Recruit training, more commonly known as basic training and colloquially called boot camp, is the initial instruction given to new military personnel, enlisted and officer. After completion of basic training, new recruits undergo Advanced Individual Training (AIT), where they learn the skills needed for their military jobs. Officer trainees undergo more detailed programs that may either precede or follow the common recruit training in an officer training academy (which may also offer a civilian degree program simultaneously) or in special classes at a civilian university. During recruit training, drill instructors do everything possible to push a recruit to his or her physical and mental limits.
Recruit training varies by nation according to the national requirement and can be voluntary (volunteer military) or mandatory (conscription). Approximately 100 nations, including the United Kingdom and United States, have a volunteer military service. In voluntary service an individual chooses to join and thereby agrees to be subjected to the process of building an organization in which each life depends on the next person. The voluntary status has changed the culture of military service.
Recruit training is oriented to the particular service. Army and Marine recruits are nearly always trained in basic marksmanship with individually assigned weapons, field maintenance of weapons, 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 such skills as shipboard firefighting, basic engineering, and signals. Air force training usually includes physical fitness training, military and classroom instructions, and field training in basic marksmanship and first aid. In all training, standard uniforms are issued and recruits typically have their hair cut or shaved in order to meet grooming standards and homogenize their appearances. Recruits are generally given a service number. Recruit training must merge divergent trainees often from different levels of culture and society into a useful team. A national basic training will include provision for the basic needs of the recruit (food, shelter, clothing) and they will meet certain unit standards and unit requirements, such as 'mobility' for an infantry unit. A recruit therefore will be 'issued' basic provisions or equipment according to the requirements of the unit and taught responsible management of these provisions.
Recruit training has changed over the years as tactics of war have changed. Infantry units no longer attack in mass formations; however, to move units around a base, formations are useful and practical. A combat soldier on the ground who may call in artillery and/or air strikes must be more intelligent and thoughtful than ever before.
Recruits are typically instructed in "drill": to stand, march, and respond to orders. Historically, drills are derived from 18th-century military tactics: soldiers in a fire line performed precise and coordinated movements to load and fire muskets. Although the particular tactics are now mostly obsolete, drilling trains the recruit to act unhesitatingly in the face of real combat situations. Modern militaries have learned that a service member often must make critical decisions on behalf of team and nation. Drill also enables the modern infantry soldier to maintain proper position relative to his peers and thereby maintain the shape of his or her formation (arrowhead, line abreast, etc.) while moving over uneven terrain or in the dark of night. Drill serves a role in leadership training. Combat situations include commands to engage and put one's life in danger but also commands to disengage when military necessity so demands. Drill is essential for military function because without the ideally instantaneous response to command that drill conditions, 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
Some aspects of basic training are psychological: instructors reason that recruits who cannot reliably follow orders and instructions in routine matters will likely be unreliable in a combat situation wherein they may experience a strong urge to disobey orders or to flee and thereby jeopardize themselves, their comrades, and the mission. Volunteers in a combat unit will experience a unique level of 'agreement' among participants, termed unit cohesion, which cannot be equaled in any other human organization as each team member's life may depend on the actions of the recruit to their right or left. Special forces and commando units fully develop this unit cohesion.
The process of transforming civilians into military personnel has been described by military historian Gwynne Dyer as a form of conditioning that encourages inductees to partially submerge their individuality for the good of their unit. Dyer argues that the conditioning is essential for military function because combat requires people to endure stress and perform actions that are absent in normal life. Military units are therefore incomparable to civilian organizations because each participant is in mortal danger and often depends on the others.
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 lasts 80 days for members of the Australian Regular Army and 35 days 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 a 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 (pronounced Left-tenant). The overall full-time Officer Training course at RMC is 18 months long.
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) participate in the 13-week Basic Military Qualification (BMQ) at Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. Regular Force officers complete their 15-week Basic Military Officer Qualification (BMOQ) at CFLRS as well, before moving on to Second Language Training or their occupational training.
