U.S. Army Basic Combat Training

Paulina Howard ‘15
EE Managing Editor

So you wanna join the U.S. Army, eh?
Phase 1, Week 1
Recruits are picked up at the Reception Batallion by their drill sergeants and are marched to the company area (or common area for the company) which is surrounded by four barracks- one for each platoon (50 people).

Drill and Ceremony training begins, which basically consists of correct procedures for marching, and body movements such as standing at attention, “facing” (right-face/left-face), “at ease”, “to the rear” to name just a few.


“Rubber ducks” (fake rifles) are also issued to have the recruits become familiar with the basic handling and added weight of their weapon before they have actually been trained to use it. Recently, new recruits have even been issued fully functional M16A2/A4s during the first week.
“Army Core Values” become ingrained in each new recruit’s mind, which includes loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage (meant to spell out the mnemonic LDRSHIP, or “leadership”).
Basic Rifle Marksmanship (BRM) fundamentals training (instruction in marksmanship techniques without firing the rifle), as well as maintenance tasks, including “field stripping” (quickly disassembling, cleaning, and reassembling) the rifle.

Week 2
Recruits begin unarmed combat fighting, also known as “hand-to-hand combat” or Ground Fighting Techniques, which ends with a competition where each platoon selects one recruit to fight.
Learn map reading, land navigation, and compass use, which is tested during the Compass Course where they are separated into groups that have to navigate their way through a densely wooded area.
Victory Tower-exercise where recruits must navigate through several obstacles at extreme heights, including climbing and traversing rope ladders and bridges (with a 50 foot rappel wall).
Teamwork Development Course – where squads must negotiate a series of obstacles, with emphasis on working as a team rather than as an individual.
First aid training, known as Combat LifeSaver (CLS) – properly treat casualties, dress wounds, apply tourniquets, and treat dehydration to name a few skills.

Week 3
Learn methods for carrying an unconscious or immobile person
Train with pugle sticks
Gas Chamber – where recruits are sent into a sealed chamber and become subject to CS gas. Recruits have to unmask before exiting the chamber, and are forced to recite either a list of names, the Pledge of Allegiance, or a social security number correctly so that they are forced to breathe it in and experience it.
Introduced to M16A2 assault rifle or the M4 carbine- but not actually firing it.

Phase 2
“White Phase” or “Gunfighter Phase”
Fire a service rifle (M16A2) at targets that progressively move further and further away, making it more difficult to hit.
Become familiar with various hand grenades (such as the M67), grenade launchers (such as the M203), and machine guns (such as the M240, M249, and M2)
Familiarization with anti-tank/armor weaponry and other heavy weapons.

Phase 3
“Blue Phase” or “Warrior Phase”
Final PT Test – which consists of the Standard Army Annual PT Examination in which a minimum of 150 points is required to pass.
Move on to “Bivouac” (camping) and FTX (Field Training Exercises), such as nighttime combat operations and MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain) training.
Concluding combat Training is “Recovery Week” – where recruits have to service and/or repair any items they are not taking on to AIT, preparing for graduation, and final fittings for dress uniforms.

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