of US Army Basic Training

3. Blue Phase – more advanced combat skills will be taught. This means more weapons training and courses. There will also be Rites of Passage activities to prepare you for the final steps of training.

  • More weapons training.
  • Major Field exercises.
  • More intense tactical foot marches

Here is a video showing about Phase 3 or Blue Phase of US Army Basic Training

Army Boot Camp Schedule

The army boot camp schedule will always vary, but each week can be summarized in the following:

Week 0: Reception. Technically the training hasn’t started yet. Here civilians who plan to be recruited for training will be personally preparing for it. This means committing to the schedule, getting the haircut, and acquiring uniforms. A little bit of orientation starts here as well. They may be in the form of direct lectures or printed materials for your guidance.

Check this out: US Army Basic Training - First day

Week 1: Falling in. This week will primarily be focusing on preliminaries. You will be taught the rules of the classroom and basic training in general, including policies and regulations everyone has to follow. Lectures will also begin from.

Week 2: Drills. You’ll be going out of the classroom and into the field, where your physical and mental endurance will begin to be tested while you are under your drill sergeant. You will also be taught basic skills like map reading and first aid.

Week 3: Basic Combat. You will be introduced to combat scenarios and will start to learn the basics along with your fellow recruits. The simulations will vary greatly and will increase in intensity through time.

Week 4: Marksmanship. You will be taught how to handle standard issue arms such as the M16A2. The marksmanship courses will cover everything from learning how to properly hold the weapon to being able to shoot them in different positions.

Week 5: Application and Intense Training. This is where the obstacle courses come in along with some shooting tests. Here you will be tested how well you can apply what you’ve learned in the past few weeks.

Week 6: Teamwork exercises. Most of the activities will involve having to work with the rest of your team or class, depending on how you are divided. By now you should already know most of your fellow recruits well enough to be able to trust them in a group activity.

Week 7: More drills and weapons. This week will involve marches, and grenade training, and more intense physical fitness exercises. From here, the training will look like the previous weeks, only more advanced.

Week 8: Further combat training. This will mostly be a more advanced combat training wherein the simulations will require you to apply what you’ve learned in the weeks beyond the basic combat training. This will test how well you can mesh together all your training in one simulation.

Week 9: Field Retreat. Finally, you’ll be made to take a three day retreat where you will go on an adventure with your fellow recruits, living as real soldiers would. This is the time when you will learn whether you will be ready to become a soldier.

Week 10: Graduation. Your journey to becoming a soldier is finally complete and your success will be culminated in a ceremony to signify that you’ve covered the basics and are ready to take on the challenges you will be facing as you pursue your career in the military.

Note that the actual agenda in each will vary depending on the actual training officers. Each experience is unique, but rest assured they’re all intended to make sure you become ready to become a soldier.

Army Boot Camp Requirements

There are strict requirements that have to be complied with before you can even begin training with the military. Below is a quick but comprehensive checklist of the army boot camp requirements:

  • First and foremost, you have to be an American citizen. This means that you either have to be born within the US or have undergone the proper procedure to become a citizen.
  • You must be between 17 to 35 years old.
  • ​You must have a social security number. It’s really easy to secure one.
  • ​You must be at least a high school graduate. Alternatively you can show your General Educational Development (GED) certificate. You can get that certificate by taking a series of standardized tests that will prove that you have high-school level academic skills.
  • ​You must have completed 15 credits in college. If you don’t have these yet, the government can cover the costs for you.
  • You must be able to speak English well enough that you can understand the contents of the Army Enlistment Oath. There will also be the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery that you must pass. Note: the results of this test will determine the kind of specializations you can apply for in the future.

Comply with these requirements and you’re good to go.


Of course, getting in isn’t enough. As far as army boot camp graduation requirements are concerned, you need to be able to prove to your trainers and drill sergeants that you’re ready to work as a soldier for the military. This means:

     • Passing the Army Physical Fitness Test. The tests will involve three parts, namely the sit-ups, push-ups, and      two-mile runs. In each section, you need to get the required number of points to be able to pass. This will vary depending on age and gender. For example, a male recruit between 17 and 21 years old will need to be able to do 35 push-ups in two minutes, but the requirement would be different for a recruit of a different age or a female recruit.

      Having consistent good conduct. Soldiers are people of discipline and must therefore be good role models to society. In order to graduate, a recruit must not have committed any serious offenses throughout the training course that will merit a dismissal or removal from training. The requirement for not possessing any disqualifications also applies upon enlisting.

     • Completing the training. This basically means that you have to comply with all the tests and exercises that were required of you throughout the boot camp.

HOW TO SURVIVE basic training

Boot camp is undoubtedly tough, but not impossible. There are things you can do to help you take on those challenges. Learn how to survive boot camp army with just 10 simple guidelines!

     1. Stay in shape! Always take time to run, do stretches, have a healthy diet, and have enough sleep. Good health is a non-negotiable requirement to surviving boot camp. If you have tattoos and piercings, make sure it's removed/or covered. 

     2. Be confident! The way you talk, act, and even relate with the people around you will affect how you will be evaluated throughout the boot camp as well.

     3. Strive to learn. Show your instructors that you respect them and you’re eager to learn from them. They'll be willing to share what they know.

     4. Watch out for your friends. Your fellow recruits will be with you throughout the training. You need to watch out for each other so you all make it together. Remember, military life is all about teamwork.

     5. Keep your eyes on the goal. Things are tough now, but it’s just temporary.

     6. Be aware of your benefits. Make sure you take advantage of free medical care, etc.

     7. Do your research. If there’s something you don’t understand, look it up. This is just like school, and you need to do your homework.

     8. Make effort to collaborate. Don’t be the person who hogs the attention. Instead, learn to blend in.

     9. Don’t take anything personally. Your trainers could be hard on you simply because it’s supposed to be tough.

   10. Don't isolate yourself. You need other people to survive boot camp. Besides, being lonely in this kind of training can take a toll on your mental health. You need to meet your social needs as well.

Just keep at it and don’t give up. Boot camp training was never meant to be easy. But if you work hard enough, you’ll be a soldier in not time!


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