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:
- Chemical (CBRN)
- Military Police
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!