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Fort Sill Basic Training Review

1. Your name (as you would like it to appear on the website):
Amanda

2. Where did your soldier attend basic training?
Fort Sill, Oklahoma (E BTRY 1-40 FA 4th PLT)

3. When did he attend basic training?
January 7-March 12, 2010

4. How often did you hear from him? (Phone and letters)
I got letters once or twice a week, and phone calls once a week if I was lucky. His DS was very old school and didn’t like them to have phones, so the calls were usually about 4 or 5 minutes long. The longest call was only 15 minutes.

5. How long was it before you heard from him the first time?
I got a few phone calls right away while he was still in reception, and then I didn’t hear anything from him for almost 3 weeks– I was ecstatic when the first letter arrived!

6. How long did it take to receive a mailing address for him? About 3 weeks.

7. Were there any restrictions on what you could send him?
Yes, all listed on the battery website (which you can find at http://sill-www.army.mil/ – look for the link that says “Training Units” and follow from there). I never sent him anything but letters/cards because I didn’t want to get him in trouble.

8. Were you sent information about family day and graduation?
Not directly (I’m only the girlfriend ^_^). His mom received information, but forgot to give it to me before my trip. This is where the website is incredibly useful– everything you need to know about graduation will be posted online a week or two before the event.

9. Did he have a family day? If so, please describe.
Family Day took place on post the day before his graduation, and while it was fun it was also kind of a waste of time. The families were told to arrive by 8:45 am, but when we got there his commanders told us that the event didn’t start until 11! They claimed to have “changed” the time, but my boyfriend told us later that while we were waiting, they were cleaning the barracks one last time >_<. There were several ceremonies inside the Gunner’s Inn, including recognition of superior performance and promotions. We also watched a slideshow of some of the highlights of training.

Afterwards they had us move to bleachers that had been set up out on the field. Our soldiers marched in, and performed some demonstrations for us. It was actually kind of funny– sort of a before/after look at their training. Of course, I was mostly looking for my boyfriend… it took almost the whole demonstration to locate him in his platoon! We also witnessed a naturalization ceremony for 4 soldiers, which was pretty inspiring. After the demo they sent the soldiers back to the barracks to change into their Class A’s (which took FOREVER), and then sent them out in two groups and released them on pass. All told it was a little after noontime when we finally got to leave with him. We went to lunch, visited some museums, shopped at the PX, and then he and I went off on our own to have a date. He had to be back at the barracks by 8:00 pm, but be sure to get them there by 7:45 for final formation.

10. Please describe the graduation ceremony.
The graduation was fantastic! We arrived at the McMahon auditorium a little after 9 am so that we would be able to get good seats, and we could see all the soldiers inside walking around (the building has huge glass doors/windows in the front, so it was easy to spot him as he walked by). We waved and made faces and generally embarrassed him ^_^.

They let us in a little after 9:30, and the soldiers were all seated in the auditorium, completely silent and looking forward. We spotted my boyfriend right away and took seats in the aisle across from him, so we could take pictures. We got him to wave once or twice, but mostly he behaved himself. All during the ceremonies you are welcome to walk around and take as many pictures as you like, and the soldiers can’t do anything but sit there! A brass band played some music, there were the usual comments from cadre, and they whipped through the actual graduation (say your name, get handshakes, sit down). I have to admit, though, I almost cried when they recited the Soldier’s Creed, all together. Very powerful. Then they showed us a video with footage from training– I got to see my boyfriend throwing a grenade! It was funny because they told all the new soldiers to say “Hooah” every time a new activity was shown. You’ve never heard “Hooah” until you’ve heard it from 150 people all at once! At the end they dismissed the soldiers from the auditorium, while they were marching in cadence (something about “Drill Sergeant why don’t you leave me alone/why don’t you let me go home ^_^). They made them form up by platoon outside, wait about 2 minutes, and then they were released to us on pass again. They were done by 11 am, but like Family Day that had to be back on the Drill Pad for final formation by 7:45 pm.

