BCT FAQS

It may take time for an individual and his family to adjust to Army life. Soldiers in Basic Combat Training (BCT) will have mail call every day per training schedule permitting. To make the transition a smooth one, Soldiers have several ways to communicate with and see their families. We encourage you to send uplifting cards and letters to Soldiers in training.

How to find out where a soldier is assigned?

When a Soldier first arrives at Fort Sill for Basic Combat Training they are assigned to the 95th Adjutant General Battalion (Reception), which is part of 434th Field Artillery Brigade, where they begin the basic training process. Soldiers can spend from 7 to 10 days within the brigade reception process before being assigned to an actual training unit. During their time in the reception battalion they are afforded the opportunity to call home. We understand this is an anxious time for a Soldier's family and friends - but this a very busy time for the Soldier and staff preparing them for their journey from civilian to Soldier. Please allow at least 7 days for your Soldier to settle in. If at the end of this time you haven't heard from him or her, call the Brigade Headquarters at (580) 442-1261, or after duty hours (580) 442-1273 for assistance in determining their location. You will need your Soldier's full name and social security number. Soldiers in training are very busy. They are not allowed visitors during the basic training cycle except during Family Day and Graduation (usually on Thursday of the last week of Basic Combat Training.)

When can a Soldier call home once a Soldier get to his/her my training unit?

Within 72 hours after arriving at your unit you will be given the chance to call home. It is up to you to make the call.

Can I visit a Soldier while in Basic Combat Training (BCT)?

We discourage familes from visiting during Basic Combat Training (BCT). Time is at a premium during the training phase and schedules are extremely tight. Training is difficult to make up and must be completed prior to graduation. You will, however, have the time to visit the day before graduation.

How do I get mail to a Soldier?

Soldiers in Basic Combat Training (BCT) will have mail call every day per training schedule permitting. We encourage you to send uplifting cards and letters to Soldiers in training.

There are mailing do's and don'ts. You may send the following items to a Soldier:

  • Letters
  • Pictures
  • Newspapers and Magazine Articles

Please don't send your Soldier mail until they contact you after they leave the 95th Adjutant General Battalion (Reception) and arrive in a Training Battalion. If you send a Soldier mail while he is at the Reception Battalion, the mail must be redirected and will be delayed while it goes to a locator service to determine which Training Battalion your Soldier was shipped to.

Don't send the following items to a Soldier:

  • Magazine subscriptions
  • Pornographic material
  • Knives or weapons
  • Drugs of any kind
  • Cigarettes or tobacco
  • Baked goods or packages

NOTE: All mail will be delivered to Soldiers, however, Drill Sergeants may have the Soldier open packages to inspect them for contraband items.

Letter Addressee Format:

Rank, Last Name, First Name

"__" Battery, 1-"__" FA Battalion

Street Address (varies by unit)

Fort Sill, OK 73503 + 4 digit (varies by unit)

When making flight reservations, please keep in mind travel time to the airports (approximately 1.5 hours to Oklahoma City, and 20 minutes to Lawton Regional Airport). As always, please contact us with any questions about the above mentioned information or any questions you may have. Travel Safe!

Demonstration

The family day demonstration is a brief look at the many fundamental skills your Soldier has learned and applied during his 9 weeks of Initial Entry Training. We have put together an exciting demonstration that is both entertaining and educational, specifically designed for family members. We ask that all family members park in the designated areas and please be seated in the bleachers thirty-minutes prior to the start of the demonstration so we can begin on time. Please see uniformed personnel on the ground to assist you in finding your way around if you should get lost.

Pass

All Soldiers with families attending Family Day activities are encouraged to go on pass with their respective families. Soldiers with family members attending who wish to go on pass will sign out from the Battery the day prior to family day. Soldiers without family in attendance who wish to accompany their Battle Buddy’s family on pass are encouraged to do so. It is mandatory for all Soldiers going on pass with their battle buddy’s family to sign out at the Battery prior to departure. Pass is a privilege for your Soldier, not a right and will be revoked should your Soldier fail to follow the guidelines put forth. Generally, Soldiers who are granted a pass will return to their unit in the evening-contact the Soldier's unit for the exact time. No overnight passes are permitted during basic combat training.

