If a family member or loved one has recently enlisted in the US Army, you are probably wondering what to expect when they head off to basic training. Below, we detail some of the best pointers for coping with your loved-one’s absence, and supporting them in their challenging, but exciting  time in basic training.

U.S. Army privates motivate their teammates as they compete in a hand-to-hand combat competition during Army basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C., Aug. 9, 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Desiree N. Palacios) (Released)

How Long Will Basic Training Last?

The length of training will vary based on your soldier’s Military Occupational Specialty. Basic combat training should last 10 weeks, while Infantry and Army OSUT training can extend the training time to 14+ weeks, depending on their chosen specialization.

If you are waiting to hear from your soldier, don’t forget that they do not start their basic training immediately. Rather they undergo Basic Training Reception for the first one to two weeks. These days do not count towards their training, but are used to assign them to a unit and to prepare them for training. Once they arrive at their location for basic training, they will be able to call you and let you know their location and that they have arrived safely. After this period they should be able to give you a permanent address for mailing purposes.

What is the Best Way to Stay in Touch?

Since phone and internet access are limited to non-existent when soldiers are in their basic training, you may wonder how you can contact them and show your support. The amount of phone time available will vary depending on the unit to which they are assigned, but don’t plan on receiving calls any more than a few minutes once a week.

One of the easiest ways to stay in touch with your loved one while they are away at basic training is to send them some old-fashioned snail mail! Check out some of these pointers to ensure that your mail gets to your recipient, and to find out what you can and cannot send to your soldier.

Can I Attend Graduation?

Completing basic training is a great accomplishment that should be celebrated by both the soldier and their family! Immediate family members are welcome to attend the graduation ceremony﹣a great opportunity to show your support and take pride in your loved one’s accomplishment.

The dates of graduation will vary based on the start date and and the unit your soldier is in. You can check out our Graduation Dates page for the most updated information out there. If you are in the immediate family you should receive a packet in the mail detailing the specific graduation details several weeks before the event.

Sending your daughter, son, wife, husband, boyfriend or girlfriend away to basic training can be difficult, but knowing what you are getting into can help make it an easier transition. Learn more about basic training locations and phases on our website, and contact us via Facebook or Twitter with any questions or support that you may have or need!

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