Army Life After Basic Training: What Every Recruit Should Know

For many a recruit, basic training may seem like hell, but by the end of it, the soldier will be in shape both physically and mentally to face what comes after.

In today’s post, we will look at Army life after basic training, and what every recruit should know.


The very next step after basic training will be Advanced Individual Training (AIT), unless you are entering as an officer. That will be covered in the next section. AIT is the training for the particular Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) that you were assigned. Some examples of AIT you could attend may be:

  • Military Police School at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri

  • Quartermaster School at Fort Lee, Virginia

  • Defense Information School at Fort Meade, Maryland

  • Or one of many more.

Depending on your MOS, your Advanced Individual Training can last for different lengths of time.


Those who are entering the Army to become an officer will then attend Officer Candidate School (OCS). OCS is 12 weeks of intense and rigorous leadership training which is held at Fort Benning, Georgia. Once you complete OCS, you will be commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant.

Now What?

Whether you are regular Army, Army National Guard or Army Reserves, you need to understand that at this time you are now deployment eligible. This is why the Army accepted you. You were hired to be a defender of our nation. Before you even join the Army in any format, you should consider this fact and also discuss it with your family members.

Regular Army

Depending on your MOS, you will be sent to one of many Army or Joint bases in the world. The Army is family friendly, and you can take your family to wherever you are stationed. You can live in base housing, or the Army may provide a housing allowance and you can live off-base. You will work your job the hours you are assigned just as you would a civilian job.

At any given moment, you could be deployed to a war zone, or an extremely volatile area, and you will not be allowed to take family members there. For soldiers that have been deployed, units usually have family support groups that help those who have a loved one in the midst of battle.

Army bases also offer some benefits that citizens do not have. There is tax free shopping. Most bases have gyms, parks, bowling allies, libraries, etc… You can usually find what you would want on base just as you would in any town.

As an Army soldier or officer, you will be required to stay in tip-top physical shape. You will have to pass the APFT every so often, so it is wise to set up a workout system. Most top soldiers workout once per day.

There is one goal every soldier and officer should have: promotion. A promotion means more money, but it also means more responsibility. It pays to take all the schooling you can while you are enlisted or commissioned. You can take correspondence courses, or just 1 or 2 credit hours per week. The more education you have, the better your chances for promotion.

That is primarily life after basic training for the regular Army officer or soldier.

Army National Guard and Army Reserves

For the Army National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers, things are slightly different… but only slightly.

You will also have to attend the Advanced Individual Training (AIT) or Officer Candidate School. Once you have passed the school, you will normally go home. It will be life as normal, unless you are suddenly deployed which has happened to many. Again, before joining the Army, you need to understand that deployment to a war-zone is a part of the contract. Your family needs to understand that too.

As an Army National Guard or Reserve soldier or officer, you will carry on with your normal life. You will work the job you have, go to the school you are attending or run the business you own. The difference will be the one weekend per month when you attend National Guard training. You will also have a 2 week period every year for National Guard annual training.

As an Army National Guard or Reserve soldier or officer, it is important that you stay in top physical shape. You will still need to pass the APFT, and many National Guard soldiers have difficulty with this. It is wise to set up a daily workout schedule for this reason.

Final Words

Yes, basic training can be a little like hell, but once it is complete, you have a great road ahead of you. The Army, be it regular, Guard or Reserve can provide great education and experience to help you further on in your life. It also has other added benefits. The Army will pay for more education; the Army provides travel opportunities; and the Army also provides a great retirement plan.

So tell me, what can you say about Army life after basic training? What did you do? Where did you go?

Please provide your comments, questions or stories below. Thank you for visiting.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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2 thoughts on “Army Life After Basic Training: What Every Recruit Should Know”

  1. its nice,but complicated in poor countries.usa as compared to african countries its 100miles away from can my kenya attain that level?

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