Basic Training: Why Soldiers Joined


Before you embark on your Soldier career, you'll need to know what to bring, what not to bring, and how to prepare yourself for the journey. Your recruiter can also provide you useful information on what to expect at Basic Combat Training.

Preparation Checklist

The following information will make your transition from civilian to Army life easier. Listed below are required items, along with items that will not be permitted.

  • What to Bring
  • What not to Bring
  • For Women Only


  • One-day supply of casual, comfortable clothing (no halter-tops or ragged shorts)
  • Three sets of underwear (white)
  • One pair of white, calf-length athletic socks (no color bands, designs or logos). Additional socks can be purchased at the post exchange (PX)
  • A pair of comfortable shoes
  • Eyeglasses (no stylish eyewear)
  • Luggage should be limited to one small suitcase or gym bag


  • One lock (combination or padlock with two keys). Additional locks can be purchased at the PX.


  • Disposable/safety razor with blades
  • Shaving cream (optional for women)
  • Toothbrush with case
  • Hairbrush or 6" black comb
  • One washcloth and towel (Additional items can be purchased at the PX)
  • Anti-perspirant
  • Shower shoes
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Shampoo
  • Soap and soap case


  • $10-$50 in cash
  • Traveler's Checks or Money Orders (Personal checks are not recommended because of limited check-cashing facilities.)

Documents You May Need

  • Social Security card
  • Valid driver's license or current state identification card
  • A direct deposit form from your checking account signed by a bank official, or the name, address, account number and routing number of your financial institution (if applicable)
  • Original or certified copies of your marriage certificate, divorce decree or separation order (if applicable)
  • Original or certified copies of birth certificates of children under 18; affidavit of support from parents; court documents and direct deposit forms if ordered to pay spousal and/or child support (if applicable)
  • Proof of citizenship (if you were not born in the United States)
  • If you are married to a service member in the military, you need to have the name, Social Security number and military address of your spouse
  • Copies of your lease agreement or rental contract for any dependents residing outside of government quarters (if applicable)
  • Original or certified ROTC documentation (if applicable)
  • Original college transcripts; GED or high school diploma

Your Orders

  • Be sure to have all copies of orders and documents issued by your unit recruiter and/or MEPS. These orders must be delivered by you and by hand. Travel and meal tickets will be provided.