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Military Boot Camp Overview

Something to consider about your first day of military boot camp is that it really is going to be your initiation into a whole different life. There's that old saying "this is the first day of the rest of your life." Well, for most of us, it's just a saying, but your first day of boot camp marks the beginning of a change that will likely affect the rest of your life.

Training begins immediately, and from there, you will develop the habits that help you to be a healthy, fit and productive individual for the rest of your life, regardless of how your career with the military develops.

The training includes not only physical training, but training in first aid, in water survival and marksmanship. Your education will include learning about the history and tradition of the military and you'll be taught the values that make for a strong and capable service member. Drill instructors will stress the importance of teamwork and of achieving objectives together with your unit. These are the values which will keep you and your fellow soldiers alive on the field.

Boot camp typically takes place over a course of six to thirteen weeks, and is going to be one of the most intensive periods of your career in the military. The basic idea of boot camp is to chip away at the civilian in you and reduce you to the raw material from which soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coasties are built.

Consider the tips below as your "Cheat Sheet" on boot camp. These are the unwritten rules that, nevertheless, will help you get through it in one piece:

  • Keep your sense of humor (just not around the DI/Drill Instructor) and stay positive. No matter how well you do, everyones get their butts kicked by the DI now and then. It's just part of the process.
  • No excuses, ever. Unless you're directly asked to explain yourself, trying to explain yourself is only going to give your DI an opening to really lay into you! Just suck it up with a "Yes, SIR!"
  • Do what you're told exactly when, where and how you're told to do it. Creative problem solving is rewarded on the field of leadership, not in basic training.
  • Five minutes early = on time. On time = five minutes late. That's the true definition of "military time". Be early, prompt and responsive.

Just remember, you're not the first to tackle basic training and you won't be the last. Hundreds of thousands of men and women just like you have made it through, and so can you. Roll with the punches and understand that your DI is only being rough on you now so that you can keep yourself and your fellow soldiers in one piece out on the field.

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