Basic Combat Training
Basic Combat Training
Transitioning from a Civilian into a Soldier
Basic Combat Training (BCT) is a rigorous 10-week orientation for men and women entering the National Guard. Basic training transforms new enlistees from civilians into Soldiers. During basic training, new Soldiers gain the discipline, spirit, pride, knowledge, and physical conditioning necessary to perform Army duties.
BCT consists of the first ten weeks of the total Basic Training period and is identical for all Army, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard recruits. This is where individuals learn about the fundamentals of being a Soldier, from combat techniques to the proper way to address a superior. BCT is also where individuals undergo rigorous physical training to prepare their bodies and their minds for the eventual physical and mental strain of combat.
Prepping for Basic Combat Training requires mental preparedness, as well as support from your family. It’s important to know what to bring and what to leave at home. You’ll also want to be sure your personal affairs—such as any bills or legal, household or child custody matters—are in order, and that your family and employer are informed about your BCT dates and details.
Known as Week Zero, you’ll begin at Reception Battalion. When you arrive, you'll be told what you can and cannot bring with you. This will be your last chance to get rid of any prohibited items without being penalized. Refer to our checklist to be sure you show up with all the right items and leave everything else at home.
Welcome to Basic Combat Training
You’re here now. This is the real deal. Your drill sergeant will quickly point that out. Listen to your drill sergeant. Your drill sergeant’s job is to teach you the skills you’ll need to become a Soldier. These are skills that will keep you and your fellow Soldiers successful in the field. Drill sergeants are responsible for your success and will ensure you achieve it. Listen to every word, and do everything they say. Basic training is conducted on a demanding schedule, but each Soldier progresses at the rate he or she can handle best. Soldiers attend a variety of classes and field instruction that include military training, weapons familiarization, physical conditioning, and military drills. All training emphasizes teamwork and therefore includes classes in human relations. These classes help trainees from different backgrounds learn to work closely together. Only limited personal time is available during basic training, but there is plenty of time for receiving and sending mail, for personal care, and for attending religious services.
Once you've finished BCT, life in the military begins. After you complete Basic Combat Training, you're ready for the next step. Advanced Individual Training (AIT) is where you will learn the skills to perform your Army career.