Fort Sill

Hooah!! Welcome back to your Week Three training update. This is the last week for the Red Phase. By now, your Trainee is in the full swing of things and you can probably start to notice some changes in them during your Sunday calls or your letters. They will be very excited to move out of the Red Phase. 


This will be another very busy week for your Trainee. They will tackle the Confidence Chamber, take their diagnostic Army Combat Fitness Test, conduct a 5 mile road march, and spend their first night away from the barracks in the field. The first of three field training exercises (FTX) in BCT is called the Hammer.


By now your Trainee has surely got their new boots broken in. If they haven’t, they surely will be after their first 5 Mile Road March. The ruck march will challenge your Trainee both mentally and physically. Trainees are required to carry 35 lbs in their rucksack and carry their assigned weapons system. They will have to do a 7 and 10-mile ruck during the remainder of their time with us.


First up this week is one of the most anticipated combat scenarios of their time at Fort Sill, the Confidence Chamber, also known as the gas chamber. This is their first introduction to Chemical, Biological, Radioactive, and Nuclear (CBRN) training. They will learn how to properly wear the M50 Protective Mask (also known as Gas Mask) as well as employ a variety of cleaning supplies specifically designed to treat contamination. 

The final practical exercise of this training event is the gas chamber, where your trainee will learn to trust in their equipment. Don’t be alarmed, this is a controlled environment! They will put on their gas mask, and enter a room filled with harmless but very uncomfortable tear gas. While they are wearing their mask, they will be unaffected by the teargas, but they will proceed to remove their mask and experience the effects of tear gas briefly before exiting the chamber. This experience helps them understand how to maintain their composure and remain focused on what needs to be done even when they are under distress.


By the end of week 3, your Trainee will conduct their first Field Training Exercise (FTX) which is known as The Hammer, where they will focus on basic fieldcraft and survival. During this FTX, your trainees will learn how to dig hasty fighting positions, movement techniques, how to pull security in a tactical/wooded environment, and the proper use of hand and arm signals to communicate without using their voice. This will be the first overnight exercise in a tactical area.  

During the Hammer, your Trainee may find themselves missing the cozy accommodations of the barracks and the chow hall. They will have the opportunity to eat Meals Ready to Eat (MRE’s) and will definitely be missing the hot chow they have become accustomed to. 


In your letter this week, ask them if they enjoyed the Hammer. It’s a whole different level of camping than most have been exposed to! It’s also always great to hear about all the fun they had at the Gas Chamber.  Also, be sure to ask them if they have made any new friends while they have been in Basic Training. Next week they will begin to start Basic Rifle Marksmanship.  

Remember, Sandboxx letters arrive the next day with return stationery, a pre-addressed envelope, the return postage paid, photos, and an option to add a gift card. But if you don’t have the time to write as often as you’d like, consider selecting the Daily Drive as a letter add-on, this way your recruit will receive daily mail to encourage them throughout their journey.


Stay tuned for more insights into Week Four 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 this week. 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)