Joining & Eligibility

Boot Camp

Basic Training — often called boot camp — prepares recruits for all elements of service: physical, mental and emotional. It gives service members the basic tools necessary to perform the roles that will be assigned to them for the duration of their tour. Each of the Services has its own training program, tailoring the curriculum to the specialized nature of its role in the Military.

Boot Camp by Service

Army logo

Army Army

Basic Combat Training


10 weeks


Fort Benning
Columbus, Georgia

Fort Jackson
Columbia, South Carolina

Fort Leonard Wood
Waynesville, Missouri

Fort Sill
Lawton, Oklahoma

Fort Knox
Fort Knox, Kentucky 

Physical Fitness Requirements

  • Timed 2-mile run or provided alternative
  • 3 repetitions of maximum deadlift
  • 2 minutes of hand release pushups
  • 1 to 5 minutes of plank
  • Standing Power Throw, 10lb ball
  • Sprint-drag-carry, 5 repetitions of 50m


Marine logo

Marine Corps Marine Corps

Recruit Training


13 weeks


Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island
Parris Island, South Carolina

Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego
San Diego, California

Physical Fitness Requirements

  • Timed 3-mile run
  • A pullup count
  • 2 minutes of abdominal crunches


Navy logo

Navy Navy

Recruit Training


10 weeks


Great Lakes Recruit Training Command
Great Lakes, Illinois

Physical Fitness Requirements

  • Timed 1.5-mile run
  • 2 sets, 30 seconds of planks
  • 2 minutes of pushups
AirForce logo

Air Force Air Force

Basic Military Training


8.5 weeks


Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA)Lackland
San Antonio, Texas

Physical Fitness Requirements

  • Timed 1.5-mile run
  • 2 minutes to complete as many correct repetitions of pushups
  • 2 minutes to complete as many correct repetitions of situps
CoastGuard logo

Coast Guard Coast Guard

Recruit Training


8 weeks


Cape May Coast Guard Training Center
Cape May, New Jersey

Physical Fitness Requirements

  • Timed 1.5-mile run
  • 1 minute of pushups
  • 1 minute of situps
  • Sit-and-reach flexibility test
  • 5-minute water tread
  • 6-foot platform jump into a 100-meter swim

Note: Active Duty, Guard and Reserve personnel all attend their respective Service's boot camp.

Boot Camp Basics: Before Boot Camp

No matter which branch of the Service you choose, Basic Training is an intense experience. The purpose of this training isn’t to “break” recruits. In fact, the combination of physical training, field exercises and classroom time makes individuals strong and capable. It’s a tough process, but a rewarding one that many service members value for life.

To succeed in boot camp, you should prepare yourself physically and mentally. Daily cardio, weight training, pushups and situps are a must. You should also practice arriving early on a regular basis and sticking to a strict schedule. You should also delegate personal affairs to family or friends so you can focus on your training. For example, you will need to figure out who will pay the bills, collect the mail and manage bank accounts while you are at boot camp.

Good to know: By enlisting, you are contractually obligated to complete boot camp and serve. However, if you find that you are incompatible with serving, you can receive an administrative discharge.


Boot Camp Basics: What Not To Bring

Proper packing can help ease the transition from civilian life to boot camp. The following list of what not to bring can help. Check with a recruiter for a comprehensive list.

Do not bring:

  • Family
  • Pets
  • Expensive personal items — cameras, phones, laptops, jewelry, etc.
  • Nonprescription drugs or drug paraphernalia
  • Weapons of any type, including pocket knives
  • Obscene or pornographic material
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Playing cards/dice/dominoes
  • Cigarettes/tobacco products

Good to know: This list is only an overview. For more detailed information, contact a recruiter.

Members of the US Navy at the boot camp at Corry Station in Pensacola, Florida

Boot Camp Basics: Orientation

While each Service has different training schedules and requirements, the orientation process is basically the same across Services. During this time, new recruits might:

  • Turn in enlistment packages (paperwork from the Military Entrance Processing Station [MEPS])
  • Receive dental and medical exams
  • Get immunizations
  • Receive uniforms and training gear (shorts/sweats, T-shirts, etc.)
  • Receive required haircuts (women can keep their hair long provided it can be worn within regulation)
  • Create direct-deposit accounts for paychecks

Starting at orientation, the actual training begins. This varies from Service to Service and lasts between seven and 13 weeks.