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What Basic Army Training is Like

What Basic Army Training is Like

Over the past few years, a great deal of Army training tactics, such as rucking, have become popular for civilians who are looking for ways to improve their cardio and endurance, as well as try new workout regimes. So, it comes as no surprise that so many people ask us, search on Google, or are just simply fascinated by what basic army, or any military branch, training is like.

Army soldier crawling in the mud during basic army training

Today, we’re diving deep and taking a peek into the base to highlight what Army training actually looks like, how hard it is, and what happens if someone fails during their time training. So, if you’ve ever been fascinated by what it takes to become an Army soldier, or how hard it really is, then sit back, relax, and keep reading. Because we’re covering it all in this post!


Basic Training Requirements: The First Step in Preparing to Become a Solider

You’ve signed the dotted line, you’ve said your goodbyes, and now, you’re ready to become a soldier. Right? Wrong. Becoming a soldier is not as easy as it seems and just because you’ve enlisted to be in the Army does not mean you’ll be deployed and out on the battlefield any time soon.

Of course, every potential soldier must go through training, however, it is not until they pass their training and make it out to the other side that they can call themselves a soldier. A great deal of both men and women fails, give up, or decide that the Army life is not for them during this time. This is partially why the training is so difficult and complex because it is during this stage that the Military will not only ensure you have what it takes, but that you also truly want to be here.

As you’ve probably guessed, a great deal of Army training is set on physical capabilities, which is why many men and women will train and build up their physical physique before entering the base. After all, a lot of these standards will be tested during Week Zero which is also known as the Reception Battalion.

It’s important that one trains and prepares before entering into the official training as there are only two chances to pass the initial test. If you do not pass, you’ll be placed into the fitness training company, where you’ll wait for additional instructions. Not to fear though, the official Army site has a guide, which you can find here, that helps recruits prepare for the physical tests that they will face. They also have a Pocket Physical Training Guide that can be downloaded, which included tips for clothing, avoiding injuries and passing drills.    

Where and When is the Training?

One of the biggest questions that get asked about training, aside to how hard it is, is how long the cycle lasts. For the Army in particular, basic training is about 10 weeks and gets divided into three phases: Red, White, and Blue. Each of these phases last about 3 weeks and it is not until after the Blue phase that a recruit will move on to the graduation ceremony. This is when you can officially call yourself a soldier and celebrate with both your class, as well as your family and friends.

Fort Knox Training Camp for Army

When entering into the training phase, there are 5 different camps in which you can be enrolled into. These camps are located in:

  1. For Benning, Georgia
  2. Fort Jackson, South Carolina
  3. Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
  4. Fort Sill, Oklahoma
  5. Fort Knox, Kentucky

Where you are sent for training is strictly dependant on your path. Before we dive into the phases of training, we’ll cover the various paths in which a recruit can enroll in.

Different Paths for Army Basic Combat Training

Enlisted members: Given that your specialized training will follow your initial training in the same camp, where you are enrolled will often depend on the specialization you plan on going into.

Women Recruits: For females, their options of training camps are either For Leonard Wood, Fort Sill, or Fort Jackson, as these are the only camps currently that have gender-integrated training.

Woman army soldier climbing over a wall during training

Officer Candidates: For those who are looking to graduate into Official Candidate School, you’re training will be at the Fort Benning Base.

Additional Training Information

Again, before we get into the “nitty gritty” of the three phases of training, it’s important to note and go over the following basic information.

Getting Paid

It’s good to know that basic training is paid and enlist recruits can expect an annual salary of in and around $20,170. Given that training is about 10 weeks, a recruit can expect to earn $3,800 as well as having their meals covered and housing costs covered as well.

What to Bring

Personal items are allowed to be brought to training, however it’s really only the basics that are welcome. Everything else will be provided to you and if it’s not provided to you, well then, you’ll probably learn to live without it.

