Basic training: Wikis

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U.S. Army recruits learn bayonet fighting skills in infantry Basic Combat Training at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Recruit training is the initial indoctrination and instruction given to new military personnel. It may be common to all recruits, officers being selected on the basis of competency shown during recruit training, or for the enlisted ranks only. Officer trainees undergo more detailed programs, which may either precede or follow the common recruit training, taking place either in an officer training academy (which may also offer a civilian degree program simultaneously), or in special classes at a civilian university.

The process of transforming civilians into soldiers, sailors, coast guardsmen, marines or airmen has been described by military historian Gwynne Dyer as a form of conditioning in which inductees are encouraged to partially submerge their individuality for the good of their unit. Dyer argues that this conditioning is essential for military function because combat requires people to endure stress and perform actions which are simply not present in normal life.

The nature and extent of this conditioning varies from one military service, and one nation, to another. Some systems of training seek to totally break down the individual and remold that person to the desired behavior[citation needed]. Other systems attempt to change the individual to suit the organization, whilst retaining key elements of the recruit's personality. The differences between the two approaches are often subtle.

Standard uniforms are issued and recruits typically have their hair cut or shaved in order to meet grooming standards and make their appearance as uniform as possible. The haircut is one method intended to increase cohesion. Recruits are generally given a service number. A significant part of basic training is psychological. The reasoning seems to be that if a recruit cannot be relied upon to obey orders and follow instructions in routine matters—be they folding one's clothing, standing to attention, paying proper attention to hygiene—it is unlikely that he or she will be reliable in a combat situation, where there may be a strong urge to disobey orders or flee. The recruit who cannot work as part of a team (the unit) and comply with the routine tasks of basic training, therefore, is more likely to place him/herself, comrades, and the mission in jeopardy. The training regularly includes physical fitness, and instruction in military courtesy, tradition, history, and uniform care and wear.



Resocialization is a sociological concept dealing with the process of mentally and emotionally "re-training" a person so that he or she can operate in an environment other than that which he or she is accustomed to. Resocialization into a total institution involves a complete change of personality. Key examples include the process of resocializing new recruits into the military so that they can operate as soldiers (or, in other words, as members of a cohesive unit) and the reverse process, in which those who have become accustomed to such roles return to society after military discharge.

Recruits are typically instructed in "drill": to stand, march, and respond to orders in an unquestioning manner. Historically, drills are derived from 18th-century military tactics in which soldiers in a fire line performed precise and coordinated movements to load and fire muskets. Although these particular tactics are now obsolete for the most part, drilling performs a psychological function by inculcating the response to commands and training the recruit to act unhesitatingly in the face of real combat situations. Learning drill commands also enables the modern infantry soldier to maintain proper position relative to his peers and thus maintain the shape of his or her formation (arrowhead, line abreast, etc) whilst moving over uneven terrain. Drill can also serve a role in leadership training. Combat situations include not only commands to engage and put one's life in danger, but also commands to disengage when military necessity so demands. This conditioning, which ideally results in instant response to commands, is essential for military function, because without it, a military unit would likely disintegrate under the stress of combat and degenerate into a mere armed mob. According to Finnish Army regulations, the close-order drill serves four functions:

  • is essential for the esprit de corps and cohesion for battlefield conditions
  • gets the recruits used to instinctive obedience and following the orders
  • enables large units to be marched and moved in an orderly manner
  • creates the basis for action in the battlefield

A criticism of drill is that it is a fairly inefficient method of training, based on behavioristic method, which does not enable the subjects to learn anything by heuristics, and can be used only to instill very simple and trivial things, like series of movements, therefore consuming resources from combat and weapons training.

Recruits are usually subjected to rigorous physical training, both to prepare for the demands of combat and to weed out the less able or insufficiently motivated. This also builds morale and provides a sense of accomplishment for the remaining recruits who have met the physical requirements.

Army and Marine recruits are nearly always trained in basic marksmanship with individually-assigned weapons, field maintenance of weapons, hand-to-hand combat, physical fitness training, first aid, and basic survival techniques. Navy and Coast Guard training usually focuses on water survival training, physical fitness, basic seamanship, and skills such as shipboard firefighting, basic engineering, and signals. Air force training usually includes physical fitness training, military and classroom instructions, as well as field training in basic marksmanship, first aid, and protective equipment usage.


Most of the recruit training in the Australian Army is currently held at Army Recruit Training Centre (ARTC) at Kapooka, near Wagga Wagga in New South Wales. Recruit training is 80 days long for members of the Australian Regular Army and 28 days long for members of the Australian Army Reserve. In basic training recruits are taught drill, weapons and workplace safety, basic equipment maintenance, marksmanship, fieldcraft, radio use and defensive/offensive operations.