After basic training, personnel are trained in the specialty of their "environment". Members of the Royal Canadian Navy undergo a five-week sea environment training course; with members of the Canadian Army undergo a 20-day Soldier Qualification course, while officers go through a 12-week Common Army Phase (now renamed to Basic Military Officer Qualification-Land); while members from the Royal Canadian Air Force move on directly to their trade training.
Reservists, particularly the Army Reserve, may conduct basic and trades training part-time, generally alternating weekends with their own units. 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 combined course (Basic Military Qualification and Soldier Qualification) during the summer. Formerly 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. Noe the Naval Reserve is conducting the Basic Military Naval Qualification in CFB Valcartier by the Canadian Forces Fleet School Québec (a combine recruit training and naval environmental training which leads to savings in the training) 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 during recession years, many young men and woman have volunteered for HBU.
Training lasts 5,5-11,5 months total. All Finnish conscripts undergo two months of basic training (peruskoulutuskausi), which is essentially the same for all servicemen. It includes assault rifle (RK-62/RK-95) marksman training, few other basic weapon training, battle training, short field medic training and camping skills. 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 (5,5–11,5 months). The NCO trainees go to AUK (NCO school) and become corporals or sergeants, from which some are selected to RUK (Reserve officer school) and become second lieutenants. The officer and NCO training always lasts a total of 11,5 months.
In the French army, the Formation Generale Initiale (FGI) is a 12 weeks course which occurs in a Centre de Formation Initiale des Militaires du Rang (CFIM). There are 10 CFIM in the country. Prior to this course, new recruits are joining the regiment they are going to serve during 3 to 5 years for reception week where they get gears, filling administrative documents, and last medical exam before starting training => in France any enlisted soldier signs not only for a MOS but also a unit to serve.
After completing the 12 week FGI course, recruits are receiving the AFFIM certificate (say BCT graduation) and are considered as private 2nd class. After one week of leave, they go back to their regiment for the Formation de Spécialité Initiale (FSI) => MOS training
After FGI+FSI, they can start training with their platoon for external deployment. Usually, Private 1st class rank is earned after 6 to 12 month of time in service.
For some units (mountain troops - airborne), there is also during first year a Formation d'Adaptation (FA) for basic mountain training (2 × 2 weeks) or parachute school (3 weeks)
Content of FGI is the following one:
Drills, First aid and chemical warfare, PT and obstacle course, First weapon qualification (FAMAS, pistol and grenade), Signals, Basic field and infantry training (even if not MOS11B later on), Presentation of French army, soldiers duties and reports.
The Allgemeine Grundausbildung (AGA) (i.e. general basic training) of the Bundeswehr covers the first three months of military service.
The contents of the "Allgemeine Grundausbildung" includes
- Formal training (ranks, flags, orders and other fundamentals)
- Weapon Drill and Basic Combat training for all soldiers (Rifle, Pistol and machine gun drills are mandatory for every soldier)
- Theoretical Courses about Democracy and legal regulations
- Sports: the Basic Fitness Test (BFT) and the German Sports Badge (DSA)
- Guard duty training (ATB SichSdt)
- First Aid
A notable peculiarity of German basic training is rooted in post-Second World War German military tradition that prefers initiative to obedience. Rather than "breaking" the personality of new recruits through intimidation and aggression, German basic training generally tries to "mold" a recruit's personality in the hope of producing soldiers with stronger personalities and more own initiative.
While until 2000 the Greek Army was mainly conscript based, since then a large Professional Enslisted institution has been adopted, which combined with the reduction of conscript service will produce an approximate 1:1 ratio between conscript and professional enlisted. While initially training of the two institutions was shared, it has since then diverged, and conscript training has been reduced in length while professional enlisted training has been increased.
Professional Enlisted, signing 7-year contracts, are called once per year. They go through a 14-week initial training, which is broken into a 6-week basic training period which ends with the oathing ceremony, and a 8-week combat course. After that period they proceed to specialty training which can last from 4 to 42 weeks.
