Infantry: Ten Week Basic Works

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July 2, 2008: Continuing to learn from experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Army is increasing its basic training from nine to ten weeks. For the last eight months, thousands of troops went through the ten week course, and were then tracked as they went off to their assignments. This was to test the concept, and apparently the extra week was worth it.

The additional week is not just being used to enable trainees to learn their basic military skills better. Commanders and NCOs in combat zones have been complaining that many newly recruited combat support troops reach them not-quite-ready for combat. The problem, it turned out, was lessons being learned, but not pounded home so they would still be there when the new soldier reached the combat zone.

There is also a growing trend for new recruits (and young people in general) not being in good physical shape (fat and weak). An extra week in basic helped out there as well. And many combat veterans believe that the combat support troops, especially those running convoys, or otherwise outside the wire (working outside base camps) just have not had sufficient training in combat basics.

Once soldiers graduate from basic, they go on to specialized training, which can last from a few weeks, to a year, depending on their. If they are going to Iraq or Afghanistan, they usually get some combat training before they leave the United States, or (usually in Kuwait) before they arrive in bandit country.

The additional basic training week is, in theory, to instill basic combat skills early on. These skills are expanded using an additional week or so of additional combat training for some combat support troops before they hit the combat zone. The additional training is also meant to improve the discipline and general military effectiveness of new troops. During the 1990s, basic training was watered down quite a bit, and that resulted in new recruits coming into their first units still acting a lot like civilians. The army has been trying to rectify that ever since.

 

 


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