Regional Force Surveillance Units

Training for recruits in the Regional Force Surveillance Units usually differs greatly from training in the rest of the Army. For instance, NORFORCE recruits attend an additional 2 week course at the Kangaroo Flats. Recruits from areas covered by the RFSUs often come from indigenous cultures radically different from that of the general Australian population, and as such many regular standards and methods of training are not as applicable in their case.

Royal Military College Duntroon

Recruit Training for Officers in the Australian Army (known as ICT - Initial Cadet Training) takes place at Royal Military College, Duntroon (RMC). The ICT is conducted for approximately 7 weeks after which staff cadets continue military instruction in skills such as weapons training, military history, leadership, strategic studies and other such skills at Section, Platoon and Company levels. Trainees at RMC hold the rank of Staff Cadet and, if successful in completing the course are commissioned as Lieutenants. The overall full-time Officer Training course at RMC is 18 months long.


Royal Military College of Canada cadets practice military skills

Centralized recruit training in the Canadian Army did not exist until 1940, and until the creation of Basic Training Centres across Canada, recruit training had been done by individual units or depots.

The Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, and Royal Canadian Air Force were unified into one service, the Canadian Forces in 1968. The Canadian Forces Training System, a unified system for all the services, was devised and remains in place today. Most non-commissioned CF recruits in the Regular Force (full time) are trained at Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. Regular Force officers complete their Basic Officer Training and Initial Assessment Phases at CFLRS as well, before moving on to Second Language Training and their occupational training. After basic training, personnel are trained in the speciality of their "environment". Members of the Maritime Branch undergo a five week sea environment training course and members of the Land Forces Command undergo a 20 day Soldier Qualification course.

Reservists, particularly the Army Reserve, may conduct basic and trades training part-time, generally alternating weekends. Due to increased integration of the Regular and Reserve Force, many reservists attend courses hosted by the Regular Force. Members of the Army Reserves complete an 8 week BMQ/SQ course (Basic Military Qualification and Soldier Qualification) during the summer. The Naval and Air Reserve jointly conduct BMQ for its recruits at the Naval Reserve Training Division Borden, Ontario equivalent to Regular Force BMQ, at Canadian Forces Base Borden. The Navy trains its personnel in seamanship, firefighting, damage control and other skills after BMQ, in the Naval Environmental Training Program (NETP) in either Esquimalt, British Columbia or Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Royal Military College of Canada is the military academy of the Canadian Forces, and is a degree-granting university. The Royal Military College Saint-Jean is a Canadian military academy located on the site of Fort Saint-Jean (Quebec),


The Danish Army conducts the HBU (Hærens Basisuddannelse, Army Basic Training course) at 8 bases around the country. The course lasts four months, and has its focus on training skills used in connection with the Danish total defence, and on recruiting for the army's international missions, and for the NCO-schools. The recruits are technically conscripts, but in the later years, the Danish army has taken in a large number of volunteers, so fewer are actually forced into the HBU.


All Finnish conscripts undergo two months of basic training, which is essentially the same for all servicemen. At the end of this training, all men are promoted to their first military rank. After this, specialized training is given depending on the person.


The Allgemeine Grundausbildung (AGA) of the Bundeswehr is to recruit the basics of military skills. These include primarily a shooter and combat training, learning military etiquette (Formal service), to increase the physical capacity, and the teaching of theoretical knowledge (rights and obligations of a soldier). The MRA covers the first three months of military service.

The contents of the "Allgemeine Grundausbildung" includes

  • Combat training for troops of all services
  • Self-Help and comrades
  • General troops Client / Internal leadership
  • Sport, the Physical Fitness Test (PFT) and the German sportbadge (DSA)
  • Hand Weapons Training (Rifle G36 or Heckler & Koch G3 rifle, P1 or P8 (Heckler & Koch USP) pistol, machine gun MG3)
  • Training for security guards and soldiers (ATN SichSold)
  • Medical training


The Indian military services have established numerous and distinguished academies and staff colleges across India for the purpose of training professional soldiers in new generation military sciences, warfare command and strategy, and associated technologies.


The recruit training of the Israel Defense Forces (called tironut in Hebrew) varies depending on the unit, where virtually each unique unit completes a different training course. Recruits are certified as riflemen after the completion of the training, where Rifleman 02 is the easiest and least demanding level (for non-combat units), whereas Rifleman 07 (for infantry) is much more difficult. Every combat corps and some combat support and non-combat ones have their own training base for the recruit training, while most non-combat units train in all-army bases for the certification of Rifleman 02.