Conscripted enlisted, serving a 9-month obligation, are called 6 times per year. They report to various recruit camps spread over the country. The first week is the reception week, followed by a 3-week basic soldier training course, which ends with the oathing ceremony. Depending on their awarded specialty the conscript recruits are then transferred to specialty training camps or to operational units. In the operational units the recruits go through a 3-week 'advanced' recruit training course, followed occasionally (depending on whether they have already received specialty training or not), by a 2 to 6 week specialty training course, conducted by the unit.
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: virtually every unique unit completes a different training course. Recruits are certified as riflemen after the completion of the training, while most non-combat units train in all-army bases for the certification of Rifleman 02. Individuals who want to become officers must apply to be trained at a facility in the Negev desert called "Bahad One" (abbreviation of "Basis Hadracha", Instruction Base).
The Pakistan Military Academy (or PMA) is a Military Academy of the Pakistan Army. It is located at Kakul in Abbottabad in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Pakistan Military Academy is analogous 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 trained and passed out as an officer of the Pakistan Army in 2 years.
Enlisted Men undertake training at the Regimental Center of their chosen regiment.
National Service (NS) in Singapore is compulsory for all able-bodied male citizens and second generation permanent residents who have reached the age of 18. Conscripts enlisted into the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) are required to attend Basic Military Training (BMT) at the beginning of their NS. They are known as Full Time National Servicemen (NSFs).
Based on their Physical Employment Status (PES) grade determined by a pre-enlistment medical examination, NSFs may undergo either a standard, enhanced, modified, or obese BMT at the Basic Military Training Centre (BMTC) on the offshore island of Pulau Tekong or at the various military units that directly accept mono-intake PES A and B recruits.
Throughout their BMT, NSFs will acquire the basic skills required of a SAF soldier by:
- Executive basic drills
- Physical training
- Passing the Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT)
- Operating and firing a SAR 21 assault rifle
- Throwing both practice and live SFG 87 hand grenades
- Complete a Standard Obstacle Course (SOC) and Battle Inoculation Course (BIC)
- Going through a field camp
At the end of BMT, NSFs will typically complete a 24 kilometer long route march in Full Battle Order (FBO) and attend a Passing Out Parade (POP).
After BMT, NSFs will receive their posting orders to their respective vocations, which are determined by their PES status, suitability for deployment, and manpower requirements. Some of them will be directly posted to a military unit while others may undergo vocational training at certain institutes before being posted to units.
NSFs who have performed well during BMT may progress to either the Specialist Cadet School (SCS) or Officer Cadet School (OCS) for further leadership training to become Specialists (non-commissioned officers) or Officers.
NSFs will serve the remaining part of their NS in their respective units until their Operationally-Ready Date (ORD), whereupon they will be known as Operationally-Ready National Serviceman (NSmen, or reservists). NSmen may still be required to attend reservist training or In-Camp Training (ICT) for ten annual cycles.
Recruit training for enlisted personal of the Sri Lanka Army is organised by the Army Training School and carried out at its premises and at several other locations. Following basic training specialized training would be carried out at Regimental Training Centres.
Basic training for new recruits of the Sri Lanka Navy which is approximately six months are conducted at Advanced Naval Training Center, SLNS 'Nipuna'; Naval Artificer Training Institute, SLNS 'Thakshila', Welisara; and at Naval Recruit Training Centres at several shore establishments . This basic training will be followed by on-the-job training on-board fleet units and at shore establishments. Combat Training School at SLNS 'Pandukabaya' conducts combat training for Naval Patrolmen.
Since conscription ended in 2010, all recruits who seek employment within the Swedish Armed Forces have to go through Grundläggande Militär Utbildning (GMU) (Basic Military Training) for three months.
After a recruit has completed GMU, he/she may continue with further, specialized training with any of the branches of the military, as long as the candidate fits the requirements.
