Fort Benning Army Basic Training Review (2)

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

2. Where did your soldier attend basic training? Sand Hill, Ft. Benning

3. When did he attend basic training? 12/29/09-3/11/10

4. How often did you hear from him? (Phone and letters) I heard from him quite a bit during basic training. The week or so was reception. During reception he was able to call me every night. He could talk to me for as long as he wanted to during reception, as long as he had a battle buddy with him. During reception he called me from the pay phones using his calling card. He would talk for maybe 20-45 minutes, but it was cold standing outside and the battle buddies didn’t want to be out their for long so he had to cut his calls shorter than he wanted to.

They moved down range to Sand Hill where basic training would actually take place on 1/7/10. He told me the day before when he called from reception (1/6/10) that he was guaranteed by the drill sergeant to be able to make a phone call in the first 72hrs. I heard from him that Sunday for 10 minutes. This is when he gave me an address so that I could write him. He was very sad on the phone and later told me that call was! the hardest one he ever had to make. It was an emotional call for both of us. He was actually lucky because he later told me that other platoons only got a 1 minute call.

He was in the first basic training cycle for 2010. There were 3 platoons, and usually there are 4. Out of the 3 platoons, he had the best drill sergeants, as they gave them their phones the most and let them talk the longest. Anyways, after the first call, it was 2 weeks till I heard from him again. He told me to mail his cell phone during that first call too, as they were allowed to use them to make calls. I sent it 2 day priority! The 2nd call my husband made from basic was 45 minutes long. Then it was 2 more weeks till I received another call. The 3rd call was on Super Bowl Sunday and was 9 hours long.

Then he was able to call every Sunday after that and he had his phone for most of the day. He even got it late some Saturdays and got to keep it overnight in his locker for use the ! next day. After the last FTX, which was 1.5 weeks before he graduated, he was pretty much able to keep his cell phone. They just had him lock it up in his locker. There was only one day I didn’t talk to him at this point. He was allowed to call or text when he was cleaning his rifle, cleaning out his locker, etc.

The only times he wasn’t allowed to call at this point was when they went to chow, formation, etc. There was one time that his drill sergeant let his platoon keep their phones an extra day longer than the other 2 platoons got to. As I said, he just lucked out and had the best drill sergeants who gave the most phone time. It wasn’t this way for the other platoons.

As far as letters went, my husband pretty much wrote me every day, though I didn’t get a letter every day. He wasn’t able to mail a letter out every day. He could have, but he combined a few days at a time, as he didn’t always have much time to write but a few lines. I got an average of 2-3 letters a week from my wonderful husband. I ! wrote my husband every day. In fact, he was the first to receive mail in his platoon. By the end the drill sergeant joked with my husband telling him that his packages were always the thickest so if there was a thick package then he knew it was for my husband. I sent him lots of pictures and cards too. Write your soldier every day. Letters during basic are like gold!

5. How long was it before you heard from him the first time? I heard from my husband every day during reception, and then 3 days for the first time when actual basic started.

6. How long did it take to receive a mailing address for him? He was able to give me the mailing address in the first phone call he made to me from basic.

7. Were there any restrictions on what you could send him? No food and limited reading material. I found out towards the end that I could have mailed him magazines and books as long as they were military related. I did end up sending him some military magazines so that he could have reading material. Go to the bookstore and get your soldier some military related reading material. He’s allowed to have it. I also could send as many pictures as I wanted to, as long as they were appropriate of course. I could also send him cards, even the ones that you can record your voice in.

8. Were you sent information about family day and graduation? Yes. I received 2 letters from the commander all together. The first one came 2 weeks after basic started and also contained the address to mail him stuff, which I already had when he called me. The 2nd letter came about 3 weeks before graduation, and had driving directions, who to contact to get help with lodging, etc.

9. Did he have a family day? If so, please describe. Family day was awesome. After not seeing my husband for so long, it never felt so good to hug him. We have 3 children, 8, 5, and 9 months and we all just cried and hugged each other. He was allowed to leave off base right after the turning blue ceremony and didn’t have to be back till 8pm. The same went for graduation day. It was the best 2 days ever!

10. Please describe the graduation ceremony. Graduation was supposed to be at the infantry museum, but got changed to the barracks at the last minute due to rain. So there wasn’t a show with the tanks or anything like there was supposed to be. This was the first time they ever had it in the barracks. It was short, about 30 minutes, and I am glad for that. It just gave me more time with my husband.

11. Is there a website for his basic training unit? Is there a place to see pictures of his training online? Yes, this information is sent in the first letter you receive. The website is I suggest checking it out. It is helpful. You can also go on you tube to find videos of basic training at Ft. Benning.

12. Any other tips or information? Expect the unexpected. We have learned with the army that things can change on a dime. Basic training is very hard to get through when you are married and have children. Know that it is just as hard for him as it is for you. It goes quicker than you think. Just keep yourself busy and send those letters to your soldier. He needs them, as it is his only connection to the outside world.

