Are basic training and boot camp the same? Well, according to Hollywood, yes. According to the military, no.
Let’s break it down.
When a new recruit joins the military, he must attend an initial recruit training, which is often referred to as boot camp or basic training. The length of this training varies by branch, and can be as short as six weeks (U.S. Air Force) and as along as 13 weeks (U.S. Marines). Also, each branch has its preference on what this training should be called. Traditionally, the term “boot camp” has been reserved for the Marines and the Navy. Whereas, basic training is a term more commonly used in the Army and Air Force. Technically, you can interchange them, because these terms aren’t technically correct! For example, basic training for the Army is called “Basic Combat Training” or BCT.
The basics of basic training
While there are variations in the way basic training/boot camp is conducted by each branch of service, there are certainly some commonalities. These include: weapons marksmanship using the M16 (similar to the AR15), physical fitness, and basic first aid.
Basic training is not for the light hearted. Indeed, it is a grueling and sometimes punishing ordeal. From early morning wake-ups, to yelling drill sergeants, to the gas chamber, military initial training is intense! It’s all about developing the cohesion of the group while suppresing individuality. If you’re not a teamplayer, then the military is definitely not a place for you! However, if you’re willing to jump into an adventure with the desire to join an elite team of combat friends, then the military just might be your ticket!
A nod to history
It’s understandable why it’s called basic training, but why boot camp? According to historians, the term boot originated from the US Navy and Marines during the Spanish American War, where they called their leggings “boots” Therefore, the term “boot camp” came to be synonymous with training for the US Navy and Marines. Is it any wonder why, still to this day, it is only the Navy and Marines that call their initial training “boot camp?”