There is also a shorter volunteer training program for people who seek service within the Home Guard called GU-F. GU-F training takes only 14 days, but following a completed GU-F, a guardsman may go through additional training in order to specialize within the Home Guard.
Basic training as part of GMU as well as GU-F usually takes place at any of the Swedish Army training units.
Candidates for the British Army train in two phases. Phase one brings all recruits to a similar standard of basic military ability. Phase two develops specialised skills dependent on the regiment, corps or role for which the individual has been identified as a candidate. Training lasts between 14 and 49 weeks, depending on training centre and role.
United States of America
In the United States, recruit training in the U.S. 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 U.S. Air Force it is called Basic Military Training or "BMT". In the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps it is called Recruit Training, and in the U.S. Coast Guard, it is called "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).
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 a ten-week training cycle.
- 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 four weeks to nearly one year.
- Several MOSs combine both basic training and AIT in a back-to-back combined course called One Station Unit Training (OSUT), which can last up to 22 weeks.
The U.S. Army has four sites for BCT:
- Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia
- Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina
- Fort Leonard Wood in St. Robert, Missouri
- Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma
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 rifle, the M16A4 rifle, or M4 carbine.
In Phase II (also known as "White Phase") soldiers begin actually firing weapons, starting with the rifle or carbine (M4A1). 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. The course also includes an obstacle course which the soldiers are expected to negotiate in a certain amount of time. Additionally, Phase II includes continual, intense PT, along with drill and ceremony training. At the conclusion of Phase II, Soldiers are to demonstrate proficiency with the various weaponry with which they trained.
Phase III or "Blue Phase," is the culmination and the most challenging of all the training phases. A final PT test is administered during the first week. Recruits who fail are frequently retested, often up until the morning of their cycle's graduation. If they do not pass, then 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 are required; the Soldier will nevertheless take another APFT with a 60-point requirement at AIT. During Blue Phase, the recruits move on to such longer and more intensive "bivouac" and FTX (Field Training Exercises) as nighttime combat operations. Drill sergeants will make much of this an adversarial process by working against the recruits in many of the night operations and trying to foil plans, etc.
U.S. Marine Corps
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. Marine Corps boot camp is the longest basic training regimen in the U.S. Armed Forces, and is arguably also the most physically demanding.
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 where recruits are afforded relatively little freedom in comparison to recruits of other branches. Phase one mainly consists of learning recruit life protocol, physical training, MCMAP training, academic classes, 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 at Camp Pendleton for west coast recruits, with the first two weeks being spent on marksmanship training and qualification with the M16A4 service rifle, 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 show of how to perform base support tasks while still keeping military bearing and attention to detail. 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 event. Parris Island recruits finish with field training, final drill and inspection, the Crucible, and graduation. Note that recruits going to either depot receive exactly the same training, if in a different order.
Recruit training for Marines is a 13-week-long program, and is followed by ITB (Infantry Training Battalion) or MCT (Marine Combat Training) at SOI (School of Infantry) military occupational specialties (MOS) located at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina (for Parris Island graduates) and Camp Pendleton in San Diego, California (for San Diego graduates). Marines with an infantry MOS (03XX) receive 59 days of training at ITB (Infantry Training Battalion) and then are assigned to a unit, while Marines of other specialties receive 28 days of infantry training at MCTB (Marine Combat Training Battalion) before proceeding to their MOS-specific school.
The United States 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 branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, the U.S. Navy has RDCs (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 M16 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, shipboard flood control, 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; Meridian, Mississippi; and Port Deposit (Bainbridge), Maryland. From 1942 to 1946 the Navy had two additional training sites. Naval Training Station (USNTS Sampson) (in 1950 renamed Sampson Air Force Base) near Seneca Lake, NY trained over 400,000 recruits. as well as Farragut Naval Training Station in Bayview, Idaho.
U.S. Air Force
The U.S. Air Force's Basic Military Training (BMT) is eight and a half weeks long, as they do not count your first week ("Week 0"). BMT is 63 calendar days long. It 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 seventh 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 M16 rifle 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 qualify 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 the higher pay grade.