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This article was written by a visitor to the site. All of our contributors served in the military, are married to someone who serves in the military, or have a child who serves in the military. These Army soldiers and/or family members enjoy helping others by sharing their experiences.

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  1. I loved this website my hsubund is going to basic trainging jul14 to oct 29th, I had a lot of questions they all seemed to get answered thank you

    1. Elia, wow my husband left to basic training the same day yours did. and obviously comes back the same day to haha. is your family day sep. 25th to?

  2. Question…what did you wear to the turning blue ceremony and the graduation? I know it will be hot in June, but I was wondering how formal/informal it is? Thanks!

    1. My husband graduated in February so I just had on jeans and a cute top (I’m a jeans kind of girl! 😉 ). But there were people there from one extreme to the other – some look like they just rolled out of bed and some were overly dressed (in my opinion). Just remember, it will be super hot and humid in Georgia in the summer. And if you have heels on, they will sink in the grass and make it harder to get to him! Have fun!

  3. My husband went to basic last week in Ft.Leonard Wood. I can say that the phone call thing is not the same for all. Once he arrived on base in reception, he texted me saying they were taking there phones away.
    First night in reception, he got a 1 min. call and that was it from a pay phone. I havent heard from him since (6 days now), so some of you shouldnt expect so many calls as the op of this thread.
    I did receive a post card from the base saying he has arrived, I should expect his first call in about 2 weeks and he will be mailing me his address in about a week.
    Good luck eveyone

    1. My husband went to Ft. Benning and during reception he was only able to call me to say he got there and this past Sunday to let me know he goes to basic this Friday. Not sure when I will be receiving the next call. Mine went in Oct. 19th and graduates Feb. 18th

  4. Hey, I am a little but behind haha, my husband left for basic on Nov, 14th and only made two phone call to me while he was in reception and then called nov 24th to let me know he made it to basic and I will be getting a letter from his DS soon to give me his address and letter information, does anyone know how long that will take?

  5. This is nothing like how I had it. I was at Sand Hill for infantry OSUT in 08. We got our phones taken away the first day and got them back the last night at Benning. We could not have any reading material and only 3 photos. The only thing we could read was our training book. We only got 3 phone calls the entire time there. 1 in reception, 1 the first week downrange, and 1 after turning blue.

  6. My boyfriend left for basic on March 5 I spoke to him that night and I haven’t heard from since than . I miss him so much . I just want to know when will I hear from him again ? Someone please help me out

    1. It’s only been a week. He’ll call when his Drill Sgts let him. He most likely is still inprocessing and hasn’t gotten “Down range” to start basic yet. For the life of me I can’t recall what it is called but it’s where you get issued all your equipment and uniforms that you will need for basic. I spent 10 days there before starting basic. Once he starts basic the first day they make you write a letter to your loved one that states you made it and they give you an address so you can mail letters to them. We wern’t allowed to call home till week 9 and that was only a 5 min conversation. Each Drill Sgt is different but don’t expect daily or even weekly phone calls. Just write him alot and encourage him to write you. Talk about anything in your letters even stuff you find mundane, he won’t think that way cause it is still stuff he is missing out on. Dumb things like tell him you dropped you ice cream cone walking out of the ice cream shop cauuse someone honked and startled you. Just dumb stuff like that. Just know that he is being well taken care of and know that this is a big transition in his life and needs all the support you can give him . Keep letters very positive.

    2. Its called reception and I did get one phone call in reception and one the first week there.

    3. Do you know how much leave he will get after he completes his 14 weeks ? Like a average .

    4. If he is going active duty, I don’t think he gets any. I think he goes straight to his new duty assignment. If he is National Guard (I am) then he gets a plane ticket to his Home of Record (HOR)
      and then reports to his new units armory and gets taken off active duty status and is placed on Drill status and begins drilling with his new unit one weekend a month and 2 weeks a year.

  7. hi my boyfriend left on feb. 27th and has called me from a friends phone after 4 days and from a blocked number a couple days ago… i didnt answer either call because i didnt know the numbers!! i know he called his parents when he couldnt get ahold of me. my question is what address will he they send the address to send his letters to? his parents or his? we dont live together but i do have his mail key and has written me twice and he sent both letters to his house. but because i didnt answer his calls and he may not know that i recieved his letters, will he just give up writing to his address and just write to his parents, or will he keep writing to me?

  8. well my fiance left forr basic at benning the 3-27-12 and i got 3 calls. he was in resistance or whatever its called, he wrote while there but did not leave an address. got a letter today tho with address, now i can send him these 30 pgs of letters.

  9. I won’t be an army wife until after he gets out of basic, so does that mean I won’t recieve any letters or information on his graduation and stuff like that?

    1. it really just depends on your boyfriend. im in the same situation. engaged to a soldier. he graduates in about 8 days, i’m so excited! your boyfriend has a choice on who to send that info too, like my fiance decided to send the commanders letter to me directly.

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