Individuals desiring to become officers must apply to be trained at a facility in the Negev desert called "Bahad One" (abbreviation of "Basis Hadracha", Instruction Base). They must abide by a Code of Conduct and can be dismissed at anytime for failing to abide by that Code, which includes failure to pick up a piece of paper on the ground or failing to offer a seat on a bus to an elderly individual.


The Pakistan Military Academy (or PMA) is a Military Academy of the Pakistan Army. It is located at Kakul near Abbottabad in the North-West Frontier Province. The Pakistan Military Academy is equivalent to Sandhurst, West Point or Tironut and undertakes training of the prospective officers of Pakistan Army. The academy has three training battalions and twelve companies. A Cadet is being trained and passed out as an officer of the Pakistan Army within two years.

Enlisted Men undertake training at the Regimental Center of their chosen regiment.


In Singapore, national service is compulsory. Recruits enlisted into the Singapore Armed Forces have to go through Basic Military training (BMT). Based on their medical Physical Employment Status (PES) grading, recruits may undergo standard, enhanced, modified, or obese BMT conducted at the Basic Military Training Centre on the offshore island of Pulau Tekong or at the various military units which directly accept mono-intake PES A and B recruits. During the course of their BMT, they are expected to learn command drills, go through obstacle courses, survive field camps, undergo fitness tests, throw live grenades, learn how to operate a rifle and master the basics of being a soldier. They are also expected to mingle with other recruits from their platoon despite being from different walks of life. At the end of BMT, they will have a passing-out parade (POP) to signify the transition from civilian to soldier. After BMT, the recruit will then be posted to a military unit which is determined by their life skills and suitability for deployment. Recruits deemed with good leadership skills will progress to School of Infantry Specialists (SISPEC) to be trained as specialists or to Officer Cadet School (OCS) to be trained as officers. Besides leadership, academic qualifications are also taken into selection for those who are to progressed to become commanders.

United States

Extreme levels of aggression and intimidation are an integral part of most boot camps.

In the United States, recruit training in the Army is called Basic Combat Training, U.S. Army Infantry undergoes OSUT (One Station Unit Training) which involves BCT, Infantry Advanced Individual Training and Specialized Infantry Training (such as Bradley, or Mortar School) all in one, in the Air Force it is called Basic Military Training or "BMT", in the Navy and Marine Corps, it is called Recruit Training and in the Coast Guard, it is called "Basic Training." "Boot camp" is a common colliquialism in the U.S. for describing the training facility for new enlisted recruits when engaged in Basic Combat Training, Basic Military Training (BMT), Recruit Training or Basic Training.

Some services present a badge or other award to denote completion of recruit training. The United States Army typically issues the Army Service Ribbon (issued after completion of Advanced Individual Training), and the United States Air Force presents the Air Force Training Ribbon and the Airman's Coin. The United States Marine Corps issue the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor once initial training is complete to signify that the recruits are now Marines. The United States Navy replaces the "RECRUIT" ball cap the recruits have worn throughout training with the "NAVY" ball cap upon successful completion of "Battle Stations". The United States Coast Guard's basic training graduates place a Coast Guard Medallion on their ball cap.

For honor graduates of basic training, both the U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard present a Basic Training Honor Graduate Ribbon. The Navy and Marine Corps often meritoriously advance the top graduates of each division one pay-grade (up to a maximum of E-3).


US Army bayonet training.

In the Army, the location where a recruit is sent for Basic Training depends on his or her chosen Military Occupational Specialty, or MOS, which is selected upon enlistment.

Basic training is divided into two parts, which commonly take place at two different locations, depending on the chosen MOS:

  • Basic Combat Training, or BCT, is now a 9-week training period that is identical for all MOSs.
  • Advanced Individual Training, or AIT, is where new soldiers receive specific training in their chosen MOS. The length of AIT training varies depending on the MOS and can last anywhere from six weeks to one year.
  • All 11b Infantry MOS are 17 weeks long (OSUT).

The U.S. Army has five sites for BCT:

Basic Combat Training is divided into three phases. During Phase I, (Also known as "Red Phase") recruits are subject to "Total Control," meaning their every action is monitored and constantly corrected by drill sergeants. The first week of training is commonly referred to as "Hell Week," due to the intense period of adjustment required on the part of the new recruits. Marches are common throughout basic training. Recruits are sent to the "gas chamber" during Phase I, as part of training for defensive chemical warfare. They are also introduced to their standard-issue weapon, the M16A2 assault rifle.

