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A basic training camp, often referred to as boot camp, prepares recruits for all elements of service – physically, mentally, and emotionally. It provides Service members with the basic tools necessary to perform the duties that will be assigned to them during the course of their term of service. Each of the Services has its own training program, with a curriculum adapted to the level of specialization of the role to be performed in the Armed Forces.
Boot Camp Basics – Before Boot Camp
Regardless of which branch of Service you choose, Basic Training is an intense experience. The goal of this training is not to “break” recruits. In fact, the combination of physical training, field exercises, and theory classes strengthen and empowers people. It is an arduous but rewarding process that many service members cherish for a lifetime.
To get out of boot camp successfully, you need to prepare physically and mentally. A daily routine of cardiovascular exercises, weight training, sit-ups, and push-ups are essential elements. You should also get in the habit of arriving early on a regular basis and sticking to a strict schedule. Another recommendation is to delegate your personal issues to family or friends so that you can focus on training. For example, you’ll need to figure out who will pay bills, collect mail, and manage bank accounts while you’re in boot camp.
Good to Know: With enlistment, you have a contractual obligation to complete training camp and serve. However, if you discover that it is incompatible with the service, you may receive an administrative discharge.
Boot Camp Basics: What You Can’t Wear
Proper luggage can ease the transition from civilian life to boot camp. The following list of things not to take can be helpful. Consult a recruiter for a comprehensive list.
Do not carry:
Expensive personal items such as cameras, phones, laptops, jewelry, etc.
Non-prescription drugs or drug use items
Weapons of any kind, including penknives
Obscene or pornographic material
Playing cards, dice, dominoes
Cigarettes or tobacco products
Good to Know: This list is general only. For more specific information, contact a recruiter
Boot Camp Basics: Orientation
While each service has different schedules and training requirements, the orientation process is basically the same for everyone. During this period, new recruits will likely need to:
Submit the enlistment packets (MEPS [Armed Forces Entry Processing Center] documents).
Undergo dental and medical exams
Receive uniforms and training equipment (shorts, sweatshirts, t-shirts, etc.)
Undergo the necessary haircuts (women can keep their hair long, as long as they can wear it in a regulatory manner)
Create direct deposit accounts for paychecks
From the orientation, the actual training begins. This varies according to the service and lasts from 7 to 13 weeks.
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