Week Five!!! Half way through basic training! Congratulations! Here's your survey for the week!
We've created these survey's using input from families that have been generous with their ideas to coincide with some of the activities that go on on base, don't worry if you're not sending them exactly during the week they were written for we realize that you won't even have a mailing address by the first week.
Believe it or not theft can be a problem in the barracks at Fort Leonard Wood as well as at other army bases around the United States. It’s sad to think that the very soldiers our sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends, sisters and brothers must depend on the most in the field may very well be the ones committing petty theft against them in the barracks, but it’s the truth.
There have been unconfirmed reports of personal clothing, ACU’s, credit cards, identification cards, electronics, safety glasses and a plethora of other items having been stolen out of the barracks.
Theft is a problem especially at Basic Training and during AIT. Actually, if you give it a few moments thought, it will still feel as wrong as it did a moment ago, but it might not be as surprising as it was. Depending on their age and life experience when they enter the army, soldiers at Basic and AIT may very well be earning more money than they've ever personally laid eyes on while they’re away.
At the same time, they’re given an opportunity to unload a bit of that cash at the PX, often on new iPod’s, Laptop’s, Tablet’s, high-end music equipment, headphones and, a new mini-wardrobe.
That’s a lot of temptation for some; and a pretty good reason to ensure any big-ticket items for most. After all, the average renters insurance policy doesn't even amount to $20 per month, at Fort Leonard Wood, soldiers in AIT are paying as much as $40 just for internet access.
Avoiding Theft in the Barracks
Label Your Belongings
There are of course things that trainees at Fort Leonard Wood can do to protect themselves against theft in the barracks. Soldiers should write their names on any item that doesn't have to be returned when they leave Basic Training or AIT. That means anything that they brought with them, and their ACU’s. Soldiers buy their own ACU’s at Fort Leonard Wood, and they have to replace what goes missing.
Secure your Belongings Against Theft
The packing list for Fort Leonard Wood includes three combination locks. Soldiers need to be using these locks and securing their belongings. Nobody is going to take responsibility for anything that comes up missing. Therefore, all belongings, especially those that have to be checked back in at the end of Basic or AIT, should be secured whenever they’re not being used.
Purchase Renters Insurance
I had no idea that renters insurance was an option in the barracks until I read it in a Facebook Group. Soldiers are able to insure their belongings while they’re on base which will minimize losses in the case of a theft. This isn't to say that insured items shouldn't be labeled and secured to the best of the soldier’s ability, because filling out insurance forms and paying deductibles can be a pain, but... it is another layer of security.
One of the most frequently asked questions about basic training is whether or not soldiers can use their cell phones during bct at Fort Leonard Wood. Families aren’t sure whether or not to send them, and then they’re not sure how to ship them if they want to send them later.
Most of the time soldiers are told not to bring their cell phones with them before they leave home. Well that’s bad advice in most cases.
Soldiers will not have their phones with them most of the time, however, it’s a pretty common occurrence in SOME units for phones to be handed out to soldiers for a VERY short period of time once a week, often on Sunday.
Soldiers are given a very short amount of time to use their phones, and if they don’t have a working cell, they’ll either have to borrow a buddies (and use up part of that buddy’s time) or they’ll have to wait for a pay phone. This may sound fine and dandy to you if your soldier is still at home, but I guarantee, when they’re gone, and you’re heart is broken, and you’re tearfully reading all of the messages in the Fort Leonard Wood Families Group, you’re going to want your soldier to have a phone.
That’s not all either. They’re given their … dead in most cases.. phones, and an allotted amount of time to use them. Then the phones are swooped back up, and locked up, away from all power sources for another week, and outlets are hard to come by. So not only do you want to send a phone with, or if it’s to late, then to, your soldier, you’re going to want to send him or her a rockstar in-call type phone charger. This way they can charge the phone while they’re talking to you.
My entire family uses the Mophie, and I highly recommend it. I never put my phone down these days, and it charges, with me on it, facebooking, googling, talking, playing games, etc. in about 20 minutes flat time.
Cell Phone use at AIT – Fort Leonard Wood
There are families that only hear from their soldiers when they phase up during their stint at Fort Leonard Wood. There are also families who will hear a lot more. I don’t know the rhyme or reason behind it. I do know that some soldiers will be given their phones back during AIT.
That’s right, they will have possession and you can chat, and text, instagram, and facebook and all that good stuff. In fact, many parents bring their soldiers laptops to them at BCT graduation because they have already been told that they can have them at AIT.
