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How Long is Army Basic Training

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If you feel a strong desire to serve your country, a career in the army could be for you. Basic army training takes a civilian and turns them into a soldier. Known as Basic Combat Training (BCT), this 10-week course teaches new recruits basic tactical and survival skills, the principles of army life and military customs.

What is Army Basic Training?

Basic Combat Training is a three-phase process: phase 1 (red), phase 2 (white) and phase 3 (blue). During the red phase, recruits arrive for general orientation, get haircuts and receive their uniforms. After some basic tactical training, they learn about biological, chemical and landmine defense as well as rappelling (descending a near-vertical surface). Recruits are also taught about army heritage and the seven army core values: Loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. Finally, this phase requires recruits to take a physical fitness test.

The white phase covers basic rifle marksmanship, engagement skills and combat training and includes more rappelling. During this time, recruits develop peer relationships, which help build rapport and trust. This phase is designed to teach valuable skills and develop confidence.

The blue phases includes U.S. weapons training (automatic weapons and hand grenades) and puts recruits through a night infiltration course. Provided they pass all challenges and tests, successful recruits congregate for rites of passage. Tactical foot marches are included in each phase of BCT.

How Long is Army Basic Training?

BCT for all Military Occupation Specialties (MOS) in the army lasts 10 weeks. The red and white phases are each three weeks long and the blue phase lasts four weeks. After BCT, trainees move on to Advanced Individual Training (AIT) where the skills necessary for one's chosen field in the army are learned. The time spent training in AIT depends on the particular specialty and can be anything from four to 52 weeks.

How Much Money You Make in Basic Training

All military members are paid twice a month: on the first and the 15th of the month. The date of your first pay check during BCT depends on your arrival date. If you arrive before the 10th of the month, you'll get paid on the 15th. If you arrive after the 10th of the month, you'll be paid on the first of the next month (but you will receive all the pay you've earned up to that date).

Based on 2017 figures, the starting army basic pay rate (E1) is $19,198.80. You should be aware that pay is slightly lower for the first four months of army service. This rate does not include any bonuses, allowances or other benefits. Some military bonuses include quick shipping bonus (if you ship to training within 30 days of enlisting) and a bonus of up to $40,000 if you speak a particular language.


Claire Gillespie is a writer and editor with experience in law, business and PR. She has written about careers for many websites, including SheKnows and Reader's Digest.

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