The United States Army gave We Are The Mighty unprecedented access to Army Basic Training. Fondly known as “boot camp” to those who have survived, basic training is the first thing recruits will experience when they enlist. The ten-week program carries recruits through three increasingly difficult phases and covers everything from dress and appearance, physical fitness, Chemical Radioactive Biological and Nuclear (CBRN) readiness, to weapons training.
“I am worried about Oller doing live fire,” confessed Drill Sgt Stewart. Luckily, Oller made it through — v-e-r-y c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y. He’ll have to step it up if he wants to make it through The Forge.
Week Eight begins with grenades — literally. “The exercise is to throw live grenades as if we’re really in combat. When you have a live grenade in your hand, the first thing you want to do is throw it immediately — but we had to sit there and wait. It could blow up in your hand. You could die. It felt like forever,” confessed Gideons.
It’s like pure adrenaline for the recruits.
Before they can move on to The Forge, recruits must take their second ACFT (Army Combat Fitness Test). For those who failed, this is their second chance to pass. They’re hurting, they’re sore…but they’re also improving. They’ve been training for weeks and they’re getting stronger. They also know each other now — which means they’ve got someone personal to compete against.
“I failed my leg tuck on the last one. I knew I could do it but I didn’t, I gave up on myself. But after failing this ACFT, I don’t think I’ll ever do that again,” observed Carpenter.
“Ya’ll better run out there and motivate and push that soldier to cross the finish line,” shouted a drill sergeant when Carpenter struggled to finish the two-mile run. By Week Eight, it’s not just about you — it’s about the recruit next to you.
The recruits who failed will have one more opportunity to pass — after The Forge, the final Field Training Exercise of Basic Combat Training. It’s a 96-hour exercise with a 48-mile foot march, obstacle course, and a night-infiltration course.