As a recent graduate of the United State Army Basic Training or BCT (Basic Combat Training), I wish to share what I have learned.
I went to basic training at Fort Jackson during the summer of 2012. Basic training is not difficult physically (you do have to be in shaped), it tests more of your mental strength. You have to learned how to push through pain and keep going.
This is the beginning of your basic training and probably the hardest part (for me anyway). My experience of reception was horrible. I got there at midnight from Maryland and immediately we were sent to do paper works, then to chow. After that it was more paper works and getting your equipment. I will tell you this now, most of the stuff you get issued, you will not need, so do not overwork yourself about having everything. You will need your laundry bag, boots, shirts, underwear, patrol caps, socks…etc, pretty much all the essential. You really do not need your need your knee/arm pads and all those other junks, so do not sweat it if you lost it (good chances you will). For three days, I had about 3 hours of sleep. Get ready to stand for hours in line after line.
BCT is divided into three phases and with each phase, you will get more freedom: Red, White, Blue. When you get to your company from reception, there is something call “shark attack”. Trust me, you will be scare and sweaty. During my "shark attack", they threw all the bags out of the bus and told everyone to carry the bags to the company area. Then they told us to get into our platoon but they failed to mentions which platoon we were in. Army people have a weird sense of humor. At the bottom of the bags was the number for which platoon we were in. “Shark Attack” happens to everyone and it might not be the same as what I describes but it will be a shock. Just get mentally prepared because it is their job to confused you at the beginning.
Red phase is the beginning of your basic combat training. This is where you learned that you are responsible for your fellow peers or battle buddies. If your battle buddies did something wrong, you all did something wrong. Help each others! Red phase is probably the hardest since you will learn everything but if you listen, it is not really that bad.
White and Blue phases are a lot better. In Blue phase, you can just battle buddies to the mini shop they have near base your company. I will not go into details about every little events that happens but I will tell you to endured pain. BCT only last 10 weeks, try not to go to sick call and get on a profile, which will limit your training. I had shin split for almost the entires basic training and I did not go to sick call once.
Drill Sergeants like to scared you by threatens to kick you out but very few people actually got kick out. Okay this part still confuse me because they kicked people out for not keeping up with the run but they kept people who discharged a live round. So, I really don’t know about this. I seen a lot of shit-bag pass through the system, so I figured, if you can run and do push/sit up, it is very unlikely they will kicked you out. Hell, there was even a groups of soldiers who broked into the Drill Sergeant’s room and took their cell phones. They just got recycled into another company (restarts basic training with another group of soldiers). My advice is do not get into trouble, it is just 10 weeks. Have some integrity.
1) Do not call a Drill Sergeant, Sergeant.
2) Prepared to get pusnish, doing/holding the push up position.
3) Be in shapes before you get to basic training or you will have a harder time than necessary. If you fall out of the group runs too many time, they might try to kick you out. I was one of those people that came to basic training out of shapes but I worked my ass off. I would not have to if I came to basic training in good shape.
4) Keep your uniform in good shape. Your name tag goes on your rights, US Army tags goes on your lefts (where your heart is), flag goes on your right arm. Do not place your flag upside down or on the wrong arm, it is not going to be a nice day for you.
5) Make sure that your boot fit. This is important or you will get blisters.
6) If you go to Fort Jackson during the summer, prepare for the heat and drinking a lot of water. You will drink a lot of water!
Other than those hints, there is not much to it than to do it. Listen to your Drill Sergeant and yes, you will be screamed at. It will happens to everyone. Just do not give up and you should be successful.