Army National Guardsmen and women attend the same basic training course as do Active Army personnel. This program is designed to push recruits to their limits, both physically and mentally. The weeks during basic training will be tough, but if you persist you will come out with a newfound sense of confidence and pride that is known only by you and your comrades.
The first step of training for new recruits is going through the Reception Battalion. These days are spent taking care of basic necessities such as getting your hair cut, being issued uniforms, and taking a physical exam. This week is designed to get you ready for the main segment of training.
Basic Combat Training
Next comes the main part of the course: Basic Combat Training, or BCT. BCT is nine weeks long and is broken down into three very different phases: red phase, white phase, and blue phase.
The first three weeks of BCT are called the red phase. During this phase, recruits are introduced to the basics of Army life. They are instructed on the Core Army Values as well as the Warrior Ethos. Recruits are issued and acquainted with their M16 rifles and must learn how to take apart, clean, and reassemble them efficiently. Discipline is emphasized during this phase and is reinforced with regular inspections and intense physical training (PT) routines.
This phase covers weeks four through six and is designed to reinforce the basic disciplines recruits have learned as well as familiarize them with more specific skills. Recruits are introduced to the firing range for Basic Rifle Marksmanship (BRM) and strengthen other skills such as map reading and hand-to-hand combat.
This final phase of training takes all the skills recruits have learned and consolidates them to produce effective leadership and teamwork. Individual tests continue, but this phase focuses on working as a unit. By these weeks, the recruit class is able to work as a cohesive unit to complete tasks such as convoy defense and other combat situations. All the previous training culminates up to the Field Training Exercise (FTX), during which recruits must utilize all their skills as a team to accomplish objectives in a real-world environment.
After completing all the phases of Basic Combat Training, recruits have reached Graduation. Recruits finally get a hard-earned and well-deserved break. After the ceremony, they are offically recognized as soldiers and as Army National Guardsmen.
Advanced Individual Training
After completing basic training and earning the status of National Guardsmen, soldiers depart for Advance Individual Training, or AIT. This training period varies in duration and location depending on what Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) you decide to pursue. These can range anywhere from Aviation School at Ft. Rucker, Alabama, to Field Artillery School at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma.
Upon completion of AIT, you are officially a duty-ready soldier in the National Guard! However, you will continue to train regularly throughout your career as a Guardsman in order to maintain your status as one of the most effective and skilled soldiers in the entire world.