11. Is there a website for his basic training unit? Is there a place to see pictures of his training online?
The website can be found from the Fort Sill website, but it was only marginally useful. His commanding officers were kind of disorganized, so there were no newsletters until he was almost finished (and even then they posted them all at once), and they never posted photos of the training.

12. Any other tips or information?
Take money with you on Family Day/Graduation if you want a platoon or battalion t-shirt, DVD of the training exercises, or a copy of the slideshow. Be sure to check with your Soldier first, though– my boyfriend already had copies of his formal portrait, the DVD slideshow, and 2 platoon t-shirts. His parents bought a yearbook ($15) and a copy of the platoon photo ($?);  I bought a battalion t-shirt ($15).

Be sure to leave earlier than you think you need to for both events– parking lots fill up fast on post, and also the signage is confusing (I got lost on my way to the Gunner’s Inn– follow the map they send you!). Most of all, just enjoy every second that you get to spend with your soldier. Those two days go by so fast, and then they’re off to AIT!

About the author: This article was contributed by a visitor to the site. If you would like to contribute to the site as well, please email me.

{ 221 comments… add one }

  • Heather Rutkowsky December 29, 2012, 11:22 am

    My husband is leaving for basic training to Ft Sill March 5 2013, I would love to stay in contact with anyone else who may have a soldier going to basic at the same time.

    • Laura February 27, 2013, 12:27 pm

      Hi Heather,
      My boyfriend just left for Ft Sill..email me if you’d like to chat :)
      Laura

    • Brittany K March 6, 2013, 12:00 am

      Hi Heather,
      My husband just left today to go down there as well. So ours will be together. I’m new to all of this.

      • David March 23, 2013, 3:49 pm

        Heather and Brittany,

        My wife left for Ft Sill on March 14th, your husbands are a couple of weeks ahead of her but they are in the same vicinity. I was able to talk to her quite a lot during Reception. However, other then a 5 minute phone call on day one of Basic I haven’t heard from her since. Stay strong, Graduation will be here before you realize!

    • Wife of BCT Soldier July 21, 2013, 10:34 pm

      Hi Heather, my husband is just about to graduate from Ft. Sill. There is rumor floating around in his Platoon that the married couples get an over night pass on Family Day. Is this true or are there just some guys pulling his leg? I thought for sure you would know since your husband graduated a few months ahead of mine. Please feel free to email me back with your answer.

      Thank you,
      wife of BCT Soldier

  • charita January 14, 2013, 12:23 pm

    Hi all,
    my son leaves for Ft Sill, this coming Wednesday, Jan 16th and I am just wandering what kind of information can you give me, like maybe how long before I can hear from him, where do I write, stuff like. I’m guessing I will have to wait for him to write since I don’t have an address yet. Just something to ease my mind. Although, I know he will be ok, this is all new to me and my family and I just don’t know what to expect. Will they give us enough notice for graduation to make hotel reservations, etc…just looking for some simple informatoin to help us go through this period…thanks to all

    • sabrina newbill February 16, 2013, 2:38 pm

      Hi charita, my name is sabrina. my son went to fort sill on jan 2nd. we are in the same boat. he was able to call me when he first got there. and now he gets to call me for a short time on sundays sometimes. he says letters are like gold. so be sure to write a lot. he graduates on 03/15. i am in california, so i got the plane tickets, hotel room and rental car already paid for. I used orbitz and it cost 1656 for accomodations and airfare for 3 of us. i’ve only received two letters from my son. he is usually pretty beat by the time he gets to lay down. but in the second letter, he said “mom, i got my first check today. I’m a man mom!”. :). I was so worried before he left, then i felt a strong sense of pride, and now, well now i know in my heart that my son will be well equipped to deal with the world as a man. The Army will teach him things i never could have taught him. And one of the things i always think about is that when he swore in they said that less than two percent of Americans serve their country. Wow, that means that less than two percent of American parents are riding around with that kool sticker we got that says “Proud parent of a Soldier in the U.S. Army”! We’ve done all we can for our sons, now they are men and we don’t have to worry about them anymore….but we will “)

