Segments in this Video

Ultimate Test of Survival (02:37)


Basic training is a trial of determination, physical strength, and depth of character. The challenges are universal for new recruits in the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines.

Warriors' Right of Passage (02:18)

The United States spends hundreds of millions of dollars annually to train new recruits, Each branch has its own style of basic training, which can last from six to 14 weeks. Most new trainees sign a contract to stay in the military for four years.

Super Citizens (02:37)

Each branch of the military has its own set of core values that develop a recruit's character and ensures they will be successful in combat. Veterans never forget the skills they learned in the military.

Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben (04:15)

When colonists fought against the British military, they were unprepared to win wars. George Washington brought in an expert that started with the basics in effort to get the colonists to work quickly and in unison. Physical abuse is forbidden, but it was used in the past.

Eagle Tower Confidence Course (02:16)

Fort Benning is one of three Army camps designed for basic training. The tactics are designed to instill confidence in recruits.

Induction Center at Fort Benning (05:36)

Army recruits were trained in specialized jobs at divisional camps during World War I. New recruits start the day with a haircut, shots, and a blood test. They are issued uniforms, hats, and boots.

Strict Adherence to Order (02:13)

During the first week, recruits get 10 minutes to organize clothes, stow gear, and clean the barracks. They are made to do dozens of pushups if they do not meet the Army standard. Recruits undergo quizzing at morning assembly.

Gas Chamber (04:20)

This exercise is designed to ensure recruits trust that their equipment will protect them in the event of a chemical attack. This drill was developed during World War I.

Obstacle Course (03:00)

Training develops skills that will be used on the battlefield. At an urban assault center, trainees learn how to attack an enemy hiding in a building.

Leadership Course and Bayonet (03:40)

Many tasks are designed to test the brains of new recruits; they challenge and frustrate trainees. Basic training does not teach everything, but it does create a strong foundation.

Marine Recruit Depot (03:58)

Basic training in San Diego is dehumanizing and involves constant yelling. Recruits are labeled with a number and trained to constantly hydrate. After a few hours of sleep, they make beds, mop floors, and clean bathrooms until they meet standard.

Ribbon Creek Incident (02:25)

At the Marine Recruit Depot in San Diego, recruits jump from a platform to simulate jumping into the ocean. The swimming test involves getting across the length of the pool in full gear. Six recruits drowned at Parris Creek in 1956.

Exercise Field (03:55)

Marines have the toughest physical fitness regime; it is more about breaking them down than building strength.

The Crucible (04:43)

Marines are taught to kill in the hand-to-hand combat exercise. The final training course at Camp Pendleton simulates a real battlefield. During "quiet time" drill instructors and recruits talk about why they joined the Marine Corps.

Great Lakes Naval Training Center (03:23)

Navy recruits are trained in firefighting; fire is the number one danger aboard ships. During the Vietnam War, a fire broke out on board the USS Forrestal, killing 134 sailors. Recruits also learn how to handle a gun.

Basic Military Procedures (04:28)

The Great Lakes Naval Training Center is the only Navy basic training facility in the world. It was designed to train sailors. Recruits are allowed to make one short phone call before taking a drug test.

Surprise Personnel Inspection (05:32)

Navy recruits enter a gas chamber to learn what to do during a chemical or biological weapons attack. Nearly 15% of Navy recruits are women. Petty officers avoid yelling at recruits while they are in the training pool.

Battle Stations (04:54)

This 12 hour, all night drill tests recruits in everything they have learned. They are forced to go without sleep so they must rely on instinct. Each scenario is connected to an event from naval history.

Lackland Air Force Base (03:36)

There is an emphasis on tactical training in Air Force basic training. The majority of recruits will work on flight teams; nearly 20% are women.

Air Force Core Values (02:46)

There is an emphasis on how to live with only the basics inside the barracks. Recruits have five minutes to eat their food; speaking is not allowed. Basic training is not as intense as the other branches of the military.

Warrior Week (06:11)

Members of the Air Force often operate out of temporary air bases. The Scorpion's Nest is a testing facility in the middle of Lackland Air Force Base.

Army Infantry and Navy Graduations (03:45)

The Crossed Rifles ritual marks the successful completion of basic training and entry into the brotherhood of infantry. Navy recruits graduate after the all-night battle stations exercise.

Air Force and Marine Graduations (02:25)

After Warrior Week, each Air Force recruit receives a special coin for completing basic training. Outstanding recruits wear dress blues at the formal Marine graduation.

Pass and Review Ceremony (05:38)

Family and friends attend the formal Air Force and Marine graduations. The end of basic training can be emotional for petty officers as well as graduates.

Credits: Basic Training: America's Proving Ground (00:55)

Credits: Basic Training: America's Proving Ground

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Basic Training: America's Proving Ground

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Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines--each has a recruiting mandate to train the best defense force of the 21st century. Join us for a 2-hour tour of the history and process of joining America's heralded fighting forces.

Length: 92 minutes

Item#: BVL279868

Copyright date: ©2003

Closed Captioned

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