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.

Graduation Day!
Graduation Day!

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…”

17 thoughts on “BCT, AIT, OSUT”

  1. Basic in 2004 at Fort Jackson….Not Relaxin…I missed that part… We did get the heat, rain and sand though…

    They used to do AIT and Basic here at Fort Bliss. If you look on line there are 1SG’s adn SGM’s that did there basic “up on the mountain”. That is now the Logan Heights housing area. Love the pics xbrad.

    p.s. the ASU needs combat patches

  2. So you went to “the girls school”, huh?

    I’m of two minds on the combat patch for ASUs. I think it looks better without patches, but I’d still want some way of showing the “been there, done that” part.

  3. well the “Benning School For Boys” has a reputation, but Jackson was never soft. We were one made to drink an entire 2 qt canteen without stopping. We puked, then hsd to do pushups next to it. A marine Di went to prision for that (and other offenses).

    The Army’s new Drill SGT school is now located at Jackson. They live in hotel-style rooms (with maid service). This allows them to focus on training while relieving them of the stuff any BCT grad can do.

    Truly “Victory Starts Here”.

  4. Jackson wasn’t any fun back in 92. Ok, that’s a lie, I have some fond memories of Basic (not many, but there are some). One of my favorites was realizing that hydration really REALLY was important after being on the rifle range for 4-5 hours in heat cat 4, drinking two canteens per hour. I realized around hour 4 that I still hadn’t pissed, and didn’t need to even afterwards.

  5. Fort Jackson in 1973 was even less fun. about 60% of my BCT platoon were draftees. Draftees with attitudes. Even worse then might be expected because the draft had ended a couple of months before and they were the unlucky remnant. On a side note, I hold the distinction of being the first person from Broward County Florida to enlist in the brand spanking new “All Volunteer Army” (except for those remaining pesky draftees).

    There weren’t many restrictions on Drill Sergeants. They couldn’t hit you (unless they did so in ‘self-defense’) but they could make your life miserable. But the worse abuser of trainees I had the misfortune of encountering was our company’s mess sergeant. That dude was ruthless. 50 laps around the mess hall with two 25lb bags of sugar held above your head was the minimum punishment for any infraction. I had KP a total of 3 times during BCT and I have to tell you honestly after the first time I would have blown somebody not to have to do it again.

    My BCT company was not on Tank Hill, we were in the old wooden WWII barracks a few miles away. One of those could burn to the ground in about 15 minutes so Fire Guard wasn’t just a chance to bone up on your SMART book. The very worst part of our location was that we had to pass Little Egypt to get to the ranges. Little Egypt was great big huge piles of sand about 25 yards wide and 100 yards long. It was a favorite place of the Drill Sergeants. Two laps in full field gear could make the strongest of trainees cry.

    Ok, enough reminiscing! Good times, good times…

  6. I think I spent half my first enlistment in the dying cockroach.

    Did you ever “koalafy?” You have to hug a tree like a koala bear. Upside down.

  7. Nope, no koalafying. Spent lots of time in the front-leaning-rest position though. Also, walking was absolutely forbidden anywhere outside the barracks in the Company area. You were expected to run. You did not want a Drill Sergeant to catch you walking. In addition to an ass-chewing you were almost guaranteed to become on of the Road Guards on the next trip to the rifle range.

  8. Hey Brewfan! You brought back a lot of memeories! Particularly with Little Egypt!! I was there 10-73 to 12-73
    I was in E-10-02. How about you?

  9. Son of a gun,I,m a female who did basic on tank hill in 80 or 81 . You brought back a lot of nightmarish memories.I was skinny then so I had to do the leaning rest all the time.Yea they were’nt supposed to hit you but there were ways around that.I remember the “pit” and going up drag ass hill.We had male rill sgts who thought they had something to prove; believe me they did’nt. Do you remember going thru the “gas tent”?

  10. My Son is going to Ft. Benning 11X (OSUT), do I attend graduation after BCT or is there only one after AIT?

    1. Joe, for 11X, there’s just the one graduation after the AIT phase. As a practical matter, the whole thing is just one big basic training. I don’t really recall any difference between the two phases.

      Good luck and God bless to your son. It’s a hard life, but a good one.

  11. I was at Jackson in 1973. E-10-2. How about the squad leaders who were changed almost weekly???? I was in the old wooden barracks too. Fire watch was a definite necessity. Ever go to the movie theater or how about the PX and drinking military stamped beers standing up! Ha!

  12. Leslie Brewer ,

    My father was the Post CSM during 80-83 at Jackson. I went to Benning my sister tank Hill.

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