There are others though that get no more communication than they received during BCT. As you read above, I suggest sending those cell phones, send them a Mophie charging device as well if you can, they’re amazing. As for the laptops, I’d wait to hear on that one. My daughter actually bought a brand new one there on base for AIT.
Now in the time I’ve been running this website, and the companion Facebook Pages I’ve learned that this doesn’t stand true for everyone. Not everyone gets phone calls every week, some soldiers don’t seem to be allowed calls home for a month or more at a time.
When they do call however, most soldiers use their own cell phones. Sometimes they borrow each others cell phones, and other times they do use phones that are located on base.
MALES: Don’t even worry about it, it’s gone. Shortly after you arrive at Fort Leonard Wood, your head will be getting shaved.
From that point forward, once every two weeks or so, a Drill Sergeant will rally the males, making sure each has 7 bucks in their pockets (or enough for hair cut) and then they are marched down to the local troop store for a quick snip. Which they pay for themselves out of their paychecks.
FEMALES: Ladies may wear their hair in a variety of styles so long as it is in accordance with 670-1. Hairstyles range from pixie’s to bobs or hair can be worn up in a neat bun, military bun or otherwise, so long as there are no wisps, stray strands, or fly-a-ways.
If you do get a short haircut, your hair has to look neat and professional without touching your collar.
Can I bring Gel to Basic Training
There are a few variables to take into consideration when answering this question. The first obstacle when it comes to bringing hair gel with you to basic training is airport security. Remember that there are size restrictions when it comes to bringing liquid products onto airplanes. If your hair gel is in to big of a container, it’s going to get tossed at the airport.
If you do make it past airport security, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to get to have hair gel with you at Basic Training, and you’re going to be very popular among all the girls that didn’t read this article. There is however still a chance that your hair gel will get thrown away.
There are ways to cut-down on the possibility that your gel/hair-spray/mouse and other hair products will get thrown out though. First, remember, nothing aerosol is allowed, that’ll get tossed right away, in fact, it probably gets tossed at the airport, before you ever make it on base.
Now assuming all your lotion’s, gels, and other hair and skin potions are all aerosol free, and made it through airport scrutiny, when you dump those black and green bags out for inspection, there’s still a chance things are headed for the trash bin.
To up the ante in your favor, avoid bright colors. If your gel comes in a bright yellow canister like Gorilla Snot Gel does, then scoop it into a plain looking container before packing. Most companies don’t mind if you have it, but they don’t like ‘inappropriate’ and ‘loud’ colored packaging.
If it does get thrown out, oh well, then you don’t get to have it, but .. believe me, it’s worth the few bucks you’ll be throwing away to take the gamble. If you find out you could have had it, and you opt to leave it, you’ll sure wish you hadn’t.
If you opt for the military bun, a GOOD strong hair gel is recommended, however, not during PT. During PT your hair is going to get messed up anyway, so put it up as best you can, use bobby pins that are the same color as your hair to secure it, and get-er-done. If you gob gel into your hair during physical training, you’re literally going to be in tears as that gel mixes with sweat, and rain, and drips into your eyes.
The rest of the time, ladies with longer hair will wear their hair in a military bun, you can practice these before BCT at home. It really helps to get the hang of them before you head to basic because you really have seconds to get your hair up and get ready for the day. There are lots of You Tube video’s available to help you learn how to do a military bun. You can use the rolled up sock method as shown, or you can buy a Conair Bun Maker made for military buns at Claire’s at the mall, any military supply store, or on Amazon.
As you leave reception heading to your very first company at BCT you will have two bags, one black, and one green. Some companies that make you hold the green bag above your head for a long time. Here’s a tip, when you pack those bags, at reception, put the heavier items, like boots for instance, in the black bag.
Fill the green bag with mostly clothing, make sure it looks good and full, so that it’s not obvious that you’re favoring the green bag, or you’ll just be causing your self extra trouble.
Now when you’re hefting this huge bag over your head, and holding it up there for what seems like forever, you can bask in the thought that everyone elses bags are so much heavier than yours!
Pretty soon, you’ll be dumping both bags out onto the ground for inspection. Try to make sure you have enough room so that you can dump your bags without your things getting mixed up with the belongings of the people around you.
As soon as your things are dumped, start separating them into piles, shirts with shirts, socks with socks, and so forth so that your drill sergeants can see each and every item, and how many of each item there are in as little time as possible.
