How to Survive Army Boot Camp. Basic training is designed to do three basic things: to break you down; to instill, in the absence of individuality, a feeling a being part of a whole and to build you back up, both physically and mentally. When you graduate from Army Basic Training, you feel part of a greater whole. You learn to depend on your fellow soldiers and you do your best to make sure that they rely on you. This is the purpose of your first eight weeks in the Army. Surviving Army boot camp is easier if you know what you are getting into ahead of time.

The Army Reception Center will be your first introduction to Army life. In the reception station, you will get your Army haircut, your basic issue of clothing, your immunizations and the start of your Army 201 file (your Army records folder). Plan to be in the reception area between two and three days. They will allow you little sleep and will keep you moving. Expect to be yelled at; this is done to remind you that you are now Army property. Don't let them wear you down. Everyone gets the same treatment.

After reception, you will be taken to your basic training company. There you will meet your drill instructor.This will not be a pleasant experience, but don't take it personally. If your drill instructor screams in your face and makes you do what seem to be a million push-ups, they are really not harassing you. They are sizing you and your fellow soldiers up. They want to see how physically fit you are and the degree of individuality in you. Grin and bear it. Look at how other soldiers are taking it to get your mind off of how scared, confused and tired you feel.

The first four weeks are designed to break you down. You will exercise and train hard in military subjects such as Drill and Ceremonies and physical training. You will have classes on other military subjects as well. You will sleep little. You may feel that you will never get through this and graduation feels like it will never come. Hold on-you will make it.

During the next four weeks, the Army will build you back up. The harassment will lessen as you get closer to graduation. The last four weeks you will learn to shoot and then qualify with your weapon. You will practice for your physical training test. You will also be taught other military subjects and do your bivouac, which is when you go out in the field for a few days while practicing fire an maneuver exercises and field sanitation.

The week before your graduation, you will wonder where the time went. You will be a different person than when you arrived. You may feel that you have always been in the Army. Most of this week will be Drill and Ceremonies as you practice for graduation. You will look at the new trainees and laugh when you think of what they are going through.

When graduation day comes, you will probably feel the best you have ever felt in your life. You will most likely be in the best shape you have ever been in, and the friendships you made in boot camp may last a very long time. When you march down the parade field on graduation day, you will no longer be what came into the reception station a mere eight weeks ago. You will now feel like a soldier.

Tip

  • Don't talk back. Sometimes the drill instructor will ask you questions that have no answer. He or she wants to test your mettle. Answer with a small smile as if you know the game they are playing.

Tip

  • Don't break the rules. Don't smoke. Don't leave the Company area without permission. The last thing you need is a discharge that says "unable to adapt." Keep your any racial or cultural prejudices to yourself; the Army does not tolerate them.