All You Need to Know About Army Basic Training
I went through basic training and my recruiter used these tips for new soldiers that he enlisted. Hopefully, they will help you.
General Things to Know
- Shave your head and face completely. At basic training you are going to have to do this anyway, so why not get used to it before hand.
- You do not have to shave your head, but you are either going to sport short hair so that you don’t have to fuss with it or you will grow it long enough to put into a bun.
- Technically, you can have your hair any length you want, but these 2 are the most convenient.
- If you have any unnatural colors in you hair, get rid of it. This means pinks, blues, purples, and exotic colors including highlights. Your hair can only be your natural color.
Keep your body in shape. Ask your recruiter for a PT (physical training) chart to tell you how many push-ups and sit-ups you have to be able to do in 2 minutes, along with how fast you have to run your two miles. If you have trouble in any of these categories, ask your recruiter about the best ways to improve. For me, I sucked at everything, so here are a few exercises I learned to help me.
For my push-ups, I started out at 8 when I went into basic training. As of the end of last year's PT test, I could do 50.
To get better, you have to do a lot of push-ups. If you can’t do any at all, start with inverted push-ups. To do these, put your hands on a table or a desk and do push-ups like you normally would. Do these at least every hour or as much as you get a chance to. Even when you reach the 'passing' amount, you want to be able to do more than that. So when you get more advanced, find someone who is willing to work out with you.
The Buddy System: You start out on the floor and do 1 push-up, then your buddy does 1 push-up. Then you get back down and do 2; then he/she does 2. Do that until you get to 10. Then work your way back down. It doesn't seem like a lot of push-ups, but when you add it up, you are doing 100.
For sit-ups, do flutter kicks. To use your muscles even more, wear heavy boots while doing this.
Instructions: Lay on your back, puts your hands under your butt, and then lift your feet 6 inches off of the ground and start to flutter your feet up and down. To make it a little harder, hold your feet 6 inches off the ground and then bring them all the way up. When you come back down, don't drop your legs. Bring it back to where you began: 6 inches off the ground.
You will need endurance. Run around a track and have someone time you. Run for a minute at full speed, then jog for a minute, and then run again for a minute at full speed. Keep rotating until you can't walk anymore.
I would do this once a week. For the rest of the week, I would run 2 ½ miles every other day so that when you run your two miles, your body will expect another ½ mile. If you have any other questions or concerns about your PT, speak to your recruiter or the RSP cadre.
These are a few things that you should learn before you go to basic training because you are going to need to know them anyway.
- Know the ranking system because if you call a specialist a sergeant, someone may take an offense to that and you may be punished.
- The other thing that the drill sergeants liked to do when I was there was to quiz you in the lunch line. If you were the first in line they would give you a question: "What rank is…?" If you answered incorrectly, you went to the end of the line. So know your ranking system. You can find it on Google or get a chart from your recruiter (they may or may not have one).
- Know the "Soldier's Creed."
- Learn the first chorus and the refrain of the "Army Song."
- Learn the General Orders.
- After you know these, you can ask your recruiter for anything else that you may need.
- I would pack a few pairs of underwear, a few pairs of socks, and 2 sets of civilian clothing.
- You are going to get to reception very late and they do not care that you are going to have to wake up early in the morning. I would suggest a small bag with small shampoo and conditioner, and a small body wash.
- Don't pack a lot because a drill sergeant is going to go through everything in your bag.
- You will also have a chance to buy everything when you get there. Bring your packing list so you will remember the things to purchase.
Basic Army Training Packing List
3-day supply of comfortable season-appropriate clothing (no halter tops or ragged shorts)
This is needed as you may spend a good week in reception before getting clothing issued.
3 sets of white underwear and 1 pair of comfortable shoes
Running shoes can be purchased shortly after arrival or you can buy them prior to arrival.
1 small suitcase/gym bag
Only bring a bag that holds listed items and clothing worn to BCT.
2 locks (combination or padlock)
Additional locks with keys can be purchased at the Post Exchange (PX) after arrival.
6 pairs of white, calf-length athletic socks.
Also available at the PX
Disposable/safety razor with blades
You cannot carry them on the plane, so shave before you get there, and then buy upon arrival.
This is optional for women.
Also available at the PX
Also available at the PX
Toothpaste, toothbrush with case, and dental floss
Hairbrush or 6" comb
Anti-perspirant and other hygiene items
Shampoo, soap, and soap case
Social Security Card
SF 1199A (Direct Deposit Form) signed by bank official
Bring two if you pay child support.
Current marriage license
Child(ren)'s birth certificate(s)
Proof of citizenship
(if not born in the USA)
Documentation for any ROTC experience, such as college transcript(s)
Copy of lease for off-post quarters
If married to another service member, you must provide the name, SSN, and military address of spouse.
If enlisted with the Loan Repayment Program, bring all promissory notes.
Once You Get There
- You will receive your bags, and then separate into male and female lines.
- You will go inside and fill out some paperwork.
- You will go into the next room and empty out your bag. The drill sergeants will check every pocket so I would give up any tobacco, alcohol, drugs, or anything that can be used as a weapon. This includes small scissors, knives, guns, and handcuffs. If they find it, the consequence will be bad, so just throw it away before you arrive.
- You and everyone else will then walk to your new home for the next week. Once you get there, you are going to receive a pillow, blankets, and sheets so you can make your bed. Do not argue with the fireguards on where you are going to sleep. Just quickly change into pajamas and go to bed as fast as possible.
- In the morning you will be woken up. Get dressed quickly (in the bathroom only) and make your bed.
- A drill Sergeant will come in to get you for breakfast. Eat a lot. You may want to learn how to mix things together. I always ate sausage, gravy, biscuits, eggs, and bacon. I would mix all of these together and chomp it down.
- After this, you will probably go through many stations, including medical (shots and blood draw), clothing issue, ID cards, and many more.
- Once you are done with all of these stations, you will learn what unit you are going to be joining.
- Your new drill sergeants will come pick you up with either busses, cattle trailers, or whatever they choose.
- The rest of it is your own experience and you are going to have to make it the best one that you can.
References and Other Things to Know
The Soldier's Creed
I am an American Soldier.
I am a Warrior and a member of a team.
I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values.
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.
I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the
United States of America in close combat.
I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an American Soldier.
The Army Song
First to fight for the right
And to build the Nation’s might
And The Army Goes Rolling Along
Proud of all we have done
Fighting till the battle’s won
And the Army Goes Rolling Along.
Then it’s Hi! Hi! Hey!
The Army’s on its way.
Count off the cadence loud and strong
For where e’er we go
You will always know
That The Army Goes Rolling Along.
1st General Order
I will guard everything within the limits of my post and quit my post only when properly relieved.
2nd General Order
I will obey my special orders and perfom all my duties in a military manner.
3rd General Order
I will report violations of my special orders, emergencies, and anything not covered in my instructions, to the commander of the relief.
Family and Friends
The thing that made my experience at basic training so much easier was that my family and friends were there for me and supported me. I wrote letters every night to them and they wrote to me every day too. I would tell them not to send me anything other than letters and PG-13 pictures.
I would not try to sneak in contraband because you will not get away with it 98% of the time. Once you get closer to the end, you are going to learn different ways to get away with it, but if you try to, you may get an article 15. You do not want to get this right before you are about to go home or before moving on to AIT. Every day is hard and it will only get harder, but try to have the most fun that you can with all of this. Just remember that when the day is done, you have done more than most Americans can even think of doing.