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What is Army Basic Training?

By Jacob Queen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Army basic training is a nine-week course that’s designed to teach new soldiers all the basic skills they'll need in their new occupation. Soldiers are generally taught to handle weapons and conduct themselves appropriately and are put through a grueling set of challenges designed to toughen their minds and bodies. By the end of Army basic training, a soldier must complete certain tests to prove they are competent in the use of important equipment, physically fit and capable of tactically executing basic military operations. The United States Army conducts basic training at several locations around the country.

The initial phase of Army basic training is called the red phase. In the beginning, recruits must pass physical and mental evaluations to prove their fitness for training. They receive a haircut that generally complies with Army regulations, and uniforms are issued. Once this is completed, they begin training in basic military tactics and learning about different aspects of soldiering, including the values expected of Army personnel.

One of the main tests of the red phase is a physical fitness evaluation, which soldiers must complete successfully. As a general rule, the soldier may be asked to complete this evaluation again during later phases of their basic training. This ensures that they maintain a good fitness level.

Once the red phase ends, soldiers enter the white phase of Army basic training. During this phase, soldiers begin combat training. They learn the proper use of their M16 rifles, grenade launchers and other specialized equipment like anti-tank weapons. Trainees must complete a series of obstacle courses, and they spend time on simulated combat training exercises. This phase also includes a lot of marching and a continued focus on physical fitness.

The final phase of Army basic training is called the blue phase. At this point, soldiers learn to use other advanced weapons, including things like larger machine guns and hand grenades. They are required to complete a night infiltration exercise that puts many of their skills to use, and there is a continued focus on longer, more difficult marches. A lot of time is spent in the blue phase on preparing soldiers for the specialized training they will receive later.

After successfully completing basic training, soldiers move on to advanced individual training, which is the next phase in their learning process. This is where soldiers begin studying for their specific military occupation specialty. In some cases, this is held at the same place as their basic training, and sometimes the location for a person’s basic training is determined based on their future occupation specialty.

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