Basic training runs 10 weeks and is broken down into three phases: Red, White and Blue. Here's an overview of what you can expect during each phase:
Army Basic Training Phase 1: Red Phase
Shakedown: When you get off the bus from Reception Battalion, you'll be told to line up your bag in a certain way to see whether you can follow instructions. Then you'll be ordered to empty your bag. If any contraband falls out, it will be your first opportunity to see a drill sergeant go ballistic.
Training: The goal of your Phase 1 training is to begin your transformation from a confused volunteer to a confident soldier. During Red Phase (or Patriot Phase), you'll learn the fundamentals of soldiering, including Army heritage and the seven core Army values. Most of your classroom training will occur during this time. You'll also undergo the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) to assess your physical abilities. You'll have several of these tests along the way to be sure you're getting in the best possible shape.
During these first three weeks, you'll get a thorough introduction to the following:
- The Army's core values, traditions and ethics
- Assembling, disassembling and caring for your M16
- The Nuclear-Biological-Chemical (NBC) chamber
- Security and crowd dispersion discipline
- Combatives: hand-to-hand combat and guerrilla exercises
- Barracks inspections
- Running, tactical daylight marches and fitness training
Obviously, this is an intense training schedule, geared toward reinforcing the principles of discipline and teamwork. From here, you'll look forward to moving toward the rifle range to learn some exciting -- and very useful -- skills.
Army Basic Training Phase 2: White Phase
The White Phase (also known as the Rifleman or Gunfighter Phase) focuses on developing your combat skills, with special emphasis on weapons and physical fitness training. You'll learn how to identify, track, target and engage targets with a rifle. It's all about marksmanship. Spending time on these skills also hones your self-discipline and teamwork.
Here's a rundown of what you'll cover:
- Basic rifle marksmanship (BRM) and rifle qualification
- Zeroing a rifle
- Engaging targets at various distances and from different positions
- Prioritizing multiple targets simultaneously
- Hand-to-hand training
- Rappelling the warrior tower
- More barracks inspections
- Continued study of Army values, ethics and traditions
- Night training and more fitness training
- Map and compass reading
By now, you'll start to get the hang of military life. You may even think your drill sergeant is noticing your improvement. You're developing all the essential soldier skills, which you'll put together in the next phase.
Army Basic Training Phase 3: Blue Phase
The final phase of BCT -- the Blue, or Warrior, Phase -- will build your individual tactical training, increase your leadership skills and self-discipline, and improve your understanding of teamwork. It also will include challenges and tests you'll have to pass in order to graduate from BCT. It's time to dig deep.
These three weeks are spent on the following:
- Advanced rifle marksmanship (including the use of aiming tools such as lasers)
- Maneuvering and engaging targets as part of a team
- Guard ethics and standards, with continued study of Army values
- Convoy operations
- Additional weapons training: machine guns, grenade launchers and mines
- Defeating improvised explosive devices/mines
- Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT -- fighting in a city)
- 10- and 15-kilometer tactical foot marches
- Field training exercise on bivouac, where you'll tie all your training together
- The End of Cycle Test (EOCT): 212 tasks, which you're required to pass
- The Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), which you must pass to graduate from BCT
Army Basic Training Graduation
The final week of BCT is about soldiers and their families. After you finish the final training events (one week of field training and a 15-kilometer march back to the post), you'll receive a day with your family to catch up on your recent experiences -- and you'll have plenty to discuss. The next day, you'll graduate before moving on to your next phase of training (usually advanced individual training, or AIT).
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