Phase II (Also known as "White Phase") is where soldiers begin actually firing weapons, starting with the assault rifle (M16A2). Other weapons the recruit becomes familiarized with include various grenades (such as the M67 fragmentation grenade) and grenade launchers (such as the M203). Recruits are then familiarized with the bayonet, anti-tank/armor weaponry and other heavy weapons. There is also an obstacle course which the soldiers are expected to negotiate in a certain amount of time. Additionally, there is continual, intense PT, as well as drill and ceremony training. At the conclusion of Phase II, soldiers are expected to demonstrate proficiency with the various weaponry with which they trained.

Phase III "Blue Phase" is the culmination and the most challenging of all the training phases. During the first week, there is a final PT test. Recruits that fail are frequently retested, often up until the morning of their cycle's graduation. If they do not pass they are recycled to another platoon until they meet the fitness standards. The final PT Test is the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT). Usually, a Soldier needs to score at least 60 points in each APFT category (Pushups, Sit-ups, and 2 mile run) to pass, but in Army Basic Training, only 50 points is required, though at AIT the Soldier will take another APFT with a 60 point requirement. During Blue Phase, the recruits move on to longer and more intensive "Bivouac" (camping) and FTX (Field Training Exercises), such as nighttime combat operations. Drill sergeants will make much of this an adversarial process, working against the recruits in many of the night operations, trying to foil plans, etc.

Marine Corps

A Marine Drill Instructor inspects his platoon shortly before Lights Out.

United States Marine Corps Recruit Depots are located at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, and Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California. All female enlisted Marines go to Parris Island. Men go to either, depending on whether they were recruited east or west of the Mississippi River. The Marine Corps' 13-week-long recruit training is the longest in United States Armed Services, except for Army Infantry OSUT, which is 17 weeks.

Marine Corps Recruit Training is divided up into three four-week phases and further broken down into individual training days. While there are 69 individual training days, recruits also go through pre and post training processing. Phase one mainly consists of learning recruit life protocol, PT, MCMAP training, academic classes, Pugil stick fights, first aid training, initial drill, a series inspection, and the confidence course. West coast recruits also do swim qualification during this phase. Phase two is completely in the field for west coast recruits, with the first two weeks being spent on marksmanship training and qualification with the M16A4 service rifle (the M16A2s are being phased out), and the last week in the field learning skills such as fireteam formations, land navigation, and hikes. For east coast recruits, phase two is swim qualification, rifle qualification, and Team Week, a week of maintenance duties for the island as a sort of relative break from training. Phase three brings the San Diego recruits back to the recruit depot where they finish up with final drill, final inspection, more PT and confidence courses, and graduation. During third phase, west coast recruits also go back into the field one last time to do the Crucible which includes the gas chamber, and many other obstacles to overcome. Parris Island recruits finish with field training, final drill and inspection, the Crucible, and graduation. Note that recruits going to either depot receive the exact same training, if in a different order.

Recruit training for Marines is a 13-week long program, and is followed by combat training which is mandatory for Marines of all military occupational specialties (MOS) at the Schools of Infantry located at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina (for Parris Island graduates) and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California (for San Diego graduates). Marines with an Infantry MOS (03XX) are assigned to Infantry Training Battalion (ITB) companies A-D for three months of training. Marines with non-Infantry MOS designations go to Marine Combat Training Battalion (MCT) companies E-H for 4 weeks of training. ITB and MCT are both run by the School of Infantry, but MCT is a more generalized form of training whereas ITB is longer and MOS-specific. After graduation from the School of Infantry, Marines who have a non-Infantry MOS will continue on to yet another school for training in their specific job field. Infantry Marines will normally proceed directly to their fleet unit.


A Navy Recruit Division Commander conducts "Instructional Training" to correct substandard performance during boot camp.

The U.S. Navy currently operates boot camp at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, located at Naval Station Great Lakes, near North Chicago, Illinois. Instead of having Drill Sergeants or Drill Instructors like other U.S. Military branches, the U.S. Navy has RDC's (Recruit Division Commanders) that are assigned to each division. Training lasts approximately eight weeks (although some recruits will spend as many as nine weeks in training due to the somewhat complicated processing cycle). Days are counted by a system that lists the week and day that they are on, for example 7-3 for week 7 day 3. The first approximate week is counted P-1, P-2, etc. which denotes that it is a processing day and does not count as part of their 8 week training period. Recruits are instructed on military drill, basic seamanship, basic shipboard damage control, firefighting, familiarization with the M9 pistol and Mossberg 500 shotgun (the Navy no longer gives instruction on the M-16 in boot camp), pass the confidence chamber (tear gas filled chamber), PT, and the basic essentials on Navy life. Recruits also attend many classes throughout boot camp on subjects such as Equal Opportunity, Sexual Assault Victim Intervention, Uniform Code Of Military Justice, recognition of naval aircraft and vessels, and more. In order for recruits to pass boot camp, they will be physically and mentally tested on a 12 hour exercise called Battle Stations which consists of 12 different scenarios consisting of firefighting, first aid knowledge, survival at sea, mass casualties, bomb detection and many other skills that they have been learning in the past 7 weeks. After completion of boot camp, freshly minted Sailors are sent either to various "A" Schools located across the United States, where they begin training to receive their ratings (jobs) or to apprenticeship training, where they then enter the fleet without a designation.