Lackland AFB has been associated with BMT for almost the Air Force's entire history. From 1950 to 1956 300,000 airmen received BMT at Sampson Air Force Base in New York. In 1951, Parks Air Force Base in Dublin, California became a BMT center, with training beginning in March, 1952. BMT at Parks AFB ceased later in the decade and the installation was transferred to the US Army in 1959. 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 (the recruit's surname) reports as ordered." or "Sir/Ma'am, Trainee (the recruit's surname) reports.", depending on who initiates the conversation.
An additional 2 weeks of BMT was added to the program on November 1, 2008, extending the duration of BMT from six and a half weeks to eight and a half weeks. BMT has been tailored to incorporate some of the additional warfighting skills to coincide with increased Air Expeditionary Force(AEF) rotations, and more frequent support of its sister services during those rotations. In 2015 BMT was shortened once again to seven and a half weeks. Trainees still stay at Lackland for eight and half weeks, however the eighth week following graduation they are moved to a more relaxed environment under a program called Capstone Week, which is designed to transition trainees to technical training.
U.S. Coast Guard
Recruit training for the U.S. Coast Guard is held at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May in Cape May, New Jersey. The training lasts eight weeks. The U.S. Coast Guard is unique in that it fires the SIG Sauer P229R pistol during the training. The training also covers basic seamanship, drill, military bearing and firefighting. The Coast Guard base on Government Island (now known as Coast Guard Island) Alameda, California was also used as a second major recruit training center until it was closed in 1982 and converted into the base for the USCG Pacific Area Command, the Eleventh Coast Guard District, the Marine Safety Office San Francisco Bay, the USCG Maintenance & Logistics Command Pacific and the Integrated Support Command Center - Alameda.
Although the Coast Guard is a part of the Department of Homeland Security, rather than the Department of Defense, it is by law and tradition a branch of the United States Armed Forces. As with all military members, Coast Guard personnel are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Due to the Coast Guard's unique mission set – 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. Due to its extremely unique, diverse and difficult mission, the U. S. Coast Guard is the most selective in recruiting and training standards. (As an example, the Coast Guard Academy is the only service academy that uses competitive admissions for prospective officer candidates).
During their time at Cape May, recruits are subjected to the usual "boot camp" atmosphere of direct instruction and intense motivation. The recruits are designated as Seaman Recruits (SR; E-1) and, uniquely to the Coast Guard among the services, advanced to the rank of Seaman Apprentice/Airman Apprentice/Fireman Apprentice (SA/AA/FA; E-2) upon graduation. 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" and hold a rank ranging from Petty Officer 2nd Class (E-5) up to Senior Chief Petty Officer (E-8). Coast Guard companies have approximately two or three company commanders and anywhere from 20 to over 100 recruits.
After completing boot camp, recruits can select their rate and then attend an "A" school. Not all graduates go straight to "A" school, many spend time in the fleet as "non-rates". "A" school is a long-term technical school providing specific instruction about a rate. The "A" schools last two to six months and usually occurs at TRACEN Yorktown, Yorktown, Virginia or TRACEN Petaluma, Petaluma, California. Some rates have an available apprenticeship training option instead of attending an "A" school, known as "striking".
- Advanced Individual Training
- The Basic School
- Military Academy
- Officer Candidate School
- Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC)
- Royal Military College, Duntroon
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- BMT extended, NCOs to learn new languages
- Coast Guard Law Enforcement Adopts New Pistol
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- Media:The Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook: Tips, Tricks, and Tactics for Surviving Boot Camp, by Sgt. Michael Volkin. Savas Beatie, 2005. ISBN 1-932714-11-1
- How to Survive Boot Camp (U.S.)
- Boot Camp: Today's Military
- Army Testing New Basic Training Schedule (U.S.)
- Canadian Forces BMQ (Basic Military Qualification)
- Canadian Forces (forces.ca)