Army basic training has undergone drastic changes to better equip new Soldiers with skills they will need for deployment. These changes are based on the lessons learned about the deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and continue to evolve as soldiers must be ready to deploy around the world.
How Long Is Training?
Army basic training is ten weeks long, up from a traditional nine weeks. That is not counting the time you will spend in the processing in Reception, which can last from one to three weeks.
Where Is It Conducted?
There are several Army basic combat training locations, including Fort Jackson SC, Fort Leonard Wood, MO, Fort Sill, OK, and Fort Benning, GA. Where you attend is primarily dependent upon the location of your follow-on, Advanced Individual Training (Job Training). In fact, for certain MOS's (jobs), the Army combines basic combat training and AIT into one single course, called One Station Unit Training, or OSUT.
Reception for Basic Combat Training
When you first arrive at Army basic training, you're assigned to a Reception Battalion for initial in-processing. This includes paperwork, inoculations, uniform issue, haircuts, initial testing, initial training on military and barracks life, and more.
Physical Fitness Assessment
Before you leave the reception, you are required to pass an initial fitness test. Those who fail this test are assigned to a Fitness Training Company, disparagingly called fat camp until they can meet the minimum standards required to begin the actual basic training program. Each week the recruits in the Fitness Training Company have two chances to pass the physical assessment test and move into basic training. If they still can't pass after four weeks and eight tests, they may be discharged with an Entry Level Separation.
To graduate from Army Basic Training, you'll need to score at least 50 points in each event of the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT). Before you can graduate from AIT (job school), you'll have to score at least 60 points in each event. Requirements depend on sex and age-group. For the age-group of 17-21, the basic training graduation standards (50 points) are:
- Push-ups (2 min): 35
- Sit-ups (2 min): 47
- 2-mile run: 16:36
- Push-ups (2 min): 13
- Sit-ups (2 min): 47
- 2-mile run: 19:32
Basic Combat Training Phases
Your training progresses in three phases. Phase I or Red Phase lasts for three weeks under the constant guidance of a drill sergeant. This phase includes drill and ceremony training, Army Core Values instruction, hand-to-hand combat training, navigation, and assignment of their standard-issue weapon.
In Phase II or White Phase, soldiers train with their service rifle and other weapons. In Phase III or Blue Phase, they must pass their PT final and progress to field training.
Leave During Basic Combat Training and Initial Job Training
The Army normally does not grant your first leave (vacation) until you complete both basic training and initial job training. Then a short period of leave is usually authorized before you report to your first duty station. However, if you are in basic training or initial job training school during the Christmas period, you will normally be granted 10 days of leave, as Army basic training and training schools usually close down during this period.