Pass Do's and Don'ts

Family Day pass is an opportunity to celebrate and relax with family and friends, however Soldiers are required to be in uniform and conduct themselves with professionalism, honor, and pride at all times. Please do not encourage your Soldier to travel outside the immediate Lawton-Fort Sill area while on Family Day Pass. Soldiers are allowed to accompany Family members to local establishments to include restaurants, and hotels, but not to bars and clubs. All Initial Entry Training Soldiers, regardless of age will not use tobacco products of any kind, consume alcoholic beverages, or drive vehicles of any kind during Family Day Pass. Please help us help your Soldier by transporting him back to the Unit area.

Driving on Fort Sill (Gate Checks):

All civilian and military personnel entering Fort Sill must present a valid license or identification card at the gate. Please take into consideration that all unregistered personally owed vehicles are subject to being searched by the Fort Sill police based on the National Threat Level determined by the Department of Homeland Security. These searches are for your safety and for the security of our military installation. Personally owned fire arms are not allowed on Fort Sill. Please show the utmost cooperation with all Police staff at the gates in order to expedite this process.

Cell Phone Use:

A. In accordance with 32 CFR Section 634.25, using hand-held cell phones while driving a U.S. government vehicle or privately-owned vehicle on Fort Sill is prohibited. This prohibition applies to the driver of the vehicle only and shall not be enforced against any passenger in or on the vehicle. A driver who wants to use a hand-held cell phone must move his/her vehicle safety off or to the side of the road and bring vehicle to a complete stop, out of the way of moving traffic, before using a cell phone. The following uses are permissible:

(1) When the driver uses a hands-free cell telephone, which allows the user to communicate without the use of either hand, so long as the hands-free cell phone does not involved the use of a headset that covers both ears.

(2) When operating an authorized emergency or law enforcement vehicle in the performance of official duties.

B. This prohibition applies to hand-held cell phones only and is not applicable to microphones or radios typically used in cabs and authorized emergency vehicles. A violation of this prohibition may result in a $50 fine and/or 30 days in jail as decided by the U.S. Magistrate.

Speed:

Please note posted speed limits on Fort Sill which do not exceed 40 mph. Drivers should note that in the 434th Field Artillery Brigade area speed limits range from 15-25 mph. When passing Soldiers, whether walking alone or in a formation, please slow down to 15 mph.

Graduation Day

Final out processing from the unit on Graduation Day will take some time to complete. Although out-processing will begin after graduation and will continue until all Soldiers are complete (approximately 1.5 hours).

Final Travel Consideration

When making flight reservations, please keep in mind travel time to the airports (approximately 1.5 hours to Oklahoma City, and 20 minutes to Lawton Regional Airport). As always, please contact us with any questions about the above mentioned information or any questions you may have. Travel Safe!

Who do I contact in case of an emergency?

Should an emergency arise, the best means of notifying your Soldier is through your local American Red Cross at 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) or www.redcross.org. Once contacted, your local area field office will contact the Lawton-Fort Sill, OK field office, who will in turn, contact us. In dire emergencies affecting immediate family members (sibling or parent), emergency leave may be granted.

Other leaves of absence during training are taken into consideration on a case-by-case basis.

What happens if my soldier is injured during training?

Safety is the number one priority in everything we do in the United States Army. We put a great deal of time, training, and resources into accident prevention, but unfortunately, accidents and injuries do happen. If your Soldier is injured and/or hospitalized, he will receive expedient and appropriate medical attention by trained professionals.

If your Soldier is admitted to the hospital for a serious illness or undergoes surgery of any kind, the immediate next of kin, designated on your Soldiers personnel card, will be notified. If your Soldier is hospitalized, you can reach the RACH information desk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (580) 558-2000.

May my soldier travel with me or go home after graduation?

