Attending Basic Combat Training during summer months -- especially in Southern states -- can be extremely physically taxing. BCT is designed to transform civilians into soldiers, and training doesn't stop because it's hot outside. Trainees who attend BCT in the summer are at higher risk to become heat casualties. Heat casualties are labeled by the military as those who suffer heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Heat Injury Prevention
At BCT, you will be required to carry a 2-quart water canteen with you at all times, no matter what time of year you're there. On most days, you will eat at an Army Dining Facility, commonly called a D-FAC. While you are in the D-FAC, fill your canteen with ice to make the water more refreshing. The more water you drink, the better -- and the less likely you are to become a heat casualty. If you feel you are becoming overheated during training events, let your drill instructor know immediately.
Many high school students attend BCT during the summer between their junior and senior years or immediately after their senior years. Since high school is a full-time pursuit, students must prepare to ship while completing homework, attending school functions and spending time with friends.
If you are a student, maintain your grades. If your grades slip far enough to cause you to fail or keep you from graduation, you will not be allowed to ship to BCT. You will either be taken out of the Delayed Entry Program or your ship date will be moved so you can make up your poor grades.
Sunburns and Heat Rashes
Training at BCT takes place outdoors on most days. No matter where your BCT is located, bring sunblock containing zinc oxide to protect your skin. Your face and hands will be continuously exposed to the sun, and the proper application of zinc oxide sunblock can protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. To counter chafing and irritation caused by sweat, apply baby powder to your body (including your feet) liberally when you get dressed in the morning. Diaper rash cream can also be applied to areas subject to chafing to prevent skin injuries.
Bacteria and germs thrive in warm conditions, and that means summer BCT is teeming with sick recruits. Wash your hands as often as possible; if you can't wash them, slather them with antibacterial hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose -- those are the main entry points for germs. Although showering time is limited during BCT, make sure you shower daily. Time is set aside each day for troops to get clean.
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