Military Boot Camp At a Glance

Coast Guard recruits arrive for basic training
Company Commander Chief Andrew Fabbo glares at Coast Guard recruits arriving by bus for basic training at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, N.J., Sept. 24, 2005. (PAC Tom Sperduto/U.S. Coast Guard)

Training is a benefit of service that starts the day you enlist. In fact, you may spend most of your first year in training -- and that's just the beginning. In the military, you will be given continuous training and opportunities to learn new skills throughout your career.

First Things First: Basic Training

Recruit basic training, also referred to as boot camp, is 6-13 weeks of extremely intense military training that, depending on the service branch, is conducted at one of the several military training centers throughout the U.S., from California to New Jersey.

If you have the courage to succeed, boot camp will help you develop into a mature, highly disciplined and fully capable service member. During this time, drill instructors (DI) will teach you how to care for yourself and others, function as a member of a team and to achieve success together.

The drill instructor is responsible for ensuring recruits are prepared fully to meet the everyday challenges, from the dangers of the battlefield to the rigors of life at sea. You will be given the tools necessary to perform your tasks with the efficiency, courage and confidence to succeed in the face of adversity.

Recruit training includes first aid, water survival skills, marksmanship, tactics and other related topics. Training also focuses on the customs, traditions and history that have made the U.S. Armed Forces respected around the world.

Above all, remember these tips about basic training:

  • Boot camp is mostly a mind game. It's designed to take the civilian out of you and replace it with a top-notch military service member (soldier, sailor, Marine or airman). Thousands of young men and women have survived basic before you -- just roll with it.
  • Keep a good attitude. Remember, everyone gets chewed out in boot camp, even when they have done well. It won't be this way after you graduate basic training.
  • Never, ever, make excuses. Unless you are asked to explain yourself, explanations are seen as excuses, so just say, "Yes, sir," and take the chewing out.
  • Do exactly what you're told to do, when you're told to do it and how you're told to do it. Don't be inventive.
  • If you're "on time," then you're late. Always be where you're supposed to be five minutes early.

Interested in Joining the Military?

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