All you need to know about Army basic training

General things to know


If you are a male then you are going to want to shave your head completely and shave your face. At Basic Training you are going to have to do this anyway so why not get used to it before hand. Females, you have a little more choice you do not have to shave your head but you are going to either want it short so that you don’t have to do anything about it or you are going to want it long enough to put it into a bun. But it is your choice so technically you can have your hair any length you want. The other thing that females have to worry about is the color of your hair. If you have any unnatural colors in you hair you are going to want to get rid of it, this means pinks, blues, purples, and non exotic colors including highlights. Your hair can be your natural color only.

-Physical Training

With your body you are going to want to get in shape. Ask your recruiter for a PT (physical training) chart to tell you how many push-ups, and sit-ups you are going to have to be able to do in 2 minutes along with how fast you are going to have to run your two mile. If you are having troubles in any of these categories you are going to want to ask your recruiter on the best ways to improve these. For me I sucked at everything so here are a few exercises I learned to help me with certain things. For my push-ups I started out at 8 when I went to basic training, as of the end of last years PT test I could do 50.

To get better at those you are just going to have to do a lot of push-ups. If you can’t do any at all you are going to want to start with inverted push-ups put your hands on a table or a desk and do push-ups. You are going to want to do these at least every hour or as much as you get a chance. Even when you get up to the passing amount you are going to want to be able to do more than that. So when you get more advanced find someone who is willing to work out with you. You start out on the floor and do 1 push-up then switch he does 1 push-up. Then your get back down and do 2, then he does 2. Do that until you get to 10 then work your way back down. When you think about it like that it does not seem like a lot but when you add it up you are doing 100 push-ups.

For sit-ups you are going to want to do what is called flutter kicks. To use your muscles even more you are going to want to wear heavy boots while doing this if you want to. So what you do is lay on your back, puts your hands under your butt, then lift your feet 6 inches off of the ground then start to flutter your feet up and down. Then to make it a little harder just hold your feet 6 inches off the ground then bring them all the way up and keep doing that but holding them at 6 inches for a little while.

For you run you are going to want some endurance so running around a track and having someone with a timer that has you run for a minute full speed then jog for a minute and do that till you cant walk anymore. I would do that once a week then for the rest of the week I would run 2 ½ miles every other day so that when you run your two mile your body is still expecting another ½ mile.  If you have any other questions or concerns about your PT speak to your recruiter or the RSP Cadre.


These are a few things that I would learn before you go to basic training because you are going to need to know them anyway. I would learn the ranking system because if you call a Specialist a Sergeant someone may take an offense to that and you may be pushing. The other thing that the Drill Sergeants liked to do when I was there was to quiz you in the lunch line. If you were the first in line they would give you a question what rank is…. Then you would have to answer it. If you answered incorrectly then you went to the end of the line. So know your ranking system, you can find that on google or get a chart from your recruiter (they may or may not have one). I would also know the Soldiers Creed. You can also find that online I will also put some of these charts or refrences at the end.  The last thing that I would learn would be the First Chorus and the Refrain of the Army Song. You are also going to want to learn the General Orders. After you know those then you can ask your recruiter for anything else that you may need.


Here is my advice for you for packing before you leave. Don’t pack a lot. I would pack a few pair of underwear, a few pairs of socks, and 2 sets of civilian clothing. You are going to get to Reception very late and they do not care that you are going to have to wake up early in the morning. I would suggest a small bag with small shampoo (conditioner), and a small body wash. Do not bring a lot because a Drill Sergeant is going to go through every piece of everything in your bag. You are going to have a chance to buy everything when you get there. I will put a packing list at the end of this.

-Once you get there

Once you get there you are going to get your bags then separate into male and female lines. Then you will go inside and fill out some paper work. Once you are done with the paper work then you will go into the next room and empty out your bag. The Drill Sergeants will check every pocket of everything so I would give up any tobacco, alcohol, drugs, or anything that can be thought of as a weapon. That includes small scissors, knives, guns, and handcuffs. If they find it then it will be much worse than you just throwing it away in the begginning.