All BCT graduates will travel to assigned Advanced Individual Training (AIT) training sites by government provided transportation, any exceptions must be approved by the Brigade Commander at least two weeks prior to graduation. Furthermore, Soldiers are not authorized to travel home in between graduation and their AIT report date (see FAQ 4 below). However, please keep in mind that the Department of Defense (DOD) will provide a plane ticket. This plane ticket will be provided during graduation week once your Soldier receives his official orders. Soldiers can count on leaving within 48 hours of graduation directly to their next duty station for AIT, even if that means they will be signing in to their gaining unit several days before their report date. Field Artillery (13 series) and Air Defense Artillery (14 series) MOS Soldiers will be conducting their AIT here at Ft. Sill. All other MOS will be reporting to their AIT duty station at an alternate Army installation within the Continental U.S.

Will my soldier be allowed to go on leave after graduation?

No, Soldiers are not authorized leave after their graduation from BCT. Please do not make plans for this and adjust your travel for family day and Graduation accordingly.

Will my soldier be allowed to go on pass after graduation?

Yes. Deserving Soldiers (not pending adverse action or serving punishment as a result of adverse action) will be allowed to go on pass after graduation ceremonies. Our graduation information packet will provide further details regarding pass privileges and family day activities. Again, please do not make your graduation travel plans until you know for sure that your Soldier is graduating on time and we publish the graduation and family day schedules. We are not responsible for any charges or fees you incur.

What happens if my soldier fails a portion of basic training?

If your Soldier is unable to adequately pass a required training event during his 10 weeks of training, he/she will be given the opportunity to retrain and pass the event(s) prior to graduation. Please do not contact us regarding questions about whether your Soldier will graduate. He will contact you and keep you informed of his current status.

What do I do if my soldier calls or writes about wanting to leave?

As I mentioned in the letter, all Soldiers have some level of difficulty transitioning to military life because it is foreign from anything they have ever experienced in their lives. Often times, Soldiers find themselves questioning why they are here and whether or not they can or want to continue. In some isolated cases, these thoughts can lead to Soldiers acting upon these doubts by departing Ft. Sill on their own without permission from the chain of command. Our unit is not run like a confinement facility in that we do not prevent Soldiers from leaving on their own if they so desire. Soldiers come here to stay and train because they want to, because they are volunteers.

If your Soldier does leave under these circumstances, he is in violation of Article 86 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), Absent Without Leave (AWOL). This violation is a felony offense. Soldiers found guilty of being AWOL a military courts martial can incur the following maximum punishment: dishonorable discharge from the military, forfeiture of all pay and allowances (to include benefits), and a maximum of 5 years confinement. Once a Soldier goes AWOL his/her pay is immediately stopped and his name with be distributed to all law enforcement agencies with a warrant for his/her immediate arrest.

May my soldier attend religious services?

Yes, your Soldier will have the opportunity to attend religious services on a weekly basis, which mainly occurs on Sunday mornings. Locations and times of religious services vary based on denomination, and our training being conducted at that time.

How do I contact you?

If you have any questions or need information, please feel free to contact us. We'd like to ask that you attempt to go through your Soldier FIRST before calling us as he can answer most of your questions. Please direct all messages that are not an emergency or of a serious nature directly to your Soldier. Remember that if you need to call us, your Soldier will not get in trouble! If the issue is something he can take care of on his own, he will be counseled on that fact, but if it is timely, relevant, and important, he will receive the pertinent information immediately without repercussion.

Will I get any money upon arrival to Basic Combat Training?

You will be issued a Store Value Card worth $350 to spend on assigned items at the PX. You will not be allowed to buy any items not allowed in BCT barracks. Once you arrive, you will be given a list of assigned items for BCT that you will use the $350 for. The $350 comes out of your first pay, so be ready for that.

How do I reviece military pay?

Direct Deposit is mandatory for military pay. You should already have a bank account set up before you arrive, and bring your account information and an ATM/debit card with you. If you don't have an account set up, one of the first things the staff will do is require you to establish an account at the base credit union or base bank. However, it may be several weeks before the bank can give you a debit card, which will impact on your ability to access your cash.