QUESTIONS FAMILY MEMBERS FREQUENTLY ASK
You and your Future Soldier have entered a pivotal time. Your Future Soldier has made a substantial commitment to the Army, but many questions might remain about what Army life will be like. The “Guide for Future Soldiers and Their Families” is designed to address those questions and start your Future Soldier on the right foot as he or she steps into a great challenge. As a family member, your role is vital during this transition. Let’s begin with you and your concerns. After your Future Soldier leaves for training, feel free to contact his or her recruiter. Below are questions family members frequently ask.
- Will my Soldier be able to call home from Basic Combat Training (BCT)?
Your Soldier will be able to call home from the Reception Battalion (RECBN) to let you know he or she arrived. Normally, in BCT, phone calls are for emergencies only. Soldiers can earn special phone call privileges.
- How long can I expect my Soldier to be in training?
The Soldiers’ stay at the Reception Battalion can vary depending on the time of year. Soldiers shipping in the summer months traditionally experience a longer stay at reception prior to the start of Basic Combat Training. BCT lasts approximately nine weeks. Advanced Individual Training, where Soldiers receive job-specific training for their Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), generally lasts from seven to 14 weeks. Will the drill sergeants hit my Soldier?
No. Soldiers are treated fairly, firmly and with dignity. Abuse of any kind is not tolerated. Drill sergeants are selected from the best Soldiers in the Army and are highly qualified to train recruits.
- How is the Army dealing with sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is unacceptable and is not tolerated in the Army. If you ever see it or experience it, you should report it. The Army maintains a zero tolerance stance pertaining to sexual harassment or misconduct, and charges all Soldiers entering the Army to report any violation of this policy. In addition, drill sergeants go through a rigorous application and training process. They are trained in and teach Army values and human relations skills.
- Where will my Soldier be stationed after training?
This will depend on the MOS and on the needs of the Army. Soldiers without a guaranteed assignment option are advised of their duty station toward the end of AIT. Army Reserve Soldiers have assignments guaranteed to a local Reserve unit within 50 miles of their home address at the time of enlistment.
- What can I send my Soldier in the mail at BCT?
Send letters. Soldiers will not have access to e-mail during this time.
- How do I notify my Soldier in the event of an emergency?
Immediately notify your local Red Cross chapter with pertinent information and they will arrange to contact your Soldier. For areas where a local or regional Red Cross number is not published, the toll free number is 1-877-272-7337. It is helpful to know your Soldier’s Social Security number, unit and installation.
- What happens if my Soldier fails a portion of BCT?
If your Soldier is unable to adequately pass a required event he or she may be retrained in that portion or may be sent back to the beginning for a new start. This may delay graduation.
- What happens if my Soldier is injured during training?
Should any injury occur, your Soldier will receive prompt and appropriate medical attention. Your recruiter can help facilitate contact with your Soldier. Depending on the nature and extent of the injury there may be some delay in his or her graduation.
- May my Soldier attend college while in the Army?
Yes. The Army believes that education is one of the keys to building a successful future. Following initial training, your Soldier will have access to programs at accredited colleges, universities and vocational schools. And the Army has a financial assistance program that can help as well. May my Soldier come home while serving in the Army?
Yes. He or she earns 30 days of leave or vacation with pay per year.
- How will he or she get home?
Soldiers can travel on regularly scheduled military flights connecting them to a variety of destinations, both stateside and overseas, on a space available, first-come, first-served basis. Also, most commercial airlines offer reduced military fares. Check with your air carrier when making travel arrangements.
- May my Soldier get married while in the Army?
Yes. In many instances on-post family housing is available.
- May I visit my Soldier while he or she is in the Army?
Yes. There is a Visitor’s Day, usually just prior to graduation.
- What can I do to assist my Soldier during BCT?
The best thing you can do is to write as many positive letters as possible and as often as possible. Soldiers look forward to daily mail call.
- What is a typical day like in BCT?
Basic Combat Training is very demanding and challenging. Soldiers are expected to respond quickly and to give 100 percent effort at all times. Most Soldiers quickly adapt to the new life. It is difficult, however, because everything is new and new Soldiers don’t know what to expect. The purpose of this booklet is to prepare you and your Soldier for Army life and for BCT.
- Will my Soldier be paid while at BCT?
Yes. Soldiers will receive monthly pay.
- Will my Soldier’s head be shaved?
Males will have their hair cut closely to the scalp during BCT. Females’ hair must be above the collar of their uniforms. Both males and females are encouraged not to dye their hair any unnatural colors before reporting for BCT.
- How much personal time will my Soldier have during BCT?
- Soldiers receive approximately one hour of personal time each day. Will my Soldier receive spiritual guidance?
Yes. Soldiers have access to spiritual guidance. Religious services are provided during BCT as well as throughout your Soldier’s term of enlistment. Chaplains work with both families and Soldiers to assist them in handling problems of all sorts. Some of these might include becoming a Soldier. Your recruiter can put you or your Soldier in touch with a Unit Ministry Team (UMT), a resource you may contact at any time. There is a UMT assigned to each recruiting brigade. Ask your recruiter which brigade UMT you should contact:
Headquarters, 1ST Brigade UMT U.S. Army Recruiting Command UMT, Fort Meade, MD Fort Knox, KY (301-677-2943) (1-800-223-3735, ext. 6-0535/6-0534/6-0533) 2nd Brigade UMT, 3rd Brigade UMT, Redstone Arsenal, AL Fort Knox, KY (256-450-9525/9526) (1-800-223-3735, ext 6-1039/6-0704) 5th Brigade UMT, 6th Brigade UMT, Fort Sam Houston, TX North Las Vegas, NV (210-221-1565) (702-639-2026/2027)
- Can my Soldier become an officer later if he or she wishes to do so?
Yes, the Army offers several paths to a career as an officer including ROTC, West Point, Officer Candidate School and other commissioning programs. An Army career counselor can advise your Soldier on all the opportunities available.
- Can I attend my Soldier’s graduation ceremonies following training?
Yes. You may attend your Soldier’s graduation upon completion of training. Your Soldier will be asked after starting BCT to provide the correct contact information and address to the command. The command will send a letter to the address that will explain graduation dates and other necessary information needed for you to attend.
- Are resources available to assist my Soldier and family during this time of separation?
Yes. The Military OneSource program provides excellent information and assistance for most day-to-day issues. Your Soldier and family can visit the website at www.militaryonesource.com or call 1-800-342-9647 for assistance. Once your Soldier enters BCT, the family will be eligible for face-to-face counseling provided in your local area. These services are available to your Soldier and family at no cost.
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