Then you are going to walk up with everyone to your new home for the next week. Once you get there you are going to receive a pillow blankets and sheets so you can make your bed. Do not argue with the fireguards on where you are going to sleep just go to the bed change into pajamas quick and then go to bed as fast as possible. In the morning you will be woken up. Get dressed quickly (in the bathroom only) and make your bed. A Drill Sergeant will come in to get you for breakfast. Eat a lot and you may want to learn how to mix things together. The thing that I always ate was sausage gravy and buiscuts, eggs, and bacon. I would mix all of those together and eat it. When you are done with that you will probably go through a station that will get you clothing. You will go through so many stations including, Medical (shots and blood draw), clothing issue, ID cards, and many more. Once you are done with all of those stations (most likely on the last day) then you are going to learn what unit you are going to be joining, you will probably eat lunch, then your new Drill Sergeants will come pick you up with either busses, cattle trailors, or whatever they choose. The rest of it is your own experience and you are going to have to make it the best one that you can.

-Family and Friends

                The thing that made my experience at basic training so much easier was that my family and friends were there for me and supported me. I wrote letters every night to them and they wrote to me every day too. The only thing would be that I would tell them not to send me anything other than letters and PG-13 pictures. I would not try to get away with contriband because 98% of the time you will not get away with it. Once you get closer to the end you are going to learn different ways to get away with getting it but if you try to then you may get an article 15, and you don’t want that right before you are about to go home or even move on to AIT. Every day is hard and it will only get harder you want to have the most fun that you can with all of this and just remember that when the day is done you have done more than most Americans can even think of doing.

Road March
Road March

Refrences and Other things to know

-The Sodliers Creed

I am an American Soldier.
I am a Warrior and a member of a team.
I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values.

I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.

I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.
I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the
United States of America in close combat.
I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an American Soldier.

-The Army Song

First to fight for the right,
And to build the Nation’s might,
And The Army Goes Rolling Along
Proud of all we have done,
Fighting till the battle’s won,
And the Army Goes Rolling Along.

Then it’s Hi! Hi! Hey!
The Army’s on its way.
Count off the cadence loud and strong
For where e’er we go,
You will always know
That The Army Goes Rolling Along.

-General Orders

1st General Order

I will guard everything within the limits of my post and quit my post only when properly relieved.

2nd General Order

I will obey my special orders and perfom all my duties in a military manner.

3rd General Order

I will report violations of my special orders, emergencies, and anything not covered in my instructions, to the commander of the relief.

-The Ranking System

Warrant Officers

Enlisted Soldiers

-Packing List

Below is a list of items that you should take with you to Basic Training. Many have asked why they are taking some of these items. In short, all of the civilian items are taken for your time before the initial issue is given. At that point, 99% of the civilian items are taken and locked.

3-day supply of season-appropriate, comfortable clothing (no halter tops or ragged shorts) (This is needed as you may spend a good week in reception before getting clothing issued) 3 sets of white underwear 1 pair of comfortable shoes (running shoes will be purchased shortly after arrival or buy them first and wear them). 1 small suitcase/gym bag (Only bring the bag that held listed items and clothing worn to BCT) 2 locks (combination or padlock; additional locks with keys will be purchased at the Post Exchange {PX} after arrival) 6 pair of white, calf-length, athletic socks (additional socks will be purchased at the PX) Disposable/safety razor with blades (Shave before you get there, then buy these. You can not carry them on the plane) Shaving cream (optional for women) 2 washcloths (additional washcloths will be purchased at the PX) 2 towels (additional towels will be purchased at the PX) Toothpaste and Toothbrush with case Dental Floss Hairbrush or 6" comb (no point unless you want to scratch your back!) or you are female) Antiperspirant Flip-flops Personal Hygiene Items Shampoo Soap and Soap case Required Original Documentation Social Security Card Drivers License SF 1199A (Direct Deposit Form) signed by bank official (Bring two if you pay child support) Current marriage license (if applicable) Divorce Decree(s) (if applicable) Child(ren)'s birth certificate(s) Proof of citizenship (if not born in the USA) Documentation for any ROTC experience College transcript(s) Copy of lease for off-post quarters if married If married to another service member you must provide the name, SSN, and military address of spouse If enlisted with the loan repayment program, bring all promissory notes.

