The short answer: 9 weeks. It takes just 9 Weeks to transform a civilian into a soldier.

Ever wonder what it takes for the Army to transform a civilian into a soldier? Perhaps, you’re considering joining the Army yourself. You may be wondering how long is Army Basic Training and what to expect. One thing you can expect is to spend at least nine weeks in Basic Training.

Army Basic Training 9-Week Overview

Basic Training is broken down into three different phases, Red Phase, White Phase, and the Blue Phase.

Red Phase Week 1

In Week 1, the recruits meet their drill sergeants at the reception center. After the introduction, recruits are transported to their company training area.

One of the first exercises recruits are subjected to is the bag drill, which entails their bags being dumped into a big pile. Pressured by a short time limit, the recruits must locate their personal items. Immediately, the recruits learn the importance of working together.

In this first week, recruits learn how to march, stand at attention, and other basic military movements. The also began classroom training on the Army Core Values, race relations, sexual harassment, and other subjects.

Red Phase Week 2

During week 2, recruits receive training in unarmed combat, first aid, map reading, and using a compass. The skills learned are demonstrated on a Compass Course, where recruits must find various locations throughout a wooded area.

Victory Tower and Teamwork Development Course also occur during week 2. Victory Tower involves rappelling a 50-foot wall and conquering a series of obstacles at extreme heights. Through negotiating a series of barriers, squads learn to work together in the Teamwork Development Course.

Red Phase Week 3

During the Red Phase, recruits receive hands-on instruction involving person-carrying methods and physical problem-solving.

Recruits learn how to use their gas masks. Each recruit must enter a gas chamber and take their mask off before exiting, causing them to experience the effects of the gas.

During Red Phase Week 3, recruits are issued an M16A2 assault rifle or the M4 carbine. They learn basic rifle marksmanship, how to disassemble, clean, and reassemble the weapon.

White Phase Week 1

During White Phase Week 1, recruits begin firing their weapons. Depending on their demonstrated skill level, recruits earn either a Marksman, Sharpshooter, or Expert badge. Other weapons the recruit becomes familiarized with include hand grenades, grenade launchers, and machine guns.

White Phase Week 2

During the second week of the White Phase, recruits are familiarized with anti-tank/armor weaponry and other heavy weapons.

The recruits continue to receive intense physical training, as well as drill and ceremony training. At the end of the White Phase, recruits must demonstrate proficiency with the various weaponry in which they trained. Drill sergeants conduct an initial evaluation of the recruits’ physical fitness level during this phase.

Blue Phase Week 1

The Blue Phase is a culmination and the most challenging of all the training phases. Recruits receive their final physical training (PT) test. If a recruit does not pass the PT test, they may not be allowed to continue field training with the rest of the platoon.

Blue Phase Week 2

Week 2 of the Blue Phase involves a field training exercise. In the field training exercises, recruits must demonstrate their ability to be aggressive, fearless, intelligent, and use common sense. The drill sergeants only observe and provide advice as necessary.

Recovery Week

Following their field training exercises, non-infantry recruits move into the final week of training, which is called recovery week. Recruits make any necessary repairs to any items they are not taking with them into Advanced Individual Training (AIT). The platoon barracks are cleaned and prepared for the next group of new recruits. Recruits are fitted into their dress uniform and prepped for their graduation ceremony.

In week 9, Infantry recruits continue the training began in week 8. Upon completion of week 9, recruits graduate and move on to AIT.

At the end of week 9. You are officially a US Army Soldier. Now, it’s time to refine your specific skills in AIT (Advanced Individual Training).

Advanced Individual Training

In Advanced Individual Training, recruits receive training for their specific military occupational specialty (MOS). The length of AIT varies depending on the recruits’ MOS. AIT can last anywhere from three weeks to almost two years.

At the start of AIT, recruits are in Phase IV. Once they move into Phase V, recruits may receive additional privileges, such as applying for off-post passes or using their cell phones. In Phase V Plus, recruits may walk about the base without having a battle buddy present or stay off-post overnight on weekends.

At the end of nine weeks of Army Basic Training, the civilian who enlisted in the Army becomes a soldier. Nine weeks is the answer to how long is Army Basic Training unless extenuating circumstances cause a recruit to be recycled because of problems progressing through the various training phases. Recruits spend additional time training for their MOS in AIT after graduating from Basic Training. 

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