United States Army Basic Training (also known as Initial Entry Training or IET) is the program of physical and mental training required in order for an individual to become a soldier in the United States Army, United States Army Reserve, or Army National Guard. It is carried out at several different Army posts around the United States. Basic Training is designed to be highly intense and challenging. The challenge comes as much from the difficulty of physical training as it does from the required quick psychological adjustment to an unfamiliar way of life.
Basic Training is divided into two parts: Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training.
Basic Combat Training (BCT) consists of the first ten weeks of the total Basic Training period, and is identical for all Army, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard recruits. This is where individuals learn about the fundamentals of being a soldier, from combat techniques to the proper way to address a superior. BCT is also where individuals undergo rigorous physical training to prepare their bodies and their minds for the eventual physical and mental strain of combat. One of the most difficult and essential lessons learned in BCT is self-discipline, as it introduces prospective soldiers to a strict daily schedule that entails many duties and high expectations for which most civilians are not immediately ready.
Advanced Individual Training (AIT) consists of the remainder of the total Basic Training period, and is where recruits train in the specifics of their chosen field. As such, AIT is different for each available Army career path, or Military Occupational Specialty (MOS). For example, if an individual has an MOS of Human Intelligence Collector, they would be sent, following completion of BCT, to the Intelligence School at Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista, Arizona. If an individual instead had the MOS of Army medic, they would be sent, after BCT, to the Army Medical Department School at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. AIT courses can last anywhere from 6 to 52 weeks. Although many AIT schools don't center around combat the way BCT does, individuals are still continually tested for physical fitness and weapons proficiency, and upon MOS, may be subject to the same duties, strict daily schedule, and disciplinary rules as in BCT.
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