Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Today's Army is as diverse and accomplished as the citizens they have sworn to protect. The Army fills its ranks with people from all walks of life, with over 700,000 soldiers which include active duty Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve.
Every enlisted member of the Army has to graduate Basic Combat Training also known as Boot Camp. Each person joins for a different reason-- for some it's money for education, others sign because they want some discipline in their life. Many join to serve the country they want to be a citizen of and for others its to be a part of something greater than themselves.
For most of them that training begins at Fort Jackson Army Training Center in Columbia. The facility instructs 54 percent of all incoming soldiers, which makes it the Army's largest training facility. Fort Jackson's motto is "Victory Starts Here," and it is an honor and privilege the post has held since 1917.
The Fort is named after President Andrew Jackson who is the only president to fight in both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Jackson also a native of the Carolinas. Basic Training at Fort Jackson has changed since it's inception in 1917, but the mission remains the same, to turn civilians into soldiers. Basic training is 10 weeks and is broken into three phases: Red phase, White Phase, and Blue Phase. The recruits must learn to work together to build a bond if they are going to make it. This is what the Army prides itself on; Taking people with nothing in common and forcing them to build trust into the person next to them to achieve what seemed impossible.
The first thing new recruits will experience is Reception. It’s the first step in the recruit's journey to becoming a soldier. Reception is normally the first 72 hours of Red Phase where recruits arrive and get their first taste of Army life. They will receive basic instructions, haircuts and uniforms. After Reception the recruits will meet their Drill Sergeants.
In the Red Phase Drill Sergeants are tasked with teaching recruits about the Army's heritage, the Seven Army Core Values and basic tactical training. Basic Tactical training begins with learning basic land navigation training, Nuclear Biological and Chemical Defense training with an introduction to the gas chamber, landmine defense training and climbing and rappelling down Victory Tower. The recruits must master these before moving onto the White Phase.
White Phase looks to build on Red Phase by combining all the skills the recruits learn and applying them in the field. White Phase is where Drill Sergeants appoint platoon Leaders and instill confidence in the recruits. The recruits also learn the core competencies of basic rifle marksmanship along with proper handling of the M-16 A2 rifle. Also there is a lot of marching.
Blue phase looks to test the recruits like they have never been tested before. It’s the culmination of 10 weeks of training to see if they have what it takes to be a part of America’s Army. Some of skills perfected include weapons training, live fire exercises, a night infiltration course and the final test, Victory Forge.