For the record, soldiers in the Army don’t go to “boot camp.” They go to Basic Training. The Marines and the Navy go to boot camp. The Air Force goes to day camp (just kidding, Cranky!)
We wrote earlier about individual common tasks that a soldier needs to know. That’s what basic training (to be specific, Basic Combat Training, or BCT) is all about. When a soldier graduates basic, he (or she) has passed a test on each one of these tasks. They are ready to start learning the specific skills for the job they joined the army for. This specialized job training is called Advanced Individual Training or AIT. Once you complete your AIT, you are awarded a Military Occupational Specialty, or MOS. This is the job that you’ll be doing for Uncle Sam.
Now, the Army has a couple of different flavors of basic training. They all teach pretty much the same thing, but are organized a little differently. I joined the Army as an infantryman. All infantrymen go to Ft. Benning, GA, home of the Infantry Center and School. The Army has lots and lots of infantrymen (compared, say to optometrists). It makes sense for them to be trained in one place. And since they are already there, might as well have them do their AIT there as a unit, as well. This is called One Station Unit Training, or OSUT. From the perspective of a young private soldier going through it, there isn’t a whole lot of difference between Basic and AIT, except maybe getting to shoot more weapons. Other jobs that go through OSUT include tankers and artillerymen.
For a lot of jobs in the Army however, there just aren’t enough folks going through training at any one time to warrant putting together a basic training class just for them. They end up going to BCT at some place like Ft. Jackson, SC. After their nine weeks of training, and following graduation, they are sent to wherever the schoolhouse is that teaches their AIT. It may be on the same post, or it may be across the country.
The surest way to show that you don’t have any experience in the Army is to try to tell your fellow soldiers about “This one time, in Basic…”