The Navy formerly operated Recruit Training Centers in San Diego, California, Orlando, Florida, Mississippi and Port Deposit (Bainbridge), Maryland. As of 1995, only RTC Great Lakes is currently in operation with no plans to open new training centers or re-open past training centers.

Air Force

A formation of USAF trainees.

The U.S. Air Force's Basic Military Training (BMT) is eight and a half weeks long and is conducted at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas. Formerly, trainees were referred to as "Airman" from day one of BMT. This has been changed; now, personnel are referred to as Trainees until the Airman's Coin Ceremony in the eighth week of training, when they receive their Airman's Coin. Trainees receive military instruction (including the Air Force core values, flight and individual drill, and living area inspections), academic classes (covering topics such as Air Force history, dress and appearance, military customs and courtesies, ethics, security, and alcohol/drug abuse prevention and treatment), and field training (including protection against biological and chemical attack, basic marksmanship on the M-16 rifle and M9 pistol as well as first aid). Following BMT, airmen go to a technical school (or 'tech school') where they learn the specifics of their Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC), which is similar to the MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) in the Army and Marines, the Navy's NEC (Naval Enlisted Classification) code, or the Coast Guard's ratings.

All non-prior-service enlistees are required to complete BMT, including those enlisting in the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command. Reserve component enlistees receive the same training as their active-duty counterparts. Credit can be given on a case-by-case basis for enlistees with college credit, Eagle Scouts and service in the Civil Air Patrol for promotion to E-2 (Airman) or E-3 (Airman First Class) upon graduation from BMT. The stripes are not worn until graduation, though trainees are paid at their advanced paygrade.

Lackland AFB has been associated with BMT for almost the Air Force's entire history. For a brief time between 1966 and 1968, the Air Force operated a second BMT at Amarillo AFB, in Amarillo, Texas.

Unlike the Army and Navy, but like the Marine Corps (throughout boot camp) and Coast Guard (during the first section of boot camp), trainees are required to refer to all Airmen, enlisted and NCO's as well as commissioned and warrant officers, as "sir" or "ma'am." Trainees are required to preface speaking to Military Training Instructors with their "reporting statement:"

"Sir/Ma'am, Trainee Jones reports as ordered."

An additional 2 weeks of BMT was added to the program on November 1, 2008. BMT has been tailored to incorporate some of the additional warfighting skills to coincide with increased AEF rotations, and more frequent support of its sister services during those rotations.[1]

Coast Guard

A Coast Guard Company Commander instructs a recruit during basic training.

Recruit training for United States Coast Guard is held at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May in Cape May, New Jersey. The training lasts for 8 weeks. The U.S. Coast Guard is unique in that it fires the Sig Sauer P229R pistol[2] during the training. The training also covers basic seamanship, drill, military bearing and firefighting.

Although the USCG is a part of the Department of Homeland Security, rather than the Department of Defense, the United States Coast Guard is by law and tradition a branch of the United States Armed Forces. As with all military members, USCG personnel are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Due to the unique mission set of the US Coast Guard including CONUS and OCONUS defense operations, search and rescue and maritime law enforcement, there are added requirements to maintain high physical fitness standards and intense military bearing comparable to the other armed services.

During their time at TRACEN Cape May, recruits are subjected to the usual "boot camp" atmosphere of direct instruction and intense motivation. The recruits are designated as Seamen recruits (SR). They must adhere to strict rules such as hygiene and uniform regulations and obey all lawful orders. Coast Guard drill instructors are called "Company Commanders."

After completing boot camp, recruits can select their rate and then attend an "A" school. "A" school is a long-term technical school providing specific instruction about a rate. The "A" schools last 2 to 5 months. Some rates have an available apprenticeship training option instead of attending an "A" school.

See also



Basic Training may refer to:

  • Basic Training (1971 film), an American documentary directed by Frederick Wiseman
  • Basic Training (1985 film), an American sex comedy

For actual military training, see recruit training.


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