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-Pt Standards

Here is the website that you can look at with everything you may need to know on it

-Soldiers Handbook

This is one of the books that you will get when you go to basic training so you may want to look through it before you leave.

Comments 37 comments

emily 5 years ago

i have had ashma ever since i was 5 but im 12 now could i join the army

Bob 5 years ago

At twelve your have five years before you can even consider joining the army. However if you don't have a prescription inhaler when you turn 17 I doubt it will keep you from joining the army. Just don't volunteer the information that you previously had asthma to your recruiter or the medical folks at MEPs.

Novabab 4 years ago

I am an i join to army

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armygirl 4 years ago from Rushford, MN Author

You would have to talk to a recruiter to see if you are qualified

Heather 4 years ago

I am a sophomore female in high school and seriously considering joining The Army after I attend college. How did you know that The Army was right for you?

sophie 4 years ago

i am 15 and i allways wanted to join the army and prove to my friends that i can do something and that is to searve my country

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armygirl 4 years ago from Rushford, MN Author

Heather you need to do your research and remember that once you are in and you have signed that contract you cannot get out just because you don't want to do it anymore.

Sophie I would not do something just to prove to your friends this is something that you would have to want to prove to yourself. If you want to serve your country that is great but like I told Heather please make sure you do your research. Also if you are in a big city talk to one recruiter have your list of questions and write down his answers then just drop in to talk to another recruiter and write down his answers. A lot of recruiters lie!!!!

If either of you have questions you can private message me and I will give you all the answers I can or else I would say talk to your parents talk to recruiters (only a little) then listen to your head not your heart.

Recruit B11 4 years ago

I'll be heading to MEPs in about a week, I used to be involved with some drugs but am turning my life around, I can pass a piss test, but when you go to basic, do they do a blood test? Or hair follicle? Or is the blood drawing purely to see your blood type?

Susan 4 years ago

How many times do you shop at the Px during basic training?

nicola 4 years ago

I really want to join the army, is it good when you get into it, did you like your experience?

armygirl profile image

armygirl 4 years ago from Rushford, MN Author

Recruit you will be fine the blood draw is only for females to see if they are pregnant.

Susan you get to only when you need to so probably only 3 times when I was there but DO NOT BRING YOUR OWN. You will buy what you need there I would suggest bringing the clothes on your back and a change of underwear and that is it when you go there you will just have to throw it all away anyway. Including asprin or any other meds unless you need them.

Nicola - I am going to be honest with you I am in the National Guard and right now it is tough because I just had a baby girl and it is not as disciplined as I would have liked it to be but those people that you work with either on a daily basis or if you join the reserves or the national guard like I did on a monthly basis become your family. I wish that I would have gone active.

mlb21 4 years ago

Is the training hard?

Nicholi 4 years ago

Okay I cant seem to find a straight answer anywhere. Do they or do they not administer the Peanut Butter Shot at reception? The thick one that goes in your butt cheek.

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armygirl 4 years ago from Rushford, MN Author

mlb21 - Yes the training is very hard but it is totally worth it in the end.

Nicholi- Yes it is penicillin you get that in the first week you are in training

annie 4 years ago

Im 16 and considering of joining the British army many press ups and other enduring exercises do i have to do ?

i am on ESA 4 years ago

I am currently claiming on the sick for depression, been prescribed tablets but never took none of them but i feel fine enough to join the army, i smoke quite a lot 2 though :( even tho i am on the sick can i currently join????????????????????????? need to know asap ppl thanx a lot :) :)

Dana 4 years ago

I'm thinking of joining the army too, I started training myself a week ago but yet can't do any push-ups. Well, it's nevermind, I'll get them anyway. But what about peeing in public? Do they really force you to do it every day there? Sorry, but I heard that baths in army do not have doors or anything like that......It scares me a lot.

Bryan 4 years ago

I heard you shouldn't shave your head before going though, they give you crap for it

Military Police 4 years ago

Shave your head before you go .. So you can get used to it. They are going to make you shave it anyways. Unless you are a female, than you have to have it short, or long enough to be in a bun. Females can pretty much have what they want with their hair.

