5 Tips to Survive Basic Training

machine-gun-1245745If you plan on joining the United States Army, Army Reserve or National Guard, you’ll need to complete basic combat training. Also known as Initial Entry Training, it’s a comprehensive training course that covers both physical and mental aptitude. Basic training is conducted at one of several Army posts throughout the U.S. Being that it’s specifically designed to be intense and challenging, many recruits may struggle to complete it. However, following the tips outlined below can help you survive basic training.

Don’t Speak Unless Spoken To

This is a rule that all recruits show follow during basic training. When your drill instructor is speaking, you should be giving him or her your complete undivided attention. And unless your drill instructor speaks to you, remain silent and listen. Following this otherwise simple rule will go a long ways in helping you complete basic training.

Work as a Team

When you first arrive at basic training, you may feel inclined to ignore other recruits and focus on yourself. As you progress, however, you’ll notice that drill instructors encourage and emphasize teamwork. Whether you’re hiking a 10-mile course in full gear, making your way through an obstacle course, etc., you should always help other recruits.

Don’t Drink or Smoke

If you smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol, you should kick these habits before entering basic training. Neither alcohol nor tobacco are allowed at basic training. You’ll have access to 3 meals a day — breakfast, lunch and dinner — but you won’t “smoke breaks” in between. Therefore, it’s a good idea to recruits to break their bad habits before entering basic training. Doing so now is significantly easier than kicking your habits under the watchful eye of a drill instructor.

Stay Mentally Focused

Completing basic training is 80% mental and 20% physical. While you’ll still need some physical strength and endurance to succeed, it’s the mental part where many recruits fail. Create a mindset in which you look towards the end goal of completing basic training. If you encounter an obstacle, find the mental willpower to push yourself.

Mark Your Issued Items

When you arrive at basic training, you’ll be issued many items for which you are responsible of keeping track. If you lose one of these items, you’ll be required to pay for it. This is why it’s a good idea to mark your initials on these items. Using a marker, label the items issued to you with your initials. If they happen to get lost or stolen, this will increase the chance of a successful recovery.


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