  • Paige Mercer April 15, 2013, 9:49 am

    Hello everyone,

    My husband just left for basic in Fort Sill on the 8th of April. I’m 7 months pregnant expecting our very first baby, and it’s a girl! We are very excited and I am so thankful for his sacrifice for our family. I have had the privilege of talking to him quite a bit during processing. He actually starts BCT within the next few days in which case I know contact with him will be very limited.
    Baby girl isn’t due till July 9th and he graduates BCT the beginning of June, but goes strait to AIT across the street till August 5th! I’m praying that he will be able to take leave during AIT to come home for when she is born. – Anyone know the likelihood?
    I haven’t received my packet yet or his mailing address, but I most definitely won’t skimp on writing him since I won’t get to talk to him. (Even though rumors have gone around that sergeants give those who receive letters a hard time). – Can anyone verify?

    Very glad I found this website, it’s filled me in on a lot!

    Thank you all!

  • McCall June 26, 2013, 1:41 pm

    What’s your husbands name? My Boyfriend is at AIT right now, same place with the same graduation date :) i’d love to keep in contact with someone in the same situation. I’m actually able to talk to my honey once in a while on the phone and i have his mailing address. I could fill you in since they are at the same place. What is your husbands unit do you know? If you have any questions please email me. It all usually depends on the first Sgt. Congrats on your baby :)

  • Jennie king July 7, 2013, 2:27 pm

    My husband and I got married June 1st and he left two weeks later for fort sill! I’d love to hear from someone else going through this. Send me an email!! Thanks

    • Reagan July 22, 2013, 10:07 pm

      Jennie! I’m so glad I found someone going through the same thing as me! I thought I was the only one!We got married on June 29th of this year and he left for BCT at Fort Sill on July 15th. It’s so hard being a newlywed and having him leave two weeks later! We didn’t live together either before we got married so it’s really sucky. He’s still stuck in reception right now but BCT starts Wednesday. When is your husband’s graduation date?

      Reagan

  • Melodi Kirkpatrick August 16, 2013, 3:03 pm

    I finally heard from my son yesterday. Because the call was cut short, I’m not sure if I got his address correct.
    I REALLY hope one of you that has already gone through this can help me.
    Here’s what I have;
    ,
    ALPHA BATTERY 3RD PLT 1/19 BN
    5970 S. BOUNDRY RD.
    FORT SILL, OK 73503-5001

    should there be a ID number included somewhere??

  • Janet October 8, 2013, 11:50 am

    Myonly son left for Basic in the Army Reserves last tuesday 10-1-2013 I was wondering after graduation do they come home with us and do we provide plane ticket back for them ?

  • michel February 17, 2014, 6:50 pm

    Hi I’m a newbie,

    My son left for Ft Sill on 2/4/14. He called me the morning of the 4th and I haven’t heard from him since. Does anyone know when i might hear from him, since it been 2 weeks already. Any other new army mom? Please post so we can keep in touch

    • Linda March 7, 2014, 6:55 pm

      Hi Michel. My husband just left on 3/03. How long did it take before you heard from your son? My husband was able to call around 2 AM that night and I am just wondering how many weeks it might be before he can call or write. Thank you!

      • michel March 15, 2014, 10:29 pm

        Hi Linda,
        I finally got a letter dated February 18th. I was thrilled. He described his week in reception and what they were doing. Its now mid march, i got an official letter from the commander giving Facebook details and graduation date. Hopefully you will hear from him soon, if you haven’t already. I see pics of my son in training but haven’t heard from him in about two weeks. I keep writing him letters though. Make sure you write all the time. I cant wait till graduation. Ill keep your husband in prayer.

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