How COVID-19 Is Changing US Army Boot Camp

The COVID-19 crisis is changing the way future Army soldiers are trained at the Fort Benning military base near Columbus, Ga. As of March 29, six confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been connected to Fort Benning. According to the Army, the patients were not part of training operations. Due to the crisis, some aspects of training that involve physical contact have been suspended, and physical distancing is being applied to exercises that will continue to occur. New medical screenings have been incorporated into the reception of the hundreds of soldiers that arrive every week to begin their training. All visitors are prohibited from attending graduation ceremonies, and recent graduates are being held at Fort Benning for the immediate future instead of being shipped to their new units.

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How COVID-19 Is Changing US Army Boot Camp

What Army Recruits Go Through At Boot Camp

We got an inside look at the United States Army’s intense 22-week basic training known as OSUT, which stands for One Station Unit Training. Senior Video Correspondent Graham Flanagan spent four days at the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence located inside the Fort Benning military installation near Columbus, Georgia, where he observed different companies at various stages of training.

After a processing period that takes one to two weeks, recruits experience what’s known as a “shark attack,” when drill sergeants create a high-stress environment through a series of rapid-fire instructions and commands. Once the intensity subsides and training begins, the dynamic between the drill sergeants and the recruits evolves into one found between a teacher and students in a classroom.

Despite rainy conditions that rarely let up during filming, we saw various dynamic aspects of training, such as marksmanship, tear gas exposure, and MOUT, which stands for military operations in urban terrain.

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What Army Recruits Go Through At Boot Camp