“This is my rifle. There are many others like it, but this one is mine. My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my rifle is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless.” In the Vietnam War movie “Full Metal Jacket,” viewers see that boot camp — also called basic training — is an intense and purposeful part of Army recruit development. What do you really know about United States Armed Forces boot camp?
If war is hell, boot camp is the spark that lights Lucifer’s fire. It’s here that green recruits say farewell to their individuality and learn to embrace a true team spirit. Together, they succeed, and together they fail. New soldiers face extreme scrutiny, embarrassment and sometimes a lot worse. What do you know about the psychological conditioning that’s involved in new soldier acclimatization?
Each phase of basic training is meant to challenge and develop specific attributes in new recruits. Are you familiar with the various phases of boot camp? And do you know how long these phases last? Some new soldiers say that boot camp is a breeze — others suffer in the merciless physical and mental hurdles that these challenges pose.
Drop and give me 20 in this tough boot camp quiz! If you can’t suffer through, maybe it’s because, as Gunnery Sgt. Hartman would say, “You're so ugly you could be a modern art masterpiece!”
In the U.S. military, "boot camp" is recruit training, or basic training. It is the intitial round of mental and physical training that turns civilians into soldiers.
Basic training mentally conditions recruits to follow orders, and to do without hesitation. This mental conditioning process is often merciless and unforgiving.
There is no individuality in boot camp, so that nice rainbow-colored mohawk? It’s gone. Troops must have their heads shaved so that they look alike. You are now a faceless cog in the machine of war.
There are two primary segments to basic training in the U.S., including Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training. Both are essential to the men and women who make contributions in times of both peace and war.
They are both loved and loathed by recruits. They are the drill sergeants, and if you cross them in any way, you’ll be running three extra miles with a fully-loaded pack.
Basic training is 10 weeks long. Recruits who survive the ordeal are on their way to becoming capable soldiers.
The M16A2 is the Army’s standard assault rifle. In basic training, recruits must learn this weapon inside and out.
Every day of boot camp, recruits take part in PT, or physical training. Because if you aren’t in good shape, you can’t possibly outrun a bloodthirsty Communist in combat.
The first week of basic training is classroom instruction, in which new recruits get a feel for expectations and procedures. Then, the fun stuff begins.
Boot camp is meant to created espirit de corps, a feeling of shared destiny and pride in new soldiers. They learn the value of self-sacrifice and discipline.
In America, women don’t have to shave their heads like male recruits. But they do have to wear short hair or keep their hair pinned up.
At the end of each day of boot camp, it’s lights-out, when the lights are turned off and recruits head to bed. They need the rest, because the next day they’ll have to do it all over again.
It makes basic training sound like a tea party — Reception Week is the first week of basic training, in which recruits simply settle into their new routines. After Reception Week, things get much harder, particularly for recruits with little physical conditioning or discipline.
In boot camp, everyone gets what’s called a battle buddy. It has nothing to do with combat — it’s actually a discplinary concept that ensures no one travels around base alone.
In the Red Phase, the drill sergeant scrutinizes every bit of the recruit’s behavior. Every lapse in judgment or improper action is punished.
The U.S. Army uses classroom instructions to each of seven core values, including loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage.
In foot drills, recruits learn to march together. After a lot of painstaking practice, they’ll be able to stomp right into the middle of a battlefield without thinking twice about it ... or something like that.
Before they get real guns, some soldiers receive "rubber ducks," which are fake rifles with the same approximate weight and heft of a real rifle.
In the Army, drill sergeants should be referred to as "Drill Sergeant". Forget this important bit of discipline and you’ll be doing countless push-ups.
“Field stripping" refers to disassembling a weapon, cleaning it, and then putting it back together. If you can’t field strip your rifle, you should probably stay off the battlefield.
Unarmed combat training is hand-to-hand combat. This is where recruits begin learning to kill.
The Blue Phase of basic training is the physical endurance phase. Each recruit must pass a standardized fitness test or suffer through retraining sessions.
An Entry Level Separation, or ELS, is when a recruit can’t or won’t perform required duties in boot camp. An ELS happens only in extreme circumstances.
After weeks of waiting, in the White Phase recruits get to fire their rifles. In most cases, this is an M16 or M4 rifle.
In the Red Phase, recruits learn to rappel down the confidence tower. Those who fall from the tower are unceremoniously buried in unmarked graves, and we probably made that part up.
There’s no chow hall during some of the toughest parts of boot camp. Troops eat MREs, or meals-ready-to, eat instead.
Soldiers don’t just learn how to wear gas masks — they have to take them off and then withstand the effects of the gas. It’s yet another way recruits are toughened for war.
The MOS is a military occupational specialty. Every soldier has different strengths, and the MOS ideally will match those strengths.
CLS, or Combat Life Saver, is a set of first aid skills that every soldier must master. CLS skills teach recruits to stop bleeding and keep their comrades alive so that they can die another day. Possibly tomorrow. You just never know, you know?
Once basic training is over, graduates begin AIT, or Advanced Individual Training. Then they begin in earnest their mission as future elected office candidates.