Fort Jackson

Hooah!! Welcome back for your Week Eight update. This week your Trainee will be put to the ultimate test in the culminating event of Army Basic Combat Training, The Forge. The Forge is a 96 hour Field Training Exercise (FTX) that will draw from everything they have learned since their arrival to Fort Jackson.


Week 8 will kick off with a 96 hour Field Training Exercise, known as The Forge. You may not hear from your Trainee much this week as they will be in the field almost all week. Once they return from the exercise, they will be happy to read some letters from you as they recover both mentally and physically.


The “Forge” is a grueling, 96-hour, cumulative training exercise that puts week-eight trainees in a patrol base as they encounter a multitude of combat and logistical scenarios. It emphasizes battle drills, tactical operations, and numerous foot patrols. Your trainee will walk close to 30 miles throughout the Forge.

During the Forge, mental and physical abilities are tested to their limits. They are evaluated on everything they’ve learned in the prior eight weeks of training, from basic first aid to security and reconnaissance patrols. The drill sergeants will advise the trainees, but tactical decisions will be made by the platoon leaders and squad leaders. While each exercise differs in scenarios, all Basic Combat Training programs include an FTX. They will complete the Night Infiltration Course and a Battle March and Shoot.

The Drill Sergeants (DS) make the experience as realistic as possible by providing the trainees with intelligence reports and throwing sporadic enemy contact at the trainees, so they have to figure out how to secure the local area and their base from the threat. By the end of the Forge, your trainee will have completed 44 tasks and battle drills, as well as hand-to-hand combat with pugil sticks – all while running on minimal sleep, while lugging lots of heavy equipment. Overall, this test is something that will test your trainee physically, mentally and emotionally. At the end of the FTX, trainees will conduct a 10 mile road march and return to garrison as soldiers after a short, informal field ceremony marking the culmination of their transition – The Soldier Ceremony.

Once your trainee is done with their time at the Forge, they’ll return to base with the rest of their platoon, and will have some enhancement time for physical and psychological strength building.

Your trainee will also receive training on Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Defeat, and Forward Operating Base (FOB) and Control Point (CP) operations. Each time they move out to a training site, they are in a full battle rattle, conducting tactical foot marches – learning to tie all their training together.


This week is one of the most significant weeks of Army Basic Combat Training. They have put everything they have learned to the test. They have earned the right to be called a U.S. Army Soldier. In your Letter to them, be sure to congratulate them on everything they have achieved. They will be happy to hear from you. Don’t forget to add Reply Postage to your Letter to make writing back easy for your Soldier.


Stay tuned for more insights into Week Nine and beyond. Follow us on social media for the latest updates, letter ideas, and more.

That’s a brief look at the intense but rewarding journey your Trainee is on. Let’s keep supporting them every step of the way!

You can always find me via chat in the Sandboxx app or — just ask for Kris, and myself or another teammate will get back to you as soon as we can.


SGM Kris Broadus, U.S. Army (Ret)