Keeping things separated like this will save time, and also make it easier for you to repack everything quickly, everything you do will be done quickly.
Make sure you hydrate the day before you head for basic, and drink TONS of water in reception so that you’ll be plenty hydrated when you first head out with your new company.
A few people have asked lately what the difference between BCT, which stands for Basic Combat Training and AIT, which stands for Advanced Individual Training is. To answer that, I’m going to give you a very standard definition of each.
Then, I’m hoping that people that have experience both BCT and AIT will chime in the comments and share some of their insights and experience which is really what we’re looking for right? The scoop on what happens at AIT and BCT at Fort Leonard Wood.
BCT – Basic Combat Training – Fort Leonard Wood
Basic Combat Training which is often shortened and referred to as BCT is the 10 week course that every soldier undertakes that teaches them how to be a soldier in the United States Army. During Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood soldiers will undergo intense physical and mental training.
Three Phases of Basic Training
This is the initial phase of basic training, it’s also considered to be the hardest part of the entire course. Soldiers generally arrive on base and then head to reception where their paperwork and loose ends are taken care of. Then they’re picked up by their units. As they come off the buses, they’re treated to what’s called a shark attack.
If you’re not familiar with the term shark attack, check out the You Tube video on this page of a Fort Leonard Wood Shark Attack. If nothing else, this event will acclimate the soldiers to a change in environment. The idea is that all available drill sergeants greet the new soldiers in training as they come off of the bus and they well.. attack. We’ll be adding an article very soon about preparing for Army Shark Attacks, if you have any advice or insight into that, please comment here so that we can quote you or add your thoughts into that article.
Throughout ‘red phase’ soldiers will receive their ACU’s, get their hair cut (it’s a REALLY good idea to get that done before you arrive!) and begin physical training. Soldiers will go through the gas chamber, which we’ve discussed a little bit here on the site, and will likely delve into further as time passes. If you’re unfamiliar with that, and you’re headed to BCT at Fort Leonard Wood, or anywhere else really, open up a notepad on your computer, and make a note to Google Army Basic Training Gas Chamber, and watch some video’s on You Tube.
The gas chamber is a really scary part of basic combat training, unless you’ve studied, and prepared mentally for it, then… it’s a few minutes out of your life, and a helluva runny nose.
Soldiers will also visit the confidence course, where they will practice team building, rappel from a tower (which is pretty darn cool, if you can overcome any fear of heights, this is a good one to practice before arriving if you’re able.)
During red phase, soldiers at Basic Training will also learn a lot about the army. They’ll also learn a lot about physical fitness, all recruits will have to pass a physical training assessment to pass Basic Training, so that’s a big part of it.
So to wrap, soldiers in red phase will learn Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defence in Basic Training. They’ll also learn Landmine defense, and rappelling.
Basic Tactical training begins followed by Nuclear Biological and Chemical Defense, Landmine Defense and rappelling at the confidence tower. They’ll undergo plenty of physical fitness training, and be given all that they need to survive BCT.
During White phase, recruits begin to learn about, and fire their weapons during Basic Rifle Marksmanship (BRM). Soldiers will fire M16 rifle’s, throw grenades, and use a grenade launcher. Most soldiers say that BCT is a lot easier once they’ve graduated from White Phase, some say white phase is harder than red.
During Blue phase, soldiers in training will participate in a Night Infiltration Course and a Tactical Foot March. There’s A LOT of focus on physical fitness at this point as soldiers that do not pass the physical fitness test will be held over and may go through BCT again.
AIT – Advanced Individual Training – Fort Leonard Wood
This is where soldiers at Fort Leonard Wood learn their trades. For instance, if you’re going to be an MP you’re getting your training to work in the Army as a military police officer.
There are three major fields taught at Fort Leonard Wood:
Most soldiers report that AIT is a lot more relaxed than Basic Training, and for the most part, soldiers in chemical school are given a lot more privileges than they were in Basic Training, for instance, soldiers are generally allowed possession of their phones, and laptops. They may also be given daytime passes on weekends and allowed to wear civilian clothing (which is a BIG deal) during their off time.
It’s been reported however that this isn’t always the same in other schools on Fort Leonard Wood, including Military Police school. Have a point of view or insight to offer, please comment below!
Keep in mind that soldiers in this unit may have to do additional push-ups for each letter they receive, by all means, don’t let that discourage you from writing, write every single day, sometimes three times, but use that paper wisely, and make those letters count! Imagine what strong arms your soldier will soon have as well!