I would work on push-ups and running 2 1/2 miles and timing it. You have to run 2 miles when in basic, so having your body ready for another .5 miles will be for your benefit.

Push ups.. Get with a friend. Do 1.. Then have them do 1. Then do 2, then have them do 2. Do this all the way until you get to 1o.. Then work your way back down. It doesn't seem too strenuous, but when you look at the big picture, you've done 100 pushups.

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chi86 3 years ago

I need some help in making a decision on if I should join the army or not. Any opinions or comments would be great! So here is my situation: I am 27 year old female and over the past 11-12 years have been bouncing from job to job. I usually only stick around in them for 1-3 months before I move on to the next. I have a bachelor's degree in Communication from a university as well. Due to this it is very hard for me to pay my bills so of course I am back at home with my parents. My dad was a Marine and is completely against me joining b/c of my age, gender, and does not believe I would like military life at all. I went to a recruiter and took the practice test and they said I scored high and wanted me to take the real asvab. I have not taken it because of my families opinions, mainly my father's. I have been researching all over the internet to try and gain some clarity. Thanks for reading and for any input negative or positive it's all appreciated.

Im also joining 3 years ago

Chi86 - if that is your attitude I guess you should not join, its your life , its future , if you are affected on someones else opinion to run your own , i guess you will also not do any good in yor life.

Latria 3 years ago

I agree you are an adult and for one why can't you stay at a job long. You do realize once you join the military u can't decide in a month or so u want out. U sign a contract for 2 years or more. Your father may be right b/c being that u are a adult and don't have some stability in your life shows u really have not grown up much.

makala 3 years ago

I`m 17 and I'm thinking about join the army and I`m not very good at push-up because I had surgery on my right arm will that mass my training up and I'm going to start training today and join once I'm out of high school I want to stead up for my county! That's always been my dream. And I love helping others out i want a job that help me and others out as well do you guys think I would be good at this job my family steads behind me on whatever I won't to do.

Alice 3 years ago

thanks this really helped a lot and wow all that exercise I like to think I`m in shape but now that I read that you guys do all this in the army it has me thinking I really need to step my game up

pinkyboo 2 years ago

how much months is the first training

armygirl profile image

armygirl 2 years ago from Rushford, MN Author

It is 10 weeks

Danielle 2 years ago

Is there anyway I can email you to ask questions ? @ armygirl

Dana.T 2 years ago

I'm only 12and I'm seriously considering joining the army some people say it's too early to be picking what you want to do with your life and to just forget about it but I know what I want to do I want to serve my country are they right? Should I just forget about it ?

Jenny W. 2 years ago

I had a question. For females, do you have too do man push-ups or females?

juggernaut 2 years ago

If your using steroids , and your willing to stup using , can i still try out for the army?

armygirl profile image

armygirl 22 months ago from Rushford, MN Author

yes of course you can but let me warn you that the information that I provide to you will be outdated. I went to basic training back in 2007 and a lot has changed since then. E-mail me if you would like.

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armygirl 22 months ago from Rushford, MN Author

You need to do what is right for you. I decided when I was 16 that I wanted to join and signed the papers when I was 17. Chase your dreams, nobody else can choose your destiny.

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armygirl 22 months ago from Rushford, MN Author

They are the same standards across the board. Only hands and toes touching the floor and then lower yourself until your arms are at a 90degree angle. Then push yourself back up.

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armygirl 22 months ago from Rushford, MN Author

I would stop using and make sure they are out of your system before you go to MEPS.

Jessica 19 months ago

I am 16 and going to be a Junior in High School. It has always been a dream to serve my country. I really would like to join the Amry. I am slightly over weight and i have a very hard time doing push ups. I currently run at least 1.5 miles everyday and do a 20 minute core/situp workout. Should i start prepairing for fitness stuff now? And what are somethings I could start doing now to help me for when I am able to go to Basic Training?

curflumpy 14 months ago

You missed the whole first verse of the army song.

armygirl profile image

armygirl 4 months ago from Rushford, MN Author

You certainly can! When you turn 17 you can go and talk to a recruiter and they may have a program for you to join others in their pursuit as well and that person can help you get to where you need to be to get in.

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