I signed up as an Infantryman (11B) out of Guam where I had lived for 22 years. I joined because I’ve seen the difference with soldiers and how they carry themselves in their uniform.
They had discipline and structure! I’ll admit I didn’t know anything about the US Army Basic Combat Training or the Army in general.
I felt I had to become more discipline and give it a shot to serve my country and take charge of my own path. So I signed up for active duty and was shipped out from Guam 3 months later to attend my basic training at Fort Benning, GA where I would train for 4 months.
Be mindful I had never traveled on my own before so this was a big step for me, and for anyone that has never traveled alone be ready to take that big step!
If you don’t know anything about Guam it is a little island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that has a population around 168,000 people. Imagine that… Leaving something I knew my whole life to go to a place I never been to and transition to a soldier. Wasn’t that easy!
The reason I say that is because for anyone that signs up to become an active duty soldier like myself, be prepared to take that same big step. You will be stationed at a place you never been to and meet a whole bunch of different people you never seen in your life.
Arriving At Fort Benning
So after a 23 hour flight and butterflies rushing through my stomach I had arrived to Georgia. I then got on a bus that shuttles trainees and soldiers from the airport to Fort Benning 30th AG Reception Battalion.
The 30th AG Reception Battalion receives, process, and ships newly arrived soldiers to their respective Battalion for training. The 30th AG also rehabilitates injured soldiers and separates soldiers who do not meet the Army Standards.
That whole bus ride I was nervous from hearing all the stories of Drill Sergeants rushing the bus and just screaming at the top of their lungs for no reason. Luckily when I got to Fort Benning none of that happened. Yet…
When I arrived one of the cadre took me to the Dinning Facilities Administration Center (DFAC) to get late chow then let me call a family member to let them know I had arrived safe. They give you one minute to make that phone call then they take your phone away.
After my phone call they took me to the Amnesty Box where they leave you to yourself and allow you to throw any contraband you might have. Contraband are objects or things that are not allowed on your person while training. (ex: Tobacco Products, knives, food you brought with you, etc…)
If caught with contraband you will have disciplinary action done. Just don’t have anything your not supposed to have on your person.
When done with the Amnesty Box you will be escorted to your temporary barracks where you will stay until completely done with in-processing at the 30th AG. In-processing takes about 4 days. It involves everything from gear issue, barber shop, dental phase1, finance, issuing of CAC Card, hearing, pick up of supplies at the PX(ex: shampoo, soap, running shoes, etc… )
Once done with the in-processing part comes the fun part!
After all the in-processing you then get bussed down to Sand Hill where you will live for the next 4 months of your life training to become a US Infantry Soldier. Its not the type of sand your thinking! Nothing like the white sand you see at beaches.
When I arrived to my Battalion where my barracks were located the screaming began. All I saw was the Drill Sergeant run to the bus and get on and kept yelling at everyone to get of the bus and all we had was a second to grab all our belongings. From there I knew it was going to be a long 4 months.
When we got to our barracks room they made us dump out all our gear we got issued and inspected them. All of them down to your socks! We then made our bed and bedded down.
The Transitioning Process
On what they call Day Zero we wake up at 0400 (4am) and jump in to our Physical Training Uniform (PT) as quick as we can then shave and brush our teeth. We then run outside and get in to formation where they then teach us how to do the different Physical Training Exercises.
The hardest month of basic training will be of course the first month. Getting used to waking up at 0400 everyday and just doing physical activity all day takes some time to adapt to.
To be honest the way I made Basic Training easy is I chose a good group of guys that I can click with and just stuck it out together. Sometimes when we felt like quitting there was always one person in our group that will bring our motivation up and make us drive on.
You’ll realize that when its all said and done these group of guys you went through all the pain and tears with will soon be called your Brothers!
During the first month you will do the gas chamber, your first ruck march, the obstacle course, and a lot of running. The gas chamber for me was something that hit me the hardest. You go in and say your last name and your SSN while your mask is off and I have to say, saying my last name was the hardest thing I had to do.
Don’t be afraid though because the pain is only temporary. I’m still alive today to tell my story! LOL! AS for the ruck march its pretty intense if you never done one. Its only 35 lbs. in your ruck but it will feel like a 100 lbs. at the end.
Your legs and shins will be in pain but doing it all the time in basic training you’ll eventually build up to it and become a rucking champ!
There is a lot of things you will have to get used to like eating only 3 times a day and no snacking in between and not much sleeping. For basic combat training it is a One Station Unit Training (OSUT) which to me is awesome.
One Station Unit Training (OSUT) is a training program in which recruits remain with the same unit for both Basic Combat Training (BCT) and Advanced Individual Training (AIT). Immediately after BCT, the unit seamlessly transforms from a BCT Unit into an AIT Unit.
The good thing about it is you stay with the same Drill Sergeants so its going to be the same person yelling at you all the time. At that point though you should already be used to those Drill Sergeants so the yelling just seems to be a normal thing from them.
A big thing I have to put out though is listen to everything your Drill Sergeants say and put out because they know what they are talking about and when I deployed everything I was taught by them I put in to good use.
When doing the 12 mile ruck march, a way that made me get through it was just thinking about the end and that I don’t have to be in this place in a couple more weeks. Take it one step at a time and stay motivated! If you see someone struggling help them out because one day they will be there for you when you need it.
When it came time for my turning blue ceremony and graduation day I have to say I couldn’t feel anymore accomplished. Turning Blue is when the Infantryman gets his blue cord placed on his right shoulder and becomes apart of the brotherhood of Infantrymen and has successfully completed OSUT.
When I transformed from a Civilian to a Soldier I finally got to feel how the other Soldiers felt when I saw them when I was a civilian. The feeling was good and I walked with my head held high and I finally gave myself a purpose in life which was serving my country.
If you feel that Basic Combat training is just to hard and isn’t for you, you should try out my #1 Recommended Program. You don’t need to go to Fort Benning and push your body to the limits.
Thank You so much for reading and I hope my personal experience was of some kind of help. For any questions you might have feel free to comment below. Your feedback is much appreciated.