Hello future soldiers, I am going to give you a low down on how basic really is from my experiences at Ft. Sill!
PT: You will wake up at 0500 Mon-Sat and have first formation at 0530. You will do PT from 0600-0700. PT consists of Pushup/Situp drills, 4-4 the core ( Ab workouts), and 30/60', 60/120's, or ability group runs on run days. Do NOT doubt your physical ability. I was one of the people who was literally freaked out about the idea of all the physical activity I was going to have to endure. Reality: We hardly ever got smoked, the physical activity is at a minimum (Drill Sergeant and Battery dependent). Of course, the more you exercise before you ship out for basic the better you will do.
Barracks: In my barracks we had 57 people. This number solely depends on the amount of people in your platoon, or if you share with another platoon as I did. The barracks at Ft. Sill are pretty spacious. You will have room to move about and won't be too cramped up. Shaving- If you are in one of the barracks with a lot of people, wake up early; there are only a limited amount of sinks/time. SHOWER! Nobody wants to smell you, trust me. Ft. Sill is incredibly hot during the summer (100+), you will smell of sweat and body odor. Don't be that guy who everyone says smells. Fireguard- You will occasionaly throughout the week have to pull fireguard. Fireguard is merely walking around the barracks acquiring a headcount/cleaning.
Food- The DFAC at Ft. Sill is actually pretty good. You have time to eat, don't choke yourself. They have types of food for everyone.
Heat- Drink lots of water! Stay hydrated! You WILL be out in the sun for a long period of time and will lose most of your water through sweat.
Ruck Marches- Rucking was the worst part of BCT for me. Tell your parents/friends to send you shoe inserts for your boots, initial issue boots arent that great. Buy padded socks for the PX if you easily get blisters, which I did. You will do a 4,6,8,12, and 16K. Don't be scared however, you will be rucking a lot inbetween those marches and will get used to it. In all honesty, the 4k was the worst for me!
Gas Chamber- Don't be afraid of this, yes it isn't a pleasant experience, but it doesn't last very long. Take shallow breaths, the bigger the breath you take, the more it will hurt.
Basic Rifle Marksmanship- Learn the four fundamentals and know how to implement them! Don't be trigger happy, make sure you're aiming at the right place.
Drill Sergeants- All DS's are different. Some may be nice, some may be more "mean". They however will not treat you wrong. They are your leaders and teachers, respect them and pay attention! Stand at parade rest when talking to one and always have a battle buddy! Respect them and they will respect you.
Tricks of the trade: Sleep in your sleeping bag! By doing so, you will not have to make up your bed every morning, trust me, its time consuming! Merely place it on top of your bed and sleep in it! While doing Ruck Marches, find a way to place your rifle that makes it the least heavy while making it still at the position of Low Ready. DFAC- If you eat fast enough, your DS's may allow you to go for seconds! Do PT on your own in the barracks, it will greatly help you out on your PT test!
In conclusion, BCT is not as bad as it is made to seem. It is all a mental game. Get over the thought of not being able to do it, you can! BTW- Reception is incredibly boring at FT. Sill, be prepared to be there for more than three days! HAVE FUN! You will make life long friends there, enoy this experience while it lasts.
Open to questions, ask away!
At the moment I'm pretty out of shape. I'm a big guy(6'7") and I can do push-ups and a few pull-ups, but I can't do any sit-ups. Not even one. What would you suggest I do to try and get ready for Basic?
The answer is simple, do more sit ups! If you literally can't do one sit up, start out of by doing crunches. Gradually progress until you can do normal sit-ups and then start doing more. Do them throughout the day. If you are an avid TV watcher, do them during the commercials. Keep increasing the maximum number you do when it starts to feel easy. You can do it!
Tricks of the trade: Sleep in your sleeping bag! By doing so, you will not have to make up your bed every morning, trust me, its time consuming! Merely place it on top of your bed and sleep in it!
Very helpful idea - thank you for that.
I got a couple questions...
--Do they give you a sleeping bag? And do you just straighten it out on your bed or do you roll em up and stuff em away?
--what time would i have to do PT in the Barracks? During AIT? I figured during BCT you would be doing plenty......or does PT become more relaxed during the later phases?
--You said to wake up early because of limited time for sinks/shower. So i'm assuming you're allowed some sort of alarm? Wrist watch or something? (and wouldn't that make people mad that are trying to sleep?) Would it be better to just take a shower at night?
Thanks for the help, much appreciated.
Sleeping bag- Yes, you are issued one that comes with a compression bag, merely roll it out and stuff it in in the morning.
PT- You will have free time at the end of the duty day to do PT. Mostly only push up/situps unless your DS's allow you to run on the drill pad.
Shower- Yes, you can use your alarm on your watch, it doesnt wake people up, or have the fireguard wake you up.
Great info! I leave for Fort Sill in a few weeks and this definitely helps me get my head around the challenges that await me there. So thanks!
(1) About how heavy are the packs? (I'm thinking it wouldn't hurt to start getting myself accustomed to lugging around all that gear)
(2) Boot Inserts and Padded Socks - You suggest to have people send them to you. . .Can you simply bring them through in-processing?
(3) What kind of contact are you allowed with the outside world? (Just curious I have a wife and son so this is important to me)
(4) I saw a video on youtube where a soldier was apparently put in a sleeper hold during BCT at Sill, as part of training. True? If so, what did you learn from the experience?
(5) Do you get to fire the M2 Browning .50 Cal machine gun?
(6) What kind of bugs / spiders do you get around Fort Sill?
(7) Kind of silly, and I think I know the answer, but are the barracks air conditioned ?
1) The ruck sacks are about 15-30 pounds, depending on what your chain of command makes you place in them.
2) The ones you can buy in the PX arent ideal. Have people send you a good pair of inserts in the mail. I am unsure on having them on inprocessing, but I don't think it would be a problem.
3)This solely depends on your drill sergeants. Some platoons in my battery had them all day on Sunday, some of them had them for an hour. You will get to talk to your family, don't worry! Encourage them to mail you as well, mail is a great morale booster in BCT!
4)When it comes to combatives at Ft. Sill, we didn't really do them. It's hot, they didn't want us outside for too long, so we were taught the very basics, and when I mean basics, I mean hardly anything at all.
5) We did not get to fire the 50 cal unfortunately. From my understanding the army is not using them during BCT, at least at Ft. Sill anymore.
6) Ft. Sill has creepy wildlife. The hornets are HUGE, the spiders are big, there are tarantulas at night, the mosquitos(sp?) are huge, ect.
7) The AC worked, but with the outside temperature being over the 100's, it was 80 in our bays the entire cycle, it still feels much cooler than the outside however!
What, if anything, did you bring with you to BT?
What were you allowed to keep?
What WOULD you have brought, knowing what you know now?
There is so much info on the web about this, but it's different for everyone; figured I'd get your perspective.
Sorry that it has taken me so long to reply to this, I am currently in AIT for 68W and have little time to use my laptop.
1) I brought two changes of clothes, my cell phone and charger, personal hygiene items and my orders. I would advise to pack light, you have to carry all the items you own, including the items you acquire in reception on your first day of basic which can get pretty heavy. I was allowed to keep none of it actually. They take your personal bag and lock it in a closet until you graduate. You will be able to use your phone on Sundays usually, depending on your Drill Sergeant.
Thank you for giving us a overview of fort sill, I'll be heading out to fort sill in mid may. After we complete BCT and before we go to AIT what do we do in the meantime?
Just wondering, is BCT any different for females than males? Are women housed seperately? What happens after graduation, do you go right to AIT? When will you find out where you will do AIT? When during AIT do you get your orders?