Here’s what you can bring:

  • Casual and comfortable clothing
  • Locks
  • Toiletries
  • Money (small amounts of cash or money orders)
  • Your required documents (direct deposit form, diploma, social security card, etc.)
  • Your orders (these are issued to you by your recruiter or the Military Entrance Processing Station)

Army Training: The Three Phases

Now that you know you’ll be paid, what you can bring, and that you’ll have to train beforehand to get your physique in check for training, you’re ready to go. So, let’s dive into the training phases of the Army.

Week Zero: AKA Reception Battalion

Welcome to your first week at Army Training. This week is used to process your paperwork, get your signed up for auto deposit, sort out your ID and conduct all medical exams and give all vaccinations. You’ll also receive your uniform and any equipment that is necessary.

Army recruits going through their physical during Week Zero of training

While this week is relatively easy, compared to the next 9, it still is important to show up and give it your all. After all, first impressions last a long time, and we’re not just talking about your appearance but also your attitude.

This is also a great time to build a relationship with the other recruits who will be going through training with you.

Week 1 – 3: Red Phase AKA Patriot Phase

Here is where you truly learn the basics. You’ll be taught the ethics, traditions, and overall fundamentals of what it means to be a soldier. You’ll learn how to address leadership and will need to know and recite the Soldier’s Creed and the Warrior Ethos.

You’ll be briefed on basic first air, sexual harassment, assault, and awareness, as well as go through prevention programs.

Army recruits going through training at base camp

This phase will also include the Army Combat Fitness Test, which you should have been training for beforehand, as well as physical training exercises such as formation and road marches. Lastly, you’ll receive an intro to Chemical Radioactive Biological and Nuclear readiness (CBRN). Once this phase is complete, you’ll receive an Army Unit Patch that will go on the left soldier of your uniform, and you’ll be ready to go onto the next phase.

Weeks 4 – 5: White Phase

Weeks 4 and 5 are all about digging deeper and learning more about the basics to help you feel prepared and know what you’re about to embark on as a soldier. During these two weeks you will cover.

  • Teamwork
  • Combat skills
  • Night training
  • Basic rifle marksmanship
  • Physical fitness and a few other items as well

It is at this time that you will be expected to navigate an obstacle course and rappel from a 50-foot structure, which is known as the Warrior Tower. Lastly, you will go through Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills like first aid and navigation skills.

Warrior wall that army recruits have to scale for base training

Weeks 6 – 9: Blue Phases AKA the Warrior Phase

Alright, the first few weeks are done and now you’re into your final phase of basic combat training, where you’ll build on everything you’ve learned leading up to this point.

It’s the final few weeks that help the recruits transform into an actual soldier, as they cover and build the following skills:

  1. Advanced marksmanship and maneuvering techniques
  2. Engaging targets in a team setting
  3. Completing convoy operations
  4. Identify and disable explosives
  5. Advanced weapon training
  6. Throwing live grenades

All of these skill sets are tested during a multi-day navigation course where you have to prove and showcase your survival, fitness, and overall soldier skills. Once you’ve made it through this phase of the training and have passed all 212 tasks of the end of cycle test, then you are able and qualified to wear the Army Black Beret, highlighting that you are now a soldier.

Week 10: Graduation

Army training is tough and filled with blood, sweat, tears, and more sweat. But once you’ve reached week 10, you’re able to celebrate. Graduation is held for the recruits who have passed, becoming a soldier and a great deal of this week will be spent doing inspections, out processing, personal time, and the ceremony.

Army recruits during their training graduation ceremony

While it may seem easy enough, Basic Army Training has been developed to test you, break you down, and build you back up again so that you can be the best soldier that you can be. It’s tough, but incredibly rewarding, and making it to that final week and graduation ceremony is one of the biggest things that keep most of the recruits going during the 3 phases.

If you’re interested in learning more about the different branches of military, or if you’d like to uplevel your workouts and try out some of the training tactics, like rucking, be sure to check out our shop and blogs! We sell top of the line tactical gear and equipment that will help you on the battlefield or during your “military inspired” workouts.

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