Making the decision to serve in our nation’s military is huge! It requires months of thought, discussion, and evaluation, but once that decision is made, the next phase of discovery begins. Future Soldiers often focus on physical training while they wait to find out when and where they’ll report for basic combat training (BCT) or one station unit training (OSUT). If he or she is lucky, they’ll end up at the best place in the world for military training: Fort Leonard Wood.
When the day comes for your future Soldier to head out to Fort Leonard Wood, you may be overcome with emotion, but also feel in the dark about what happens next. You probably know to expect very little communication with your Soldier for the next several weeks, but you might also want to know what they’ll be learning, what type of training they’ll be doing, and what their normal day is like. And if you’re like us, you’ll also be ready to start planning the graduation celebration and booking your travel as soon as possible!
When your Soldier in Training (SIT) arrives at Fort Leonard Wood for their 10-week BCT or their OSUT (training length varies anywhere from 14-20 weeks) they’ll spend a few days in an initial phase called ‘Reception’. During this time, they’ll go through the very basic initial steps to becoming a Soldier, including haircuts, medical screenings, financial pay system set up, and uniform distribution. The Reception phase prepares each individual to begin their actual training.
The first phase of training is called ‘Hammer Phase’. Formerly called Red Phase, Hammer Phase lasts about 2-3 weeks and is the SIT’s introduction to training and Army life. During this time, SITs begin learning about the Army Values and complete things like First Aid, Warrior Ethos, and Resiliency Training. Family members should expect to receive a Commander’s welcome letter during this time (if the unit chooses to send one). This letter may have the unit’s address, but you might also be able to obtain your SIT’s address through the unit’s Facebook page or when your SIT makes a rare phone call home during this phase.
After successfully completing Hammer Phase, SITs move on to ‘Anvil Phase’. Formerly called White Phase, Anvil Phase focuses heavily on physical fitness training and on the continuation of values development through skills training. During this phase, SITs begin to focus more heavily on military skills training, such as marksmanship, combatives, and land navigation.
Following Anvil Phase comes ‘Forge Phase’ or what was previously known as Blue Phase. This last phase of BCT is critical in helping SITs further their leadership and teamwork skills. They’ll complete hand grenade training, the night infiltration course, and final inspections. Though they’re getting closer to graduation, they’re also working hard to ensure they pass all final graduation standards, including the 10 mile foot march. This is a good time to begin finalizing travel plans to attend graduation.
Graduation is a very important occasion for service members and their families. After completing grueling physical training, challenging mental tasks, and overcoming the emotional toll of BCT or OSUT, Soldiers are ready to see their family and friends and take some time for a celebration. If you’re unsure how to celebrate this special day or what a military graduation entails, don’t worry! We have plenty of articles here on our blog that can answer all of your questions. If you’re unsure of what attire to wear, what gift to give, or even how to get here, we can help.
More than anything, we encourage you to educate yourself about the military, what military life entails, and what your Soldier in Training is going through so you’re able to support him or her in the best possible way. Stay positive, make an effort to write as often as possible, and let your Soldier know how proud you are of their choice to serve!