Your Daring Guide to Surviving Military Basic Training

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The local recruiter has answered all your questions, you’ve chosen the branch best fitting you, the MEPs are done and you’ve taken the ASVAB. You signed a contract and now you’re playing the waiting game before you head offer to basic training. This is a nervous and excited time for most recruits, but it should also be a time of research.

When you’re waiting to be shipped to basic training, you need to start looking for ways to not only survive, but also thrive. While it will be one of the most difficult things you’ve ever done, it’s supposed to help prepare you for later in your military training. Here are some of the best things you can do if you want to make sure you survive basic training.

You Must Stay Busy. No Kidding.

There’s nothing worse than getting in trouble because you’re not busy. When you’re busy, you won’t get singled out by a drill sergeant to do something extra. Extra work could cut into your sleep or could wear you out physically. The best way to avoid anything extra is to stay busy.

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When there is down time, don’t relax. Instead, clean your rifle, study your materials and stay busy. You can’t even get caught trying to get extra sleep. Instead, look and stay busy and you won’t have to worry about extra detail.

Start Studying Right Now. Don’t Waste Another Minute.

Before you arrive at basic training, the best thing you can do is start studying. If you know certain things before you arrive, it can go a very long way to keep you from getting into trouble. The values of your branch, the rank structure, the creed, the general orders and the standard exercises are all things you should be familiar with. Your local recruiter should be able to help you with resources necessary to learn these things before you arrive at basic training.

Get The Right Mindset Now. You’re Never Going to be Right!

When you get into basic training, you have to get used to being wrong. Even when you’re right, your Drill Sergeant is more right than you. When they say something, you want to do as they say. Don’t call them anything except “Drill Sergeant” and expect them to confuse you and cause you to be very frustrated. This is a part of training and you don’t want to talk back, unless you like to do extra exercise.

Can’t Graduate If Not You’re Not Alive. So Stay Hydrated!

You are going to be told over and over again that you need to stay hydrated. It’s hard to really understand this until you’re there, but if you can accept the fact that you will lose far more water than expected every day, you will be better off. Drink plenty of water and when you think you’ve had enough, drink some more.

Early to Rise, Get Used to it.

This isn’t going to be a place where you can get up when you want or even at a time considered normal. You will be getting up before the sun most days and you need to be used to it. This can be a big shock for recruits coming in with a normal wake up time of 10am or later. You should be used to waking up early before you arrive at basic training or you may not survive.

Get in Shape Now!

If you go into the military in shape instead of limping through the physical fitness test, you’ll be better off. When you’re already in shape, there’s less of a chance of injury and you won’t get tired as quickly. It’s best to start running, doing push-ups and getting your workouts in now. Two workouts a day is a good start and they should be able an hour long each.


Don’t Get in Trouble Because of Luggage.

Your first day is going to be a hard one. It’s a huge change and you have plenty of things to get through this day. Drill sergeants will look at your luggage and you don’t want to get in trouble because of it. Plain black is your best choice, unless you like extra push-ups. Any bright colors, flowers, patterns or designer labels are just asking for trouble.

Don’t Lose Control of Your Weapon.

Even if you’re not as fast as someone else, you don’t want to drop your firearm. If you do, it could be a long time before you live it down and a lot of extra exercise. Many sure you become familiar with the safety of your weapon and make sure you have your weapon with you at all times. If you don’t follow the rules, you may come out of basic training thinking you just went through hell.

Lock Up Your Things.

If you don’t lock it up, you may be chasing all your things throughout the barracks trying to figure out where it all went. You have to lock anything up unless it’s not within your reach. This will keep you from losing sleep worrying about a drill sergeant ripping your things apart and dumping them all over the place. It will also keep you from having your things stolen from other soldiers unable to keep track of their own things.

Break Specific Habits Now Basic training isn’t the place for smoking, chewing or drinking. Even snacking can be a huge problem if it’s a habit. It’s time to break these habits now and get used to three meals a day, no alcohol and not tobacco. You should also get rid of anything sweet from your diet, as you won’t get dessert during basic training. If you don’t break these habits now, they will break them for you.

MREs Now Will Help Later.

You want to learn how to eat an MRE now before you show up at basic training. This will help it go down better when you get in the field and have to eat the MRE. Drill sergeants will likely give you about 10 minutes to eat your MRE, but it may take you about 15 minutes to open and heat the meal if you don’t know what you’re doing. Since this may be your breakfast, lunch and dinner, you need to practice now and get used to eating MREs before you arrive.

Listen to Your Mom, Label Your Things.

Recruits are not always honest and since you are responsible (even financially) for anything you lose or damage, some may steal from you, if they lost their own items. Not only should you lock things up, but you should also bring a black marker to label all of your things. Make the label clear and permanent to keep your things from getting stolen during basic training.

Last But Not Least, Do as You’re Told!

This one should be common sense, as it’s pretty common knowledge when you go into the military. You do as you’re told and you will be able to stay out of trouble more often than not. When you listen and take action quickly, you will have less to worry about.

There are plenty of things you should be prepared for when you enter into basic training. Your local recruiter isn’t going to prepare you for everything. However, they can provide you with resources and knowledge to help you get ready for this rigorous training.

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